His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about Him and had been done to Him. John 12:16
For 2,000 years Christians have proclaimed and preached salvation through the crucified and risen Lord.
For the same amount of time doubters and deniers, skeptics and cynics have walked away from the message of salvation and the urgings of the Holy Spirit.
* As they walked away, many of them call out, "I've heard it all before!"
* They voice their protests with sayings like, "When I was young, religion was stuffed down my throat."
* Others maintain, "I've seen Christians. When I visited a church, they ignored me. When I heard a sermon, it bored me. When I work with Christians, they scandalize me."
The one thing these folks have in common is they think they have an intimate knowledge of Jesus, and He has nothing to offer that would interest them. Maybe you know such a person. If so, you might want to say to him, "Really? You know Jesus? That's fantastic ... if it's true, but it occurs to me the disciples walked with Jesus for three years, and at the end of that time, they still didn't know Him (see Acts 1:6). Odds are if you aren't a believer, you don't know Him either."
Indeed, most people don't know Jesus.
They know the Hollywood Jesus that emphasizes His humanity, but not His deity, which shows His seriousness and skips His smile, which promotes His poverty, while denying His power. Too many folks see the Savior's suffering without understanding salvation; they have kept Him in a Christmas cradle and neglected Calvary's cross. They have shown His sacrifice, without understanding the salvation He died to win.
This partial picture of Jesus is palatable to the world. It ignores Christ's miracles and the soul-saving, eternity-changing power of the empty tomb of Resurrection Sunday. This view of the Redeemer is one of Satan's spiritual stumbling blocks designed to trip up and stop a soul from being saved.
Satan has many such stumbling blocks. He can use a person's smarts to try and poke logical holes in God's plan of salvation. Satan uses poverty to make people think God doesn't care. He can use loss and grief to encourage a sad soul to think God's got it in for him.
Yes, Satan has his stumbling blocks designed to stop a person from really knowing Jesus.
In contrast the Holy Spirit continues to reach out to save lost souls. He calls them to the Lord's inspired Word, where they can clearly see how God's Holy Son came to earth to sacrifice Himself so that we might be redeemed. They can see how Jesus willingly gave Himself to the task of saving us -- to the task which took Him to Calvary's cross. They can see how the Christ conquered death so all who believe on Him will live forever.
In Scripture they can see past Satan's stumbling stones and walk on the Lord's stepping stones.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant I may see the power and wonder of the Savior, whose sacrifice has won salvation for all who believe. May the Holy Spirit touch doubters and deniers with the wonders of Your love. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries