The Lenten reading for today is Luke 22:66-71. This is the account of the trial Jesus endured under the hands of the Jewish religious leaders.
The question we were asked to reflect on is, "What was it about Jesus that so upset the religious leaders?"
The religious leaders were upset with Jesus' assertion that He was the Son of God. It's one thing to say that you're a good teacher, or a good moral guide, but to declare that you are the Son of God, that's a whole other thing.
And when you look at why people reject Jesus today, it's not that much different. People have no issues with Jesus being a great teacher and a moral guide. What people do have issues is Jesus as God. Because once you say that Jesus is God, then you have to obey, you have to change your way of thinking to God's way.
The application question today is, "What convinced me that Jesus is who He claims to be?"
That one is easy. I grew up in a Christian home. My dad was a pastor of a large congregation. I had heard all the Bible stories and knew most of them by heart. But I hated the church and I didn't care too much about God. It seemed that all that the church was about was a bunch of do do's. Do this, do that. Don't do this, and don't do that.
Up to that point in my life, I had never met a "cool" Christian, until I met a Young Life Leader named Pastor Mark. All the Christians I knew were a bunch of out of shape nerds. I thought that was one of the criteria to be a Christian - you had to be a nerd and you couldn't be cool, you couldn't have fun, etc.
Meeting Pastor Mark changed all that. He was cool and he was a Christian! I had never met anyone like that before. For some reason, he took a liking to me and took me under his wings. He picked me up on Saturday mornings to take me out to breakfast, knowing that most Saturdays I'd be hung over. But it was through him I came to understand that God loved me and all the Bible stories came alive for me through him. For the first time I came to see that God loved me - the drinking, partying, nasty, selfish me, and not the perfect me. That blew me away! I couldn't believe that God could love someone like me. And yet that was the truth - and it blew me away.
The truth of Jesus Christ came alive for me when I saw the truth of Jesus Christ being lived out in a genuine Christ-follower's life. And I pray that that's who I can be to others.