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Whom Do you Trust?
author unknown, Mark 1: 9 - 15

In my recent readings through the New Testament, a few points have stood out concerning our relationship with Christ Jesus. Jesus, who was born. lived and died occupied our lives for a brief period of time and space. Some thirty two years He walked and talked, performed miracles, and changed lives. But He was only Jesus the carpenter's son to many who knew of Him. Jesus who ate, slept, and worked. Were Jesus the carpenter's son alive today, what type of relationship would we enjoy with Him? Would we see the large workers hands, well tanned from the mid-eastern sun. His dark hair, dark eyes, His strong muscles? How would we receive Him today?

Would we know Jesus who cleared the temple, turned over the money changer's table, or called the religious right vipers? Or the Jesus who moved to compassion, prayed over the city of Jerusalem? Would we see him weep over the loss of a dear friend? Snap at His friends over their lack of faith? Jesus was many things to those who knew Him and saw Him walk this earth.

He was subject to a human body, much as ours. We hunger, need rest, get blisters on the soles of our feet. His body was no less susceptible to the needs of a man's body or wear and tear. Had He lived to a ripe old age, lines would appear on His face, hair would turn grey, He might have stooped with advancing years. After all, we watched Him grow from newborn baby, to youth in the temple, to a man cut down in His prime.

Were that Jesus here today, many would still reject Him. Perhaps due to a word in a sermon. Maybe at His righteous indignation at all of the things wrong with the church today or our societies. Perhaps some would find His teaching too hard. Perhaps too soft. Maybe we would reject Him because he hangs out in all the wrong places. Did anyone see the carpenter's son over at the strip on Tuesday? He was hanging around the worst of people. Drunks, drug dealers, the homeless! These after all were those He came to save. Those with the greatest needs.

In every relationship, there lies the opportunities to reject, or quit that personal interaction. To interject our feelings, our biases, our prejudices, and ourselves over that other person. We tend to reject those who are different from us, abrasive to us, or just look a little odd to us. How then would we view Jesus the Nazerene?

In His physical form, Jesus took on physical limitations much like us. Now He was still God with all the power and glory of God, but to live among men, He accepted the limitations of time and space. He could still heal, change the weather, and revive the dead. But He was in one place at one time. Much like the leaders of the churches today. Imagine having to request an audience with the Lord, much as a Roman Catholic would with the Pope. Or Billy Grahm, or a bishop. Lord, I have a need....Don't worry, take a number, he can work you in around December for about 2 minutes. When the Son took on human form, He submitted Himself to the prejudices and ire of an angry world. There were those who from the onset of His ministry sought to take His life. There were those who criticized and cursed Him. The Apostle John in retrospect of Jesus ministry said, "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not". I say that if Jesus had lived the life of Methuselah, the world would still not know Him just because of this simple physical body.

Now let's consider another aspect of the person of our Lord; the manifestation of God as Christ. No longer do the prejudices of race and color seem to matter. God is many things to many people. In God there is no male or female, no black or white, no jew or gentile. No man has ever seen God so there are no physical attributes by which to judge Him. We have no pictures, only man's poor attempt to give human proportions to an infinite Creator.

With Christ, there is no limitation of time. Christ sees the future as well as the past in present tense. In John 8:58 Jesus states, "Before Abraham was born, I am". He knows our past, our ancestors, as well as future generations not yet imagined. He knows your great-great grand children before your own children marry. He has no problem making time for us, because He is not subject to the laws of time. So whenever we need Him, He is there for us.

With Christ there is no limitation of space. Because He is God, and a God of spirit, He is all places at all times. He is here with us, He is in the depths of the earth, on the remotest ice flow in antarctica, and on the shuttle with our astronauts. We all have equal access to His presence as well as His time. No appointments, no numbers to take. Speak, and be heard. Reach and be felt.

Why did Jesus have to die on a cross? That is a simple question with a multitude of simple and complex answers. Volumes have been written on the subject. The answer is as simple or complicated as we can make it. During this season of Lent, we reflect on the final 40 days of Jesus' ministry on the earth. We ask these difficult questions as if He were here and we have just heard His declaration of God's will for His imminent death. The apostles heard it often and didn't understand. Read the book of John, Jesus speaks more about His own death than any other topic.

Why does Jesus have to die on a cross? To establish a more personal relationship between God and man and to bridge the gap between finite creature and infinite God. So Jesus Christ can be all things to all men, at all times, in all places. So we may lose our prejudices to know an God of infinite love. To bear all of our sins to the Father that we may in turn receive pardon for the same. St Patrick of Ireland knew many dangers of the world. Sold into slavery, he feared for his life among the barbarians of the celts. His purpose was that of a missionary to the same people who would take his life. He understood Christ's presence in his life and composed a prayer calling on the almighty power of a personal God who was all encompassing in power and grace. He wrote:

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Christ within me, Christ who knows the passions of my heart, Christ who walks with me daily. This is the Christ I know. Christ who is my strength and shelter. How sweet to have a Savior at my call day and night. When I think of Him, He is there. When I call out to Him, He answers. When I fall, He softens the blow.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, when Loiusa Stead wrote this familiar hymn, she had recently lost her husband in a drowning accident. Left in serious poverty, she had no support but that of the Lord. One morning, she opened her door to find that someone had left food and money for her and her daughter. That day she wrote the hymn we love to sing.

I'm so glad I learned to trust Him, Precious Jesus, Savior, Lord; And I know that He is with me, Will be with me to the end.

Whom do you worship? Do you trust Him for your daily needs? Jesus the man, who we know from the Scriptures, a good teacher as today's Jew might label Him. Jesus the miracle worker who healed the bodies and hearts of those who met Him. Jesus the carpenter's son? Jesus on a cross, dead and buried? Or Christ who arose on the third day to heal a whole world, sick to sin and death. Christ who spoke and worlds formed. Through the Scriptures I know of the life and death and life of the Son of God. Through my heart I know the risen Savior. Through my life I know I have a friend and Lord.

Today, we have an opportunity, to know a risen Savior. Maybe you believe you know Jesus. I have been in Church all my life. I have been through confirmation. I was baptized. If all of that is true, and you don't accept Christ Jesus in a very personal way, to walk with, and talk with, to trust, then you are attempting to walk a tightrope of life without a net. If you know Christ Jesus as Savior, but don't walk with Him daily that is exactly where you fall. Who will catch you when you fall? Who will hold you up? Who will comfort you through life's hardships?

On the other hand, if you have never known Christ Jesus, If you are walking life's tightrope with no one to call, where will you be when you fall? Who will comfort and heal you? If you don't survive, where will you go? Our Gospel verse states, "I am going to prepare a place for you." Come now to the Savior and sign the deed. He awaits you with open arms.