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May 19, 2022

What Do You Know About Jesus?



I would like to share with you what I believe about Jesus.

     When we think of Jesus  Maybe we think about the baby Jesus in the nativity scene. Maybe we imagine the miracles of Jesus during his ministry.  Giving sight to the blind, healing the sick, or raising the dead.  Or maybe the image of Jesus  hanging on a cross comes to our mind.

     I would like to share with you some things that can add to our reflection on the subject of what do we know about Jesus.

So then a good starting place to launch this conversation is this:

 First of all we must be reminded that according to the Gospel of John 4:24  God is spirit,  

God is  spirit. And  As a Christian I believe that God is the creator of the heavens and of the earth.  God created the universe and God made everything out of nothing.

 God was preexistent to all things. Before the creation of the universe God was already in existence. God existed before time as we know it.

So what did I say in these few minutes 

God is spirit

God is the creator, God is our maker.

God was preexistent to all things and created all out of nothing.

This is a good place to start before I further share with your what I know about Jesus. 

    So as we continue this discussion around the thematic question being: What do you know about Jesus. I would like to introduce another fundamental belief of the Christian faith tradition. That would be what we refer to as the triune Godhead. The trinity. There is a hymn that says God in three persons blessed trinity. 

       Discussions around The mystery of the Trinity certainly require more than the time constraints of  several  minute video clip. But I can say this: When we speak of the Trinity we are referring to  God the  Father  God the Son  and God  the Holy Spirit. The most common argument I hear against  the  trinitarian  construct of God is this: How could three God’s exist in a monotheistic, Abrahamic faith tradition. After all monotheism declares that there is but one God and not many Gods. So as I attempt to bring a degree a clarity let me say this: Christianity is a monotheistic tradition that believes in one God . The use of the term  Trinity Is not an attempt to articulate the existence of  three Gods. The Trinity has been described as God in three persons that have different functions. Jesus is the second person of the Triune Godhead. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three are one. They are distinct offices and functions of One God, but yet the three persons of the triune Godhead are inseparably joined together in an ineffable communion. And yes this Trinitarian reality challenges the intellectual capability of many and it should. God is greater than our ability to fully understand God.

       Also counter intuitive to human intellect, and in answer the question What do you know about Jesus?:

2-“We  Know about His Pre-existence”

     I know that He was pre-existent to any concept of time as we know it. He existed before you and I, before the bible, before the church, before anything. The second person of the Godhead was pre-existent to theology, and religion. He was in existence before the universe was formed. He existed before your struggle and he certainly knows all about it.  The bible says:

John 1:1-3 (NIV)

1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2  He was with God in the beginning. 3  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Jesus was there before the sun and the moon were placed in the sky,  and before the heavens were sprinkled with stars.  There was never a moment in which the second person of the Godhead did not exist. All things were made through Him, even you and I -- Genesis 1:26 (NIV)

26  Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

What do you know about Jesus??? Well, we know of his pre-existence

 3-We also know “About His Incarnation”

     God, out of love for the world, humanity, God saw it fit to enter our struggle to bring “the way of  salvation.”   In response to sinful humanity, the remedy was initiated and set in motion by the creator of all.   He became flesh, in the person of Jesus the Christ.  God in the person of Jesus the Christ entered into our struggle – He entered into our suffering. It should come as no surprise that the one through whom all things were created, would be the same one through whom God works out His plan for salvation.

 His coming was prophesied through Isaiah:

Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

14  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

          Jesus took on a body like ours, one that was able to die for our sin.  Jesus was birthed in the flesh, “clothed” in humanity yet without sin. It is important to pause and remember the virgin birth through Mary. This divine intervention was not to come through the reproductive efforts of a fallen humanity – but by the uninterrupted power and grace of  God, By the power of the Holy Ghost --God would overshadow the woman who would conceive, carry and deliver the only begotten Son of God.

           To further explore this point I need to talk briefly about an early church controversy and a theological debate that still challenges the intellectual capacity and the religious minds of many today.    When I say early church I mean early fourth century. In the days of the early church there were those who rejected the idea of God coming in the flesh – Why? Because there were those who believed that the flesh is inherently evil and therefore God who is Spirit would never enter into the flesh of humanity. They were thematically opposed to divinity coming in the flesh,  in the person of  Jesus.    Jacques Dupuis, in his book “Who Do You Say I Am?: Introduction to Christology” informs the reader that during the early church the Council of Nicaea, in response to this great controversy, gathered in great numbers and concluded  with the decisive ruling that that the Son is “of one substance”   with the Father. ; “or the same substance” as the Father. In another debate the early church theologian Athanasius who died in the year 373 AD argued that the Son was “of the same substance” as the Father (homoousios tō Patri) defending the  Nicene Trinitarian orthodoxy. He also faced another group that  rejected the idea of God coming  in the flesh in the person of Jesus. This argument and debate didn’t go away and still hasn’t gone away.

2-Then there was another council gathering.  The Ecumenical Council gathered  in Chalcedon in the year AD 451. There were 520 Bishops in attendance in Turkey- they argued and debated this point in the face of public opinion…..and they concluded “the divine and human nature”,: as being present in Jesus the Christ. According to the Chalcedon Council -Jesus Christ is fully divine, fully human,   their term to describe this union was the (Hypostatic union)--- We today say Jesus was all man ( yet without sin)  and all God.

