I wrote my first speech in primary school. It was about newspapers — that is as much as I can remember. How I managed to spin an entire message about the medium is unthinkable to me right now. After delivering it (once again, the occasion eludes me), I felt elated, pleased with myself. My speech sounded solid and well-argued, I thought.
A decade and more later, here I am again with a message to deliver. This time, the news is out that a man called Jesus, who once walked this earth, had claimed to be God. Historical records show he died in a Roman execution and the Bible claims that his death has effectively erased all our sins before God.
This message is solid and well-argued too and I tend to believe it. The difference between the news about Jesus Christ and my childhood spiel lies in its authority. My pitch for newspaper relied on the authority of someone who had not read that many publications then to begin with. Whether anyone believed me is a big question!
But the proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord depends on the authority of God’s words in the Bible. Whether people believe it or not, I hope they at least see that it’s not a matter of hand-me-down tradition or human authority that makes his death and resurrection true. It is written in the Bible as a historical fact, and its theological claims about God, Jesus and us are open for investigation.
I concluded in my previous message: “Based on the evidence in Mark’s gospel, you have to decide for yourselves whether Jesus is God or not. Because your whole life depends upon it.” And next week, I will be explaining why Jesus died.