The Jesus Question

Tomorrow, Sunday 27th November, is the first day of Advent in the Christian calendar. It is a time of anticipation looking forward to the season of Christmas and this time has special relevance to the nativity of Jesus. The whole question of who Jesus actually was, is central to the Christian gospel, so this question (The Jesus Question) has again, recently been on my mind.

Over the years, I suppose I have discussed this matter many times with many people, most recently, with a taxi driver who took me from the airport to a workshop event I was conducting up in Bonny Scotland. We had quite a chat during the hour or so journey and the discussion ended with this question, posed by the driver. Even the question of whether or not Jesus actually existed is still not fully agreed upon by modern scholars. So, as this is a question I believe we all need to answer for ourselves, I deliberately avoided providing him with any direct answer.

What I personally believe is not a matter for debate, I have come to realise; it is the result of reflection, faith and personal revelation. Such reasoning, whilst it may result in powerful personal conviction, simply does not translate well into any form of logical discussion. That said, I believe that just like everyone else, it is important for me to come to my own conclusions about who Jesus was and in this post, I would like to share them.

Perhaps the currently dominant Christian perspective on the matter concerns the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. The role of Jesus in the act of substitutionary atonement essentially involves a God who demands justice and sacrifices his son to satisfy his own judicial concern for the payment of sins committed by humanity. The idea does not sit well with me because the nature of the God who demands such payment is not congruent with the God I have personally come to know. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this doctrine may be directly responsible for many people rejecting Christianity because of exactly the same thoughts.

Jesus, I believe, came to deliver an important message. That message concerned God’s loving kindness and his abundant provision that is not bounded by things that are temporal, but transcends them. In the process of educating the people to whom he delivered this message directly, he knew he would become unpopular with the authorities – especially the religious authorities – and he understood that delivering this message would cost him his Earthly life. Despite this foreknowledge, he was prepared to see his mission through to its conclusion, which resulted in a violent death and that is the scale of the sacrifice he was prepared to make.

There is no question that the group that Jesus upset the most were the religious people of the time and I believe if he were to return today exactly the same thing would happen again. It would be the religious groups who would today be most upset to hear him again speak the truth. However, my hope is that those Christians who are trapped by traditional doctrinal understanding will come to see the difference between religion and spirituality and finally begin to do some of their own thinking about this important question.

2 thoughts on “The Jesus Question

  1. Tzod Earf

    Christ is the Son of the Living God. I take Him at His Word. Like Paul, I am the chief sinner, so I thank Jesus for laying his life down for me. Having said that, more and more, I look askance at people who get into semantics about religion vs. spirituality. I see the same mental gymnastics when people try to seperate their heart from their head. As if by reason, force of thought, or excercise of will, they can mentally, physically, or spiritually compartmentalize abstract modes of existence. Whenever someone suggests to discount one in favor of the other, I put my hand on my wallet. Many of us are intellectual pickpockets. Yes, we all individually must come to terms with God. We can decide our own terms. Invariably, God reserves the same right. I hope to accept God’s terms…and I love to ramble.

  2. omMohan

    An excellent undrstanding of Jesus and the part played by the so called religions of their time.
    Jesus was not Christian. He was a Jew.

    His where about from his 19 yrs to 32 yrs are not known.

    But some researchers do say that he had travelled upto Tibet and has seen all the religions and has understood real spirituality vs Religion.

    He had understood how the religions have been exploiting the common man in the name of God, who is revengeful.
    So he exposed the religions of the era and propogated God is LOVE. He was against all temples and statues and so he must have been against Christianity and churches as we see to day.

    Yes Spirituality and Religion are two different kettle of fish.

    Spirituality seeks individual awareness and Religion seeks common belief system which has nothing to do with spirituality.
    All religions wants more numbers so that the so called priests can say we are from the largest religion.
    Actually there is an under current relationship between the state & the religions.
    Only those religions who has a tie up with the state has grown.

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