I’ve never been much for bumper sticker theology. Most religious bumper stickers are either pedestrian play on words or, worse, inane sentimentalism. So when I saw the Jesus Is The Answer bumper sticker on a car last week, my first reaction was, “Yeah, but what is the question?” I imagined the car owner saying to me, “Jesus is the answer to everything.” “Oh, yeah,” I would snidely reply, “So, if I asked you how to replace a car’s fuel injectors, Jesus would be the answer?”
Since Jesus really is the answer to more important kinds of questions—questions of life and death, of meaning and goodness, then we must understand what the important questions are for humans today. One might say Jesus is the answer to the question of salvation, “How can I be saved?” But sadly, this is just not a question that many people in a post-religious world would even consider. So, if I only had a couple of questions to ask, what would they be?
I remember hitchhiking across the USA as a teenager looking for the answers to life, and coming back more confused than when I left. I also remember endless hours in front of many glasses of wine or beer or tequila or drugs (or all of them together) searching for a way to numb the pain of my existential angst. My heart was always yearning for something more, for something really real, something that would perpetually satisfy my deepest longings. It seemed that only love would fill the hole that was in my heart. But even human love did not completely satisfy. Therefore, my first question that I propose many humans would want to answer is “How can we completely satisfy the deepest yearning of our hearts?” My favorite answer comes from the opening lines of Augustine’s Confessions, “My heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” Our hearts can only be perpetually filled with the rivers of living water which is God’s perfect love for us in Christ.
The second question “Who or what do you worship?” comes from the apologetical world. Its basis is the common understanding that all humanity worships something or someone. If you are an atheist you worship your own mind (humanism), if you are immature you worship yourself (narcissism), if you are self-indulgent you worship pleasure (hedonism), if you are greedy you worship money (materialism), and so on. Everyone worships someone or something, and each has its own “religion.” It is in our DNA to worship. This is why the first commandment of God has to do with worship, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God.” Until we begin to worship our Creator and not the created things of life, we will always be empty in our innermost being.
So, the simple, but most powerful answer to these two questions of meaning and obligation is Jesus the Christ. Jesus is not only the answer; He is truly the only worthwhile answer.
© Paul Dordal, 2012