“Quick. Describe yourself in one word…”
What seems like a simple question can sometimes be very difficult to answer. Some people are fortunate enough to have a quick response, while others really struggle with this seemingly inane question.
A few years ago I become one of the millions of people that have joined a social networking site (Facebook is my preference). One of the toughest parts for me was filling out the ‘About Me’ section, because I have this little space to create a blurb to sum up who I am. So much pressure! After perusing through some of my friends’ pages, I noticed how many of my friends never really captured their personality in their blurb. But really, how well can you describe yourself in a few words?
There’s another phenomenon that has sprouted up online, especially on social networking sites like Facebook or Myspace, that has been dubbed ‘the angles’. This occurs when the person in the photo (usually self-taken) is only able to capture a portion of their face or body at some extreme angle, leaving the viewer with only a partial picture.
I wonder if we do the same thing with Jesus?
In our age of media soundbites and ‘about me’ sections, do we look at Jesus trying to simplify Him into something pocket-sized, easy to digest, and – dare I say – understandable?
The Jesus portrayed in the Bible has depth that mankind is still trying to grasp. For 2,000 years we have been studying what He said, what He did, and looking to HIm for guidance. If mankind is around for another 2,000 years, I’m sure it will be more of the same. So while we really have no choice but to study Jesus in parts, it is important that we don’t limit Him to one specific word.
Let’s look at some scripture to see some of the dangers of only looking at Jesus from one angle. We’ll do so by looking at a few of the claims of Jesus.
1. An answer to prophecy.
Matt 5:17, 14:33, 16:16
2. Son of Man
Matt 8:20, 20:18, 25:31
Mark 8:31, 14:41
Luke 6:22, 21:36
John 1:51, 12:23
3. Son of God
Matt 11:27, 27:43
John 1:18, 17:1
4. The Messiah/Christ
Matt 23:9, 26:63
John 3:17, 10:9
If we try to describe Jesus with just one of these seven aspects, we miss out on the complete picture. If Jesus was just a man, we lose sight of the fact that He is God as well. If Jesus was just a teacher, then we could easily skip over the fact that His life was described to us hundreds of years before He walked. Why is this dangerous? If we become so focused on Jesus as a savior, we can easily look past all of the things that He taught. The same man who graciously sacrificed Himself on a cross is the same man that was adamant about following God’s law.
Popular culture likes to take Jesus and turn Him into a soundbite, or – more offensively – quote Him when it is beneficial to an argument. Let us be people that study the whole story. Let us be people that seek to find new depths to Jesus every day. Let us be people that add more and more to our picture of Jesus every time we call His name.
one love, one heart.