I am wrapped in the mystery that is Jesus Christ, because although many things are known about this god-man’s life, about his being here, and about his saving grace, he is ever-more than what I have been able to understand… more than what I could ever imagine.
To some, he is a good man. A teacher of wisdom. To others he was radical, brash even, someone who was shaking the system too much. Many called him a prophet, and few dared to call him King. But he was nothing short of phenominal, not because he shook the system, but because he shook the entire world, where now, 2000 years later, millions upon millions profess his teachings, his love, and yes, his divinity. But to talk about who he was, is a fallacy, because it is not as if he has ceased to be, rather, he is. Jesus is now, will be, and shall forever be because he is not merely a man. He is God… but not simply God (if one could make sense of what I’m trying to say).
To say God-Man… I feel that it doesn’t do justice to him. It’s almost like touting the names of greek heroes like Perseus or Heracles… It seems finite in nature, a statement aired in the language of our mortality. Rather, Jesus Christ is God who became man. And this, is of terrible importance. Jesus is the everlasting, the eternal God reaching down to us. Because when we said “Save us,” when we said “hear us,” and we confessed that we couldn’t understand the divine, that we could not do it on our own – that blessed, most glorious heart… that love which can scarcely be uttered… listened. God listened to me, and to you. To our forefathers who cried out in the darkness. He heard the entire world, and he did not stand idly.
Instead, he brought himself to us, and what a loving sign that should be! That he would come, and love us, embrace us and teach us what his heart is, and what his will it. How surprising it is to know that the plan was “Love” all along. But the fascinating thing is, he didn’t stop there, and with a wisdom, a justice, a mercy…. a mind I could never really understand, he righted our wrongs.In a most humble way God, in the person of Jesus Christ became frail as we are, to show us the strength that we have – in the almighty. And then, in a demonstration of perfection – perfection misunderstood through eons, he gave his very life, sacrificed himself to fix us.
When I think about all that Jesus has done. I’m blown away… and I’m broken… ashamed even. Because I take it for granted. I constantly judge, and I call Christ out… and while one day, I hail him my commander and chief, the other I curse him. I realize the gravity of what I’m saying and I know that it isn’t a commentary on Him, but rather it’s a commentary on me… and maybe, if you can relate, it’s a commentary on us. And how screwed up we can be about this relationship. I find it shameful, and difficult in many ways to explain how I could at times be of two minds with the idea of God. But to understand what I’ve experienced, you must also understand that Jesus Christ didn’t just give of himself, but he asked of us certain things too.
You see we often look at the historical documents that reveal Christ to us, our primary source of course, being the bible. And when we look at that, we see it through our eyes now, with the added benefit of two millennia’s worth of hindsight. Often, we imagine a non-imposing calm Jesus who would let things slide. But if I’m honest Jesus would have frightened me because he was intense… everything about him was passionate, and his countenance… his eyes pierced the people around him. He said the boldest of thing: “I am the Truth, the way and the Light.” He said “I am the living water.” His power was so much that when the sea rose hungry for the lives of men, he had to but utter “Peace” and she was still again.
This man, who raises the dead, and heals the sick is the same man who challenges us. Be different. “Love the lord your god.” “Be Perfect as your father in heaven is.” He teaches us to take care of our widows, to love our children, to attend to the poor. He challenges us to be as he was…
… and he promises us everlasting life.
I think that’s the part I got wrong… perhaps, the source of mind dual-mindedness… Now I don’t mean to say that he doesn’t promise us that. Indeed, like many of you, I truly believe in that promise. But I constantly forget the difference between now and eternity – between the tasks set out for me now, and the promises set out for me in the future
I’ll try to explain – Those who know me well, know that in the past… and I guess even now, I’ve given up a lot of my time volunteering, in a small variety of different groups. Sometimes, it’s teens, kids, sometimes it’s people our age… I’m here today, to do that. Those who know me better, know that what time I have left between work, volunteering, and school in the past, was left to give personally to different people… one on one… friend to friend… just trying to love and be Jesus to the world.
But in the years of doing that, I constantly shut myself off. The road wasn’t two ways, and I confess that many a time I cut off God, my lifeline… even if it was him that I was working for – because deep within me, I didn’t really understand Jesus’ “Love” plan.
Somewhere along the line, through a seemingly endless series of misunderstood misfortunes, I began to believe that I was entitled to a certain a kind of happiness – That my Master “owed me one.” I wanted just one thing, maybe a few things… here and now, and that consumed me. I lost sight of the promise, the everlasting life. I lost sight of the goal, and the purpose. I lost sight of god.
It got bad. I got tired. I gave up. Bit by bit, I lost myself to the work of Jesus, instead of losing myself to him. I grew resentful, because of all the energy I was expending… versus the perceived lack of return from God. I came to a point where I no longer believed I was a person, and I mean that in a most serious way. I became a “good” machine. A tool. And that’s all I saw in myself. I robbed myself of my own emotions, my capacity to internalize the things that we often take for granted about our humanity, until finally… after a long series of poor decisions… I poured the very last bit of person-hood I had into someone, instead of giving it to God.
It is difficult to explain, in the context of our most fortunate way of life, the desire to escape it, and to leave the world of the living behind. Like Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, I was torn desiring to part and be with Christ, knowing all the while, that to live was the true intent of God. It’s even more difficult to explain how such a knowledge had become a great torture chipping away at the last spark of life I had in me.
My soul-less-ness was years in the making, but through all that time, Jesus stood by my side, and I knew it. And like any good Commander, he fed me even if I would not eat. He showed me, through his church, and through the people around me what his love means. And he impressed unto me, despite my constant resistance, until I could no longer ignore the concept that perhaps, I was a subject of love, and not just a tool of it. Jesus showed me that Love is much bigger than what I can do, and that I had to partake in it. I remember reading through Marcus Aurelius who surmised that a man could not expect of himself what was not natural. I couldn’t love the world without wanting it back, and I realized that even God almighty loves the world, with the desire that we will love him too.
It’s still in the works now, and understanding person-hood (which I had long abandoned) is a troublesome affair for me at times. After all, even slaves can get used to being less than what they really are. And though I shy away from internalizing love, I know that God is calling me to it, to understand it, so that I might actually be more like him, in service and in enjoyment of life. So, just as I have been challenged to understand this plan of God, so too I challenge you to let Jesus love you first, so that you can go on to love him and the rest of the world.