Who is Jesus Christ? Philippians 2.1-8
4/1/2018 9:15:59 PM
The greatest Man ever
Who is Jesus Christ? Philippians 2.1-8
I can see their two beautiful young faces so clearly in my mind . . . one was dark, the other was light; one had a strong football build, the other a tall, lean volleyball build; one grew up in a Hindu household, the other a family who didn't talk too much about God, didn't believe in church either. Both young men were there that cold, windy Easter day when I baptized their friend at a local beach. Both came to Fellowship of Christian Athletes because they didn't want to miss anything, especially when it came to filling in the blanks about Christianity and Jesus.
They had heard several personal God stories from students, and they were ready to really entertain the question: Who is this Jesus Christ people are talking about? Who is Jesus Christ? The blonde one said, 'No, who was Jesus Christ?' See, he wanted to hear about Jesus' life on earth-he did not grow up hearing the stories of Jesus.
And so I sat down with pen and paper ... The question itself is a tricky one-'Who is Jesus?' But if you are not a believer yet, perhaps you need to start with the question, 'Who was Jesus?' Why would Jesus come to earth with the express purpose of dying?
The further I go into a position piece about Jesus, maybe it becomes 'Why Christianity?' rather than 'Who is Jesus?' I guess these questions are two sides of the same coin. To study the life of this sinless human being is to realize there is something far greater at work than just coming up with satisfactory answers; and that something is critically important.
So, who WAS Jesus? He was begotten, not made. He already existed, has always been, along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. At the right time in history, Jesus willingly took on the flesh of a Jewish baby, born to a peasant maiden, a virgin, from a back country town, Nazareth.
'Born far from little Nazareth, away from Mary's home, without the help of her mother ... at a time when the census workers did not go door to door, but when all had to go to the city of their lineage to register. For Mary's betrothed, Joseph, that meant traveling to Bethlehem, because he was of the line of King David. It was at least a three-day trip from Nazareth, at a time when Mary was close to delivering her holy child.
We do not know much about Jesus' childhood, though we know that Mary and Joseph knew the Messiah was growing up in their home, eating at their table. They raised Jesus like other Jewish children, steeped in the scriptures, the religious observances and feasts, and equipped him in Joseph's carpentry trade.
Jesus began his ministry at the age of 30, recruiting 12 men to work alongside. Jesus did life with them, mentored them, and in time, left his message for them to take to the world. The disciples looked on as Jesus taught of his Father and of the kingdom, which would have no end. They watched as Jesus broke the social mores of his day, extending himself to a Samaritan-reviled and hated by his people-to women, who were viewed as second-class citizens at best-to children, who he loved and embraced. He offended the pious Pharisaical Jews healing on the Sabbath; he broke the laws of nature by working miracles, casting out demons, and restoring sight to the blind. Neither the Jewish teachers nor the Roman leaders could figure him out, and they certainly could not contain him. Jesus was at home with sinners and people of ill repute, dining with dishonest tax collectors and loose women. His love drew them to holiness, as he modeled a better way, taught by example in word and in deed.
Jesus knew his strength lie in his connection with his Father, so he met alone to pray, to connect, and to seek direction. He said and did only what his father had him do; he did not execute his own will, but rather his Father's plan and purposes.
Ultimately, he allowed himself to suffer and die, without defending himself . . . for you, for me.
Jesus Christ - who he was, who he is, who he wants to be in our lives.