There is no doubt that Ed, my old friend in Saskatchewan, is a cynic in temperament. My old neighbour called last weekend and was skeptical of my plans to attend Maundy Thursday and Good Friday church services, as well as Easter Sunday morning. Since he tends to see any church attendance as pointless, extra services in one week had him questioning my motivation for attending them.
Since Jesus lived and died more than two thousand years ago, Ed is sure that the church’s Holy Week is rooted in antiquity that is irrelevant to sane people today. He is a naysayer about Jesus as both man and God. He believes Jesus was a man but not the Son of God. My old neighbour is like Thomas unwilling to accept Jesus is God and is risen from the dead. He must be able to touch the nail holes in his hands and see Jesus alive in the flesh with his own eyes. Until this happens, Ed is unwilling to have faith in Jesus and worship Him.
Ed isn’t one to live and let live. Ed dismisses millions of believers in Jesus as the Son of God, both past and present, as motivated by misguided self-interest. Ed believes that they want to avoid hell after death; so, they go to worship at church now as it is like paying an insurance policy for the future. He is distrusting of the motives and actions of other people and God. Easy does it, is not part of Ed’s mindset.
Ed and I have often talked of his tendency to see the worst in most people and situations. Through the years he has gathered comments that he likes to offer; such as marriage is neither heaven, nor hell, but lifelong purgatory. On any given day Ed will tell you that; death is never the end it is always followed by litigation, and to be free of prejudice hate everyone. Ed does not feel that he knows everything, but he knows more than enough to tell you’re wrong, and he is right.
Ed could not believe I would say that he was a cynic about seeing Holy Week services as pointless. According to him, he is God’s loyal opposition and equal in wisdom and insight to God’s Word in the Bible. I have told Ed that he might need to go easy when it comes to God as some of God’s greatest opponents have become His most loyal servants. God works conversion in many cynical hearts. I have told Ed he is betting on himself, but I am betting on God for His love reaches the unbelieving to change or turn them from unbelief to belief.
Faith in Jesus is born in the heart of opposition, doubt, and cynicism. The people could not deny that Jesus of Nazareth was credited with doing miracles of God among them. Even after they put him to death nailing Him to the cross. God raised Jesus from the dead. Witnesses not only testified to Jesus’ resurrection but His ascension to heaven. They were willing to die rather than deny their witness of Jesus as both Lord and Christ. God gathers those who are saved by faith in Jesus from loyal unbelievers like Ed.