The Real Jesus
Greetings, fellow disciples of Jesus Christ,
Who is Jesus?
It’s a critical question. For some it is an open question; others think they have an answer:
Jesus the unsuccessful political reformer (H.S. Reimarus, 1694-1768)
Jesus the religious genius (D.F. Strauss, 1808-1874)
Jesus the great, noble teacher (many scholars of the 19th century)
Jesus the apocalyptic fanatic (Albert Schweitzer, 1875-1965)
Jesus the Jewish mystic (John Shelby Spong, 1931- )
Jesus the zealot (Reza Aslan, 1972- )
Jesus, a prophet (Islam)
Jesus, the vengeful judge (Luther, pre-Reformation)
Will the real Jesus please stand up?
The truth is, on our own, apart from God, we don’t know what to make of Jesus. Jesus once asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The disciples responded, “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, one of the prophets…” Then—turning to the disciples themselves—Jesus asked an even more pointed question, “Who do you say that I am?”
It is a question each person must answer.
Ask yourself: Who is Jesus? Is Jesus my Moral Compass, a Good Teacher, a Guru from whom I glean the secrets of the mysteries of life? Is Jesus a Super Nice Guy (who gives me what I want)? Is Jesus the Game-Show Host (who gives me what I’ve won, or worked for)?
We like to make Jesus in our own image. Think of all those Facebook memes of Jesus. If Jesus thinks like me, votes like me, never surprises or contradicts me…is it Jesus I’m worshipping, or is it just me?
With your lips and by the way you live your life, who do you confess Jesus to be?
On this day, the Church remembers the confession of St. Peter: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the anointed One. Jesus is the Son of the living (true and only) God. It is upon this confession that Christ builds His Church, one believer at a time; living stones in His living Body.
It is only Jesus the Christ who can save. It is only Jesus, the Son of the Living God—the One who died and rose again—who gives life everlasting. And on the Last Day, He will raise to eternal life all those who by grace He has made His own.
This is the Gospel, the good news which Jesus entrusts to Peter, to Paul, and to the whole Church—to you and me. It is a message for all people. It is a message to be shared.
With whom will you share the good news of the real Jesus—the Christ—this week?
The Lord be with you,