Dear Friends, As we begin a new year, it’s natural to feel hope and anticipation for what the future may bring. I always look forward to the beginning of a…
Jesus Is the Question
You have heard that it was said,… But I say to you… — Matthew 5:27,28
A beloved seminary professor was teaching his last class before retiring. As he finished his lecture, his students stood and applauded the man they had come to admire and trust. Waving gratefully, he made his way to the door. But before exiting, he raised his hand, motioning for one last word. “Remember,” he said. “Jesus is the question to all your answers.”
Through reading, thought, and prayer, Jesus reveals himself to me in ways which question my own answers and assumptions. When I look at places like Ferguson, Baltimore, or New York City, and at the racial tensions still existing, my answer is that racial harmony is beyond us. Then Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan refusing to pass by the Jew who lies beaten and left for dead — reminds me of “who is my neighbor.”
When I despair over the tragedy and loss of life perpetrated in the name of God — or Allah, or Skanda, the Hindu god of war, or Asura the god of war of the Buddhist — my answer is: How will anyone ever come to understand God as love? Then I think of Jesus’ tortured body, hear him loudly declare from the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” and I have hope that even religious extremists will know the love of God.
When I’ve suffered moral failures, wandering from God into some distant country, my answer is that I am beyond reach. Then, Jesus reminds me of a prodigal son, who leaves his father’s house, squandering his inheritance in riotous, dissolute living. When he comes to his senses, he returns, expecting to be received as a hired hand. But, his father meets and embraces him — calling to his servants for his finest robe, ring, and sandals for him. For this son of his was lost, but was now found. He was dead, but is now alive again.
You and I are forever arriving at answers for ourselves that hold out no hope for a future. But Jesus comes to us again and again “questioning our answers and assumptions,” and setting our feet once again upon the way that leads to life. Thank God, Jesus is “the question to all our answers.”