Mar 3, 2012

Who Do You Say Jesus Is?

"Who do the people say I am?" asked Jesus.

The disciples replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"But what about you? Who do you say I am?" asked Jesus.

Who is Jesus?

A great teacher?

A great leader?

A great shepherd?

I find it interesting that the New Testament never talks about a single physical trait of Jesus. We have no idea what Jesus actually looked like. Every single image of Jesus, all pictures, all depictions are just guesses at what he might have looked like.

And to boot, most of the images of Jesus are what he couldn't have looked liked.

Jesus was a Palestinian Jew. He would have looked like any other Palestinian Jew that lived in the area.

Alan Hirsch says that if we have a misconception of Jesus, it would be better for us to be atheists.

If our understanding of Jesus is wrong, it would be better if we didn't believe at all...

You see, a misunderstanding of Jesus is incredibly dangerous. Because a misconceived Jesus then is used to support all kinds of things that Jesus of scripture could not be about.

Our church history is littered with unspeakable atrocities that the church committed in the name of Jesus...The crusades, the witch hunts to name a few.
Not only does a false understanding of Jesus lead to unspeakable atrocities, but a false understanding of Jesus is often times used to support our lifestyles and our proclivities rather than transforming our lifestyles. 

So how can we know the true Jesus? Go to the Jesus of scripture. Examine the gospels. Let the gospels teach us who Jesus is.

Let Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John teach us again who Jesus is.


Sandy said...

I agree that we as Christians need to know Jesus as he really is, not as our selfish needs and desires dictate. That relationship comes with time, by God's grace.
As to physical traits, the blue-eyed, meek and mild depiction which often (but not always) was around when I was a child in the 1950's may not have been terribly helpful, but better than nothing, I believe. As things worked out, I didn't become a Christian till I was in my late 20's, rebelling against my early teaching at church. It may not have been a perfect church fellowship, but which one is? My abiding memories from church include singing in the children's choir ( a separate one for each age level!) in our large Baptist church in Raleigh, North Carolina. The most amazing memory is that of a young girl a bit older than me (I was about 5 years old) being brought into our Sunday School on a stretcher because she wanted to tell us about Jesus and the heaven she knew she would see soon.
Perhaps some of the adults influencing me in those days had incomplete ideas about Jesus, but thankfully my early life was not that of being brought up within a culture of atheism.
P.S. My favourite depiction of Jesus only shows him from a oblique sideways angle. Giovanni Bellini's The Agony in the Garden.

36 & COUNTING said...

Hi James - I have 'borrowed' a few quotes from your blog -thought I'd let you know...

My blog is called thirty-six and counting...