Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Who is Jesus?

Following his long day of seashore ministry, his evening boat ride across the Sea of Galilee allowed a brief respite until an evening squall threatened their vessel. Galilee has a reputation for its sudden storms and this one proved threatening even to seasoned fishermen. Fearful, the disciples awakened Jesus, only to watch with wonder as he commanded the storm to quiet.

The subdued storm departed as quickly as it arrived. Now, the fearful disciples whispered among themselves, “Who can he be? For even the wind and the sea obey him” (Mark 4:41, Goodspeed).

This question troubles us. It was Elton Trueblood who observed, “Jesus Christ can be accepted; he can be rejected; he cannot reasonably be ignored.” The Church has not always understood Jesus. It has, however, always recognized him as different: born to a maiden who never had sex with a man; His very name describes his mission--save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Many saw him do miracles. Admittedly, his death brought some unusual circumstances. Some even reported seeing him numerous times following His crucifixion. According to Paul, Jesus was seen by a multitude of more than 500 persons. Paul and Peter agreed that God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Church historians later added four historically definitive statements that help us identify Jesus. Arius first suggested in 325 A.D. that Jesus was less than God, although more than man. The Nicene Creed declared Jesus fully God and fully man. In 381Apollinarius taught that Jesus had a human body and soul but a divine mind, leaving him less than fully human. In response, the Council of Constantinople proclaimed the full humanity of Jesus.

In 431 Nestorius taught that Jesus was two people: one human, one divine (schizoid). The Council of Ephesus affirmed the single nature of Jesus; he was but one person.

Still later, Eutyche taught that Jesus had two natures--a pre-incarnation nature and an incarnational nature. In 451 the Council of Chalcedon reaffirmed Jesus in what is today orthodox teaching: two natures (human and divine) but one personality. Christian Theologians still use these four basic concepts today.

Dubious doubters still ask: “Is he human? Divine? Both? Neither? Is he a lunatic, or a liar? Or, is he Lord of Life? When Martin Scorsese produced “The Last Temptation of Jesus” in 1988, he pictured Jesus struggling with his humanity; living as a depraved, lusting swinger, committing fornication, adultery, and the grossest of sins . These are contrary to church teachings and leave still unresolved, the question of “Who could he possibly be?”

Few willingly concede that Jesus is a liar, a lunatic, or a false prophet, but that leaves him as our Lord of Lords. If He was a deluded fool, as some think; if he only thought He was God, he is not only a liar; he is also a false prophet. In this case, Christianity is founded on a colossal scam. If Jesus succeeded in deceiving us through trickery, we have been cruelly deceived and he is guilty of heinous fraud that deserves eternal hell fire.

Jesus leaves us no middle ground! We accept him fully, as God and man; with two natures in one person, as taught by historic church councils; or, he sinks to the level of Martin Scorsese’s 1988 movie.

More importantly, who is Jesus to us? The Bible describes him as our clearest picture of God. To the Artist, he is “one altogether lovely,” to the Architect the “Chief Corner Stone,” to the Astronomer, the “sun of Righteousness.”

To the Baker, Jesus is the “Living Bread,” to the Banker he becomes “unsearchable riches;” to the Biologist He is “The Life,” and to the Builder he is the “sure foundation”

To the Carpenter, Jesus remains “the door.” To the Editor, he offers “Good tidings of great joy.” To the Educator, he becomes the “Great Teacher,” to the Electrician, he provides the “light of the world,” and to the Engineer he offers a “New and living way.’
For the Farmer, Jesus is the “Sower and Lord of the harvest.” For the Florist, he is the “Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley,” but to the Geologist, he remains the “Rock of my salvation.”

To the Horticulturist, Jesus is the “True vine,” and to the Jeweler, he is the “living precious stone.” To the Jurist, Jesus becomes the Righteous Judge of all men,” while to the Juror, he provides “Faithful and true witness.”

For the Lawyer, Jesus becomes “Counselor, Lawgiver, and Advocate,” but to the Philanthropist, he is an “unspeakable gift.” To the Policeman, he represents the “power of God;” to the Preacher, he becomes the “Word of God;” to the Sculptor, he provides the “Stone cut without hands,” while to the Servant, he is the “good master.”
To the Sheep-raiser, Jesus is the “good Shepherd,” but to the Statesman, he becomes the “desire of all nations.” To the Student, he is “incarnate truth,” and to the Theologian, he remains the final “Author-finisher of our faith”

The Toiler and workman find Jesus the “Giver of rest,” and need I go further? Indeed: one yet remains, for to the Sinner, Jesus is the “Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

I visited with a young Dutch woman in Canada. Raised an atheist by unbelievers, she immigrated to Canada, married, and divorced. She shared with me her struggle with life and her desire to be free of her tobacco addiction. After meeting a Christian friend, she went home and sought God, a God who was no god because she was an atheist. He was dealing with her life and she found him real! He brought her freedom from addiction and forgiveness for her sins and she became a dynamic and vibrant disciple of Jesus.

We can accept or reject Jesus, but we cannot ignore him! Reason makes him a lunatic, a liar, or a false prophet. Or else: he is who we believe Him to be - “Son of the Living God, Savior Who redeems us, Lord of all Hope and Glory!

Walkingwithwarner.blogspot.com … Who else could He possibly be?

1 comment:

Dewayne Repass said...

Enjoyed this Wayne...I'm a fan of yours and a follower of this Jesus!