Monday, November 29, 2004

True Stories about Jesus

Messy Christian has a post up that gave made me think about how we conceptualize Jesus. To be honest it was a woman's comment on that thread that really god me to thinking.

Christians have had trouble figuring Jesus out. Being God and Man at the same time can have that effect I guess. Its just hard to wrap your head around it.

I remember there used to be a christian skit called McJesus. It was a line of people going to church "buying" Jesus to suit their tastes like a fast food restaurant. So there is the serene Jesus, the teacher Jesus, the vengeful Jesus with super-sized lightning bolts, etc, etc. Anyway just like how we think of God, we tend to "tame" (thanks CS Lewis) Jesus and try to fit him into some little box that we like.

Prozac Jesus

One of the more common ways we think of Jesus is the always serene teacher. Nothing rattles Jesus. He is always even-keeled and certainly never angry. Isn't anger a sin after all? Well since Jesus was perfect he certainly couldn't do that.

This misconception comes from the Star Wars-esque theory of emotions. Hate, fear, and anger are of the dark side so that Jesus couldn't possibly have them. Therefore Jesus must be of the light side of the force: all-loving, caring, happy, friendly, forgiving... insert fruits of the spirit here. He's like Ghandi (except that Ghandi wasn't like that either of course).

This is, of course, crap. God gets angry all the time. He threatened to strike down Moses at least once. God even hates things like sin. Accordingly Jesus has these qualities too. He made a whip and beat the money-changers out of the temple courts for their hypocrisy of making a dishonest dime off of holy worship.

Jesus isn't on prozac. He's human like us and feels the whole range of emotions we do. He just feels them properly and as God intended them. Hate of sin and evil. Anger at the face of wrong-doing. Fear for his life when it is in danger at Gethsemane.

If there is one good thing to come out of The Passion of the Christ, its that we have a better appreciation for Jesus's humanity through that film. We see Jesus stressful and fearful.

All-Knowing Jesus

I'm not going to go into Christology. Mostly because I don't know that much of it. We tend to think of Jesus as being a man in form and flesh, but God in everything else. So he really knew everything that was going to happen to him and was just going through the motions. After all he is God and God knows everything right?

Wrong. Its a horrible conception of Christ! He would be totally faithless if he knew everything. The truth is that God did to Christ what he does to us. He shows us glimpses of the future and reveals it in pieces. Remember when the woman touched his cloak and was healed? Jesus stopped and knew "power had gone out of him", but not to whom or where. This is a great example of it.

You see part of being Incarnate diety and the perfect man was living as we do. He was limited and relying on the Father's vision just as we should. This is most evident in the Garden before he was taken. Why do you think he was sweating blood? Because he had to trust in the father just like we do. And he had to trust him knowing that he was going to be beaten and killed horribly in order to do what only he could do.

What amazes me about Jesus is not his Godliness, it is how he overcame his own humanity.

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