Preemptive Offenses

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Greatest Gift

Holy Thursday: The Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Betrayal.
Good Friday: The Passion.
Holy Saturday: The Disciples Await.
Easter Sunday: The Resurrection of Christ.

Christianity is very simple:

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages; God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God; begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation, He came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the virgin Mary, and became man. He was crucified for our sakes under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried; and rose again on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; He shall come again, in glory, to judge the living and the dead; and his kingdom shall have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is adored and glorified; who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

That, plus the Ten Commandments of the Book of Exodus and the Two Great Commandments enunciated by Jesus Himself, constitutes the whole of the Christian creed.

But the key to Christianity -- the criterion by which to decide whether one is a Christian or not -- is the answer to a single question:

Do you accept the Resurrection?

Without the Resurrection, Christianity could not stand. With the Resurrection, Christ's divine Authority to proclaim the New Covenant, and to announce the remission of all sin, is ratified to the limits of Time.

Compare the gentle teachings of Jesus of Nazareth to any other religious doctrine ever preached. What could possibly equal them -- and who else, among all the figures revered by men in recorded history:

  • traveled as a supplicant,
  • never owned more than his garments,
  • preached without fear of the wrath of contrary authorities,
  • shielded sinners from secular punishment,
  • performed miracle after miracle,
  • healed the sick and the handicapped,
  • treated all who came to him with dignity,
  • raised the dead to life,
  • prophesied his own execution by torture,
  • accepted crucifixion humbly despite a sufficiency of means to resist it,
  • and then rose from the dead under his own power?

You can choose not to believe in Him. You can choose to reject as fiction the records of His life, travels, miracles, Passion, and Resurrection. You can dismiss the devotion unto death His Apostles showed after His Ascension. You can't find anything to equal Him. No other creed men have adopted comes anywhere close.

Thank You, God, for sending us Your Son. We are unworthy. He is a gift we can never repay.

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