I’m Italian, and I let everyone know wherever I go (just ask anyone who has met me). Naturally, I love Italian food, and is it because I’m Italian? Sure – whatever, but it’s also because Italians do everything the best (did I mention we have serious pride issues??). So, whenever someone says to me that an Italian restaurant is good,and as I’m nodding, smiling, and seem moved by such a glowing review, I’m thinking deep down, “Yeah, but is it any good?” In this case, I know this person, and I know what they think is good, and their standard may not be my standard for authentic Italian food. I know what my tastes are and what my standards are, so is this place going to meet my expectations? Hmmmm, I’m not so sure. Never mind that my standard of expectations may be completely flawed, and the food is actually good.
People are such skeptics even when they think they are very open-minded. Many times we aren’t. We seem to be easily driven to decision by what others say. Sometimes its based on what I know about you because I know what you like, and it isn’t what I like, so a decision is made to reject what you just said. Other times, we place so much value in the position of those we don’t even know.
For instance, there is a famous app on most people’s phones where they can leave reviews about basically any registered business. Generally, people leave negative reviews. We are eager to complain while keeping praise to ourselves. So, a new Italian restaurant opens up, and I look them up and there are a few bad reviews, and I decide to pass. Based on what?!? The statements of people I don’t even know. The next time someone looks at you puzzled, its because you, me, them, someone…..just doesn’t make a lot of sense sometimes. Well, maybe a lot of times!
Jesus is surrounded by skeptical thoughts and notions too. People have formulated their opinions about who Jesus is, what He did, and even where He is right now based on the thoughts or ‘educated’ opinions of those they know or don’t know. They’ve heard positive things about Him and they wonder, “Yeah, but is He any good?” Basically, will He fit my definition of good? They’ve heard negative statements about Him, and they’ve rushed to a judgment of, “Yep….that’s what I thought!” Either way, they haven’t taken the time to know Him themselves, and that’s a problem.
Psalm 34:8 states an important truth – “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” When it comes to everything in life, you can’t have an opinion on what you haven’t experienced. If you have a non-experiential opinion, its merely based on the tastes of someone else. If you want to know what Jesus is all about then you have to come experience Him for yourself. This verse tells us we will discover He is good when we experience Him.
I know, I know, I know….you’re thinking…”But, there are people who went to church all their life and now they don’t. What does that say about Jesus?” Did I also mention how particular Italians are? Something can be good, but we will nitpick on this or that and what could have been done better when in all reality, it is good just how it is. So, what a statement like that says about Jesus is this: it means Jesus didn’t suit their tastes, but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong, or false, or misstated about Jesus as God’s Word has stated.
Here’s something to think about – just because someone says something is wrong doesn’t mean anything is actually wrong, it just may be wrong in their own mind according to their own personal preference. Let’s be freed from giving greater place to the words of short-term human beings and listen to what the infinite, eternal God who sent His Son to die for our sins and be raised to life is saying to us. People need to receive His Word, live by it and they will see their personal preferences are misleading, but He is good and worth following after.
The facts are the facts – people reject Jesus for the same reason they do good Italian food – personal preference, but that is never a good reason to reject what is good!