JESUS AT 2000
For those who think this article may have already appeared in TIME magazine as well as in Macleans, I urge you to continue reading! Actually, JESUS AT 2000 were cover stories for both periodicals, in an attempt to merge the Son of God and a birth date, with an outlook of the church in todays world. Without the truth as it is written in the Bible, then perhaps we would be caught-up with social implications of such a carnal nature, while trying to solve the problems of modern religion with carnal solutions. This is what happens when we depend on the interpretations of pop culture to determine the truth about God. Is Jesus really 2000 years old?
Despite years of research and historical studies, scholars remain undecided on the exact date of the nativity. I am not about to spend your time trying to negotiate the difference of a few years give or take. Jesus confused this centuries-old issue when He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8: 58) Or did He actually shed some light on his true origins? Of course, immediately thereafter, those who were within hearing distance picked-up stones and began to stone Him, forcing the Son of God to hide! Carnally, they accused Him of being less than fifty years old, and equally carnal, the christian world of today celebrates a 2000 year old being. In the last book of the Bible, Jesus declares to be the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. Using the Bible as undeniable truth, it would be very hard to certify a date under these conditions. It defies the logistics of human reasoning, as well as the most advanced scientific means of exotic calculations that exist to correctly date what rightfully remains infinite and everlasting. But then again, the more we read the Bible and the more we get to know God, the more we realize that He has always defied the finite and very limited minds of carnal reasoning. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9)
Yet we continue to ascribe human terms and conditions, and to utilize human understanding, as we try to decipher and describe the divine mysteries of the deity in an endless attempt to come to our own understanding and satisfaction of who God is and where He comes from. As the church enters a new millennium, it also applies the same approach, trying to raise attendance, if only to fill empty pews! What happened to John 12: 32? "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Jesus wasnt about to conform to any cultural fads or modern gimmicks to attract a crowd. The disciples were not lured to follow Christ by cutting-edge Christian music, nor a tailored message of cultural compromise. Church leaders from evangelical pastors to the Pope, try to explain why church attendance is where its at, and it makes me wonder when we change Gods ways and take things into our own hands, why we cant seem to find the source of our failures. The churches are guilty of using drama, videos, and music (christian as well as secular) to boost membership, to attract a younger audience, and to generate enthusiasm while trying to stimulate the religious environment, in an attempt to create a new-look alternative to an already pseudo-godly experience.
Amongst the Roman Catholic parishes strewed across the country, there is a shortage of practicing priests which forces a major restraint on church functions. A growing attitude in the midst of priests and parishioners alike, has the church looking for a new perspective in an attempt to create a transformation that will be more acceptable in an ever-changing society. Such modern day thinking provokes a retrospect of centuries-old doctrines such as celibacy in the priesthood, and women who cannot be ordained; two views almost universally disagreed upon by the majority of younger practicing catholics. Once again, from a biblical standpoint, these fundamental church practices are proven to be man-made and entirely against the teachings of God and Jesus alike. Tarnished by sexual scandals and old-fashioned prudishness, the Roman Catholic church is struggling to change its image. As history often repeats itself, man will do things their way, and when things ultimately go wrong, we wonder why, and then we turn around and put the blame on God!
To match the message with a modern audience, mainline Protestant pastors have begun to shed conservative views and constraints, if only to satisfy the need to replenish the flock. Likewise, the Bible is given a post-modern flair, to fill the void of a younger generation seeking a religious experience with more cultural freedom and indulgences. Economically, the church needs the numbers, which increases the demand on social requirements, while adding a damper on the spiritual needs of the believer. As modern day religion is ushered into the new millennium, fundamental beliefs and issues are retrofitted in a chameleon-like attempt to camouflage stringent God-given ordinances which have proven in the past to be shunned by a society given to liberal freedoms in every respect. In an attempt to keep the sheep from grazing in other pastures, modern religion has forced the Spirit of the Lord to depart in their stead. Trying to make Jesus to be 2000 years old, has made true religion and true worshippers practically extinct.
If we were to keep Jesus for who He really is, our beliefs would not be modernized, since the truth never changes. Jesus, as He walked the face of this Earth in the flesh, was around for only 33 years. Even with all the miracles and wonders performed in three short years of ministry, Jesus maintained that the flesh profiteth nothing! "What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." (John 6: 62 - 63) In other words, with no flesh around, He doesnt grow old, nor do his teachings and spiritual concepts! "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." (2 Corinthians 5: 16) If we seek a christ after the flesh, the flesh will continue to demand the social and carnal aspects based upon the rudimentary excess of this world. The more we want to be ourselves, the more we try to make-out Jesus to be just like us; birthdays and all.
So, is Jesus Christ 2000 years old? Even if the number 2000 was to be added and used as a multiplier, the result of the final calculation would still be no where nearer the truth.
Lincoln C. Gagnon