google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 4 Questions

4 Questions


55. The Christian Disciple

Answering 4 Questions about Jesus

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1. What’s in a name?

I wonder what your name means.  People generally name their children for the hopes and aspirations about what their child will grow to become.  For example, the name John, means “the gift of God”.  I know somebody called Grace, and her nature is that of somebody full of grace. Nigel means “the champion”. My wife’s name means “Forever Beautiful” and she is!  Some remote tribes in New Guinea, who knew no English, called their children after some English words they had heard, and liked the sound of, without knowing the meaning.  One name was “Tinned Fish”.  Somebody else was called “Second Gear”,

My name of David means “beloved” and when my parents named me, it was meant to symbolize the love they had for me.  Although when I put the cricket ball through the kitchen window or the time I crushed the vegetable patch whilst running after a football, I did not feel very beloved afterwards!

When Jesus was born, his name imbued the very reason he was born. His conception and birth, were extraordinary at every level.  So important is our understanding of the birth of Jesus, that no fewer than 4 angels come to give us a full picture of the event.  Do you think that his parents, Joseph & Mary, or God, ever gazed upon him wistfully, and thought “How misnamed He is!”  They did not, because they knew the very purpose for which He was born. His name means “one who saves” or a rescuer.  His entire birth, life and death were centered around this very role.  His role was to save all those who would follow Him.

He is the most talked about person in history.  Almost everyone has an opinion about Him.  He was born to confirm God's promises and to reveal God as a Father, and to be our representative before Him.  In doing this, He gave us an example of how to live a holy life to the full.  He was not merely a man who received some special power, as some think.  He was not some strange creation that was half man and half God, with his human nature somehow absorbed into the divine.

2. Good moral teacher?

The ancient Grecian philosopher Socrates offered “how we ought to live”, as a working definition of ‘moral‘.  Did Jesus teaching reflect a good way to live, and if he did, what did he teach?  Jesus’ moral code, revolving as it would have done around the part of the Bible we call the Old Testament, can be seen in “do to others, what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  Some people refer to this as the “Golden Rule“.  However, Jesus, as ever goes further than anybody else and says that it is not only the outward actions of a person that makes them morally good, it is also the internal attitude behind it.

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, people such as Gandhi hold it as a paragon of virtuous teaching and regard Jesus as a great teacher.  Although, this is the best-known teaching of Jesus, it is also the least understood, and certainly the least obeyed.  Whilst Gandhi and his ilk see The Sermon on the Mount as a call to peaceful demonstration against provocation, this was never Jesus intention regarding this teaching.  It is as somebody once said “a picture of God’s alternative society… containing the standards, the values and priorities of God’s Kingdom”.  It was this that Jesus spoke in the Sermon, not as a general guideline for a pagan twentieth century pacifist to wallow in comfort and boundless joy.  Jesus was a good moral teacher, certainly at least to his followers, but was he more than this?

To claim he was merely a good moral teacher is a foolish thing to say.  Nobody could do or say the things that Jesus did, and not be God.  He would in fact have to be who he said he was, or he is either a liar and/or a lunatic.

3. Jesus - fully human?

That Jesus was a man is not really disputed.  The primary documents about Him, found in the Bible, says that  he was born of a woman which in itself tells us that at least in a prenatal state he was nurtured and formed as any other male baby was and is.  His genealogical line is given and He grew into maturity as any young Jewish boy did.  With his humanity, he exhibited normal human emotions such as love, weeping, sadness, anger and anguish.  Jesus ate and drank. He had a body and a soul. Jesus grew tired, he slept & perspired.  Jesus died just as all mortal people do.  Religiously, he worshipped as a Jew.  Not only these facts, but the 4 ‘biographies’ or gospels written about him acknowledge his humanity.  He was human in every way that we are - physically, mentally and emotionally.

The only exception to this, is that he was sinless, and yet we must ask could Jesus have sinned?  Yes he was tempted just as we are, but could Jesus really have succumbed to temptation?  We must conclude that while he could have sinned, it was certain he would not and did not.

But why did Jesus need to fully human? Firstly, so Jesus death could appease God’s anger with us. Secondly so that Jesus can empathize and pray for us.  Thirdly, Jesus exhibited true and perfect humanity.  Fourthly, due to his perfect humanity, Jesus is to be our example to follow.  Fifthly, true human nature is good.  Lastly, while God is both above and beyond, He is not so far removed from us, that He cannot interact with his creation.

4. Jesus - fully God?

This is what we celebrate at Christmas.  One of the church father’s, Anselm, wrote that God’s salvation plan for humans involved triumphant victory over sin, death and the grave.  However no person could be found that was eligible or capable to do this.  Because of this, God stepped into the human history, so that this victory could be achieved.  This God-man would be fully human, so as to live every feature of humanity, including suffering and death.  This God-man would also need to remain fully God, so as to defeat sin, death and the grave.  Jesus, being sinless, was this God-man, consisting as he did of two complete natures, the God nature and the human nature.

How is it possible, you may well ask. If you take a pint of milk, and you pour the milk into a milk jug, the milk remains milk, although it is now in another container.  In the same way, God inhabited a human body, thereby still being God, but also being human.

Throughout the Bible, Jesus is acknowledged as God.  The apostle John expressly calls Jesus, the Word or God.  Later on in his life, John expressly stated that Jesus was “the true God and eternal life”.  Jesus himself claimed equality with God and when He stated “your sins are forgiven”, some of the Jewish rulers attributed this as a God alone thing and thereby accused Him, at least in their minds, of blasphemy against God!  During the questioning when He was on trial for blasphemy, again Jesus equated himself with being God.

That Jesus is both human and divine, is what makes Christianity unique amongst the world’s religions.  It is why Jesus’ claims to be the only way to God are true and make sense, and it is why millions of people today worship Him and acknowledge Him as their Lord and their God.

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