Which Jesus?

The other morning I was reading Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest" and came across this: "Are you loyal to Jesus or loyal to your notion of him?" Chambers challenges us to live our lives for and in the one true Jesus. He speaks of the possibility that we disobey Jesus for what seem like honourable motives; for example to avoid dishonour or shame coming to Jesus. But Chambers points out that Jesus endured shame for us. And he was misunderstood and reviled. The danger, Chambers says, is that we substitute a tame Jesus for the real one. We make an ideal Jesus; "ideal" from a human point of view. We need to remember that at times Jesus offended the sensibilities of the self-righteous and the self-sufficient and intended to do so. He is controversial. He said controversial and, to many, offensive things. He called people evil (Matthew 7:11) and he told the religious elite of his day that they were "full of greed and wickedness" (Luke 11:39). I guess nowadays they would say that Jesus "told it as it is!" It seems to me that Chambers is saying that we ought not to try and explain away his controversial statments. Jesus never did. He is controversial because his motives, actions and words clash against the stubborn, me-centred, lives that sinful men and women live.

So Chambers' question is an apt one. Which Jesus are you following?

Many today want to strip Jesus of the supernatural. He was just a good man, a great teacher. But good men, great teachers, don't go around saying the things that Jesus said unless they have a greater authority than a mere man. Jesus claimed to be not just a good man but God. He told the people of Israel that he and the Father were one. He claimed the authority to forgive sins. And, as sin is against God, only God can do that (as his original hearers realised). Nor will it do to suggest that Jesus was a man who was especially approved of by God. God says he will share his glory with no one but the New Testament says that glory will be given to Jesus. Jesus himself says so (John 17:1). He even says that he had this glory from "before the world began" (John 17:5). And he needs to be fully God if he is to show us the Father. Only the Father's true Son can do that. Further, he has to be fully God to be able to represent God to us and to reconcile us to God in what he does for us.

But he was also fully man. Paul reminds us in Romans 1:3 that Jesus, in his earthly nature, was descended from King David. If we was not fully man he could not be our representative. He could not take upon himself the sins of the world. He could not die to defeat death.

A Jesus who is not both fully God and fully man is no Saviour. And he is not the Jesus of history but a Jesus of modern invention one that suits us better and avoids the serious challenge to our lives that inevitably follow if he really is both God and man. The Jesus of history is the one who inspired his followers to risk their own lives (all but one of the 11 remaining disciples lost their lives for proclaiming the risen Lord Jesus) to tell of the good news of his death and resurrection. (By the way, anyone who thinks that Jesus is an invention to provide a comfort blanket has not read the New Testament. Jesus calls his followers to die to themselves and follow him. He says they will be persecuted if they follow him. He tells them that they must be prepared to take up their cross daily. Jesus, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer rightly said, bids those who want to follow him to come and die. But when they die to self-interest and live for Christ and others they find true life.)

The resurrection of Jesus, attested to by many witnesses, proves that Jesus is who he says he is. There are many evidences to show that the resurrection happened. Enough evidence that, were it in any other type of case, people would find conclusive. What is fascinating is that people will believe conspiracy theories that have little or no evidence to support them (often claiming the lack of evidence as proof of the cover up) but not believe the evidences for the resurrection. One man in the 1930's, a lawyer and an atheist, set out to disprove the resurrection using his forensic skills as a lawyer. His name was Frank Morrison. The first chapter of the book he wrote as a result of his efforts was called "The book that refused to be written." The more he looked at the evidence, the more he realised that he could not only not disprove the resurrection, but that all the evidence pointed to it actually happening. (The book is still in print and is called "Who Moved the Stone?").

And if Jesus is who he said he is, then we need to listen to him in all that he says and not just those things with which we are comfortable. And we should avoid explaining away things that Jesus is content to say without apology.


Subscribe to Blog

RSS Feed

Blog Posts

Why I am excited about the Welcome Home tour on
03 Nov 2018
Ceased no more - why I believe in the continuation
01 Nov 2018
How loved do you feel? John 10:1-21 (Sermon - November
29 Nov 2017
Who cares this Christmas?
27 Nov 2017
When our sorrow may be sinful
12 Sep 2016
Seeking more
09 Apr 2016
How do I work hard for fellow believers?
06 Jan 2016
Getting to the meat
05 Oct 2015
The beauty of God's choice of sinners
03 Aug 2015
Knowing it is for good
04 Jun 2015
Getting more from the Bible
08 Apr 2015
Seeing beyond the obvious
12 Jan 2015
Fully equipped
22 Nov 2014
The sweet longing
24 Sep 2014
Praying for a thankful heart
27 Aug 2014
A little naughtiness or something far, far worse?
22 Jul 2014
Coming to know God
21 Jun 2014
Hanging on the promises, hoping in God
03 Jun 2014
Pious limitations
13 May 2014
Reuniting the divided life
29 Apr 2014
God communicates to us when he shows us Christ
07 Apr 2014
A journey into beauty
01 Apr 2014
"The death of self-importance"
10 Mar 2014
Passion for Life
27 Feb 2014
Am I really a Christian?
10 Feb 2014
Christianity is not morality
20 Jan 2014
Are our devotions really devotional?
08 Jan 2014
Let us resolve to not be lukewarm
06 Jan 2014
A baby who is so much more than a baby
03 Dec 2013
"The gift of desire", what St Anselm saw
18 Nov 2013
I can get satisfaction
13 Nov 2013
What's in a biography?
26 Oct 2013
The beauty of God's way of salvation
26 Oct 2013
Why not, Mr Dawkins?
26 Oct 2013
What is the ultimate good of our hearts?
08 Oct 2013
Boasting in the offence of the cross
30 Sep 2013
Too heavenly minded to be of earthly use?
17 Sep 2013
What's in a name?
02 Sep 2013
Revival and building houses
27 Aug 2013
Do you delight in God even when he withholds?
20 Aug 2013
How much do we value God's presence?
01 Aug 2013
Why sincerity is not enough
24 Jul 2013
An invitation to true blessing
15 Jul 2013
When not being happy might be a sin
08 Jul 2013
"Created in Christ Jesus to do good works"
01 Jul 2013
The worst has already happened so that the best can
24 Jun 2013
A misplaced "Wow!"
04 Jun 2013
I know I am supposed to change, but how?
25 May 2013
God's delight in saving sinners
11 May 2013
"A God Entranced Vision of All Things"
07 May 2013
Our most fatal allergy; our most deadly addiction
23 Apr 2013
Wowed, urged on and imploring
15 Apr 2013
Responding to God's peace
08 Apr 2013
Which Jesus?
02 Apr 2013
When we mess up
02 Apr 2013
Image and Desires
28 Feb 2013