So what do you think about encouraging people to “Try Jesus”? It sounds like a good thing, right? It is sort of like proclaiming the Good News, right? Shouldn’t we ask, “Did you try Jesus?” But what about that little word “try”?
In everyday life, I “try” to lose weight, and I fail. I “try” a new sandwich at a fast food store, and I don’t like the sauce they’ve used on it. So in this respect, “try” doesn’t seem right because of the possibility of my failure or my personal likes and dislikes.
In religious life, a person may “try” astrology or “try” crystals and talismans. A person may “try” an “-ism” or an “-ity.” So in this other respect, “try” doesn’t seem right because of the possibility that what a person is looking for may not materialize until they find the right thing that gives them what they are seeking. And what if they are seeking the impossible?
This is the beauty of the first question that Jesus asks as recorded in the Gospel of John.
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?”…John 1:38 (NRSV)
In many respects, this is a companion the first question that God asks as recorded in Genesis.
But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9
As a believer, I know the answer to these questions, but if I wasn’t, would I be best helped by asking me “What did you try?” OR “Where are you? What are you looking for?”
“A relationship with God who created the universe” is what you will find and “in the presence of God who loves you intensely” is where you will be. This, I believe, is Real Life Jesus.