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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



Mark Twain wrote, "It's name is Public Opinion. It is held in high reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God" (Corn—pone Opinions essay, 1900). Josh Billings said, "Every man has a perfect right to his opinion, provided it agrees with ours." Most of us (yours truly, included!) think highly of our own opinion. But it would help if we could all remember this sign seen on an office desk: "You may not think much of what I have to say, but remember: it's one six—billion—four—hundred—and—seventy—sevenmillionth of the world's opinion." We definitely need to remember this anonymous statement: "Fact is fact and feeling is feeling; never does the second change the first."

What is your opinion about Jesus Christ? From the 1st century ‘till now, opinions about Him have been divided. Some accused Jesus of having a demon and deceiving people (John 7:20; 8:48, 52). Others adored and worshiped Him as deity (John 1:1, 14; 20:28). In the words of John 7:12, there continues to be "much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, 'He is good'; others said, 'No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.' " Jews say Jesus was only a good teacher and a leader, if He ever really existed. Ancient Docetic Gnostics said Jesus was a God and only seemed to be a man, and that His birth, suffering and death on the cross were only illusions. The 4th century Christian teacher Arius thought Jesus was only a creation of God and not on the same level of deity as the Father. He rejected the concept that Jesus was one of substance with God the Father and taught there had been a time when Jesus did not exist with God in eternity. His doctrine was condemned by the First Council of Nicea in the fourth century, but for awhile became popular anyway. Catholics accept Jesus as the Son of God, but also venerate and exalt Mary as the "mother of God." Muslims believe Jesus was a great prophet of God, but not as great as Muhammad who, they say, brought the final revelation of God in the Koran. Many archaeologists and historians insist we can know little for certain about Jesus since (they say) the Gospels are spiritual, not historical documents. Some "scholars" teach that Jesus was the husband of Mary Magdelene and that through her He fathered one or more children who migrated to what is now southern France where they intermarried with noble families that eventually became the Merovingian Dynasty (I'm not kidding: some really teach this). Agnostics aren't sure if Jesus was God or not, but atheists are certain He wasn't.

Polling people about Jesus will leave your head spinning. In the end, there is only One whose opinion really matters, and He has made it clear: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him" (Matthew 17:5). Hebrews 1:1-2a effectively summarizes what God says about His Son: "God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son." People hold diverse and very different opinions about Christ. But on a personal level, the question that really matters is, "What is God's opinion about my opinion of His Son?"

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