This past Sunday our pastor asked the church if we were embarrassed by the Bible.
He didn’t mean embarrassed by the Bible itself but embarrassed by some of the content.
He cited a talking snake in Genesis, a staff turned into a snake in Exodus and a bush on fire that was not consumed by the fire.
He could have gone on and on citing content from both Testaments that could potentially embarrass a Christian if challenged by someone who did not think the Bible accurate or authoritative.
His question reminded me of a place where I once was.
A Bible-believing Christian had befriended me when I was agnostic. My friend would talk to me about the Bible and my attitude was “certainly you can’t believe all that weird stuff in the Bible.” In particular I would pick on good old Noah and ask my friend how in the world did Noah get all those animals on that boat?
Yes, I was pulling his chain and I thought myself quite clever trying to get him to defend what I saw as a rather silly myth.
Now, I had played this game with him before and he had purchased for me a book titled, “100 Questions Skeptics Ask” or something like that. But instead of referring me to the book (which I had not read at that point) he asked me this:
“Bruce, the more important question is what will you do with Jesus, not what do you think about Noah and the Ark?”
My friend’s statement forced me to consider C.S. Lewis’ three possibilities. Lewis said there were only three possibilities. Jesus is either Lord, a Liar or a Lunatic. Which is it?
While I claimed to be an agnostic I wasn’t quite prepared to call Jesus either a liar or a lunatic so I said nothing. Noting my silence my friend referred me to Matthew 24. The speaker is Jesus:
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
(Matthew 24:36-39 ESV)
Apparently Jesus thought Noah a real person with a real ark. He uses the conditions in Genesis to predict what it will look like when he returns at the end of the age.
I know something now that I didn’t know then. The fact that I could not call Jesus a lunatic or liar was not because “I was figuring it out.” I could not call him a liar or lunatic because the Lord was cultivating my heart to believe. My smart alecky question to my friend became the Lord’s vehicle to give me a glance into my heart-a heart that needed to consider the claims of Christ in a serious manner.
My friend had it right. Was there a talking snake, a bush on fire that would not burn or a staff that turned into a snake? Those are not unimportant questions but the real issue is what does a person do with Jesus?