Heb 10. 1 - 14|
One thing is certain–we can’t know anything about Christ unless we consult the word of God. The apostle John said that if any man sins, his advocate with the Father is Jesus Christ the righteous who said of himself that where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Paul explained at Colosse that in him was the mystery of the gospel: Christ in you, the hope of glory. At Corinth he preached Christ crucified, and later said that we have the mind of Christ. In the light of these scriptures I come not to exhort, but to seek your help in understanding how we ought to think of Jesus. I’m concerned because I don’t know Christ if we give literal application to these scriptures. Perhaps I wouldn’t be disturbed except that so many other people seem to know Jesus in a way that I don’t know him.
The question is often asked, ‘Do you accept Christ as your personal savior?’ or ‘Is Christ working in you?’ These questions impart to me a sort of mysterious connotation; they imply a relationship which is unknown and foreign to me. Even though Jesus testifies of himself that he is with me always–even to the end of the world–or that when two or three are gathered together he is there, I must confess I don’t feel his presence. Do these thoughts go through your mind and disturb you? I hope so, because they trouble me. Some have told me that they can commune with Christ. There seems to be an intimacy that I’m missing out on. Questions like this come to mind. If Christ is working in me and with me, ought not I to pray to him? Yet the scriptures are plain that our prayers are to be directed to God, and Christ’s role is only to give us standing in God’s sight. Does Christ play an active role today in getting the ear of God, so to speak. I’m troubled by the impossible. And I don’t know Christ like I know my friends: my friend is tall and I recognize his voice, his mannerisms. His habits are familiar to me. I know his family–I even know the way he thinks.
Perhaps a more helpful way to approach the subject of Christ is to tell you what I do know about him. He was not handsome, I guess. He was a Jew and undoubtedly dark. He died at thirty, so he was a young man during the period of his life delineated in the Bible–very wise, loved little children, a great and wise teacher to young and old. He had perfect self control. Jesus hated sham, hypocrisy and self righteousness. He wept, we know, and experienced fear and apprehension, but did he ever laugh? He was compassionate with sinners who recognized they were sinners. He was willing to die for me.
There are things I know but do not fully understand because they involve the supernatural. He was the son of God. He knew it, and yet he could be tempted. He could perform miracles, turning the laws of nature upside down. He was raised from the dead. But I don’t know him like I know the character in a novel, where the novelist may spend pages telling not only what the hero says and does, but what his thought processes are, and how he gets through a day from the time he gets up until the time he goes to bed. In the gospels Jesus usually appears on the scene, speaks his lines, then departs. The only lasting impression I get come from the words he speaks–his teachings: the sermon on the mount, faith, obedience, humility. Steadfast, patience and love. So that when I say I want to be like Jesus I really mean that I want to do the things he said we must do. The narrative of his life is not fleshed out enough for me to feel intimate with him. I suspect my feelings afflict many because there have been so many biographies written of him by writers who see a deficiency in the gospels. People want to know more about him, some picturing him as ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’, but I’m chary when imagination is applied to scripture. What I would like to do is profit from your views about Christ and the role he plays in our lives. I am grateful to Christ for the life that he has gained for me, but I don’t know what he has done from the date of his death until now.
When the scriptures refer to him as our advocate, mediator, and high priest, these references were fulfilled in his sacrifice.:
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever,
sat down at the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting
til his enemies be made his footstool. (Heb 10. 13)
The things he thought, the things he did, so far as I can know help me to serve God better. However, I’m afraid of applying too much imagination to the subject. This is dangerous and can lead to hallucination and fanaticism. He is only my friend in an ideal sense. If he became the friend I described earlier, the ideal would be destroyed. There would be no need for faith. Are ideals ever to be realized? Perhaps it was meant to be this way. Now I see him through a glass darkly; someday I hope to know him better. In the meantime, I’m comforted by his words, The son of man is come to save that which is lost. (Matt 18. 11). How do you think of Christ?