What I’m Thinking: The Old, Old Question

When John the Baptist began to “introduce” Jesus to his followers, he opened the question we’ve been asking ever since: Who is Jesus?

Here’s a transcript:

Belatedly, I wish you a very Happy New Year. My prayer is that the struggles and trials that 2020 has already brought to us on the national and international stages might serve as warning, as inspiration, and as a source of commitment for all of us to work for peace within our homes, in our communities, and throughout this world.

I’m thinking about the first chapter of John (John 1:29-42), and I can’t quite think about it without also thinking about Carl Bloch’s famous painting of the Sermon on the Mount. You’ve probably seen it. Jesus is sitting on a stone with his arm raised and a bunch of people listening.

It’s a source of Internet memes. One of my favorites has a caption in which Jesus is saying, “Now, everybody pay attention. I don’t want to see four different versions of this later on.”

Well, that is what we got, because apparently none of Jesus’ disciples took good notes.

Each of the four gospel writers took on a similar task. Each one of them was determined to describe Jesus in such a way that the readers – that we – would come to know who he was, what he meant, how the world has been changed through him. John the gospel writer was no different. And indeed, here in the first chapter, in the description of Jesus passing by John the Baptist on the day after his baptism, John proclaims, “This is the Lamb of God.”

Who was Jesus? That is the question that keeps getting proffered and keeps getting answered by each of the gospel writers and by each of the people that they describe in their gospels. It is the question that we, each of us, also face. Who is Jesus in our lives? What does it mean that some call him the Lamb of God? What does it mean that he would call himself the Bread of Life?

What does it mean that we say that God’s own self took human form, walked the earth, was generous and kind and faithful even unto a torturous death? What does it mean that this One lives on?

That is the question for each one of us.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: | Posted on January 14, 2020

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