You’re not actually looking for all of the right answers in order to have faith in Jesus.
It won’t actually take a theological debate for you to believe in Jesus.
Our deepest longing is not to know all of the answers, it is to be known and loved still.
I’ve been studying the book of Matthew and I’ve been struck by the scenes that continually replay: different places and times, yet, the same types of people and situations.
Scenes like this:
Jesus entered the Temple—a holy place of worship for the Jews—and cleared out all of those who were using it to make a profit. He flipped tables and made everyone leave (Matthew 21:12-13). I don’t know about you, but if someone is flipping table, I’m out.
“The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them,” (Matthew 21:14). What made the blind and lame (the most ignored people in society) feel safe enough to come to Jesus to be healed after a scene such as this?
They knew the real Jesus.
It was the religious leaders who could quote every word about the Messiah who were truly blind to God in the flesh in front of them. They were indignant that Jesus would be healing these people and allowing the praise of the children in the streets.
The people who needed healing—the people who had no status or worth in society—those people knew the real Jesus. No, they couldn’t win a theological argument. They certainly couldn’t quote scripture when prompted. They weren’t even religious at all. But they saw Jesus for who he was. Why? Because they came to Jesus in their lowly state and received unhindered love, forgiveness, and healing.
What I find so fascinating as I study the book of Matthew is how much the religious leaders often want to drag Jesus into theological arguments. What is even more fascinating is how Jesus quickly and simply disarmed the arguments without an ounce of pride. Sure, Jesus could speak in such a way that would drag the religious leaders through the mud in order to kill their pride. But Jesus knew that the way to win these religious leaders is not to win a religious argument.
Winning a religious argument does not win hearts and Jesus is concerned with our hearts.
But so many of us are concerned with answers to our questions before we can believe in Christ.
How can you prove to me that God is real?
How does science prove one thing and yet you still believe in God?
If God is real, why is this world so terrible?
But it is not in the answers to these questions that we will find full life. Because what we are all truly searching for is to be fully known and fully loved. We’re sick of pretending to be someone we’re not. We’re sick of putting on a show to impress our parents and friends and family. We’re craving intimacy in a way that allows us to be ourselves, to let our walls down, to take off our masks, and to be loved in our broken and hurting state.
Underneath all of those questions are the real emotions we experience every day:
I’m lost in darkness.
I’m faking it.
No. You don’t need answers to theological questions. You don’t need proof that God is real. You don’t need to understand how science and God somehow either beat each other or coexist.
The religious leaders of Jesus’s time had all of the answers they could need. They could recite scripture that spoke directly about Jesus while they looked Jesus in the eyes and called him a liar. They had never experienced the healing power of Jesus. They never let their prideful walls come tumbling down so that they could come to Jesus without fear like the blind, lame, sick, and mute. Like the children.
You will never see Jesus for who he is if you don’t come to him in your messy brokenness. You will never experience the real Jesus if you don’t throw your hands up in surrender as you realize that nothing you’ve been chasing is really bringing you full life. You will never know Jesus deeply if you don’t experience his healing. And you will never, ever know the real Jesus if you busy yourself with all of the knowledge.
It was the people who had nothing—not even their own pride—to hold onto that freely came to Jesus with one question: Will you make me well?
They didn’t come asking if he was really the Messiah or if what he was saying about himself was true. They didn’t quote scripture at him to prove him wrong. They didn’t try to set him up with tricky questions that they hoped he couldn’t answer. They weren’t armed and ready for debate.
They came in need of healing and walked away healed in body and spirit.
Don’t lie to yourself and think that you need a debate in order to come. If you can’t see your own brokenness, you’re not ready to come. But I bet that when you’re alone at night and you’ve run out of distractions, that brokenness you see and feel is terrifying.
And now you hide behind theological questions because you’re terrified of that brokenness being exposed.
What if I told you that you could expose that brokenness to Jesus and he would pour out forgiveness and grace so great that your fear could melt away?
What if I told you that you could be fully known and still fully loved by the one who is capable of truly healing your brokenness?
A lot of us have deep wounds that we’ve tried to heal with social media, friendships, drugs, healthy lifestyles, successes, hobbies, sports, relationships, and acceptance from people. But they’re still bleeding, aren’t they?
We need true healing that Jesus freely offers. We don’t need answers. We just need to come.
See what happens as you let down your walls, stop striving, and just come to the One who is willing to make you well.
A Note to Christians
The Gospel is for the sick, for the hurting, for the broken, for the guilty. Yet, how often have we lived lives that portray that Jesus is for the perfect, the flawless, the put-together? How often are we offering a Jesus that makes our lives better rather than a Jesus who completely transforms us?
How often are we the religious leaders who know everything about Jesus, but are completely blind to the real Jesus right before our eyes?
What if our search for theological education has gotten in the way of a real experience with Jesus? What if our prideful desire to be right has gotten in the way of bringing hurting people to the foot of the cross?
Sure, theology and questions and answers are very important and should be a lifetime of learning for us, but this is not what people need in order to believe.
I urge you to let your own wall of pride crumble. I urge you to disarm theological arguments that are only rooted in one’s desire to be right.
We will not win the hearts of God’s beloved by arguing, pointing out flaws, holding people to high standards, or proving someone wrong about God. Jesus won the hearts of people by healing and bringing forgiveness.
Maybe more people would see the real Jesus is we healed instead of hurt.
We must remember that we were guilty, lame, blind, mute, diseased and Jesus made us whole. We are new creations in Christ. It is not because of our theological knowledge that Jesus saved us. It is only by His blood that we are saved. It is a gift of grace.
Have we forgotten about grace and relied on our theology?
Let’s go love people so deeply that their questions completely disappear. Let’s enter into the mess—not with our theological knowledge—but with the overwhelming grace of Jesus. They won’t wonder if God is real or how he could be real. They’ll know because of the way they were loved.