When we were growing up, my brother and I often discussed with each other and others, what questions we would ask God when we got to heaven. The questions ranged from the simple to the more complex; as we aged, some of those answers were found through study, and other questions remained.
It is with this background that I find a connection of sorts with the new song Beer with Jesus by Thomas Rhett; because in it he sings of having a conversation with Jesus and asking Jesus a series of questions that many believers might desire to ask Jesus themselves.
Some of the questions are quite familiar to many: ‘what happens when we die’, ‘how did you get your start’, ‘do you hear the prayers I send’, ‘is heaven just beyond the skies’.
Other questions are a little deeper: ‘how’d you turn the other cheek, to save a sorry soul like me’, ‘how did you change a sinners heart’, and ‘when do you think you’re coming back again’.
Some of these questions can of course be answered: the Holy Spirit changes the heart through the working of the Word; Jesus turned the other cheek out of His great love for us; and of course Jesus hears the prayers that we pray.
Other questions are a little more difficult: we have a theology of when we die, but we out minds are limited in what actually happens; and the location of heaven is above, but where is again not entirely clear in our minds. And the question of Christ’s return is a mystery, but we do know that He will return.
Now we can quibble with the questions that Rhett would ask, but the curious line in the song is a recurring theme: ‘I’d tell everyone but no one would believe me’.
That line is troubling because it denies how the faith has been passed on to us today. I did not see Jesus walk the earth, I was not there when He did miracles or taught the crowds. But I believe that He did. I believe that He lived, died and rose; even though I never saw it. I believe it because the Holy Spirit worked saving faith in my heart as I heard the word from others.
The faith has been passed down from generation to generation not because we have video evidence or voice recordings of what Jesus did and said, but by the Word being proclaimed from one generation to the next.
Rhett’s line is quite the contrary to how the Church has historically grown; the Church has grown by leaps and bounds because the apostles and others told everyone they knew and they did believe. Yes, some did not believe, and many continue to deny the faith today; but the Christian faith is spread because we share the accounts of Jesus eating and speaking and dying and rising that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Rhett having a beer with Jesus may not be a new doctrine of the Church, but as we await the return of the Christ, we do so continuing to share the Biblical accounts that we know to be true, not because we have video or photographic evidence, but by faith.