Today’s featured message (which is an extension of the previous Saturday Sermon post, see here) continues to focus on the uniqueness of Christ Jesus. While the previous sermon primarily emphasized humanity’s sin and redemption through Jesus’ crucifixion, this week’s discourse accentuates his engagement in history, his disclosure of reality, his embodiment of the ideal, and finally, his triumph over the grave. Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias communicates the beauty and significance in each of these points.
He first compares Jesus’ understanding of time to other philosophies of history. For the traditionalist, the past is important; for the existentialist, the present is important; and for the utopianist, the future is important. Jesus Christ, however, makes a profoundly different statement to his disciples at the Last Supper. Zacharias, quoting Scripture, says, “As often as you eat of this bread and drink of this cup [now], you proclaim the Lord’s death [in the past], until He comes [in the future].” In other words, Jesus proclaims to his disciples that all of history -- the past, the present, and the future -- are significant and fused with meaning. Next, he examines Jesus’ disclosure of reality. In this world, one sees vast diversity. This has spurred philosophers and scientists on to search for that one unifying theory in which all things will stand. However, until one grasps the “unity and diversity and community” found in the first cause—the Trinity—one will not grasp the unity in diversity in the effect—the universe. Ultimately, Jesus has invited all into this unity and diversity in the Trinity by providing a way for an intimate relationship with him. Then, he focuses on the unprecedented perfection of Jesus. In the gospels, Jesus took on the form of a servant and neither his accusers nor Pilate could find fault in him. No one else in all history is a spotless Lamb offered up for all. Lastly, Jesus did not remain in the grave, but he rose again, victorious over death. Zacharias relates the story from the gospel of John when Mary seeks the body of Jesus following his death. In the account, Jesus calls Mary by name. “Think of it,” Ravi exclaims, “he who came from eternity and returns to his Father, knows you by name” and has gone to heaven to prepare a place “for you and for me.”
He concludes this compelling sermon with a lengthy, but powerful quote by a man who turned to Christ in his later years, Malcolm Muggridge:
“We look back upon history, and what do we see? Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulated and wealth dispersed…Shakespeare has spoken of the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon. I look back upon my own fellow countrymen in England once upon a time dominating a quarter of the world…I have heard a crazed, cracked Austrian announce to the world an establishment of a Reich that would last a thousand years. I have seen an Italian clown saying he was going to stop and restart the calendar with his own ascension to power… all in one life time, all in one lifetime! All gone, gone with the wind…and behind the debris of these solemn superman and self-styled imperial diplomatists, there stands the gigantic figure of one person—because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom alone mankind may still have peace—the person of Jesus Christ.”