4 Jesus: Keep the Christ in Christianity

What Do You See?

Again Jesus is asking—and this time, He’s asking us—“But what about you? Who do you say I am?”

It’s time for us to be honest. When we look at the simple word picture of Jesus painted for us in the gospels, what do each of us personally see? Do we look at the lines and see only a “vase” (an inanimate, though perhaps beautiful, thing), or have we looked beyond the lines and seen the “faces” (a relationship)? No one is going to tell you, “You have a revelation of Christ” or “You don’t have one.” But do be honest with yourself. By being honest we have nothing to lose—and potentially everything to gain.

Who is Jesus to you?

Is He a figure from history for you to think about, or is He a living presence and reality in your daily existence?

Is He a compilation of stories and doctrines, or is He a Person?

Is He locked up between AD 30 and 33 in your awareness, or is He free to control your present moment?

Is He only someone to remember as you take the Lord’s Supper, or is He also someone whose body you discern and whose fellowship you enjoy as He eats and drinks with you?

Are His words something you chew on, or something you swallow and feed on?

Is He located in a distant heaven off beyond Alpha Centauri, or is He someone in whom you “live and move and have your being”?

When you are tempted, do you just try harder, or can you approach His throne of grace with confidence in your time of need? And if you sin, have you broken His rules—or His heart?

You have the teachings of Christ; do you also have the mind of Christ?

Is He merely a theological abstraction, or is He the Messiah, the Son of the Living God?

Let’s try to give an honest answer to these questions, even if it isn’t the right answer. Pretending won’t solve any of our problems, will it? It’s the poor in spirit, the hungry and thirsty ones, who receive the kingdom and get fed.

All of us who read these words will be at different stages of our journey. Hopefully most of us have had an initial seeing of Jesus. We have a genuine awareness of Him as Savior and Lord. If that really isn’t the case for you, don’t despair! Seek Him. He created you and set you in the time and place you now occupy so that just maybe you would reach out and find Him. He’s not really that far away! (Acts 17:26-28) You don’t have to prove or earn anything. You need only reach out for the real Jesus. He’s already reaching out for you!

For those of us who have seen Jesus as Savior: Let’s not be satisfied to stay on whatever plateau we may find ourselves on. Let’s press on deeper into the knowledge of Him! Have the heart of Paul: “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:10-14)

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