Everyone has an idea about Jesus Christ, but not everyone has a true understanding of him. Many think of him as merely a good teacher. Some view him as nothing more than a historical religious figure, whilst others seem to understand him as a swear word. Which is yours?
In my last parish, I had privileged responsibility for the religious education in two primary schools. Both were set in picturesque locations with wonderful staff. It was the one day of the week I truly looked forward to because the children were eager and always full of surprises. At the beginning of one year, there was a new student. She was 5 and, as I found out, quite precocious.
The year before, I’d found what I still think is the best children’s bible in existence, The Jesus Storybook Bible. I showed the book to the kids. It was quite colourful, but most importantly, it stuck to the biblical text. The girl asked what the name was, so I told her. She gasped, put her hand over her mouth, and said, “My mom says I can’t say that word because it’s a bad word.” I missed her point and repeated the name and she repeated what her mom had said. Then it dawned on me, her mom had told her it was wrong to say the name Jesus. The girl’s dad came immediately to mind, and I recalled that he used Jesus’ name as a swear word or as some form of verbal punctuation, with great liberality. Any conversation with the man was peppered with Jesus this or Jesus that–but it was Ireland, and that was the way many people spoke.
Her dad and I got along very well, and I took the first opportunity to privately tell him of the encounter. He was nothing short of mortified. You see, he, like most people, was confused about just who Jesus is.
The Bible is very plain. Jesus is the second person of the godhead: God incarnate. These are words used to describe him:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.Colossians 1:15-20
If you look at the biblical description of Jesus, you find that he is not just a good teacher, or a moral being, or a great ethicist. No, that description says he is much more. It says that Jesus was the creative agent of the Godhead in regards to creation and that he is so important, so powerful, that he holds everything in all the world together.
In the second chapter of his letter to the Christians in Philippi, the Apostle Paul explains further:
“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”Philippians 2:10
So who is Jesus Christ? He’s the one to whom we will all answer. Are you ready?
Originally appeared in the Caymanian Times