02 Creed : Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord

posted 11 Nov 2012, 15:58 by P W   [ updated 11 Nov 2012, 16:18 ]

Who is Jesus? 

"Who do people say that I am?" - this was a question Jesus asked his own followers. They told him that people were intrigued by him - and continue to be. Even people who do not have faith - or follow other faiths are engaged by the figure of Jesus. 

The Sources

But what do we know about him? And an we be sure that it is true? 
That Jesus was born, lived and died about 2,000 is as secure an historical fact as any other from the ancient world. (In fact we know far more about Jesus than we do about Pontius Pilate). 
The four Gospels and 23 other documents in what we call the Old Testament tell us most. We know that they were written between 20 to 70 years after his death, and they frequently make clear that the writers either were eye-witnesses or got their information directly from them. 

Basic Facts

We know that Jesus was a Jewish Man, born about 6 BC, that he trained and worked as a "tekton" - something a bit more than a carpenter, more like an archetect and builder. He was publicly active as a preacher for about 3 years. Gathered a group of followers around him and died by crucifixion, as an enemy of the Roman empire, about 27AD. After his death, his followers claimed he had risen from the death. 

The Man

It is very clear that Jesus was a living breathing human being (not something fanciful like an angel or an astronaut). We know the story of his birth, and some details of his childhood. We are told about his relatives, especially his mother. He had a trade and held down a job. He could read and probably write too. We know he suffered pain. He cried at the news of a friend of his. He was tortured and he bled when he died. 

The Teacher

Jesus was a teacher. The Gospels are full of wise sayings and stories that he told. The teaching was rooted in people's daily lives, giving examples and encouragement. He cut through the intricacy of the Jewish law and said that the law could be summarised by saying Love God and Love your Neighbour.

The Leader

He gathered many followers, but also created conflict with the religious leaders of his day. Jesus formed a movement. He encouraged people to follow him. He chose twelve men - a number which symbolised the people of Israel - to share his work, and and sent them out to teach too. Many women also followed him. 

But there's more. Jesus was, is, more than just a teacher and a leader. If this was all he would just have been one amongst very many.

The Miracles

Not only did he teach and preach, but miraculous happenings also took place. People were healed of sickness. A storm abated at his word. Thousands of people were fed from meagre resources. Yet he often told people to keep these extraordinary events to themselves, and discouraged people to follow him just because of his miracles.

And there's more ...

His Identity

On occasions, Jesus himself answered the question of his identity. He spoke often of his closeness to 'the Father', and called himself the'beloved Son'. He did things only God can do - such as forgive sins, still the winds and sea. He even said he existed before Abraham, who lived a thousand years earlier.

And even more … 

His Mission

Jesus also spoke of his mission, the reason why he was "sent". He explained that he was sent to die for the salvation of the world, and to draw all people into the life of God, through his Body which is given for us.

And so ...

True God and True Man

His followers came to see that he was both truly human and also truly God. 
In the words of St John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John 1:1-3,14)

Object of Worship

And so he is not only Jesus of Nazareth, not only a great teacher, not only a man of holiness and wisdom, but far more - Messiah, the Chosen one of God, the one who was sent into the world, King of King and Lord of Lords. The object of our Worship. 

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