Archive for April 11, 2021

Who Is Jesus?

Posted: April 11, 2021 in Uncategorized

A friend online posted this delightful meme, and I just couldn’t let it go. It is so painfully misinformed that I needed to set the record straight.

First of all let’s look at the piece as a whole. First of all it really looks like there can be no other intent than to divide and discredit, especially the church. Colonizer Jesus versus Historical Jesus. At least they admit there was a historical Jesus, so that is a step in the right direction. Am I going to stand here and deny that there has been colonialism in the church? No, there has been, but there have also been many people in the church who have gone to other parts of the world in obedience to God, who have done great good.

The pictures are interesting as well. Let’s just get this out of the way. The first picture is obviously inaccurate, but not uncommon., Many artists in the renaissance would have female models sit for their portraits of Jesus, to make Him beautiful and fair. This was not to make Him more white but rather an expression of the beautiful thing He did for us. The second image may be more accurate was generated by forensic artists based on a reconstruction from three semitic skulls from around the area. It’s really hypothetical but it likely is more accurate, especially when one considers that the Bible says He had nothing in His appearance that would draw us to Him. (Isaiah 53:2)

Let’s look at the rest of the claims of this meme.

White versus Middle Eastern Brown Skinned

This is most likely accurate. The Bible tells us Jesus was a descendant of Abraham and of David, which means he was likely similar in appearance to the semitic people of today. He was likely dark haired, dark eyed and had a darker complexion. I guess my question is, why does this matter? I have African American friends whose churches display pictures of Jesus as a man of African descent. I’ve also seen Him portrayed in other ethnicities. I actually love this, because it reflects what I, as a Christian, very much desire, as expressed in Revelation 7:9 “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. I desire that everyone come to know the love I have known in Jesus, and that we would worship the Lord together.

Christian versus Jewish

Of course Jesus was Jewish. People weren’t even called Christians until the leaders of the church met in Antioch in Acts 11:26, some years after Jesus death. Jesus is the One promised to Abraham when God said all nations on earth would be blessed by His descendants. Jesus was not only Jewish, He followed God perfectly as a completely observant Jew, following God’s law and opposing those who would corrupt it.

Patriotic versus Colonized by Rome

Jesus view of patriotism and of the Romans was summed up in one verse. When someone was trying to trap Him into incriminating Himself by asking Him if it was proper to pay taxes to Rome, He said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” (Mark 2:17) He lived in a land colonized by Rome, but when the people expected Him to overthrow Rome, they were sorely disappointed. Jesus wasn’t here to overthrow the Romans, He was here to save the world.

Justice through Retribution versus Justice through Restoration

His call to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you stands out as a firm example of this. I would agree that He was much more about restoration than He was about retribution, and in fact this is why He came and died. He came to reconcile sinful humanity to a perfect God. This does not mean we can sin with abandon with no fear of consequence forever, merely that we can place our faith in Him and His finished work on the cross and be saved from our sin.

Died for Your Sins versus Killed by Church and State

I don’t even know where to begin here. That He died for our sins is irrefutable. Romans 6:23 says The wages of Sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. When Jesus dies on the cross, He had no sin of His own. He died to pay the price for ours. Was He killed by church and state? Well let’s look at that objectively. First of all, there was no church at the point of His death, that came later. Is the creator of the post saying then that the Jews killed Jesus? That was the lie Hitler tried to perpetrate, surely the creator of this meme is not going there (RIGHT?). The truth is the religious leaders of the Jewish people conspired against Jesus as did the Romans and even a false follower of Jesus, but if you want to find who is responsible for His death, you will need to look elsewhere. I will tell you who is responsible for His death. It was me. I am responsible for His death, along with every person who has ever sinned. This is the belief of Christianity. We sinned and He died and as a result, we Christians should be nothing but humble. I am ashamed of my behavior and I am grateful for my Savior.

Sends Sinners to Hell versus Friend to Sinners and Outcasts

Let’s start here. Hell was not created for people. It was created for Satan and his angels. Jesus doesn’t send sinners to Hell as a matter of fact, He paid the price so that no one has to go there. Instead all we have to do to enter into eternal life is place our faith and trust in Jesus. All He requires is belief. So those who choose to reject Him, also reject His gift of eternal life. He doesn’t send people to hell, people choose hell. Was He a friend to sinners and outcasts. Absolutely! It was one of the things the prideful leaders held against Him. We need to be careful what we read into that though. He wasn’t sinning with them, nor was He accepting their sin. He was meeting them where they were, loving them and showing them how to be saved.

I’m not even half way, more tomorrow.