Column: Throwing the Book at Jesus
For countless years innumerable scholars with immeasurably more Bible savvy than I possess have made the case for and against Who, exactly, Jesus says He is.
Christian doctrine is that Jesus of Nazareth, the fully-human child conceived in the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, is the Messiah Christ, the fully-divine eternal son of God. It’s easy to piece that together from the first chapters of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, who go into some detail about the birth, person, and divinity of Jesus.
The Gospels of Mark and John say nothing about the birth story. Mark opens with the adult Jesus beginning His ministry. John’s Gospel begins by clearly describing the Cosmic, eternal, heaven-stretching, Covenant re-writing magnitude of the human incarnation (worldly birth) of the eternal Word of God – Jesus Christ.
And yet, there are those who will dismiss the Bible as just an old book of stories about a mythic teacher spouting outdated, non-intellectual moral lessons; that the whole Jesus “thing” is just one of many fairy tales clung to by naïve people refusing to face the reality of an impossibly pointless, unfair, fallen world.
Honestly, I’ve always been more optimistic than “pointless and unfair,” but before coming to Christ in 2001 and years of study since, hanging absolute “truth” within the context of Jesus Christ and the Bible made no sense to me. I’d point to little nuggets of “intellectual” insight about the Bible’s inconsistencies. One of my favorites is, “Jesus never says He is the Son of God.” HA! That proves the Bible is wrong.
No … it proves I wasn’t expending the intellectual energy necessary to investigate what the Bible truly is and what the Bible truly says.
The Bible is, without argument, the most “proven” ancient book in existence. Folks love to deny its inspiration, malign its authenticity, diminish its authority, ridicule its practicality and creatively misread even its most plainly clear information. But better not say the Bible lacks an immaculate historical pedigree.
As for what the Bible says, understand it as God’s story, not ours. When we think it is all about us, we start on the wrong foot, go in the wrong direction, and get lost in the wrong lessons.
True, Jesus never says, “I am the Son of God here to die for your salvation.” But the Old Testament prophets tell us all we need to know about Him, and Jesus repeatedly agrees with those who ask if He is the Messiah (e.g. Matthew 27:11, Mark 14:62, Luke 23:3, John 18:37). Most of the time Jesus answers, “I am.”
And that agrees with the Old Testament. Exactly.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) figures Jesus shouldn’t have to tell us Who He is.