“The Unequivocal Jesus,” by Andrew J. Schatkin
Ladies and gentlemen and those of you who choose to reject sloganeering; political code words; media propaganda and attempts to convince by the use of the right words and phrases lacking any sort of critical thought offering, I bid you join with me in another intellectual journey of honest discernment a journey not of and connected with political correctness.
I ask you, my friends, young and old, to accompany me on a dynamic journey of intellectual discovery where together we will come to know and grasp and open the doors to truth and factual knowledge and together we will cease to skate on the intellectual surface and gain some depth of understanding of what is truly occurring in our system which may in fact be functioning to mislead rather than inform and lead us forward not backward.
Let me begin this essay, which will concern itself with the unequivocal claim of Jesus said by him many, many times in the gospel, to be god incarnate. I speak of his personal statement and claim to divinity because there are forces in our society which wish to water down this claim. In fact, I have heard it said by a number of people that all religions worship the same god and all lead to the same god. I have not only heard this said to include the church and Christian belief as the same as Islam and Hinduism and Judaism, but some have said to me most recently that Jesus is to be best understood as some sort of ethicist and prophet and either reject his divine claim which is the heart of the Christian faith or choose not to address it. Once having rejected, ignored, and skated by Jesus’s divine claim, you are no longer a Christian as understood for the past 2,000 years, but may be a good and wonderful person, but the claim of Jesus to be god is what demarcates Jesus and the church as an institution with its claim and duty to proclaim the true and essential faith that Jesus is lord. To say that all religions express and worship and lead to the same god is to engage and import in the Christian faith nothing more than false phony politics based on our system of political equality and our diverse society. I have no objection to political equality or that our society is diverse and consists of many sorts of peoples and nationalities which I readily accept and find good, but that does not mean that all religions are to be watered down, and in particular the Christian faith, to satisfy the equality and diversity and inclusiveness present in our democratic system. Christianity, in its true and essential form, is and will always be a scandal to the world and a sort of annoyance to these false political forces pushing their way into the church.
My dear friends, let us walk together through some passages in the gospel of John which speak of what I say here. In John 3:16, Jesus says in no uncertain terms that god so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him will have eternal life. In john 6:27, Jesus states he is the food to gain eternal life. In John 6:35, he says he is the bread of life. In John 6:48, again Jesus says he is the bread of life. In John 6:54, Jesus says that whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. In John, 7:37, he says if anyone thirst let him come to me and drink. In John 8:12, Jesus says he is the light of the world. In John 9:5, Jesus again says he is the light of the world. In John 10:9, he says he is the door, and in verse 11 he refers to himself as the good shepherd. In John, 10:27, he says my sheep hear my voice and I hear them. In John 11:25, Jesus says he says he is the resurrection and the life and that he who believes in me though he die yet shall he live. In John 14:6, he says I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man can come to the father but by him. Finally, in John 15:1, he says he is the true vine.
My dear friends who seek truth, facts, and critical and honest discernment, how may I conclude what I have set about to state and make clear? I only say this: The Christian faith has its reality and in the claim of Jesus to be god. I have referred to many passages in the gospel of John that support this divine claim. It is the claim of Jesus about himself stated many times. It cannot be evaded and even discarded by clever words and acts of political manipulation to fit in and include other faiths. I have no animosity for those systems of thought, but as a Christian and an adherent of the historical Christian faith as founded in holy scripture and as founded in three ancient creeds, this is the true faith. I decline to abandon this claim and the essence of 2,000 years of Christianity. If you object to Jesus and his claim to be who he is, the incarnate god, then you are free to do so but be aware you are no longer a Christian. You may be a good and virtuous person, but in ceasing to believe in the divine claim of Jesus, your decision is to reject what is the Christian faith. You are free to take and believe what pleases you or what you choose, but you are not truly free if you reject the claim of Jesus and who he says and maintains he is.
I have had the great honor and privilege to comment on and speak of Jesus and his claim to be god. For me, this is the heart of my life, and I invite you all who read this to join with me in this task which for me is awesome and most wonderful to try to grasp and understand who Jesus is and who in the course of our lives he will come to be—our savior and redeemer and the way and the source of eternal life. In him, we will never thirst and never die.