This point is critical to the core of our faith. It also serves to remind us of this: If in the unity of the triune Godhead we know that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share the same essence, substance , being—then we must know that our claim to be filled with the indwelling Holy Spirit is saying that the same God who created the heavens and the earth is not only sovereign,  transcendent and all powerful…. Be he is closer than near to us.  He is within us. That’s right God all powerful God is in you. He that is in me is greater than He that is in the world. Therefore, no weapon formed against you  shall prosper. What do you know about Jesus? God is in Me.. that’s what I know.

4- I Know About “The Ministry of Jesus”

         Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, entered into our struggle.

He preached: About the Kingdom of God being at hand.

He taught: He taught against those who believed they had attained their righteousness through their knowledge of the law. As opposed to what we believe which is righteousness being attained through faith in the Gift of God Being  Christ.

He taught About the Way of salvation through Christ, and how to live out  this Christian faith tradition. Read the book of Matthew in this regard it is often referred to as the procedure manual for the church. The early church was introduced to a way of life guided by Godly principles through the teachings of Christ.

I know:

He was a miracle worker: The miracles were a witness to the power of God and they captured the essence of the ministry of Jesus.

He gave,  actually,  gave  sight to the blind,  he really healed the leper,  he fed the hungry, and raised the dead—each of these miracle stories are a snapshot of the ministry of Jesus and are lessons in and of themselves.   He gave sight to those blinded by inadequate religious understanding and practice. He healed the afflicted,  and the marginalized,  those who rejected from society and the faith community. Through his feeding the poor,  he demonstrated the providential care of God. He is our maker, our supplier, he meets all our needs. By raising the dead He showed us that he  would reconciled those who were  dead in sin back together to their Father in Heaven.

I know that;

He suffered and died: He was arrested, detained, accused of false charges. got news for you He is still falsely accused today of wrongdoing. Every bad thing that happens some folk point to God and say why did he allow it.  He was spat upon, he was questioned by religious authorities,   he was struck on the face by the temple guards,  he was brutally  beat all night long,  he was forced along a road to a dusty hilltop called calvary—They nailed him to a cross in between two criminals—Imagine that – placing God between two criminals as though He were guilty of a crime. The Son of God was now crucified by the humanity that he loved.  But I also know that Love cried out from the cross when Jesus called out to God the Father asking for forgiveness for them. I know that  he committed his Spirit into the arms of God the Father.  The earth shook the sky darkened, the veil of the temple which separated man from the holy presence of God was torn from the top down,, surely this was Gods intervention.. Surely the presence of God was accessible to all of humanity through the atoning acts of Jesus. They took him down from the cross and laid him in a borrowed tomb.

     He was resurrected: But early Sunday morning  on the third day- Jesus was resurrected – he was raised from the dead- death could not hold Him captive. He lives and as the songwriter said “Because He lives I can face tomorrow, Because he lives all fear is gone, Because  I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because he lives.”

     I know that He is coming back again: Now let me give you a question for you to think about.   You know He is coming back so how does that shape your life, how does it impact your ministry, how does it affect what you do  knowing that he may come back at any moment.

What do I know about Jesus !!!!!

I can also tell you who He Is not.

He is not the one who you put in a compartmentalized box and carry around in your back pocket to pull out when you need him to serve you.

He is not the one that serves as a rubber stamp of approval to your supremacist, racist, and perverted, and selfish religious ideologies.

He is not the one to shower you with financial blessings while you close your eyes to the suffering of the poor, while you ignore the deprivation and hunger around you.

He is not the one who closes his eyes to injustice.

He is not the one who approves of one ethnicity over another   —he doesn’t honor black over white or white over black –your pastor has told this is not a black church. This is the church. It is a red brick church where all people are embraced with the love of God.

But let me tell you this:

He is the one who will pull you up out of the quicksand of life’s struggles. The more you struggle AND FIGHT in it the more it swallows you. But God will lift you up, he will pick you up out of the quicksand—he will put your feet on a solid rock, he will put a new song in your mouth—A song of praise. 

But He is the one, He is the one —who still intercedes on our behalf, He is our great High Priest  – His miracle working power is still at work today. Because of the shed blood of the Lamb of God ---the way of salvation is attainable today  as a free gift of God. The blood still works today, the songwriter  said it like this,

  “It reaches to the highest mountain and flows to the lowest valley – oh the blood that gives me strength from day to day it will never lose its power”

He is the one who says:

Revelation 3:20 (KJV)

20  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. God wants you to open door. And leave it open. He doesn’t just want to be a know you on Sunday morning  He wants to live within you.

He is the one …..who wants to be your guide in the dark, he wants to be your healer, your provider, your power, your strength.

The truth is:

He is the one who loves you, he cares for you, he knows all about your struggles. He knows about your tomorrow. And for those of you who say “I know the Lord”  I would say to you –  He is the one who He wants to be a bigger part of your life. He wants to take you higher in God, Higher in service, I don’t care how long you’ve been saved.  He wants to lift you just like a mother eagle teaching a baby eagle to fly above the storm. He wants to prosper you. He has plans to prosper you and give you a future.

He is the one who wants you to slow down a bit. In all of your business don’t miss the voice of God. Even in all of your church life and ministry practice don’t be so busy that you stop seeking and hearing from God. And if you feel like God is far from you, and not hearing your prayers, If when you pray all you think you get is silence from God.  Then listen closer. Let what you think is silence cause you to lean closer and hear the quite voice of God. Lord----Let the silence quiet us, and disturb our complacency, in the midst of silence let our needs be touched, let our pride be broken, let the silence shrink some of our certainties and enlarge our faithful inquiries.

God bless you as you revisit your image of God.

Rev. Jay Stuart Glover