Views of Jesus
By Philip Budd
My brother and I were standing on the pebbles at Chesil Beach, in Dorset, which, as you know, shelves steeply in stages, watching the waves coming in, when all of a sudden a much great wave came charging at us. We turned to run but, almost before we could move, we were waist deep in water. The overpowering strength of the wave that caught us was so much more powerful than those we had been watching that it simply wiped them out. That, we thought damply, was a real wave.
If you took a poll of neighbours and acquaintances, asking the question, “Who is Jesus?”, most people would give one of a series of answers. These answers are mostly meant to be complimentary to Him. For instance, one might say that He was The Great Healer; another would suggest that He was The Great Teacher, or The Great Philosopher, or The Great Prophet. Others might say that He was a very, very kind person, who went about doing good, in a limited way, (since He did not appear to be healing everyone, as though acting as a mobile medicine centre), or that He loved children. Bolder answers might suggest that He was The Great Revolutionary against the Romans, (though in that case it would be said, historically, that He failed in His attempts, and died for them).
The difficulty that arises from most of these answers, and others like them, is that, although they are intended to be cautiously complimentary, and put forward by people who are not at all clear of the message or the task that Jesus had been set, but want to stay on the safe side, is that far from adding to His status, they are diminishing it. Of course it is true that He healed, (though not everybody), and that He taught, (in ways that were very often misunderstood and rejected), that He was a prophet, in that He spoke the word of God, and that He was kind, (though certainly not to everyone He met). But none of these answers is definitive.
It is true that a completely definitive answer might have to wait until we meet Him, “For now we see through a glass darkly”, but our present view of Him, as Christians, makes Him far greater than any of these suggestions. For instance, He is, (not was), the Creator, the Son of the Everlasting and Almighty Father, and is Himself God, part of the Trinity with the Holy Spirit and His Father. He was sent to herald in the Kingship of Heaven, as Himself it’s King and Lord, with promises to all who believe that, “Now are we the Sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that we shall be like Him”. He conquered death, so that we can do the same. He forgives our sins, so that, pure and clean, we can stand amazed in the Presence, as the hymn says, and that we can inherit the earth. And so many more truths about Jesus as to make your mind bulge and your heart beat faster. The wave of Truth, you might say, overwhelms everything that has gone before.
However, it also leaves us with the problems involved in bringing to the rest of the world the overwhelming Good News of His Gospel - our primary task. The question is, how? We should spend a lot of time, in Church, in small groups, in prayer, in every way we can think of, in answering that question.
Suggestions in writing, please.