By Paul Graves
Sometimes our spiritual curiosity seems kinda puny. So many people settle for what someone else tells them about the Bible, or Jesus, Christianity or religions other than Christianity
No one knows the “whole truth.” At best, we know only a piece of that truth. But sometimes we decide that our truth-piece is The Whole Truth. Not so! There is always more than what we settle for!
For example, Christians are celebrating Easter this week.
Lent and Holy Week comes before Easter. Some people jump right from Palm Sunday to Easter. But the Gospels say a lot happened between those two days — all to do with Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection.
I never go through Lent without thinking of a question our son asked me when he was almost 4 years old.
One night, after he was supposed to be asleep, His mother and I heard him shuffling down the hall. We also heard him crying. I picked him up and wiped his tears.
“Why are you crying, Brian?” I asked.
He looked at me and asked back, “Why did Jesus have to die?”
Well, I took him back to his bed, tucked him in, and began to tell him a little about how Jesus got in trouble with the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman government. I told Brian that Jesus died because these leaders were afraid of him.
I knew that for some people, the “correct” answer is that “Jesus died for your sins.” I also knew that a 3-year-old boy could get confused and scared by that abrupt answer. So I told him another part of The Truth about why Jesus died. That answer made more sense to Brian, and it was an Easter truth-piece.
In fact, there are even more answers to the question “Why did Jesus die?” Some come from Dr. Marcus Borg, a Bible professor I respect highly. He wrote about these in his book “The Heart of Christianity.”
First, God’s still in charge! The Roman government killed Jesus, but God raised him from the dead, showing Jesus’ followers that God is still in charge.
Second, Roman and Jewish leaders combined their power to kill Jesus, but God’s spiritual power is greater than any man-made power.
Third, Jesus’ death reminds us that our own spirits can be changed deep inside of us. We “die” to our old ways and are “raised” to new, healthier ways to live when we follow Jesus’ example, and trust in God’s love of us.
Fourth, Jesus’ death shows us just how much God does love us. Jesus is not only a special Jewish social prophet, but he’s the Son of God who dramatically shows us how much God will sacrifice for us.
Fifth, “Jesus died for our sins.” It’s like his sacrifice is seen inside a picture frame made of our sin, our guilt, and God’s forgiveness.
This is only one example of how important I believe it is for us to look for “more.” It lives behind and beneath the institutionally religious and spiritual truths we so often say without considering there might be more to them.
If we don’t seek “more,” our spiritual journeys just might find us walking around in very small circles. It’s healthier, more fun and “good-scarier” to break out of our smaller belief-circles so we can move ahead toward growing up in our faith.
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