Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Messiah, King of Kings. A ray of heaven`s light sent as a guide to humanity. As we come now to the conclusion of this series on the character of God there is no more fitting a final destination than Jesus. Why? He was the greatest gift from God that the human soul could ever hope for. The answer to a cry in the night, a voice wondering in anguish “Where is God?” Jesus is God, Yahweh, the great I AM, come to the earth in the flesh to take our place as penance for the deepest sins of mankind. The Gospels of the New Testament, written by those who knew Him during His mission on Earth, testify to this miraculous event in four accounts so that it would never be lost to the sands of time. This living memory has flourished to this day, opening eyes and setting hearts ablaze in a new relationship with a God of intimate feeling and personality.
The early life of the Lord set into motion the opportunity we now have to study what God`s character would be like if He stood among us. The Apostle John tells us: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” (John 1:1). He then goes on to say: “…The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came down from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The name Jesus, Yeshua or Yehoshua in the original Hebrew and Aramaic, roughly translates to “Yahweh saves”. Though it was a common name at the time, it, along with the title Emmanuel or “God with us”, carried the essence of who and what Christ was and intended to accomplish. His birth in the small town of Bethlehem was also heralded by companies of holy angels singing of glory to God and “good will toward men”, a royal entrance fit for a King. (Luke 2:13-14) He came up as one of us, learning obedience to His parents as a child and growing in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:48-52)
As Jesus matured and began His ministry around the age of 30 years old, He emerged as One fully displaying the personality of God. He was humble and meek, the latter word not fitting the secular world`s definition. Meek, praus in Greek, did not mean weakness but rather a controlled strength, power under the Lord`s guidance in this case. One of the greatest examples of this was when Jesus saw John the Baptist preaching about repentance by the riverside. Though scripture has already shown us that He is God in the flesh, the One who has spoken stars into radiant life, Christ humbled Himself and asked for John to baptize Him as well. Amazed and fearful, the prophet was aware of the gravity of this situation:
” But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
This humility continued on in His life and during the time of the Jewish feast of Passover, the Apostle John states: “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:3-5)
Yet, He is also Holy, and the thing that often separates us from the Lord is sin; the force that is in direct opposition to God`s will. This can bring about a righteous anger in Him and so was manifested in Jesus as well. Ironically, it was not the liar, prostitute or thief that seems to have agitated Him so, they had enough sense to repent when faced with His presence. It was the proud, arrogant and unbelieving elite of the time that often tested Christ`s patience. After witnessing dozens of paralytics and diseased commoners healed, Jewish religious leaders and scholars still demanded a sign from heaven;
“But sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? I assure you: No sign will be given to this generation!” (Mark 8:12)
On another occasion, when further angered at their stubborness, Jesus declared;
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
Christ was greatly affected by human beings foresight into the sanctity of God, or lack therof;
“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:13-16)
When presented with this information, some may be wondering “hmm, that is not a very nice Jesus, not the image I had in my head”. If this is you, know that His character does not end there because He is also a God of intimacy. A woman struggling for years with continuous bleeding had spent all she had on doctors that couldn`t cure her:
“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ (Mark 5:27-31)
Even through the crowd, Jesus was able to feel the individual soul in need. A mighty God who calms the storms with a word, the waves with the soles of His feet, and still chooses to spend the majority of His time with the poor, sick and disenfranchised.
Christ cannot lie about the facts concerning right and wrong in God`s eyes anymore than a worldly lawmaker or judge can to His own children. He has, however, gone through great literal pains to see us reconnected with the heart of God. This is the One, the Creator of your shining face, that gave His own to be punched and spat on. His body to be broken and pierced by soldiers who forced a crown of sharp thorns down on His head in mockery. The One who, though uncompromising in holiness, was still ministering to the lost while at the point of death up on the cross, offering salvation to a fellow condemned man. Jesus Christ exemplifies all of the attributes of God in power, righteousness, humility and intimacy. The Apostle Paul called Him the living, breathing `image of the invisible God`. (Colossians 1:15) The question now remains, what will you call Him?
Come back next month as we go on in the Sands of Time series to examine the Great Flood and it`s memory in the world`s cultures.