The principal sat down with the high school seniors and explained the way graduation would work. He said:
"Some of you worked very hard in school and got all As. Some of you were on the varsity basketball team and helped take our school's team to the national championship, where we won. Some of you worked hard in the after school programs where you went to the local homeless shelter on the weekends and helped feed the poor people and tutor their children in math and English so they could one day be productive, happy members of society. Some of you led paper drives to help raise money for charity. Some of you went to the scholar competitions and took first and second place, demonstrating how much you learned. A couple of you even got perfect scores on both the SAT and ACT! And now, graduating is upon you."
The students who accomplished all these were smiling.
"But," said the principal, "there's more to life than that, my students."
Susan, the valedictorian and president of the honor's society, asked, "What else is there? We definitely want to know where else we can excel in life. After we graduate, we want to be the best citizens our country has ever seen. Please tell us. We want to grow."
The principal smiled and said, "I care so much about all of you, I want to give each and every one of you a chance to succeed in life. And therefore, I am making this one final requirement for graduation. With this one final requirement, any student who did not perform well in school will then have the opportunity to graduate with high honors. And anyone who did well still must complete this final requirement, or he or she will not graduate at all."
"And what is that?" asked Bill, the straight-A student who led the paper drive and was also the star pitcher on the baseball team.
"Simple," said the principal. "My son graduated from this very school, and in order to graduate, you must simply think my son was pretty cool."
The class was silent.
"But sir," said Susan. "We never met your son. How can we think he was cool? And why would that matter?"
"Indeed," said the principal. "My son graduated five years ago and so none of you met him. But you must think he was pretty cool or you won't graduate."
Some students decided to accept the gift of graduation and agreed that the son was pretty cool. Others questioned whether the son even existed, and, even though they got perfect grades and performed well in all activities and helped the community, were denied graduation.
Now come on. Does that REALLY make sense? But that's EXACTLY what Christianity is claiming: All the good deeds in the world won't help you; in the end, all that matters is that you accept God's son Jesus as Lord.
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