It is so easy to become reactionary, or to try and expose issues and problems that need fixing, and I fall into this trap way to often. So I just wanted to write a post about Jesus and who he is. Also this has been the the area that has changed the most radically and so changed me the most radically. (This is starting to smell like a series, so we’ll have to see how it goes).
So often we get caught up in just trying to believe the things we already know about Jesus, or we spend our time just defending those ideas. Have we ever thought that they might be outdated. Most of our ideas about Jesus come more from the Reformation period of church history than they do from the time Jesus lived on earth. We upgrade our cell phones every two years and upgrade pretty much everything else in our lives just as often, it begs the question of why our understanding of Jesus remains so static.
Growing up I had it drilled into me that Jesus was both divine and human. If I am honest we seemed to focus a lot on Jesus divinity because there were many people that tried to discredit Jesus by calling him just a man, a teacher, prophet or that he never lived at all. Jesus was pretty much Superman of the church. The only reason why it was important to emphasise the humanity of Jesus was to prove that it really happened, that he really did beam down to earth from heaven, landing safely in Mary’s womb and then growing up so that he could die for my sins.
That all sounds pretty normal to most people, however I don’t think that is what Jesus and God’s plan for Jesus is about. This old picture I had, put my sin very much in focus and Jesus was just the solution to this more central theme in my life, even though the Bible and history is centered around Jesus and not my sins. It took me 34 years to make the connection. The problem is that we focus of Genesis 3, the entrance of sin in the world and our focus finishes with the cross, where the debt is paid.
Sure we read the rest of the NT for leadership principles and principles for daily living and we then either avoid or obsess over Revelation. However I believe we have missed the main point of the story by leaving out the beginning (Gen 1-2, Col 1 and the early part of Eph) and the end of the story which is described in Revelation (esp the last 2 chapters).
When we really start at the beginning instead of sin we see that God was creating life, calling it good and relating to it in a fantastic way. When we interpret Revelation in the light of Genesis 1 and 2 we start to see once again the wisdom, power and love of God as he creates a New Creation out of the old one, calling it good once more.
As I have begun to read the bible like this is, it has changed Jesus from the 2D felt-figure I met in sunday school, into the living, breathing, technicolour God/Man who makes this new creation possible. This is a giant move as it re-centers everything I have come to know around Jesus, instead of me and my lustful thoughts. The focus moves from the cross to the resurrection, the resurrection being the way through which I can experience, know, enjoy and participate in the new creation right now, in the companionship of my older brother Jesus.
Yes Jesus birth was important, otherwise he couldn’t live. Yes his life was important otherwise he couldn’t die, but for me the focus is of his death was important so that he could rise! For me in my old understanding of Jesus, focused on sin, all I needed him to do was be born and then die to wash my sin away. If Herod had killed him when he was a baby that would be fine, my sins would be dealt with by his innocent blood. However that kind of reduced “gospel” leaves us as mere spectators. What was the point of Jesus living 33 years then? Was it just to do party trick or prove his divinity? I believe that in the Gospels he is showing us how the New Creation looks like when it is lived out in the ordinary, mundane grind of life.
This I believe unlocks the true value and meaning of Jesus life in the Gospels. I used to believe our humanity was our greatest weakness, our limiting factor. However for me the great revelation has been that because of sin we live sub-human lives (think about a variety of sins and how each of them dehumanises people) and that Jesus has come to show us how to be human again and given us the the ability to participate in the New Creation here and now living as beautiful human beings, expressing the divine image of our Father.