Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Who is Jesus?

For this week leading up to Easter Sunday, I'm setting aside the usual faith/work, gospel centered cultural engagement theme to focus on a person - Jesus Christ.

We live in an increasingly, pluralistic, multi-cultural society with religious diversity. And, I happen to believe it's a good thing that we should welcome and embrace.


However, in a pluralistic environment, it's vital for the foundational distinctives of our faith to be clear. For the Christian faith, that starts with the person and work of Jesus Christ. Here is a passage from Hebrews that speaks to who he is.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

If you want to know what God is like, the writer of Hebrews would say - "look to Jesus". This verse reminds me that in God's wisdom, he has chosen to definitively reveal himself to us through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the "exact imprint" of God. This vast universe we live in was created for him, through him and upheld by him.

In reference to this verse, an excerpt from the book, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Jesus Christ, the Person, never had a beginning. He is absolute Reality. He has the unparalleled honor and unique glory of being there first and always. He never came into being. He was eternally begotten. The Father has eternally enjoyed "the radiance of His glory and exact representation of His nature" (Hebrews 1:3) in the Person of his Son...To feast on this forever is the aim of our being created and our being redeemed.


Artwork copyright JR Bell (Used with permission)




9 comments:

Ted Gossard said...

Andre, Great post. And I like the freshness of the way Hebrews 1:1-3 is translated, more in a stately manner (NRSV?). The imprint way of looking at it I like as well.

Our focus needs to be on Christ for many reasons. And Christ as he is revealed in Scripture.

This is even more critical for us in this pluralistic culture. The opportunity is there, but the danger of drifting and losing out in this culture is also present.

Thanks.

andre said...

Ted,

Thanks for your comment. It's ESV (English Standard Version) - I'm not surprise you guessed NRSV because I think it was based on the RSV translation work.

It's the primary translation I use now with NIV being secondary since my kids are still on it.

Ted Gossard said...

Yes, I have an ESV. They updated it since (a revision). I like it in what you quoted, and I know NRSV uses "imprint" there as well.

L.L. Barkat said...

To know God, look to Jesus...

This is why it is especially good to reread the gospels on a regular basis... of course, Jesus shows up all over the rest of the bible too, but it takes a deeper understanding to see that.

HALFMOM said...

It is funny to think of "setting aside" your normal focus on Christianity in the work place this week to focus on just who Christ is - because I work for a Jesuit institution (hey, it's just where God sent me - my own personal mission field).

It is a week for me that further emphasizes to me that my faith and my work indeed must be meshed together to bring the reality of Chirst there. It is the reality of salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, in the atoning blood alone and not of works - the true reality of Christ, that I desire to bring to my workplace.

andre said...

LL,

It's interesting you say that. I try and make sure I circle back to read the gospels periodically.

Here's another thing - my pastors have been preaching through Mark recently and one takeaway is a tip on how to read the gospels. Read the gospels looking for the glory of Jesus Christ. It seems elementary but so often I read the gospels, first looking to see who I would identify with or how I might apply a point. Instead, I've tried to read with this perspective - reading with a primary view to be amazed by Jesus Christ....after all, the good news is about him.

andre said...

HalfMom

I love your grace centric perspective on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I guess if it wasn't grace centered, it wouldn't really be good news, would it? ;-)

Thanks for being a light at your workplace.

Mark Goodyear said...

Great post, Andre! I go back to what Peter said to the council in Jerusalem in Acts 4:

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

That's the verse I come back to whenever I am challenged by people to accept all religions as different paths to the same God.

As far as I know, other religious leaders claimed to know the way. Jesus never claimed that. He said, "I am the way."

Also, I believe the NRSV was translated with a lot of help from J. I. Packer. He's a favorite of ours down here in Texas, so we use that translation quite a bit. I'm an NIV man, myself.

Every Square Inch said...

Mark

Great hearing from you, my friend. I trust you had a wonderful Easter Sunday.