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Teens – Jesus is the answer!
Bishop Victor Galeone

"Bishop,what if what we’ve been told about Jesus isn’t true? I mean, all ourlife we’re trying to be good and all that - and then suppose when wedie, we learn that it wasn’t true. Why waste our time, if we can’t besure?"

This quote is from a letter that Ireceived from a candidate I confirmed this past year. I can understandthis teenager’s frustration. Underlying his dilemma is the thought:"Why should I believe in Jesus? I’ve never seen him."

That’strue.   I’ve never seen Abraham Lincoln either. But I believe that hewas president during the Civil War; that he signed the EmancipationProclamation on January 1, 1863; and that John Wilkes Boothassassinated him on Good Friday 1865 in Ford’s Theater.

Whydo I believe all that and much more about Mr. Lincoln, even though Iwasn’t there? Because those who were there - witnesses, namely - toldothers about what they had seen. Their accounts were recorded in thenewspapers, and ultimately wound up in our history. Once I’m convincedthat a history book is reliable, I accept it contents as true. The samething applies to Jesus.

We have four reliable history books that tell us about Jesus - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Perhapsyou may ask, "But how can we be sure that what they narrate reallyhappened?" When a historian shows a person’s warts and not just hisvirtues, you can be almost 100 percent sure that he’s telling you thetruth.

In addition to the apostles’ good points, the gospel writers report some very embarrassing faults:

  • The apostles come across as slow learners, petty and jealous.
  • When Jesus is arrested, they desert him.
  • Simon Peter curses and swears he doesn’t know who Jesus is.
  • On Easter morning, it’s the women who discover the empty tomb. The apostles are hiding like cowards behind locked doors! (Talk about warts!)

Coupled with this internal evidence for the reliability of the gospels,all the apostles, except for John, suffered excruciating deaths ratherthan deny what they were preaching. To paraphrase St. John Chrysostom,an early Church Father: "How do you account for the fact that thesemen, who deserted and denied Christ during his lifetime, set out to winthe whole world for him after his death? Did they perhaps say tothemselves, ’He could not save himself while he was alive, but now thathe is dead, he will extend a helping hand to us?’...It is evident,then, that if they had not seen him risen from the dead and had proof of his power , they would never have risked so much, including their own lives."

    Yes, Jesus is alive. During his time on earth, he claimed to be God’seternal Son in the flesh. In addition to the many miracles heperformed, the fact that he rose from the dead proves that he is who heclaimed to be. Would God have brought an imposter back to life?

    Think a moment. Born in a remote corner of the Roman Empire, Jesusnever did any of the things we associate with greatness, likeconquering an empire or writing great books. Yet today those who didthose things - along with everyone else who ever lived - are allstamped with the date of his birth. He split history right down thecenter: BC/AD. You cannot even write a valid check withoutacknowledging the year of his reign: 2006! And when was the last timeyou heard someone on a TV sitcom swear, "For Buddha’s sake!" Why, then,is Christ’s name used that way? Obviously, he’s the most hated as wellas the most loved person who ever walked our earth.

WhenI was asked to prepare my message for this special teen edition of ourmagazine, I asked myself, "What could I possibly say that would prove achallenge to them?"

Teens, Jesus wants to reign -not on the date of a calendar - but in the fibers of your heart. Fallin love with him! Yes, surrender your hearts to him.

Butremember that Jesus can’t stay in a divided heart. Recall what hehimself once said, "You cannot serve two masters." So if your heart isfilled with anger or hatred or prejudice, there’s no room for the Lord.And if you’re dabbling with drugs or alcohol or illicit sex, you’rereally telling Jesus, "Go away - there’s no room for you here!"

Ifyou’re feeling down and miserable after trying to find happiness in allthe wrong places, isn’t it time that you surrendered your heart to theLord? He will never let you down. And besides, there is no high likethe high that comes from falling in love with the Lord Jesus!

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