There are many books and chapters in numerous books that pose the question: “Is Jesus Relevant Today?” Sure some have speculated about this question extensively in the past. Many people would assume that with the onslaught of attacks from the New Athiest and the general sense of secularization that Jesus is becoming a distant figure of antiquity. However, Jesus is beyond the pages of the New Testament; He is alive with us today. As a result, Jesus is more important now than ever before primarily because his teachings reveal the inner waywardness of mankind and then he offers himself as the healer to restrain our desires.
As we continually grow away from Jesus or grow closer toward him, his teachings become very clear. He is a light of clarity guiding us to an abundant life source. For example, Jesus taught what good is it if someone gains the entire world, but forfeits their soul (Mk 8:36), which is man’s innermost connected part that is created by God (Catechism of the Catholic Church 363).
Similarly, remember when Jesus was tempted and Satan offered him all the kingdoms if Jesus would worship him? Instead, Jesus rebutted the attack and pointed toward God as the higher authority to be worshipped (Mt 4:10). Here he stresses the point regarding the importance of aligning our soul to its Creator.
In this verse from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus outlines how man is created for a longing toward the eternal, yet we can tarnish this by seeking things contrary to our desire for God. That great quote from St. Augustine comes to mind “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.” Once the fire has been ignited by the Holy Spirit, man is now able to understand just how important nourishing the soul and conscience are with support from Scripture and Tradition. Consequently, man can fully identify more deeply with Jesus’ words about fulfilling our innermost immaterial part of our being that is made for God. Simply put, There’s no value in idolizing materials when God, who is omnibenevolent, is the one who should receive our praise.
To combat the erroneous view of worshipping materials or self, Jesus affirms that by following him, the true fulfillment of life is possible (Jn 10:10). Jesus offered himself to atone for the sins of the world. The brutally honest fact is we all commit sin. Whether you call it sin or “guilty conscience” it’s still an offense against reason and truth (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1849).
There’s nothing more that God wants to do than extend His forgiveness through a personal life-changing relationship. This is really the key distinction which many don’t understand about a personal God. The Imminent and Transcendent Creator longs to establish a personal relationship through the pardon of sin. In fact, this is pretty much an enduring theme from Genesis to Revelation; God calls, adopts, and wants those to persevere in fellowship with him.
Jesus, being fully God, had the authority to forgive sins as he demonstrated plenty of times in the Gospels. Because we have that tendency to exalt self, go contrary to reason, and indulge in pursuits contrary to God, Jesus becomes the figure that if we look upon we can receive healing for our soul (Jn 3:14). As the apostle said, if we confess our sins he is faithful to forgive us our sin (1 Jn 1:9). Indeed, if the Son frees us, then we’re truly free (Jn 8:36). This is all through his doing.
Jesus affirmed through his life that he was understanding of the human condition. He showed that the human heart is the center of evil desires (Mt 15:19), yet he willingly gave us a higher standard of life to aim for by commanding us to be perfect (Mt 5:48) and adopting his wise teachings (Mt. 7:24-27). Far from being a distant figure of the past, his teachings are more than relevant now as our culture yearns for a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
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