I started Credo Fridays with the center of what I believe. God, part one, was how Jesus is my best understanding of God. The God who looks like Jesus, is the God I worship, the God I tell others about, the God who is the center of my heart, mind, soul and strength.
The obvious question, it seems to me in 2019, with a multitude of people who claim to follow Jesus, in an age where everyone is trying to appropriate Jesus for their own cause, who insist that Jesus is on their side, and to whom politicians attempt to favorably compare themselves or other politicians is…which Jesus?
The Jesus I believe in springs out of the prophetic tradition of the Jewish people. Jesus exists within a story and a context from which he cannot be separated and still be called authentic.
The Jesus I believe in is 100% man. Regardless of his parentage, the good news is that Jesus is as human as you are. As I am. There is no good news if Jesus isn’t every bit as human as you and me.
The Jesus I believe is part of a story and I have to know that story to understand the world and all its component parts. I have to know that story in order to hear the music to which I’m contributing. I have to know that story or I won’t be able to understand the myself or what I’m doing here. The Jesus I believe in is the key to understanding the whole book we call the Bible.
The Jesus I believe in unco-optable. He’s the same God who, in response to conquesting Joshua’s question, “Whose side are you on?” Always answers, “My side.” He doesn’t dance for me, cry for me or perform magic tricks on demand. He doesn’t help my team beat the other team. He doesn’t favor my human, political party over the others. He doesn’t make trouble bypass my life to dump it out on someone else. He doesn’t send hurricanes to punish people for misbehaving. Jesus doesn’t favor my church over another. He doesn’t join me but I am invited to join him. He is NEVER aligned with a human political party (did I say that already?).
The Jesus I believe in disarmed the Powers by powerlessness. He came in peace and the way the kingdom comes is the kingdom that’s coming. He builds a peaceable kingdom and conquers exclusively by love and never by violence or even the threat of violence or any kind of coercion.
The Jesus I believe in chose an embezzler to manage his finances, elevated the status of women by inclusion, embraced outcasts and practiced table fellowship with the sexually immoral (and all the other ‘wrong kinds of people’), who confronted self-righteous leaders and congratulated the astute sinful people for their theological insights, who forgave and forgave, and he would never make it as a mega-church pastor (or even a mini-church pastor) today in North America.
The Jesus I believe in was far too inclusive for our conservative authorities today and far too demanding and confrontational for our liberal gurus.
The Jesus I believe in can be found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts and be understood by everyone, from brilliant academics to those with no formal education. Knowing him, however, will require an investment of your entire lifetime.
The Jesus I believe in did not authorize any humans to be God’s final word on a subject and he never will. There’s a window we all can see through but only darkly for now. The Jesus I believe in looks for humility, not commanders; he blesses allegiance (of which we only get to pledge once) and he invites us to share dialog not diatribes.
As Dr. Lockridge famously said, “I wish I could describe Him to you. But He’s indescribable. Yes. He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible, He’s irresistible. I’m trying to tell you, the Heavens cannot contain Him, let alone a man explain Him.” My description above is provided, not as a comprehensive or exhaustive description but with just enough details to distinguish the Jesus I believe in from the rest of the current cast.
My conviction is this – the Jesus I believe in is the one under whose influence I live…beyond that is just wish making or playing pretend.
“I believe what I believe it’s what makes me what I am / I did not make it no it is making me…” ― Rich Mullins