Monday, June 09, 2008

God and ourselves known in Jesus

I dislike reading any book very long on God and his attributes unless it sooner than later mentions Jesus. For in Jesus is the revelation and glory of God, God's final word to us. We see God in Jesus. As Jesus said, "Whoever sees me, sees the Father." And all Scripture is fulfilled in Jesus. Do we want to know what God is like? Better yet, do we want to know God? Then we need to go to Jesus. Only then, will we know the true God.

This is the only reason I'm a Christian and would remain a Christian, as far as I can tell. And really it's true, period, for us all. For Christianity is Christ, Christ among us, and Christ in us by faith. And Jesus is the way to the Father, the truth and the life. We find our true identity, our true selves only in Jesus. He has become what we are to help us become what he is (also, here) and in that to find our true selves. For only in Jesus can we begin to recover all God created us to be, or better put, who God created us to be by this new creation in Jesus.

I get lost easily and quickly when I begin to lose sight of this. My real identity doesn't lie merely in myself, in simply finding myself. Why? Because I'm a lost sinner in a need of a savior. There is something wrong with me and left to myself that becomes evident in many ways. But in Jesus by God's grace I can begin to find my way to my true identity in him bringing me towards and into a right relationship with God, with myself, with others, and with God's good world and my place and role in it.

And we need to see all of Scripture and indeed, all of life more and more in Jesus. Because of Jesus and his redemptive work for us in his death and resurrection we have the Spirit to give us this resurrection life for the new humanity in Jesus. And we believe that Jesus is Lord by his ascension, even now, so that what we do now by faith can make an eternal difference in others' lives and somehow in creation, in Jesus. And we look forward to Jesus' return when all will finally come together in God's world in perfect harmony and God's will will totally be done on earth as it is in heaven, the two becoming one in Jesus.

So I find meaning for all I am and do in Jesus. Apart from that I am scraping at the bottom of an empty barrel, lost and knowing it. But in Jesus I know that all I am and do does matter, as insignificant as so much of it may seem at this time.

What would you like to share about what "in Jesus" means in your faith and life?

13 comments:

Anders said...

Hello! I found your website. My name is Anders Branderud and I am from Sweden.
I would just like to write some words.

Who was the historical J*esus?

What did he practice? Did he practice Christian doctrines or did he practice Judaism?

I am a follower of Ribi Yehoshua – Mashiakh – who practiced Torah including Halakhah with all his heart.
He was born in Betlehem 7 B.C.E . His faher name was Yoseiph and mother’s name was Mir′ yâm. He had twelve followers. He tought in the Jewish batei-haknesset (synagogues). Thousands of Jews were interested in His Torah-teachings. Some Jews who didn’t practice Judaism where threatened. They decided to crucify him. So they did - together with the Romans. His followers were called Netzarim (meaning offshoots [of a olive tree]) and they continued to pray with the other Jews in the synagogues.

Christianity does not teach the teachings of Ribi Yehoshua. Ribi Yehoshuas teachings were pro-Torah; Christianity is anti-Torah.

If you want to learn more click at our website www.netzarim.co.il -- than click at the lick "Christians"

Hasheim – the Creator of the universe – loves you. If you want to have a relation with Him you need to follow His Torah non-selectively.

Be blessed when you practice Hasheims Torah and His mitzwot!

Anders Branderud
Follower of Ribi Yehoshua in Orthodox Judaism

Kim said...

Hi Ted,

Anders comment parallels something that I was thinking that I believe the emergent church might ask. "Which Jesus are you talking about?"

I was speaking to my son's girlfriend once and after a long conversation about Jesus, she came back and asked, "All of that would presume that you believe that the Bible is the true and inerrant Word of God, right?" I was a little stunned, and answered, "Well, yes it does..."

I took her point to mean that neither she nor many of her Biola University colleagues were so inclined to believe.

We are living in some strange times, theologically. I guess the questions stands..."Which Jesus?"

NaNcY said...

i love Jesus.

i was in a gathering of believers on sunday. the speaker was talking about sitting at the feet of Jesus. that is what people did to be near and hear what He had to say. the speaker also pondered what it would be like to sit at the feet of Jesus. and i thought...hum, yes..hum, wait! i can sit at the feet of Jesus, like duh!, He is with me!

that is so awesome to me.

Rachel Mc said...

Anders coment has really confused me...I have seen Jesus' name written as Yehoshua (In The Passion of The Christ). So, aren't we all talking about the same savior?
Of course Jesus practiced and taught the Torah, but he fulfilled the Torah, right? Personally, I believe Jesus is the Son of God and I get great comfort in the fact that God loved (does love) me and everyone so much He sent His Son to Earth for us. I am finding my tru identity in Jesus, and it is as His follower. Sometimes I wonder how so many people on Earth can be so confused about God and Jesus and salvation..whenever I watch news on the MiddleEast I have to shake my head and wonder.
What happens here and now does have eternal consequences and that is enough to scare me into sleepless nights. I just don't understand why people just don't get it, especially in this internet age where information is at your finger tips.

preacherman said...

