Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Who is Jesus, really?


If you ask anybody what/who a Christian is, you will probably get mixed answers. Some will say pious and self righteous, holier than thou, while others will say humble and compassionate; some may even go as far as calling Christians crazy, weird or nut jobs. As many views as there are as to who or what a Christian is, and as diverse and divided as the Christian church is in doctrine, beliefs, attitudes and practices, not all of these opinions (which can be formed by merely observing those around you who call themselves Christians) and characteristics of Christians truly portray the genuine Christian; they cannot all be right if they are so contrasting.

So what is a genuine Christian? The word means "like Christ", therefore in order to know what/who a real Christian is/should be like, we must look at the character and person of Jesus Christ. At this point, you're probably thinking "Oh no, not another Christian blog!", and you may be right in some respects, but I am in no way saying "You're a sinner, I'm holy and better than you, therefore listen to me and repent or burn in hell". If you will be willing enough to forget everything you've heard and seen about Christians or Christianity, and bear with me as I attempt to explain and reveal who the person of Jesus is (why He came, what He did, and how that is relevant, if in any way, to your life today), through what should be the only Source of Christian belief, the Bible, then you might just get something out of this blog.

I do not claim to have all the answers of to be perfect in knowledge and wisdom, neither do I in any way feel as though I am any better than you, in fact, on the contrary I am human just like you; I too also have feelings, I get mad (sometimes over the smallest of things), I get sad, I sometimes feel vulnerable and shy and have periods of low self esteem, just like anybody else. So please do not think of me as an alien of some sort, or view this blog as a religious sermon in any way, or a one way blog; feel free to comment or ask questions relevant to the blog entries and the purpose of the blog. As the Bible says (I will often quote from the Bible to get across a certain point of view or give examples from Jesus' life) "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

Now, back to the topic at hand. Most people are familiar with the name Jesus Christ. It is used as a swear word, or in popular phrases like 'what would Jesus do?'. The name has come to be known in many circles of life; art like Da Vinci's, media like Jesus Christ Superstar and the Passion of the Christ, even cameo appearances on Family Guy, a piece of toast and on a piece of wood.

But not many people know much about what the man Jesus stood for and who He really is. So by attempting to look at the Life of Jesus in more detail I will aim to clear up some misconceptions you may have about Christianity and by explaining in clearer terms who Jesus is, why He came, and His relevance today, I hope that you will be able to look at my Faith in a different light.

Firstly, we will look at who Jesus is in brief detail. According to the Bible, he was the Son of God in earthly form. The book of John has a good description of Him. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God...” (John 1:1-18 serves as the prologue for the rest of the book) The word “Word” here is used for the Greek term “logos”. I appreciate many of you are not Greek scholars (neither am I for that matter) so I will try to explain the concept of “logos” in simple terms. In the time of Jesus, Greek was the common language of the world; the term was used by philosophers and intellectuals to refer not only to the spoken word or reason, but also in reference to the thing or set of laws that created and governed the universe[1]. What John, the writer of this gospel, is saying is that this “logos” is not a thing or set of laws, but a “He”. “In the beginning was the Word (Logos)”, in the beginning was He who is the Reason and Source of everything, “and the Word was with God”, and the Word dwelt in the presence of God and shared His Radiance, “and the Word was God”, the Word is Divine and in every way equal to God. He being in the presence of God since before creation and sharing in His Radiance is in every way the Image and Likeness of God.

This Person, the Logos through whom the world was made is also said to have come down and made His dwelling among men. He is likened to “Light” shining in the “darkness”, and as coming to “that which was His own”. The word used for dwelling is the same as the Hebrew equivalent of the word “Tabernacle”[2], the place where God “came down” and “dwelt” among His people, His Radiance seen by all; we will study the Tabernacle in greater detail later on in this blog, but it is clear, from looking at the basic function of the Tabernacle, that John is using this example to show how the Logos came down to the earth to dwell among His people. This “Logos” is Jesus who came down in human form to tabernacle among His people, that they may see the Radiance (that which is in Him, He being in the Form and Likeness of God and in every way equal to God) of God in bodily form (John 1:14) .

So why did the Son of God have to leave His Throne and Place with God to come down and dwell with us? Why did He feel the need to come in the form of an inferior being to show His Glory when such a form could not adequately display the full Radiance of Him through whom the entire universe was made? What was His purpose in coming? You’ve probably at one point in your life been preached to before; some have used fear and guilt, “You are a sinner! Repent or be condemned to an eternity in hell”; others have used love, “God Loves you in spite of who you are”, still others have used compromise, “Jesus loves you, but He is not the only way to Heaven”. The point is that there are so many different messages being preached today that it is hard to know which to listen to. Yet many non Christians, and “Christians” for that matter, do not know enough about why the message is being preached in order to make an informed decision. Usually, the message precedes the reason behind it. My aim with this blog is to first lay out in greater detail the purpose for which Christ came. Starting from the beginning of the story, i.e. the “Word”, God and the beginning, and working our way through to Jesus, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us”, we will begin to paint the picture of what God had in mind; from there we will then be able to see more clearly how Jesus fits into this picture. In the process, we will also begin to explore the relevance of all this, i.e. what relevance it is to you/where you fit into this picture. As Jesus said, “I have not come to abolish the Law[3] but to fulfill it...”, so also will we have to look back at the Law to see how it is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

I appreciate that many of you will have questions and may disagree with some viewpoints. As I have said before, I do not claim to have all the answers, neither do I think that I am better than you, so please feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer them. Unfortunately, I may not be able to answer all the questions, due to several factors, such as limited internet time, so don’t take it personally; the most common questions will take priority. Some questions will not be answered straight away, but will be addressed in later blog entries, so some patience will be required on both your part and mine because I do not want to overlook anything in the process. So sit back and enjoy the ride, as we explore Jesus in greater depth.

[1] More info on Logos - here and here
[2] More info on the Tabernacle and its contents - Exodus 25-27
[3] The Law here refers to the entire Old Testament (Genesis - Malachi)

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