Oh No! He's Met Jesus.
"I've met Jesus". The general reaction when someone says this is to try and find some way to politely disengage and move away. Its not that we don't want to talk about God or the meaning of life, its just that people who say they have met someone who died over two thousand years ago seems to be a step too far when it comes to having a rational discussion.
For example, one Saturday morning in the late 1990s my wife, Sheila, and I were walking through a pedestrianized shopping centre in the city of Derby in England. We saw pairs of earnest young men stopping passers by, engaging them in conversation and then handing them small leaflets. Their leader was an elderly white bearded man who stood by a trestle table loaded with more leaflets and booklets. The table had been set up, either by accident or design, in front of an old Anglican church that fronted onto the precinct.
The disturbing factor to us, as committed Christians, was that these polite, earnest young men were Muslims who were openly proselytizing in the centre of an erstwhile Christian city. We decided to go into the church and pray. It was locked. Feeling that this said something about the national state of affairs we decided to take direct action and speak directly with the Muslims.
What followed was a very interesting discussion that lasted over half an hour. The Imam and I exchanged our views and understanding of the nature of God, the relevance or not of the Bible and the Koran respectively, the place of Mohammed in the scheme of things and also who was Jesus. Although we were both firm and explicit in stating our position, at no time did we get into acrimonious dispute and we both felt satisfied that we had stated our case.
The conversation came to a close because we reached that point when I said, "The main difference is that I've met Jesus". I told him of the circumstances surrounding the event and how I was changed by it. He had no meaningful response to this because I had moved on to a point where, from his point of view, rational discussion had ceased. We remained amicable and decided to agree to disagree.
He was as committed to his cause as I was to mine. Throughout history untold thousands have voluntarily suffered and even given their lives in the name of one particular cause or other. Depending on the historical outcome and one's own particular viewpoint they are either classed as heroes or villains.
For instance, if Japan had won World War II then the kamikaze pilots would be seen as heroes for the cause. Similarly in some areas of Islam the Muslims who flew into the World Trade Centre towers are heroes. The followers of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandella are celebrated heroes in the fight against racial discrimination. Germans who supported Hitler and the Nazis are villains who did terrible things in the cause of racial purity. The list is endless.
The people who devoted themselves to these and similar causes have all experienced some form of 'conversion' to their particular cause. The effective power of this conversion varies but in all cases 'the cause' becomes the overriding factor in their worldview and in their subsequent life style and actions. In this respect Christians are not exceptions and similarly evidence a changed life style and pattern of behavior.
However, it is the "I've met Jesus" factor that sets born again Christians (not nominal Christians) apart from others who also have a deep life changing commitment to a particular religion, doctrine, political ideology or scientific theory. My purpose in writing this article is to try and explain this 'I've met Jesus” factor in a way that remains within the realm of rational discussion.
The starting point is the universe or the totality of matter and reality as we currently know it. Until around 100 years ago our understanding was based on Newtonian Physics which basically said that what goes up comes down, what you see is what is real. However, with the birth of Quantum Physics all that changed.
Quantum Physics describes the nature of the universe and reality as being much different from the world we see. It is a branch of science that deals with discrete, indivisible units of energy called quanta as described by the Quantum Theory. Various theories resulting from research and experimentation within Quantum Physics are combined in what is known as the 'Standard Model', which is as near as physicists can get to the 'theory of everything'.
Einstein's Theory of Relativity (e = mc2) and the Standard Model depend on the fact that nothing exists outside of the universe and everything within it is subject to its natural laws. This includes the fact that no information is able to travel faster than light. This is known as the principle of 'locality'.
However in 1964 John Stuart Bell showed that information could travel faster than light, in other words there was a principle of 'non-locality'. Something exists that is outside, or not subject to, the natural laws of the universe.
CERN is a research facility near Geneva Switzerland. It includes the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a massive tunnel 17 miles in circumference and 574 feet deep beneath the Franco-Swiss border. In 2011 scientists at CERN announced that they had observed sub-atomic particles that travel faster than light i.e. 'non-locality'. Again showing that there is something that exists outside of, or not subject to, the natural laws of the universe.
So what has all this got to do with "I have met Jesus"?
Simply this, the accepted position of science is that the universe consists of everything there is, and therefore the concept of a Creator existing outside of the universe is irrational. However, as can be seen from Bell's theorem and the latest findings from CERN, the possibility of something existing outside of the universe is not only a possibility it is now a probability.
As I'm writing from a Christian point of view I will call this something that is external to our universe 'God'. Christians believe that God existed before creation, and that He created all things. They believe that He is not part of the creation. He is the one who brought space and time into being. He exists outside of the material universe and so is not limited by it. The theological term for this is “transcendence”. Paradoxically, He exists in, and extends into, all parts of the material universe He created. The theological term for this is, “immanence”.
The Bible also tells us that God is Spirit. This does not mean he is a vacuum without substance. He has substance because He exists. His substance existed before, and is different from, the material universe He created. He is Creator, Word, and Holy Spirit – the Trinity – Three in one and one in three.
In Jesus we see, in the words of the disciple John, how "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory" (John 1:14) Jesus is God in the flesh.
The 'I have met Jesus' moment occurs when this immeasurable, indefinable, ineffable substance that I have called God enters into our personal measurable and definable reality. Jesus said, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God".
That kingdom, that eternal and unchanging reality that exists separately from our observed reality, can only be experienced by and through Jesus, the Word that became flesh.
That is why Jesus said, "I am the way the truth and the life there is no other way to the Father except through me". (John 14:6) As the ultimate expression of the ultimate truth he cannot lie, therefore he is the only way.
The point is that when someone says, "I have met Jesus" they are merely stating that they have experienced the real and eternal reality. So the next time someone says this to you, maybe it's a good idea to listen to what they have to say.
I'm so glad that I did.