He is just a man, like me...

Go to any news site in the last 120 hours, and you will see wall to wall coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States.  This is indeed a big deal. As the head of a church with 1.2 billion followers, his visit deserves some attention.  The media seems to be falling all over themselves to cover his visit, especially given his tendency to be more liberal.  I’d be interested in the media’s reaction to, say, Rick Warren, David Barton, James Dobson, or Billy Graham.  I think we all know that answer.

I am by no means anti-Catholic, so let’s not go down that path.  Actually I have been accused of being pro-Catholic to my detriment on more than one occasion.  Catholics are made in the image of Almighty God, just as I am.  They are imperfect people, just as I am.  They are in need of a Savior, the same as I.  So why the rock star treatment for Pope Francis?   Is it because of his liberals leanings?  Most likely.  The media’s desire is to control people’s opinions by plastering them with the same stuff over and over, no matter how untrue. 

This pope has gained great fame for his positions towards the poor and for that he should be applauded.  His teachings in that arena match those of my particular denomination.  John Wesley said, “Be “not disobedient to the heavenly calling.” Whenever you have opportunity, do all the good you can, particularly to your poor, sick neighbor. And everyone of you likewise “Shall receive your own reward, according to your own labor.”  You see, Methodists are pretty big on social issues as well.

I don’t believe him to be a bad man  As a matter of fact, I see him doing things that Jesus specifically did in the Bible.  I do see him being used, especially in the American media to further an agenda.   What’s more, I disagree with the pedestal that the Pope either places or finds himself placed on. 

The Pope is often referred to as “The Vicar of Christ.”   Christ’s representative here on earth.  Admittedly, I am a Protestant, but I can’t make this square with Scripture.  Creating a barrier to God to me reminds me of the veil in the original temple.  The Jews of that day were not even allowed to go in the room that was separated by the veil because it was said to house the very spirit of God.  Once a year, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies and make atonement to God for the sins of the people.  But then, Jesus:

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God (Matthew 27:50-54.)”

You see, Christ’s death changed everything.  What once was, was no more.  All of the ceremonies of man was replaced by the sacrifice of God.  Jesus’s death removed the barrier of the people to God.  God offered in the death of His own Son a way to appear before Him.  That, and He offered it to all mankind freely, should they choose to accept it.

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-22.)”

The sacrifice of Christ puts us all on the same footing.  You, I, Pope Francis, Barrack Obama, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are all on the same footing before God.  We all stand guilty of sin before a holy God.  We are all incapable of saving ourselves.  We are all in desperate need of a Savior.  We will all be asked to give an account of our lives.  And in the end, the only question that bears answering is:  Did you know Christ as your Savior? 

Christ desires to know you, me, and Pope Francis.  He desires so much, that He chose death to prove it.  At the end of the day, the choice is yours. 

Jim Shempert

Editor, One Million Dads
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