So who is this Jesus dude that’s causing so much fuss in the world?
Well, in short, Jesus is God. Sometimes we get so caught up in the whole Father/Son thing, we forget that Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity that IS God. Yes, he is the son of God, but he is also God. Don’t ask me how the whole Trinity thing works, how one person can be three people all at once, but I like to think it’s something like we ourselves are…after all, we are created in God’s image, right? So I kind of think of our whole body/mind/soul thing as being our human trinity. As nearly as my feeble brain can wrap around it, that would make Jesus sort of like the body, the Holy Spirit sort of like the mind, and God sort of like the soul…three separate things, but all part of one being. I’m sure it’s much more mysterious and complicated than that, but it helps make the point…that Jesus IS God at the same time he is PART OF God and the SON OF God. John says it far better than I can:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:1-6; 10-14
So Jesus is the Word, and the Word is with God and the Word is God…the creator of the universe, who made himself to be born into human form in the humblest of circumstances, and lived a perfect life–like only God could–to show us that there is no deed we can do that is good enough to meet His holy standard, but to wipe our slates clean and allow us to do his work for his kingdom.
So why all the fuss? Well, it seems a lot of folks have a problem with the notion that they have to believe in someone they’ve never met and who they can’t see. They have a hard time accepting that this unseen Jesus/God character actually works in the lives of people who put their trust and faith in him. They have a hard time believing that there’s any truth to all those Bible stories, because they’re so OLD. I mean, we can get a story dead wrong just repeating it from one person to another in the span of 30 seconds…how are we supposed to believe stories from thousands of years ago?
[Well, I’ll digress for just a second for a quick explanation. The Bible started with stories that were passed on from generation to generation. In our day and age, that’s about the least reliable form of communication we can imagine. But in those days, before the written word, before radio and TV and the internet and podcasts and blogs, that was the ONLY form of communication. And there was a lot less distraction back then, so people PAID ATTENTION when stories were told, and they learned those stories inside and out. So when the stories got passed on, they were pretty faithful to the original. So when they did finally get written down, they had passed along virtually unchanged for hundreds of generations, so people had faith in their truth. The bulk of the New Testament books were written by eyewitnesses (or at least students of the eyewitnesses)…not to people that hadn’t been born yet that they didn’t even know would ever exist, but to their peers & contemporaries. They had to be every bit as truthful as a court reporter would be today, or they’d have been called out at the time…and we’d have a written record of that, too. So we can trust that the stories of the Bible are true, and since God tells us that the Bible is His word as given to the authors, we can trust that statement as well.]
OK, back to the point…. A lot of folks would just prefer to put their faith and trust into what they can see and control. The problem is, that goes against God’s plans. And he’s the one in charge. So what you’ve got yourself is some conflict. In its simplest terms, that conflict is at the heart of all of the world’s problems. It goes back to the fall…we chose to take control, to listen to the Enemy, rather than follow God’s will.
Now at this point a lot of people–believers–will say, “So what? I’m already saved. I’m just going to find me a nice comfortable church with nice comfortable pews and nice comfortable friends where we can sing nice comfortable songs and wait comfortably for God to sort things out come the Rapture.” I guess that’s where the radical part of faith comes in. You see, I believe that’s the LAST thing Jesus called us to do. He came to heal the sick, to give hope to the hopeless, to give life to the dead. How does sitting in our comfortable pews with our comfortable friends help us accomplish that?
Nope, I think this Jesus dude came to wake us up as much as he came to save us from our sins. He came to show us how things are supposed to work in God’s kingdom. He came to give us the instruction manual, and to show us the how-to DVD. He came to tell us that we are God’s hands & feet in the world, and imperfect though we are, he still wants to hang out with us. Sounds like a pretty radical idea, doesn’t it?