I am so thankful for the relationship I have with God and his Son Jesus Christ. It is wonderful to see how God still works in the lives of people. Ted, thanks for this great post.
Keep it up brother.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Anders,
To your question, "Who was the historical Jesus?" you need to turn to the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is historical, of course, and theological in each gospel presenting Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God, Savior of the world.

The apostle John makes it clear that whoever denies that Jesus has come in the flesh is under the influence of the spirit of the antichrist. (Also, here.) That is John, not Paul, John, an apostle and early disciple of Jesus, our Lord. Exactly what John meant is clear here.

Scripture makes it clear that Peter and James both received Paul as an apostle and equal in proclaiming the kingdom of God come in Jesus (see Acts, Galatians, 2 Peter). An important passage that refutes the teaching of the group you are defending is found in Acts 15 in which both Peter and James side with Paul against the Judaizers, who were insisting that people who believed in Jesus had to be circumcised in obedience to the covenant given to Moses, to be saved. This is soundly refuted in this chapter alone.

The New Testament is clearly one of the most attested documents that has ever been written, with early witnesses to it, and those early witnesses citing variant writings, which points towards its clearly early writing. And likely much of it was written before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Anders, The teaching you're following is plainly denying the entire New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation. Jesus' teaching troubled the Pharisees of his day, as well as other Jews and the entire world, actually.

Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He died for our sins and was raised on the third day, ascended to the right hand of God and is returning again. Scripture's witness is that Jesus is God and human, just as Scripture itself is of God and of human beings, at the same time. Jesus' death frees all who put their faith in him from the curse of the law. And Jesus brings in a new covenant by his blood. Only Jews and Gentiles who put their faih in this Jesus as their Messiah and Lord are recipients of this new covenant of grace, which is not based on Torah adherence- the old covenant, nor on personal works, but only on God's grace in Jesus. Which we enter into and remain, by faith. Of course in Jesus and by the Spirit we fulfill the requirements of the Torah, as Paul says in Romans 8.

Anders, I'm sorry you're in this false system, and I say this sadly, but with fear and concern. You need to read through the New Testament for yourself and ask God to bring you to the true Jesus. For the one the group teaches, is not the real Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 10-13). Ask questions. Remember, Jesus is the way to the Father, not some system or method which claims to deliver that!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Kim,
Yes, there will always be those people who question Scripture as God's word, and question the Jesus who is revealed in it. That should never suprise us, of course.

A book I found helpful in looking at Jesus in his times is The Challenge of Jesus, by N.T. Wright. That book did revolutionize my theology some 7 or 8 years ago. So looking seriously at the historical Jesus as a man of his times, certainly has its place, I believe.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, Nancy. We need to be endeavoring to do that by the Spirit and the word and in community as well as by ourselves. Truly seeking to be his apprentices.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Rachel,
Yes, that way of pronouncing Jesus' name is Aramaic or Hebrew. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

But unfortunately they deny the Jesus we worship and follow.

It is a spiritual battle, as no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). Nothing less than that, here.

Thanks to you, and to Nancy as well, for your testimonies to Jesus and the truth found in Jesus.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman,
Thanks for your testimony, and amen, brother!

Ted M. Gossard said...

And thanks, Preacherman (Kinney).

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Interesting - I guess I don't think about it in the same terms you do - I think I don't have as good a concept of Christ as God as you do.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Susan,
Your comment is most interesting to me because I don't think I have a leg up on you at all when it comes to seeing Jesus as God and human. Of course God revealed in Jesus is Father, Son and Spirit. Jesus is the Son and in union with the Father and the Spirit as we see in reading the gospel of John.

I think Jesus is so much more radically human even now as glorified, but the most human person who ever has lived or ever will live. Our full humanity is restored in him.

And Jesus is God, deserving of our worship and faith. And the Father and the Spirit are in the same breath with him as at the end of Matthew's gospel and at the end of 2 Corinthians.

I know most certainly that you know this, and I'm confident I'd learn a thing or two from you about this.

Maybe the point I'm trying to make from 2 Corinthians passage cited in the posting is that we best know God in a fully human face, the face of Jesus. I learned that through reading N.T. Wright, I think, but it's verified in Scripture, I believe.

And it certainly is not to say we understand God now, because mystery remains, but that we best understand and see him, in seeing Jesus- by faith.

Images were insisted on in Jesus' time; God's answer: his image is Jesus himself. Jesus is the image of God. (from my recent reading of Ben Witherington III on Colossians)