A couple of years ago, I remember having this question without an answer; “Is this the same Jesus?”. You see, I had just fallen out of favor with a group of believers I had been a part of for a good number of years because I had insisted on following what I was persuaded was the will of God for me. The persecution that I experienced in terms of rejection, threats, and badmouthing was so painful especially coming from those that I had trusted to help me know my Lord better, I could not help but ask myself the many questions.
On one hand, there was the Jesus who was represented by what the group stood for, that appeared to have an iron hand to rule over the flock, and on the other hand, there was a Jesus who I had began to know who was telling me, “8 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt 11)”
It was difficult to reconcile these two and hence the question whether they are the same.
I have since moved on, but the question has lingered and I think some light has started showing up. I have appreciated that it is human nature to want to understand God. There is an inbuilt quest in each of us to try figure out God, justifiably so because He’s the Father of our spirits (Heb 12:9).I think that is the reason Eccl 3:11 records, “…He has also set eternity in the human heart;“. Men will go to any length to understand with their limited minds who God is including dedicating their lives to the discipline named under the same pursuit, Theology. This pursuit however, is limited to the extent it is within the limited scope of natural laws and principles. The best it does is create a god after our own understanding.
Regrettably, even the bible has been used to create a model Jesus, who is in actuality not the real Jesus, but an image after our own understanding. This may sound strange or way out there, but it is not new; In Jesus’ days on earth there were people who had been studying the scriptures to understand the promised messiah, and he said to them;
39 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5)
In pursuit of eternal life according to their understanding, they missed the real Life when He appeared in person.
The reason I now think my question was not answered is because I was asking myself. I have since appreciated that only the individual we seek to know can truly make himself known to us. Jesus speaking to his disciples said,
“ 22 All[a] things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”(Luke 10).
This makes me understand that God can only truly be known by revelation and this He has chosen to do by His Son;
“1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” (Heb 1)
When Moses asked God who he was to say He is, God replied,
“I am who I am.[a] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14
For the longest time I wondered, “what an answer?’, but when I think of it now, the revealed God is beyond humanly descriptive words. Our understanding cannot define Him because He is who He is’. Without going to technicalities, I think it was admirable of Moses to have not sought any further exposition – he took the answer and it was enough though it probably was not what he expected.
In the case of Saul who had been, ‘…touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Phil 3:6)‘, dedicating his life to serving ‘god’, at least the one he understood had his moment of reckoning when he encountered the real God. He asked, “Who are you Lord?”. In response, the Lord tells him,
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.[a] It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Acts 9:5 .
But wait a minute, “I thought I was persecuting the people who were following the man who died and are now claiming he resurrected?”
“They are not just claiming, but I am He, alive and living on earth through them. That makes them part of me and when you persecute them, you persecute Me” .
That unveiling must have floored Saul with all his learning evident in his next question;
“Lord, what do You want me to do?” V6
I can only imagine the paradigm shift in Saul when he had to be helped by the same people he persecuted.
Jesus must have surprised the people of his day when he gave the story of those that will go and ask the Lord,
‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ and
‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ ...
Consider the Lord’s answers,
“40 …, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” and
“45.., ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “
Beloved, let’s allow God to reveal Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. He told His disciples, “ Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.(Jn 14:9”. All creation was for Him and by Him,
“3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Jn 1:3)“,
and I believe He’ll open the eyes of anyone who is willing to let go their understanding for His perspective, to see the imprint of Himself in His creation beginning with His Son’s bride, the Church.
For the unveiling of the Lord in His matchless worth.,