Imitation of Christ
That's What He Said
The idea of this series of devotionals came from a conversation had at my house on New Year’s Day with friends. From the conversation, I realized that many Christians have varying degrees of how they view God and Christ. We are all different with various backgrounds, personalities, and experiences therefore with some things our lens of interpretation may be different. On that day as I was challenged about my beliefs and hopefully challenged others as well, I was left thinking, “What exactly do we (proclaimed Christians) believe?” My hope is that through this devotional and the ones I hope to follow will challenge and cause you to examine your personal convictions and beliefs in light of what the Bible actually says. In other words, I hope to make you study and think as will I.
In 1959, there was a movie released called “Imitation of Life”. It broke barriers and stereotypes as it dealt with the issues of race, class, and gender. In the movie, Sarah-Jane, the daughter of an African-American woman is fair enough to pass for white. With feelings of angst, self-hatred, and shame she rejects not only who she is, but her black mother as well. Although she claims to be one thing, in reality she is not. And although she is trying to live a full life, instead her life is full of broken moments as she searches and looks for unconditional love and not recognizing until its too late that the person who loved her without reservation and acceptance was her mother. Sarah Jane, although a fictional character, battles what many of us as Christians have faced except we are imitating Christ – poorly – while searching for an unconditional love. So, in order for us to follow and become Christ like, we first must understand and study who Christ was and what He claimed to be.
He claimed to be God and He claimed to be the ONLY way…
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?
According to His words, Jesus claimed to represent God. Not only was this deemed sacrilegious, He went one step further to declare that there was no other way to access the Father and presumably Heaven unless through Him. That’s what He said. But what does that mean? And what does that mean for those that don’t believe He was Christ the Messiah?
There has been a lot of debate concerning other faiths and the appeal of inclusiveness/universalism. Being a person that loves people and wants the best for everyone, even those who don’t believe as I do, I have to ask myself as a Christian—can I accept that not everyone who doesn’t believe as I do will be saved? Is there another way other than Christ? According to scripture alone and not my desires or my heart, the answer is NO.
And guess what? It’s a hard thing to accept and believe about the God and the Savior that I know. On the surface that is. Yet when I look deeper at the life of Christ the Messiah, His message and His purpose; I realize heaven is not a place for the “good kids”. Nor is access to the Father something only for a few. Instead heaven and access to the Father is for the redeemed. Heaven is a place for the broken and those who are seeking to be made whole. And what Christ meant, was that through His sacrifice the whole word has the opportunity for redemption if they believe. But it requires a faith in Him and recognizing just how much we need Him. And I do. Do you?