The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That’s why Jesus’ question to his disciples is so important: “Who do you say that I am?”
The question is doubly crucial in our day because not every Jesus is the real Jesus. Almost no one is as popular in this country as Jesus. Hardly anyone would dare to say a bad word about him. Just look at what a super-fly friendly dude he is over there. But how many people know the real Jesus?
- There’s the Republican Jesus who is against tax increases and activists judges, for family values and owning firearms.
- There’s Democrat Jesus who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.
- There’s Therapist Jesus who helps us cope with life’s problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.
- There’s Starbucks Jesus who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid and goes to film festivals.
- There’s Open-minded Jesus who loves everyone all the time no matter what, except for people who are not as open-minded as you.
- There’s Touchdown Jesus who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
- There’s Martyr Jesus, a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him
- There’s Gentle Jesus who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash and looks very German.
- There’s Hippie Jesus who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagine a world without religion, and helps us remember all you need is love.
- There’s Yuppie Jesus who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.
- There’s Spirituality Jesus who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine; and would rather have people out in nature, finding the god within and listening to ambiguously spiritual musical.
- There’s Platitude Jesus, good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons; he inspires people to believe in themselves, and lifts us up so we can walk on mountains.
- There’s Revolutionary Jesus who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on the “system.”
- There’s Guru Jesus, a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.
- There’s Boyfriend Jesus who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.
- There’s Good Example Jesus who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.
And then there’s Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham’s chosen seed, the one to deliver us from captivity, the goal of the Mosaic law, Yahweh in the flesh, the one to establish God’s reign and rule, the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim good news to the poor, the lamb of God come to take away the sins of the world.
This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a new creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the serpent, the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood, the Christ promised to Abraham, the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites, the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died, the Christ promised to David when he was king, the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a suffering servant, the Christ predicted through the prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.
This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father’s Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins–more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.
(What proceeded is adapted from the end of the talk on the “Life of Christ” that Kevin DeYoung gave at the Next 2009 Conference)
HT: Kevin DeYoung