Welcome back to Starting Point!
While not entirely dependent on it, this session will be touching on material from a sermon delivered on this topic. If you haven't seen it, we encourage you to watch it before continuing.
As mentioned in the message, everything has a starting point, including your faith. Whether it occurred when you were a child, a teenager, or an adult, your faith - or your impression of faith - began somewhere.
But more than just a time or place, Christian faith begins with the question:
Who is Jesus?
How we answer that question determines how we approach our understanding of faith and our lives as Christians. This question is not only essential for the new believer, but for the seasoned one as well. Even if you have been a follower of Jesus your whole life, there is still more to be learned about him.
So again, we ask the question:
Who is Jesus?
Take a moment to watch this 60 second video that talks about who Jesus was.
One of the things this video points out so well is that there are a lot of ways to answer the question, "Who was Jesus?" However, while entire libraries have been written in search of the answer, ultimately each of us must answer that question for ourselves.
A great way to begin answering that question is to study what Jesus said about himself. In doing so, we are going straight to the source. The challenge is that some of the things Jesus said about himself are almost unbelievable.
That brings us to our next question: How do we know what Jesus said is true?
For some people, even asking that question is hard because they have been taught to believe that if the Bible says it, it must be true. From that perspective, even asking the above question is inappropriate.
However, for other people "The Bible says..." is not sufficient.
After all, some things in the Bible are not factually correct. The Bible says the sun and all the universe rotate around the earth. We know that is not true, yet it is in the Bible. We also know that there are apparent contradictions in scripture. What do we do with that? It is also true that the meaning of scripture can be interpreted in many different ways.
These realities can lead to confusion and even frustration when it comes to determining the truths of our faith. They can even lead us to a place where some of our deepest assumptions of faith are challenged.
Take a moment to watch how this 60 second video speaks to that reality.
As we explore our faith, it is important to remember that it is okay to have questions. It is even okay to doubt. If what we believe is true, it can stand up to those things. It can be frightening to challenge some of those core beliefs, but in doing so we open ourselves to finding the starting point of an even deeper faith.
One of the things talked about in the sermon on this topic is that while we can debate a lot of things in the Bible, when it comes to learning more about Jesus we can gain strength by knowing that when it comes to his story something actually happened.
Jesus was here on earth. He lived. He taught. He had followers. He was handed over to be tried. He was crucified. No one denies that these things happened. They are historical events.
That said, the movement from seeing these things as mere historical events to the starting point of our faith is another story.
In this three minute video, author Andy Crouch talks about how the facts of what happened during Jesus life and after led him to a place of deeper faith.
Andy is right about the fact that something happened. It did. But that is just a starting point. What comes next is a journey into the deeper truths of our faith and what we believe about them.
Our hope is that the remainder of this study will help you begin that journey.
1. If someone asked you the question, "Who is Jesus?" How would you answer? What would you say if you could not use the words, "The Bible says..." in your response?
2. Let's get more personal. If you were to sit down and really try to answer the question of who Jesus is in your life and why you seek to follow him, what would the answer be? Try to move beyond the common "Christianese" that people often use in their answer. Who do you say that Jesus is?
3. What do you think about the issue of "truth" as it relates to scripture? Is there a difference between truth and fact as it relates to the Bible and our faith? How does the idea of challenging Biblical truth trouble/challenge you? How does it inspire/encourage you?
4. What do you think about the video of how historical facts shaped Andy Crouch's faith? Do they shape your faith? If so, how? If not, why?
If you have a thought to share or question to ask, feel free to post a comment below. We'd love to hear from you!