Jesus who?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am.
Mary did you know, Pentatonix

I discovered the song Mary did you know by Pentatonix just before Christmas and I have been playing it over and over again since. I was pleased to see the same song in Lene’s Christmas greeting to her readers. She is a Danish blogger who lives in Japan. It made me think about what Jesus we are preaching and celebrating for Christmas, which I mentioned in a comment on Lene’s blog. That was a question I probably wouldn’t be able to answer if she had asked me face to face, but she sort of challenged me, so I will try to clarify this to myself. This will be me thinking out loud and skimming through the New testament.

I guess the question is what we are going to do about an almost two thousand year old text. Who is Jesus and which one should we believe in? It would be convenient to portray him as a a cool dude telling us to chill. That’s basically what people are doing when they just see Jesus as a charismatic man with a few good ideas. It’s tempting to make changes, and more than just bringing the language up to date. We don’t want people think that we are lame, so we need to be cool, don’t we? That can be necessary in order to reach people you couldn’t otherwise reach. I heard about a motorcycle club years ago called Holy Riders. They didn’t look much different from Hells Angels except that they carried bibles instead of guns and drugs.

There’s also been bodybuilders, former criminals, soccer players, musicians etc. doing something similar. There is even a musical called Jesus Christ Superstar where Jesus sings rock. We seem to have chosen cool Jesus because many explain Christmas as Jesus’ birthday these days, but Jesus wasn’t cool most of the time. We are celebrating a birthday and a baby. There’s nothing wrong in keeping it simple, but that’s not all Jesus was. If it had been that simple even I could have accomplished it.

Jesus did and said some pretty outrageous things and I have to wonder what people would make of him today. The Jews 2000 years ago didn’t recognize the Messiah and perhaps we would have seen him as a terrorist today?  In terms of appearance he’d probably be a perfect match in the database. Here are some examples:

John 14:6
Jesus answered: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 10:30
I and the Father are one.

John 5:22-23
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

This must have been very shocking 2000 years ago because after waiting for Messiah for millennia he didn’t live up to the Jews’ expectations. Jesus has some pretty shocking words for us as well:

Matthew 18:9
And if your eyes causes you to stumble, gouge it out and  throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Matthew 7:22-23
Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.

There are many other examples of what people would have seen as strange behaviour, such as in Matthew 21:12-17 when he chased the money changers out of the temple, or in Matthew 15:21-28 where he seems to ignore a Canaanite woman, or in Mark 1:41 where he touched a man with leprosy, or when a man in Matthew 19:16-28 asked Jesus what he had to do to get eternal life.

No one knows how Jesus looked like, so different cultures depict him in different ways, but I'm pretty sure he didn't look like a European hippie.
No one knows how Jesus looked like, so different cultures depict him in different ways, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t look like a European hippie. Wikipedia Commons

This paints a different picture of Jesus. He was not politically correct at all. He didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear, and if he comes back he still won’t tell us what we think is pleasant. One of the things that has been on my mind recently is the refugee crisis. Don’t get me wrong, I believe we have an obligation to help anyone regardless of what they believe in, but what about our own? There used to be 2 million Christians in Iraq, there are less than 250 000 left. I very much doubt whether the situation is any better in Syria. When Christianity finally reached Norway, there had been Christians in these two countries for a thousand years. Now they could disappear completely.

At the same time there are desperately poor people, drug addicts, people being forced into prostitution, children being snatched by Child Protective Services etc. This evil happens in our own society, right in front of us, but we don’t seem to reach beyond the church or organization we are members of. I wish I was less guilty than most people, but I am not. It disturbs me that these people don’t mean anything to me. I have never been a people person, so it’s probably for the best that I am not the first person people talk to when they try to find God. It’s not that I don’t feel empathy, but following the instructions Jesus left for us is a lot harder. Most of the time I am content being left alone because having people in my life makes life too complicated. My family is enough.

I can think of a thing or two that Jesus will say about it, and I won’t think it’s cool.

All quotes are from the New International Version via biblegateway.coom

 

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3 thoughts on “Jesus who?

  1. Thanks for taking up the challenge ☺️. I love what your thoughts about this subject made you jot down. It’s a huge question… And not an easy one to answer as there will naturally be more sides to Jesus than we can grasp.

    In the song when they ask “Mary, did you know”… Yes she knew! But how can anyone, even the mom of the savior, Lord and the great I AM possibly grasp Who Jesus really is? It’s not another challenge 😉 … Just a thought I think we all have. Us who loves Jesus, tries to show it by obeying His Word and still find Grace at His feet when we can’t.

    Have a Blessed new year 2016!
    Lene

  2. What a question. I think that is the whole point of the Christian walk, to progressively come to KNOW Christ. And no, I do not think we can fully KNOW Him on this earth…….but I think that we can know Him in ways that are probably beyond our current understanding.

    I like what C.S. Lewis said about the topic of who is Jesus. In his book, “Mere Christianity,” he said,

    “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

    I can’t think of a better way to say it.

    Last summer, here in the South, as I watched and listened to my fellow Southerners worshiping their Confederate flags………..I kept thinking…….what would Jesus do if he came back a white Southerner? Would he tell my white brethren to pull down their flags, take up their cross and follow Him? I thought a lot about your above topic throughout the summer. You are right…….if Jesus was here today, He would NOT be politically correct, and I am afraid that just as it was with in ancient Palestine, He would be rejected, vilified and crucified by “His people,” the religious people………who claim that they “know Him.”

    If we truly “know Him,” we would fall on our face before Him in awe and humility.

    1. Thank you for your responses.I am too focused on my script this morning to devote much time to my blog, but I will probably read your comment again tonight. I am just up for a quick breather now. Your description of the South made me think of a Norwegian short story that was in my curriculum in school. It was called Matthew 18:20 and described a black man entering a church.

      “Get out of here! Don’t you know this is a church for white people? Are you listening? Get out you black …..” The author wanted this scene to be ugly, and it showed some appalling behaviour from the Christians. They called the guest a mangy scum, stupid n….., bloody n… and so on. ,

      This was how they welcomed him. The black man just looked at the congregation with tears in his eyes. Two police officers showed up and removed him with excessive force, and he was later found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to death. The executioner was left bewildered and the person he described to his wife in the last paragraph was undoubtedly Jesus. I bet that happened for real two thousand years ago as well. The story was published in 1967 and I suspect the author was thinking about the USA, although I believe the same would have happened here. I am not sure even many Christians would have recognized Jesus. If they did they may not not have been willing to accept him.

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