Have you ever heard someone say that they don’t believe in Jesus, that Christianity just “doesn’t make sense”? Before responding hastily and out of annoyance, consider how to answer in light of these well-known paradoxical thoughts found in the Gospel:
- In order to be first, one must be last of all and servant of all. (Mark 9:35)
- The greatest should become like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves (Luke 22:26)
- A seed must die to produce new seeds, new life. (John 12:24)
- He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life will keep it for eternal life (John 12:25; Luke 22:25)
On the face of it, such statements seem contradictory. And before we can answer the critics who claim that Christianity doesn’t make sense, we have to be able to understand the meaning of these paradoxical statements on a personal level. Here are some questions to explore along these lines:
- Has the effort to “be first” helped or hindered advancement in your spiritual life?
- What about the times you have reached out to serve others? How has this affected your relationship with God and with those around you?
- How has “death” brought you life? Are there things within you that must be allowed to die so that your spiritual life can be strengthened?
- Has a concern for things of this world caused you to lose focus on your relationship with God?
- Do any of these questions cause you to consider reordering your priorities?