Why Jesus

Why Jesus?

Jesus- He is the most talked about, read about, argued and debated about person in human history.

Too many songs to count have been sung about him. More books have been written about him, films made about him, than anyone else. Even our calendar is based off his life, dividing time before and after him.

But who is Jesus? Why put belief in him?

I invite you to read the following piece which explores what is unique about Jesus.

And If you would like to talk to me or somebody about “Jesus” or “Christianity” please send me a message through this website. We  would love to connect with you!

Steve Roggero

Senior Pastor

 

Who Is Jesus?

By Mark Galli – former Managing Editor “Christianity Today” Magazine

He walked the Earth 2,000 years ago, yet Jesus continues to be the most influential person in the world today. Why?

I wanted to show Jesus as a real guy,” said Roger Young, the director of the TV mini-series Jesus. “What’s always missing from the films of Jesus is that he was a human being.” Actor Jeremy Sisto, who played Jesus in the mini-series, agreed: “I tried to see him not as an icon,” he said, “but as someone who was more human.”

And so the mini-series showed Jesus in his carpentry shop talking with his family, on the Sea of Galilee speaking face to face with Peter, laughing with his friends, and so on. But in trying to make his point, the director overdid it. One critic described Young’s attempt “to convey a down-to-earth casual Jesus” as “a bit over the top.”

In one key scene, the critic says, “Jesus selects his apostles … [like] a schoolboy picking teammates for dodge ball.” Another critic adds, “Sisto’s Jesus is just one of the boys—a New Age, sensitive guy.”

That’s the problem with any one portrayal of Jesus, no matter how well it’s done. A TV series simply cannot do justice to the Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus we find in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. John, in fact, said that all the books in the world could not contain the life and teachings of Jesus. If he were writing today, he might have added, “And neither can any film.”

And it’s not just films that tend to present a narrow Jesus. Even some Christians do it. As author and speaker Tony Campolo put it, “Our society has taken Jesus and recreated him in our own cultural image.”

Campolo goes on to criticize what often is our American conception of Jesus—a white guy with a politically conservative agenda. As one popular philosopher put it, “Jesus was no conservative.” True. But neither was he a liberal. He was much more interesting than either.

That’s why nearly 2,000 years after he walked the Earth, people are still fascinated with him. He re mains the most intriguing figure in history.

 

Tough or Forgiving?

You just can’t pin Jesus down. When you think you’ve got him figured out, he goes off and surprises you.

This is the guy, for example, who handed out the toughest demands ever:

“You must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

“If a man looks at a woman with lust, he commits adultery.”

“Take up your cross and follow me.”

And so on. He’s the most uncompromising and stern religious teacher the world has ever known, right?

And yet he’s also the guy who did this:

He was walking along, minding his own business when a bunch of religious leaders brought out a frightened woman and threw her down in front of him.

“She’s committed adultery,” they said. “She should be killed—stoned to death!”

But Jesus just went down on one knee, started drawing in the dirt, and didn’t say a thing.

“Well, what do you say? Should we kill her?” they asked.

Jesus just said, “He who has committed no sin can cast the first stone.”

Well, this really baffled the crowd, which slowly dispersed. Jesus turned to the woman. He told her not to sin any more, but he also said, “I do not condemn you.”

So what is it: Is Jesus the stern, uncompromising moral teacher, or the compassionate friend of sinners?

Author Rebecca Manley Pippert writes, “In Jesus we have … the holiest man who ever lived, and yet it was the prostitutes and lepers and thieves who adored him.”

Wimp or What?

Then there’s Jesus the law-abiding citizen. Each Sabbath he attended synagogue worship. He taught people they should pay their taxes, even if the government was unjust. He told his disciples that if a Roman soldier ordered them, “Carry my equipment one mile,” they should carry it two.

But just when you think Jesus is a friend of the establishment, he goes off and breaks a Sabbath law (plucking grain, for example). We also find him mocking the local governor for being dishonest (calling him a “fox”), and, even worse, publicly attacking religious leaders, calling them hypocrites.

So is Jesus a social conservative or a political radical?

Or both?

How about Jesus the peacemaker? He’s the one who teaches, “If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer him the other” and “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword,” and “Love your enemies.”

But get this: One day he met a Roman centurion, an army officer who no doubt rose to the rank of centurion because he was pretty good at mowing down enemies with his sword. After talking with this military man for a few minutes, what does Jesus do? Does he tell him to put down his weapons? Does he tell him to retire from the army? No. He praises the guy, saying he has more faith than anyone he’s met.

So is Jesus for or against the military?

Or neither?

Human or God?

Here’s the best one. Like the director of Jesus said, Jesus was a man, a flesh-and-blood human being, one of us. We see this all over the Gospels. After preaching and ministering, he gets tired. Some times he needs to go off by himself. He gets irritated when his disciples don’t understand him. He tells jokes. He weeps when a good friend dies. He feels physical pain. In short, he acts like he’s human.

But there’s something else going on all the while. He gives sight to the blind. He calms fierce storms with a mere word. He feeds 5,000 people with a handful of food. He raises a man from the dead. Better, he raises himself from the dead! He goes around talking and acting as if he were God on earth.

So which is it: Is Jesus a man, or God?

He’s both.

Mystery writer Dorothy Sayers put it this way: In Jesus, “God has himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death.”

Go to the Gospels in the Bible

Movies (like Jesus or the older Jesus of Nazareth) and musicals (like Jesus Christ Superstar orGodspell), not to mention the hundreds of books on Jesus, are good as far as they go. But they can’t go all that far. At their best, they only present a few aspects of Jesus’ character. But that’s not enough, especially when you compare their Jesus to the Jesus that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record.

And once you get to know these Gospels, you’ll see how shallow some of the other portraits are. “The more you know about Christ,” said one famous preacher, “the less you will be satisfied with superficial views of him.”

If you’re tired or bored with the Jesus you’ve heard about, you’re probably not hearing about the Jesus in the Bible. If you want to discover the most fascinating and attractive—and yes, puzzling! —person ever, someone who’s kept the world intrigued for over 2,000 years, someone who could capture not only your imagination but your heart and your life, then you’ll want to crack open your New Testament and begin reading.

In the Gospels, you’ll find a great religious teacher and a compassionate lover of sinners, a man who strives for peace and one who’s tough on injustice, someone who understands us better than anyone and one who commands our loyalty—the greatest man who ever lived, the great God who came to us.

 

Mark Galli