Sometimes, when people find out that I’m a minister, they feel the need to explain to me why they don’t go to church anymore and what they believe (or don’t believe).
I had one of those conversations the other day. There are too many religions making too many claims, the fellow said. How could you possibly sort them all out? Growing up he’d been an altar boy, but now that he had kids of his own, he wasn’t going to make them go to church.
It was variation on the popular idea that all religions are basically the same.
Jesus didn’t believe that.
Neither did the religious leaders who wanted him dead.
It was the time of the great Festival of the Passover. Jesus had made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding a little colt. The religious leaders’ plot to arrest Jesus was in motion.
It was then that some Greeks who’d come to worship at the festival went to the disciples and asked to see Jesus.
This was the Gospel writer John at his ironic best: The religious insiders wanted to kill Jesus. The religious outsiders wanted to worship him.
We don’t know if the Greeks got their meeting with Jesus or not, because instead of answering, Jesus started saying mysterious-sounding things, like, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.”
Jesus died when he was lifted up on the cross.
No other religion claims that.
It’s the beauty of that which draws all people to him.