“The worst mistake you can ever make is to mistake the identity of Jesus Christ.” For more than 2000 years, Jesus has been a controversial figure. Even when he walked on earth in flesh, He was still a subject of intrigue. Who is this Jesus? Many asked that question then, and to date, we still ask. And some answers that are given in this century are:
- He was a prophet
- The only human who died on a cross and rose from the dead
- He was just another man who walked on earth (what’s the big deal?)
- The blue-eyed man whom Christians worship and hang on their walls
- The name we end our prayers in
- He was a wise chap who liked telling stories
- The man who performed miracles, the first being turning water into wine
- The guy who makes us have a long holiday on December
With these answers having with them some degree of truth in it, it is a shame that we are all quick to give suggestions of who we think Jesus is and not for a moment stop and listen to who He said he was. Nothing irks me like New Age religion (story for another day) and the picture of a pale, blue-eyed man with his hair touching his shoulders, which many believe was the spitting image of Jesus (this to me is the biggest lie in history, well besides the claim that Neil Armstrong visited the moon). And although I am a strong believer in critiquing everything, God allows questions, and He provide answers.
Image source: kingsmenmedia.com
Is Jesus white?
No. Is he black then? Who cares anyway? To the Whites, he is white, to the Blacks He is black, to the Jews, He is a Jew and to the Rastas, He has dreadlocks. In short, whatever you define yourself as, Jesus fits perfectly in that shallow box you lock yourself into, but at the same time Jesus cannot be constricted in a box of colour, race, tribe or physical appearance. In a deeper sense, Jesus is hope to the hopeless, to the weak, He is their strength, to the fearful, He is their confidence, to the addicts, He is their next score… get the drill? So now you can place whatever adjective you are short of and let Christ fill in for you.
So then who is Jesus?
Actually Jesus is not his ‘official’ name so to speak. In fact His real name is Yeshua, but thanks to English translation, Jesus came about. Whatever the case, He still remains the same. According to Him, He is;
- The Christ/Messiah– The chosen one sent to deliver mankind, as you call out His name by which when you call out, you will be saved
- Rock of Ages– It’s not a geology lesson, but Jesus is eternal. Forever.
- God man– “Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form…”(Philippians 2:7)
So is Jesus God?
The Holy Bible numerously refers Jesus as the Son of God, the Christ, and the Messiah while He was on earth. But there are some scriptures that note that Jesus is in fact God. The truth is that God manifests himself in three forms, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. So yes, Jesus is God. The “Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and at the same time, “the Word was with God” (John 1), a classic case of being omnipresent- a core characteristic of God. But how then can God become human and walk on earth? Well, hello, He is God, He is Sovereign and not limited. In the Old Testament, God changed His form into fire (Moses and the burning bush), a cloud when the Israelites were crossing the Desert, so why then do you find it impossible for Him to walk on earth as human?
Using logic, you may be an individual who is a parent, a spouse, and an employee. And in all these three different roles, you behave differently. But does that mean it is not you anymore? No, you still retain your identity. I think those with a split personality understand this too well. H2O is also water, ice and steam in different forms. Anyway, just like you still remain you even after putting on different roles and deeds, God remains the same, whether as Jesus, or as the Holy Spirit.
If Jesus is God, why was He born?
Ideally, people would prefer if Jesus dropped down from heaven and fly like Superman ‘instead of being born in a manger. But because God tries as much as possible to relate to us in reality, He uses things that we are familiar with to show us His power. So, in order for us to relate to Him as Jesus, He had to humanize Himself, as before Abraham, He already existed (John 8:58). But He had to be flesh and blood like us. He had to talk, eat, sleep, shower, attend events, be tempted by the devil, feel, pray and die- just like we do. (Well isn’t God a good director?). Although He was not conceived like we were, committed no sin, overcame Satan’s temptations, and resurrected (and not reincarnate) from the dead- this was proof that He has power over everything, even death.
So who should we pray to?
With all these three different forms, their role is unique but complement each other. And because God is a God of order, 1 Cor 14:33 (no wonder He didn’t make the Universe in one day), there is a certain order He goes about His stuff, and He too expects us to be follow suit, even in how we approach Him. Here is how I like to think of the three forms as:
Before mankind fell in the garden of Eden, humans had direct access to God and we could talk to him directly. However, when our predecessors sinned, man fell, and death came about. We could not face God anymore, because He is Holy. Thus, because of sin, “our deeds of righteousness are like filthy rugs before God” Isaiah 64:4, but when we go through Jesus only who died for our sins, we are made us Children of God once again and can approach God. Although we shall still experience the physical death, Jesus rescued us from Spiritual death and those that receive Him will never perish- their spirit is eternal. In fact, we will be above the Angels in the spiritual realm status once Christ returns.
