At Gateway Church in Austin we are finishing our series asking the question: Is Jesus Fake News?
Many people, even those that don’t follow Him, concede that Jesus was one of the greatest teachers who ever lived. But what did Jesus teach? His claims were pretty audacious. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” but were those claims really “fake news” made up by His followers? If Jesus was telling the truth, if His claims were authentic, what does it mean to follow Him? What does it mean to apprentice under Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life? Perhaps the key to understanding this is to get past any “fake news” about Jesus and begin to unpack His teachings.
Discussion questions for your life group or family dinner are here.
This includes creating a User Manual for yourself.
Audio of the Message I Shared at Gateway South:
Notes from the Message by Robb Overholt:
In 1962, crooner Tony Bennett sang these words in a song called… The Good Life…
In 2007, Kanye West along with T-Pain, rapped these words in a song called…Good Life…
Then in 2010, pop-rocker Ryan Tedder of One Republic, sang these words in a song called, you guessed it… Good Life…
It seems that everyone, regardless of generation and musical style and preference, is talking about the Good Life, doesn’t it? Perhaps this is best explained by the fact that so many people are searching for the Good Life.
We are wrapping up a series today entitled, Is Jesus Fake News? And in a world where we are inundated with information, and misinformation, and disinformation, we’re checking out the audacious claims of Jesus. And asking, fake or real?
Perhaps the most audacious of Jesus’ claims is found in the Bible in the book of John, Chapter 14, Verse 6, where Jesus says of himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”- John 14:6
Two weeks ago, we discussed Jesus’ claim with regards to being The Way, last week we talked about his claim of being The Truth…
Today, we are focusing on and talking about Jesus’ claim that he is The Life. And we’re asking, what difference would it make if we decided to take seriously what he said—to apprentice under Jesus as the very Life we’ve all been looking for?
You’d think it’d be much less controversial and a little easier to talk about matters that pertain to Life. Being that it is the one thing we all have in common… Life. The three songs I referenced just a moment ago take a stab at describing some version of a good life… Honestly, they all just sound confusing to me. But in an odd way, that sort of makes sense, because life can be… so confusing.
Author John Eldridge describes it this way…
“Most of us live in a fog. It’s like life is a movie we arrived to 20 minutes late. You know something important seems to be going on. But we can’t figure it out”
So when Jesus says, “I am THE Life” in John 14:6, having also said these words, found just a few chapters before, in John 10:10…“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
We’re left with some other questions. Questions like:
- “Did I come into a life where something had already been stolen from me?” Because I feel like something is missing, or that I am missing out quite a bit of the time.
- Or… “What is life to the full? And can I have some of that?” Because I feel like something is missing, and I have these cravings that I just can’t seem to satisfy.
- Or, here’s a good one… “Is it possible that I’m not missing out nearly as much as I am just missing what I was intended to have all along?” Because it feels like there’s something more to this life and I can’t seem to figure it out or to gain access to it.
Maybe to figure this out, we have to rewind to the very beginning.
The very word Jesus uses to describe himself as “The Life” is the very same word found in the beginning, in the book of Genesis…
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
The word “life” there is one in the same with the word that Jesus used to describe himself… in Greek, it’s the word Zoe… a small word with a big meaning. It means “eternal life, never-ending life… immortality.”
Jesus says, I am the immortal life that was intended for humanity and was once lost.
Ok, more questions:
- “What happened?”
- “Who took it?”
- “How do I get it back?”
We’ll get to the third question, “How do I get it back?” in just a bit. But, in order to find the answers to the first two of those questions, “What happened?” and “Who took it?”—Well, remember John 10:10, Jesus said there is a thief who has come to steal, kill, and destroy… “Who is this thief?” Well, for that, again, we’re going to have to rewind…
The opening scene in the film of life takes place in a garden called Eden, a lush paradise where everything is perfect. It’s where God breathed life, – Zoe, immortality – into the lungs of man, and then created a woman of the very same essence. God gave clear instructions, you have free reign, 1000s of choices as it pertains to filling yourself, but there is just one tree you must not eat from… It went down like this.
