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October 8, 2012 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Oh Jesus!

Why I embrace the Son of God.


Christianity is a crutch for the weak.This seems to be the prevalent opinion of the man in the street these days.You only pray to God if you can’t sort out your problems for yourself. You only place your hope in going to heaven if your present life sucks so badly. You only believe in something greater than yourself if your own self is too small.The man or woman of faith is looked upon with something approaching pity. How nice for you that you’ve found a straw to clutch to. It’s a good thing that you have God, because no one else wants anything to do with you.

The flipside is implicit in this. I don’t need God because I have my life sorted. I can stand on my own two feet, without requiring God as a walking stick. Christianity is a crutch used only by the weak.

My first response to this statement is to want to deny it. I’m not weak or helpless. I don’t need your pity. I’m a strong independent Kiwi bloke. And anyway, my God’s bigger than you! I’ll tell Jesus on you and he’ll come down and smite you.

But then I look at Jesus and realise that, actually, I want to claim that. Jesus came to save the weak, and that’s me. Jesus came as one of the weak. If I were God, I might show myself as the all- powerful, fire-slinging, water-churning, lightning-bolting Supreme Being, and force everyone to bow down to me. Jesus could have done the same. He is in very nature God, the God who created the universe from nothing.Yet he came as a human being, limited by time and space. He was born as a baby, dependent on others for everything. He lived with the poor, and died with the powerless. He was killed as a criminal, on a cross, deserted by his friends. It’s hard to imagine a more humiliating death.

The powerless and outcasts of society flocked to Jesus, because he not only talked about justice but lived it. He accepted them as they were. In contrast, the religious leaders shunned Jesus, labelling him a “friend of sinners”.There was no room in their rules of purity for such openness to riffraff, and their righteousness relied on keeping their own regulations.With their eyes fixed on themselves, they missed what Jesus gave. Their own deeds could never make them as perfect as God. It was the ‘sinners’ who realised this, who knew that they could not hide their problems from God or remove them with their own strength, and who came seeking the forgiveness that Jesus freely offered.

It was in the moment of Jesus’ greatest weakness, when he was dead and buried, that his strength was shown. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. If I were able to raise myself from the dead, then I could rely on my own strength and I wouldn’t need God. If I could live a perfect life, then I wouldn’t need forgiveness and I wouldn’t need God’s grace. But I’m human. I can’t do either. But I know the one who can. Jesus Christ came to save the lost, and the thing is, we’re all lost. Sometimes it’s just a matter of whether we realise it or not. ▲

Matthew Bayliss is a student at Vic, and has been one of Salient’s most prolific letter-writers over the past two years. 


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  1. Penny Vinden says:

    Matthew – would love to talk to you more about your writing and see whether you’d think about doing some writing for the IFES website. Ben Carswell suggested you. Please email me at so we can chat more.

    Love how you shake your readers up a bit!

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