Fundamental approach of Christianity is #039;come and see#039;
Christianity is the only "religion" that boasts a risen Savior. The founders of all the cults and "isms" are still in their graves.
The object of our faith is a person, the living Lord Jesus Christ. John the Baptist identified this person as, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." One of the two disciples who heard him was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
Andrew's message to Peter was, "We have found the Messiah … and he brought him to Christ."
While in Galilee, Jesus extended an invitation to Philip, who, in turn, findeth Nathaniel and said unto him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth."
Philip's enthusiasm was met with skepticism, to say the least. Nathaniel's response is summarized by the following question, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip's simple reply was, "Come and see."
Christianity is a "come and see" religion, it invites its potential converts and its skeptics to scrutinize its abundant evidence. History is replete with examples of atheists, agnostics and cynics who were intent on "exposing" Christianity, only to become its most ardent adherents.
However, not all who are brought to Christ are brought with the best of intentions. John 8 records for us an example of a woman taken in the very act of adultery and brought to Jesus. This woman was brought by the "religious" leaders of the day, whose only motive was to embarrass the Messiah. The conduct of these religionists could only have the motive to embarrass the Messiah.
The conduct of these religionists could have provided a permanent obstacle for this woman's ability to believe in Christ. Our Lord, however, in His infinite wisdom, turned a negative into a positive, and forgave her of her sins.
The object of our faith is Jesus. An obstacle to our faith may sometimes be "religion (this was also true with the woman at the well in John 4:20-24). But we must always be prepared for the opportunity for faith.
The woman central to the story in Luke 7:36-50 must be given credit for her astute observation as regards our Lord's itinerary. This woman, "which was a sinner, when she knew Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment."
The remainder of the narrative is a contrast between this, "sinner" and the Pharisee as regards proper hospitality. Seizing the moment, this woman took advantage of an opportunity to manifest her faith, eliciting a declaration from Jesus that "thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace."
This leads us to the outcome of faith. Peter was brought to Christ and was forgiven. A "sinner" took advantage of an opportunity to minister unto Christ and was saved (yes, saved is a Biblical word).
The outcomes are positive. People are brought to Christ by human instruments such as Andrew, Philip and yes, even Pharisees. But the Bible has much to say about the Divine instrumentality of being brought to God.
Jesus said, "other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring … and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd." The means of accomplishing this is through the Shepherd's death, burial and the resurrection.
Jesus said, "I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep." Peter, one of those first converts puts it this way, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.
The suffering of which Peter speaks is also credited with "bringing many sons unto glory" by the captain of our salvation (He. 2:10).
The writer of Ephesians likens the unbelievers condition to that of an alien, having no rights to the things of God.
John introduced Jesus as "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." To accomplish this, a death had to occur. The Gospel declares this death.
"Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23,24). Jesus rose from the dead. The Biblical evidence is abundant. At the outset of our Lords' public ministry Philip said to Nathaniel, "Come and see."
After our Lord's death, burial and resurrection, the message of the angel to the women was likewise, "He is not here: for he is risen, as He said. Come and see the place where the Lord lay."
Simeon said, "Mine eyes have seen thy salvation." The Psalmist said, "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." At this blessed time of the year when all of Christianity focuses on the resurrection of its Savior, exercise your freedom and go to the church of your choice and examine the claims made by those who have placed their faith in Him. Come and see!
Dr. Manfred Langer is assistant to the president at Tri-State Bible College in South Point. He can be reached at (740) 377-2520 or by e-mail at email@example.com.