Running the Race

Let us run the race

Jesus is my hero. And yet he’s so much more than that.

Some have proposed (even though there are numerous non-scriptural references to him) that he’s a complete fiction, cobbled together from the writings of religious zealots, or loosely based on some obscure, deluded rabbi.

But if that is so, someone needs to explain to me how the most compelling, profound, influential person in history—the only one whose words, character and, yes, presence have been able to utterly transform me – is a lie. So much so that, if he were fictional,

I would still follow him.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to Running the Race

  1. I feel exactly the same way 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I came to that very realization myself. That no matter if everything I believe turns out to be nothing more than made up fantasy, the reality is that I am made better by the fantasy and wouldn’t mind having lived the lie. For in that potential lie, there is a story of abundant and fulfilling love, the very thing my soul yearns for.

    Lie or not, you can’t change the story that love has made in my life and that whether that love comes from a divinely superior being or made up fantasy – it is still the driving force behind my existence. Something that nurtures me in my rough moments and thrills me in the bright moments of being alive.

    Truth of fiction, fantasy or reality, God and His Perfect Son are real to me and I’m okay if I’m the only one feeling that way.

    Liked by 8 people

  3. Abe Austin says:

    Nuts Mitch, with a title like that you got me all excited to hear you were announcing your candidacy for President.
    But I guess you’re actually here to nominate someone else I can get behind!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Gary Fultz says:

    If we could somehow journey to the depths of the soul of a first hand witness and transformed life, say, the doubting Thomas. or mine, yours,a million others. Our understanding of that reality would be ineffable.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Given his impact on world history, I’ve often marveled at the sparsity of secular historical reference to Jesus — other than briefly, in the histories of Josephus (If i remember correctly.) I fully accept that he was a real person, but for our knowledge of Jesus, we are left with the Gospels, which were purportedly written by his own “biased” disciples and handed down, supposedly without addition or redaction for centuries. Then there are the oblique references to Jesus in the writings of later church leaders, like Paul (who never met Jesus.) However, from all of that, even the skeptic still gets a fairly coherent idea of the personality and teachings of Jesus — but is left with a gnawing kernel of skepticism about his divinity. Was that aspect something that was touted by the writers to sweeten his biography? If he was known to them as God during his ministry, why is there no evidence that they treated him as anything other than their leader but also just “one of the boys” ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      The writings by the Apostolic Fathers trace all the way back to the Apostles, corroborating not only the claims of the four canonical gospels, but also that of the other New Testament writings. The earliest of these men heard first-hand from the Apostles about Jesus, and passed on what they were taught. But speaking for myself, it’s the character of Jesus that speaks most convincingly. When I confront some of his outrageous claims (which are paramount to the changes he has wrought in me) and weight them against C.S. Lewis’s “liar, lunatic or Lord” argument, I conclude the latter–again and again. It is not a liar or a lunatic who has loved me into this new life.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. I don’t need the rightness of history to prove to me that the message and the teachings are true. I don’t need absolute scientific proof to know that his is the path I must follow.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Amen, thank you for this. PTL!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree completely. 2 Peter 2:1 (KJV) says, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” Like the rich man who summoned Lazarus to bring him a drop of water due to his being parched in Hades, I leave it to those who deny Christ to find the same need the rich man had. I prefer to be on the other side with Lazarus and Jesus when that day comes. I believe and I will follow Christ! Thank You, Mitch, for sharing this with us!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Bob Martin says:

    We sing “Fill my cup, Lord.” He replies “I can’t. It is full of encumbrances. When you throw them off (out), then I will fill it.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Amen brother: Our Lord lives! Not “just a man” but very God of very God. I’m so beyond excited to meet the Lord Jesus

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Kim Smyth says:

    I have been going to church on and off all of my life. I have been trying to deepen my faith more lately, and I’ve always had lots of questions. I guess as I get older, the desire to get closer to God is greater than it was in my youth. I’ve always believed there was a higher power though. Maybe it’s the state of the world and the knowledge of my past that has me petrified that by not believing, I will just die and that will be it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Been there, Kim.

      Liked by 2 people

    • One thing that gives me pause, Kim, are the multitudinous reports of near-death experiences (NDAs). In all of them, each person seems to have been transported directly to heaven. I had a young man in his 30s describe an NDA he had had during a cardiac arrest from “huffing” a dangerous substance. My older cousin, Linda wrote her Psychology Master’s thesis on NDA’s. I also read a book by a Christian minister who had a brief visit to Heaven, which included meeting departed loved-ones, after a violent car wreck. I think the theological problem is that various interpretations of scripture hypothesize that we have to do some sort of penance, or “getting OURSELVES right” with Jesus, in order to QUALIFY for admission to heaven. If these first-hand reports by sincere people are an indication of theological realities, then we have a possible, tiny grain of antidote to some of the more “fire and brimstone” scenarios in the mythology surrounding “the afterlife.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mea culpa, too long in the IT sector. NDE not NDA (Near Death Experience — not Non-Disclosure Agreement!) Gulp! Is there an ascii emoticon for extreme embarrassment? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kim Smyth says:

        Thank you, this gives me hope!

        Liked by 2 people

      • mitchteemley says:

        Vernon, I think the widely held view of heaven as a reward, or hell as a punishment, for the things we’ve done is an inaccurate spin on a concept that’s very difficult for us to grasp. Jesus taught that what we live for determines our eternity: a life devoted to temporal things not only has no future, it’s not even truly being alive now. “Eternal life,” according to Jesus (which includes being fully alive in the present), is “knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent” (John 17:3). I’ve been pondering this for the last 40+ years.

        Like

  12. Reminds me of Puddleglum in The Silver Chair: “I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” I love Puddleglum.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    AND SO DO WE! PRAISE GOD, JESUS—GOD IN THE FLESH!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A.P. says:

    I feel the same way, and in fact stated the exact same point yesterday. If the truth in Christ turned out to be a lie, then the chances would be infinitesimal that there would be any remaining truth in the Universe worth following. I would follow Him anyway. He is All.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. A very apt quotation. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even if Jesus were not Divine, he freed first century Jews from the burden of the Pharisees’ legalistic approach to God, introduced us to Agape, and brought the Beatitudes, which are very worthy subjects for meditation for people of any religious tradition.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Bill Sweeney says:

    With the possible exception of John, all the Apostles were martyred for their faith. People don’t die for a lie. Great, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. alsavignano says:

    In ancient times no one denied that Jesus Christ lived. Also, no one, not even the worst enemies of Christianity, denied that Christ performed miracles. The evidence was that overwhelming

    Liked by 2 people

  18. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Reading people’s stories from the past and how their faith in Christ gave them courage, strengthens me today. Jesus comes alive and His work is completed by seeing it lived out all through history.

    Amen, brother!

    Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Totally agree, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. beautiful! thank you for sharing👍🏽

    Like

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