Saturday, January 13, 2007

Who was Jesus?

C.S. Lewis made the famous quip in his brilliant book Mere Christianity that according to the Gospels, Jesus is either a Liar, a Lunatic, or the Lord. In Matthew 11-12, the characters within the story are trying to determine which category Jesus fits into. If he really is the Lord...then that changes everything. Where are you at? "Wisdom is proved right by her actions."

In the story John the Baptist (Jesus' close cousin) wonders: who is Jesus?

Three cities - Charzin, Bethsaida, Capernaum (Jesus' homebase of ministry!!!) - doubt: who is Jesus?

Pharisees (religous leaders, attorneys of the Torah) - fear: who is Jesus?

Large crowds hoped: who is Jesus?

Jesus' family wondered: who is Jesus?

Sometimes I still find myself trying to sort out: who is Jesus, really?

Soren Kierkegaard argued for the trustworthiness of Scriptures. Some may find his argument too weak, others misguided, but I like it. Kierkegaard asserts that for whatever apparent "mistakes" there may be in the Bible, the essence of the stories reliably convey God's message to us. Kierkegaard goes on to argue that time makes no difference in making it easier or harder to believe in Jesus.

All of that to say: it is right for us to consider our place in the story of Matthew's Jesus. If you were a first century Jew - would you tolerate a Jew like Jesus who claimed to be the LORD's Anointed One to deliver them from exile? Would you believe in Jesus' miracles as proof of his authority to lead his people into a right relationship with Yahweh? Jesus the Rabbi invited his disciples to become like him (normal practice for Rabbi's), but Jesus also chose out his disciples (unlike other Rabbi's who waited to be approached by seekers).

The question for you is not whether you would have become a seeker of God based on Jesus' words/works. The question is: when Jesus approached you, taught you, healed your friends and family, fed your city - would you believe his claims about God and your future?

Who is Jesus? The example/enabler of one who does the Will of God. Jesus says that his family consists of those who do what "my Father in Heaven wants."

Who is Jesus? The trustworthy accounts of Scripture describe him for us - so you decide...

Many times I've had to choose to believe again and again: Jesus is trustworthy, Jesus' words/works have been directed at me - and I have believed him. I believe that Jesus is the only way to "Eternal Life" or as John unpacks it - the Good Life that gets better forever and ever. Other religions teach about some form of "Eternal Life", and I think/believe/choose to follow Jesus and trust his promises. I don't think he is a Liar. And I don't think he is a Lunatic. And I do think he is the LORD's Servant (Matthew 12:18-21/Isaiah 42:1-4).

1 comment:

Faye Cott said...

Dear Tim,
What a wonderful message this is...as I sit here listening to Ben Speer singing I wonder how can you not believe. If you don't believe what else is there. I enjoy your blog and I hope you will continue getting us ready for Sunday.