Who Do You Say That I Am?

I feel like, in order to have any integrity whatsoever when it comes to talking about, teaching about, or preaching about Jesus, I need to offer a disclaimer. Because, you see, he’s somewhat central, especially as we study him this semester and cover his parables at our evening worship service at FPC, Ekklesia.

So here it is, put plainly: Jesus is some kind of confusing.

Take, for instance, the passage I spoke about in Ekklesia last Sunday. For those of you who weren’t there, it was on the parable of the Sower. After he tells this slammer of a story, there’s an explanation of why he tells parables  in Luke 8: 10. Goes something like this: “[But] to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.'”

What?

Now, the way I tackled this whole thing when I spoke was that if Jesus were to tell us flat out what he wanted us to do, well, then, we might not learn as much as we would if we worked our way through his parables, asked what they meant, processed them, etc… Jesus ain’t one to spoonfeed, in other words. (It’s kind of like that whole concept of learning things by rote experience rather than watching someone else do something and then doing it, if that makes any sense.)

But, even after preaching it, I still ask the same question: what? Why would this man (fully divine… we wouldn’t want to stray too far, theologically, would we?) deliberately say things in a manner so that people may not perceive or understand? Wouldn’t he want to be perfectly clear about everything?

I know, I know… the Kingdom is all mysterious and everything. It’s like a little riddle, but not really that little… and I’m rambling. But, why does the Kingdom have to be mysterious? Shouldn’t we make it plain for all to see? Shouldn’t Jesus have made it pretty obvious?

Granted, this was kind of how he rolled. He didn’t try to save himself before the chief priests by pulling a David Copperfield and flying away. He wasn’t like, “Have I showed you the one I do with water and wine? It’s pretty awesome.” He was intentionally shady, which I suppose is part of the whole messianic mystique.

But, sometimes I wish Jesus had been a bit more… normal. I wish he would have made things cut and dry so that we could wrap his little teachings in pretty little boxes with Christmas tree paper. I wish he was a bit easier to understand.

Although, I guess that would be a form of highway robbery. I guess it’s his difference-ness that makes him who he is. I guess there is some rhyme and reason to it all, even though we may not get it. And I suppose that’s where we must remain, in that gray area, asking questions, seeking truth/Truth, not knowing what may be around the corner.

But, in the interest of authenticity and honesty, just don’t count on me for all of the answers. Obviously, I have no idea.

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~ by presbytide on August 25, 2009.

6 Responses to “Who Do You Say That I Am?”

  1. Hey bro! Saw your Facebook entry. Didn’t know you were blogging. Nice! I’d like to know what you said about Jesus’ question. You didn’t really get into it in your post. Don’t leave me hanging! If you don’t want me snooping around here once in a while, that’s cool. I’ll take my 36-yr old, out-of-touch-with-the-rest-of-the-world arse somewhere else. 🙂

    Love you bro.

    • Hey man… c’mon brotha! You’re like one of two people who read this. If you’re talking about how I preached it, well, I talked a lot about my own struggles with faith and how, if things had been spoonfed to me, I might have a lesser appreciation for where I stand now. And I thought, what if that was the point? What if parables are an intentional way of saying, “Hey! Think about this stuff! It’s important!” Don’t know if that’s the question to which you are referring, but that’s how I tackled it.

      • Ha! Yeah, I think of parables that way too. Jesus was way different in his approach to teaching from the popular anecdotal, 7-step approach of today. I love how Jesus assured Peter that it wasn’t flesh or blood, but the Father that revealed the answer to him. He didn’t leave him wondering – he assured him that he had the right and true answer, and that he didn’t figure it out on his own. (So then, why did we go to seminary?!? (-:)

        What always got me is that he told them not to tell anybody. “You’re exactly right! Now, don’t tell anybody. Let’s keep it a secret for now.”

    • But, I just realized you’re probably asking about “Who do you say that I am?” Which is, of course, a good question. It’s actually the theme for our Monday night Bible studies this fall. And ya know West, it’s a question to which the answer always changes. Savior. Liberator. Preacher. Son of God. Comedian. Mr. Sarcasm. I mean, not to be irreverent, but he’s a lot of different things, so to encapsulate him as one thing – which is certainly not what you’re asking- is a difficult… no, impossible thing. But, I think it’s an awesome question to explore.

  2. So you don’t think he was looking for a specific answer from Peter?

    • I think he was looking for an answer. I think Peter answered rightly. He is the Christ… which is the summation of who he is (if it’s possible to have a summation of Jesus… maybe coronation is a better word). But language has its limits, so I think it’s impossible to encapsulate in words who/what Jesus was/is.

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