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5
And there’s the thief, the enemy, stealing truth from us and trying to destroy the very Life we were made for and intended to have… It’s the constant voice of an enemy that says “There’s a better life than the immortal one God intended for you originally. God’s holding out on you still… There’s a better reality. God’s reality is not good enough” And it’s a LIE!
SPOILER ALERT: Eve would go on and eat the fruit from the tree, and so would Adam… and with that came death… Something that was never meant for us. And we’ve been missing what was lost and stolen ever since… Zoe, LIFE, immortality.
You may be thinking, a talking snake?! This is why I don’t read the Bible or trust the Bible.
Let me ask you though: have you ever had an evil thought pop into your head? I mean a thought so evil and diabolical that you were surprised by it? It was so off base, you know it was not your own thought. What if you could see what was putting that thought in your mind? Maybe you’d say it looked like a serpent as well?
Did the scene in Eden really happen” And I say, it’s too real to be fiction. It may be mystical, but it’s not mythical. It answers so many other questions in my life. If you ask me, Eden not only happened, it happens all of the time.
And, ever since Eden, every human shows up, feeling like they arrived 20 minutes too late, wondering what they’ve missed, and starts cramming all kinds of junk to try to satisfy the cravings of what has been called a “God-shaped hole” – a phrase that has often been credited to a famous philosopher named Pascal. Regardless of who said it, we all feel it… The God-shaped hole. And we spend so much time, money, and energy trying to fill it… to get that GOOD LIFE we are yearning for, but always feels out of reach.
When our insatiable desire for the Good Life goes unsatisfied, our despair often spirals down into more sinister cravings as we spin into a dizzying vortex.
This is life outside of God’s reality… It’s the lie and it is most definitively NOT the Good Life.
And so we buy more things, accrue more stuff, consume more goods, and yet we are emptier than ever. We try hook-ups, quick fixes, and cheap substitutes, but we are lonelier than ever.
We think, “If I only had that… then I’d be satisfied.” No, you’d just have that and still eventually feel that something is missing.
Earlier, I said I’d come back to the question of… “How do we get it back?” How do I get back that immortal life that was lost at the very beginning?
The answer is: In Jesus… Jesus offers back to us the very Life that was meant for us from the very beginning. He is The LIFE. That LIFE that once was lost.
Because in God’s reality, what we need is HIM, and then the other things start to be more enjoyable.
Please don’t mishear me. I’m not saying life’s just a cinch now and everything is easy breezy. I still get frustrated… really frustrated… Often times with my spouse, my kids, and my work.
I will say that I wouldn’t trade my worst day in knowing Jesus for my best day before I did.
- Because sometimes God will take us through things that feel like death in order to bring us to a REAL understanding of the new LIFE that is only found in Jesus. And it is totally worth it.
- Because the angst of being disconnected from The LIFE, from Jesus, whom we were intended to have and to know… that burden is a tremendous weight that can be lifted only in Him.
- Because I no longer live in the shame of trying to measure up or prove myself worthy of a so-called Good Life that is more slippery than a bar of wet soap.
- Because I believe Jesus when he says “Whoever believes in me will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
- Because I believe the words of Paul, one of the first Christians, who wrote these words to the early church in Rome:
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. – Romans 8:12-21
Maybe today, this is the very moment that your joyful anticipation is being deepened. Perhaps, there are signs in your existence that suggest you’ve been looking for life in all the wrong places. And you’re ready to put that old way of doing life to death in order to come into new Life in Christ.
Maybe, just now, you are realizing how extravagant the love of Jesus is for you. And there is nothing fake about it… He is the way, He is the truth, and He is the life. And all these things are more real than you’ve ever imagined and all it requires is faith.
Perhaps you are ready to put your faith in Him for the first time in your life in order that you might find The Life you’ve been looking for all along.
Maybe today, you just needed to be reminded of how extravagant his love is and how you don’t need to keep running to less than lovers to give the less than life experiences that pale in comparison to the full Life available in Christ.
Regardless of where you are, I invite you to consider what your response would be today.