Anyway, back to my point- Jesus is the to-go guy whenever we want to place our requests and petitions before God. We are saved through Him and whatever needs and complaints we have, we present them to God through Him, and that’s why we pray in Jesus’s name. We don’t need to pray out loud, facing a certain direction or touching and wearing an object for our prayers to be heard, all we need is to go through Jesus, ‘the way and truth and the life’ (John 14:6). Although in the next life we shall approach God directly, let’s for now, us mere humans follow the order.
Holy Spirit- Counselor
Sometimes our lives, just like our minds get out of control and we choose to visit a therapist or seek some advice. In the same manner, when we don’t know how to pray, what to pray for, where our destiny lies, what we should be doing and we just need some direction, the Holy Spirit is there to guide us. It gives us peace, whispers to us solutions and prays for us when we lack the words in the most effective language that addresses our needs. It digs deep into our being, excavating our buried thoughts, desires, taking it before God or sometimes warning us, by holding up a mirror before us, opening ourselves to ourselves. Most people acknowledge their conscience or intuition, but never the Holy Spirit. There is a thin line between the two. And because we are made in the image of God, God’s Spirit lives in us, the Holy Spirit- but can flee if you chase it away, and come back if you summon it, by giving your life to Jesus by believing in your heart, and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, Romans 10:9, and asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Nothing complicated.
Truth be told, sometimes the Bible can be confusing for us limited humans to grasp the knowledge of God. But because God gave His word to us, the Holy Spirit aids us in interpreting the word of God. Everyone can read the Bible, but for some, this act leads them astray from God. Why? They interpret it using their limited minds. They take their beliefs and twist the scripture to align theirs instead of using the scripture as a foundation to formulate their beliefs.
Take for instance the case of the racist bigots who used the scriptures to enslave black people, wrongly interpreting and quoting that ‘a slave should obey the master.’ Yet in fact the only Master is God. Or the mostly visited Scripture, ‘Jesus turned water in to wine’ to justify alcohol consumption while in fact the Greek word for wine is ‘oinos’ and didn’t necessarily mean a fermented drink, as ‘oinos’ was used interchangeably to mean juice, especially grape juice, vinegar and actual wine. Even minor factors such as dressing where some people point out especially to women how they should dress as if the Bible is a fashion handbook. Film makers now are very notorious of taking bits of Scripture, twisting the doctrine and making fictional characters seem like God, while most in their themes dismiss or ridicule God, without knowing that ‘God cannot be mocked’, Galatians 6:7. People have even gone the lengths of rewriting the Bible to suit their lifestyle, as I understand there is a Gay Bible, when the truth of the matter is that the Bible is for everyone, as we are all made in His image and should desire to be Christ-like, regardless of what we are struggling with.
In fact, without interpretations aided by the Holy Spirit, we can find the Bible boring, a book of fiction, make us angry towards God, doubt God and despise all teachings or twist it for our own lives. Although we shall never understand everything because His ‘thoughts are higher than our thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:9), knowing the basics is a good starting point in the quest for the Truth. And the Bible being the only life-giving book, a source of enlightenment, discoveries, prophecies and provides answers to all life’s phenomena is a good reference point.
God, His other names, YHWH, Elohim (God the Son), El Shaddai ( God Almighty), Adonai (The Lord), JAH (Psalms 68:4, KJV), takes the petitions we have made and does us good and manifests His good will and promises in our lives. Nowadays, the term God is ambiguous and can refer to just about anything and everything, like trees, the universe, a human being, the sun, love, an animal and even ourselves, with some thinking we are our own God. While in fact God is one, manifesting himself in creation and in us (Romans 1: 20), there only remains one God, ‘I AM WHO I AM’ whom ‘all things were created by Him, and For Him’ (Colossians 1:16).
So, in short, we pray to God, approaching Him in His different roles, but acknowledging that He is still one. Mind blowing, right? Whatever the case, when Jesus tells you who He is, believe Him. “I and the Father are one” John 10:30.
Have a great Easter! And remember that Jesus died for YOU (yes you) and I so we can have forgiveness of sins & New Life. May He raise in your heart just like He rose from the dead.