Sunday, January 18, 2015

Let Jesus Be Jesus (Reflection on Mark 6:14-16)

Now King Herod heard about all this, because Jesus’ reputation had spread everywhere. Some people were saying, ‘John the Baptist has come back to life! That is why he has this power to perform miracles.’ Others, however, said, ‘He is Elijah.’ Others said, ‘He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.’ When Herod heard it, he said, ‘He is John the Baptist! I had his head cut off, but he has come back to life!’” (Mark 6:14-16, GNB).

After Jesus sends out the twelves disciples (read Mark 6:6-13) for mission around Nazareth nearby villages, “Jesus’ reputation had spread everywhere.” Because of this, there are many speculations about who he really is. Some thought he was Elijah, the great prophet of the Old Testament. It is commonly expected that Elijah would return to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah (However, John the Baptist fulfilled this expectation in preparing the way for Jesus). Others, however, thought that he simply one of the prophets sent by God to Israel. Jesus spoke with authority like no other and probably he was because there had been silent in Israel for three centuries since prophet Malachi.

Most people, like Herod, thought that Jesus was John the Baptist. Of course, both of them preached the message of the Kingdom of God and called people to repentance. Some suggest because Jesus and John were cousins, they might have looked alike. Interesting. But the fact was – John is death. Herod out of his guilty and bad memory said, “I had [John] head cut off, but he has come back to life!” Guilty breed superstition.

I’m surprise, people even today won’t allow Jesus to be Jesus. We like to compare him with other great men of the world. But he is the One and only. None like him. Even though Jesus said “among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7:28), John said that Jesus “is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (John 1:27). Jesus is greater, incomparable One. Michael Green in his book Navigating the Multi-Faith Maze, writes: “Jesus is unique among religious leaders in claiming to bring God to our world in His own person and making good that claim by such powerful evidences.” When I read the Gospel stories and think of history of today, no other spiritual leader or teacher but Jesus of Nazareth ever claimed to bring God to man, dealt radically with our wickedness, broke the final barrier of death and to offers to ‘live inside’ his followers.

C.S. Lewis, my favourite author, said that when it comes to the categorical claims of Jesus Christ regarding his Divinity, “There is no half-way house, and there is no parallel in other religions. If you had gone to Buddha and asked him, ‘Are you the son of Brahah?’ he would have said, ‘My son, you are still in the vale of illusion.’ If you had gone to Socrates and asked, ‘Are you Zeus?’ he would have laughed at you. If you had gone to Muhammad and asked, ‘Are you Allah?’ he would first have rent his clothes and then cut off your head.” When the high priest asked Jesus, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:63-64, NLT). No denial. Directly answered. Jesus, are you the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God? Yes, you say that I am.

Do you want to know Jesus? Let him be as he is. Let he tells you His Story through God’s Word, the Bible, especially the gospel stories. Don’t be afraid. There is no spell or magical charm about the Bible. The Bible is just a book, an ordinary book. The greatness about the Bible is the Person behind the book. This is why the Bible, on the other hand, is extraordinary. Your religious teachers may advice you to stay away from the book, but don’t be afraid. Let Jesus be Jesus. Another way is through Prayer. Pray like this: “Jesus, I don’t know if you’re for real or not. I want to know you more. Amen.” Be open to any guidance in your life. See that if you really looking for the truth, God will show you the way. Let Jesus be Jesus. Another way or as compliment to the Bible and prayer is to join God’s People Worshiping Together. There is something unique about Christians coming together. Don’t be afraid. Just enter in, dress appropriately, people won’t chase you away. Your present in the ‘live’ worship may just a stepping stone for Jesus to speak to you. The people won’t convert you, the presence of the Holy Spirit will. No force. Jesus want to be known, that’s all. Let Jesus be Jesus.
[Let continue Mark 6:17-29 on another article]

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