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Why Jesus? By C. Tinsley By C. Tinsley
Are You Searching for Something?
Have you seen the beautiful submission of Islamic men kneeling to the Allah they revere, and the faithful Muslim women enveloped in the hijab, their hair covered and their skirts billowing around and trailing behind them? Have you seen the hajj, a moving spiritual journey where followers pilgrimage to Mecca and demonstrate their obedience? I have seen these images, and also witnessed the mystical ceremony of Jewish believers, their clean white linens and silver platters and white menorah candles casting a warm glow over the table. Their somber feasts celebrate the blessings of God, with bloodred wine and preservation of tradition in the Torah, read aloud in Hebrew. In fact, I have also visited tranquil monasteries with rolling verdant landscapes, fragrant Buddhist temples with offerings of oranges and flowers, and cathedrals with vaulted ceilings and flying buttresses. I have come to one conclusion through all of these experiences: my Jesus is the only Lord I would ever serve because I love Him and I know that He loves me as an individual created specially by Him. He cares for me by guiding and directing me in every aspect of my life. We have a relationship. He speaks to me and I speak to Him, and we have moving conversations full of depth and emotion. I hear His voice gently chasten me and I listen to his soft admonishments from the inner recesses of my heart, courtesy of the Holy Spirit. People of other religions may argue that their beliefs are correct, give reasons and logical explanations, and threaten to persecute or even kill me. While I still can, please allow me to tell you how the Lord Jesus Christ is different. Prior to seeking a belief system, I lived a life of immorality and drunkenness. Like many Westerners, I subscribed to the ideals of liberal secular humanism. I picked and chose the best aspects of all religions I could find. I read the Bible sporadically if I was going through a bad period in my life. I meditated with Buddhist chants and researched Hindu gods who might be able to help me in my tribulations. I finally looked up the beliefs of Islam and considered following the footsteps of a college friend of mine whose American mother converted to Islam and wore the hijab. Islam, in fact, was a great attraction to me. A parent of several of my students (she had six boys) was Muslim and invited me to her home. She treated me to a spicy chicken dish beneath a blanket of rice called Ma’aluba and served me baklava with dark, rich
Arabic coffee. Through my interactions with her, I became caught up in a world that seemed exotic and mysterious to me, with majestic domed mosques, luxurious woven tapestries, and expressive calligraphy. I liked the idea of modesty and humility, and respected those who served their Allah completely, without regard to human judgment. Yet, although I adored my friend and all six of her boys, I did not like the way her brother, who lived next door to her, treated her. I also did not think much of her husband, who brought her out of a neighborhood of former Palestine to the United States, only to leave her for another woman. He left her without an income or any way to make a living, and took off to Chicago to live with his mistress. As a Westerner with an education, I simply could not reconcile the way that women were treated in Islam with having a fulfilling life. Where some faiths deny the humanity of women, Jesus lifted up the status of women in His time in ways that still exist today. Where some faiths restrict what women can do, Jesus offered women a chance to worship and learn about Him. Where some faiths disallow women from worship, Jesus gathers women into His arms and includes them as part of His creation. Women take a prominent role in the Bible and Jesus allowed them as part of His ministry. Any society that restricts women is restricted itself from becoming a productive and modern society. Just as one can ascertain the state of human rights in a country by observing how women are treated, one can identify how humane a religion is by how the religion demands that women be treated. When a Muslim woman or man falls, there is no way to predict Allah’s response. One is at the mercy of his will, and there is no way a human can know how he will react. One hopes that obedience to Allah will garner favor, but one can never be assured of paradise. When a Christian falls, the Lord Jesus is beside the person for comfort and strength. There is nothing a Christian can do to separate from the Lord God, as Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to cleanse all sins away, as long as there is genuine repentance and sorrow. The Bible tells us that if we believe and trust Jesus, we are saved. There is no question about whether we are good enough to go to heaven – we all are sinners and do not deserve this place of honor next to our Creator. But since He loves us, He rescued us. No good works or reverent deeds will make us holier. He simply wants us to know Him. When I read the full Bible, I finally understood why “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which they may be saved” except Jesus. It took me forty days to read the Bible from cover to cover. If you are a person of another faith and you think you know what the Bible teaches, I encourage you to read the entire Bible in order to fully understand the whole story of what the Lord has done for us. Indeed if you wish to debate a Christian, you should know these intricacies in order to make an educated case against him or her. I read the prophecies given in the Old Testament and saw them fulfilled in the New Testament. I saw how Jesus perfectly fit the description of the Messiah, and understood how God truly works. What other written work has had one hundred percent of its fulfilled prophecies come to pass as accurately as predicted? What other written work was authored by at least forty writers in vastly different areas of the world with their own customs and languages, yet maintains consistency in style and message? What other written work has so accurately described the human condition and offered a solution to sinful man to escape his depravity and selfishness? Followers of other world religions ask how the Bible can have some correct teaching and yet be wrong in other places? It can’t – it must all be correct, or else all of it is suspect.
And the final book of the Bible, Revelation, indicates that nothing may be added or removed from the Bible. So if someone is following the Bible, or accepting parts of the Bible, and is also consulting other “works,” comprised of laws, passed-down wisdom, books of sayings, or other explanations, then the person is not following what the Bible says. The Bible stands alone and needs nothing else to interpret or understand it except the Holy Spirit. When He died, Jesus said, “It is finished.” Salvation for humanity was achieved and nothing else compared. Eventually, “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess” that Jesus Christ is the Lord and we will all see that the Bible is the single book that gives us the full story of Jesus and what He did for humanity, and how we can know Him. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, not like other human prophets whose lists of transgressions remain as a testament to their humanity even now. Jesus is also the only prophet who died and then resurrected. All other prophets are dead and buried in the ground. True submission is submission to Jesus, the only Lord who can change your life and make you different inside. Submission to Jesus is true freedom, as there are no external rules or laws to follow. Having the Holy Spirit direct your life is pleasant and not cumbersome. Trusting in God allows you to relax and give up the control that makes life so difficult. Truly following the Bible will never lead to violence or disorder. It is more difficult to resort to peace, more challenging to the human spirit to defer to patience and understanding. Forgiveness takes more courage than retaliation, and reconciliation is harder than rejection. The human instinct wants to war and rage, yet Jesus teaches us to turn the other cheek and not allow anger to rise up within us. The Bible is not only a true history of the world that can be documented with outside sources and proven with archeological facts, but it is also the pinnacle of fine literature and poetry. Its tenets still apply to life today, thousands of years after it was written. So after much research and contemplation, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of my life. By admitting that I am a sinner in need of help, believing the truth of the scriptures that Jesus died for me and rose again, and asking Him to come into my heart, I have received His grace and mercy. Jesus redeemed me to God and created a bridge by which I can cross that wide expanse between me and God. He gave me direct access to the Father in heaven. There is no longer a veil (hijab) between us, as it was torn after Jesus died for me. I now am a child of God, who belongs to Him, who is protected by Him, who is loved deeply by Him. Being “born again” allowed Him to change my behavior from the inside without resorting to outside ceremonies or laws. He lives within me and has turned my life around. His love for me is so great that He died to make me free…and I am free indeed. You can be too.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:1-7).