Portrait of Christ-part 1: Who is this Man?

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We as a country are going through a tough time, both relationally, politically and economically. But this is not news, neither is it breaking- for the most part of the year, has been characterized by political rhetoric that has overshadowed all meaningful activities. We have insulted one another, ethnisized everyday transaction between former neighbors, abandoned our sense of brotherhood- all in the name of politics.

We, especially Christians, who are to be the salt of the earth, have shifted our focus from God to political leaders equating them to deity.

We have forgotten that our first identity is Christians, then our common setting as Kenyans, then our tribes. While we are all squabbling for ‘our own to clinch’ the presidency, who is preaching the gospel? As we trawl the various platforms for the latest news and spewing hatred, to whom have we left the work of evangelizing to?

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise- the fruit of lips that confess his name. and do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices, God is pleased.              -Hebrews 13:15-16

Jesus is lord now even as our leaders are bickering and will still be even after they have talked through the political crisis. It is therefore obligatory for us to keep our heads focused on the commission he instructed us and not veer from it. Bearing that in mind, the person of Jesus Christ must cause us to introspect even as those who interacted with him during his time on earth did. They were confounded, their confusion bringing to fore the very question-who is this man?

  1. Mother of all questions
  2. Major awakening
  3. Ministers puzzle

Mother Of all Questions

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, who do the people of say the son of man is?” they replied, some say john the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

‘But what about you?’ he asked. ’who do you say I am?’

Simon peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the son of the living God.’

Jesus replied, ‘blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my father in heaven. And I tell you that you are peter, and on this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’ Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. -Mat 16:13-20

Our pockets of society have defined this man Jesus in many ways.

~The atheist society of Kenya defines him as superstition thereby acknowledging his existence.

~ Jehovah witness call him god (note the small g)

~Muslims will say he was a prophet, a precursor to Muhammad and therefore reject his divinity.

~Movie makers use the name Jesus as a curse word.

~politicians use him as a tool to get to higher office.

Even with all the definitions ascribed to him, 8o% were never spoken by him.

From peters response;

  1. The truth that he was the messiah was not revealed by man. But why would Jesus who saves you and I from bondage of sin, be rejected?
  2. Why was the revelation supposed to be classified? And yet the more he hid his identity the more his fame grew?
  3. Why was the did he say peter would be the rock on which he would build his church?

who is this man?

 

Major Awakening

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘let us go to the other side. Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stem, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘teacher don’t you care if we drown?’

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’ – mark 4:35-41

From this excerpt, the disciples were hit by a major awakening. They couldn’t understand this man they were accustomed to, for he bore all characteristics like them; he slept like them, ate like them, was born from a family like them and so on.

And so,

They didn’t esteem him.

They despised him. They thought he was just an ordinary man they shared a dormitory with. Until he did things miraculous and they asked themselves-who is this man?

For us as his followers accustomed to thinking light of him like his disciples, such are the mysteries of the person of Christ. It is a major awakening to know that he’s the lamb that takes away the sin of the world; the prince of peace, the healer of all our infirmities, the very present help in times of our need, the mighty counselor, the everlasting king, the solution to every conceivable problem we go through.

Ministers Puzzle

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,’ what do you think about the Christ? Whose son, is he?’

‘The son of David,’ they replied. He said to them, ‘how is it then that David, speaking by the spirit calls him ‘lord’? For he says, the lord said to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’ If then David calls him lord, how can he be his son?’ no one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no-one dared ask him any questions.

Even for the Pharisees, who were the consultants of religion, experts and custodians of matters spiritual the question of who this man was, baffled them. For some among them started thinking that maybe the wise men were right.

How could this man with no formal schooling of doctrinal matters, know all these things? How could this man born of a carpenter from Nazareth be versed in all these matters and wisely challenge the core of what they as experienced clergy knew.

Who is this man?

Nicodemus who was one of the ministers was swayed!

In conclusion;

Toyohiko kagawa 1880-1960 in his quote about Christ and japan said,

 I am grateful for Shinto, for Buddhism and for Confucianism. I owe much to these faiths. Yet these three faiths utterly failed to minister to my hearts deepest needs.

Buddhism teaches great compassion, but since the beginning of time, who has declared ‘this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many unto the remission of sins’?

Islam, of course, proclaims the mercy of God. Each chapter of the Quran is introduced by the words ‘in the name of Allah, the compassionate, and the merciful.’ but they do not tell of a costly and historic display of God’s mercy as portrayed by the cross and spoken of in each Gospel.

In Islam, Allah is merciful to the meritorious, those who pray, give alms and fast in Ramadan.

In Christianity, God is merciful to sinners not because of their good works but because of Christ’s sacrifice for them on the cross.  

If Jehovah is God serve him. If Jesus is lord we must bow down and worship him.

-Pastor Jotham Munene

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