By David B. Smith
I’m writing three days after the 2012 Presidential election here in the United States — and even that reference probably makes 49.5% of readers uneasy or resentful. A nation votes and then citizens either joyfully affirm or grudgingly admit that the designated winner will be our Commander in Chief, awarded with certain constitutional powers.
In the Christian faith, though, our chosen Leader is unanimously elected. Gallup pollsters and the legendary Internet number-cruncher, fivethirtyeight.com’s Nate Silver, prognosticate a scant and divided two-point win for this candidate or another. But followers of Jesus wholeheartedly agree that Jesus Christ is LORD — gladly granted all kingly authority over His galactic kingdom and our lives. To be a member of the Christian community is to bow before the second member of the Godhead and give Him the most exalted position in our lives.
I once had a neighbor whose face was invariably wreathed in cheerfulness and her life marked by an easy holiness. Curious about her faith experience, I finally blurted it out: “Cindy, what in the world are you?” Without a moment’s hesitation, she replied: “You know what? I guess I’m just an old-fashioned Jesus freak.” To her, Jesus was her everything: Savior, Redeemer, prayer-answerer, miracle-provider, sustainer, Friend. He was her first thought in the morning, her last meditation at night. She subjected her family decisions to His rule and counsel and thanked Him for every blessing.
What does the Church embrace and teach about this Babe in a manger who grew up to die on the cross for our sins? First, Jesus is fully and absolutely God . . . and man. This is a mystery we can’t fully fathom, but the Bible forcefully refers to Jesus as both “Son of God” and “Son of Man.” His experience here on earth was marked by a human birth; He grew up in a Nazareth home. He ate meals and needed drinks of water and got sleepy when the sun went down. His healing touches could be felt. He had a body that could be whipped and even killed.
On the other hand, God’s Word is unequivocal that Jesus was and is a divine being. He was miraculously born of a virgin. During His stay on earth, followers referred to Him using divine titles. They worshiped Him, and He accepted their worship. He performed divine acts: healing, raising people from the dead, offering people forgiveness of their sins. He spoke openly about God being His Father, and about their existence together in heaven. He explained how, in the unfolding future, He would return to establish His own rule. The Bible gives Him titles like High Priest, Messiah, Creator, Judge.
In addition — and here are more pleasant mysteries — Scripture affirms that Jesus was eternally pre-existent with the Father in heaven. He was incarnated in Bethlehem, which means that He had a prior and eternal existence. (My math students can visualize the number line extending infinitely — approaching a sideways eight — to the left as well as the right.) One writer in my faith community coined this memorable and descriptive line: “In Him was life, original, unborrowed, underived.” This is why Jesus could heal and resurrect with such perfect ease.
Other key pillars of Christian faith are these: He was absolutely sinless and perfect. Believers endlessly discuss and debate the human nature of Christ; the Bible is clear that Jesus, sympathetic to our human fragility, was subject to temptation and walked in the midst of sinful people every day . . . but He never once fell into iniquity Himself. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that Jesus “knew no sin.”
Equally important is the doctrine of Jesus’ resurrection. Our chosen King is alive today, at this very moment. He serves as our High Priest and advocate with a heavenly Father who is equally passionate about redeeming His lost children. He’s obviously the center figure in the Second Coming, and — in the immortal words from Isaiah and Handel’s Messiah — is destined to be: “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
I’m still wearing my “I Voted” sticker, but the day is coming when we won’t have to watch any more political ads on Fox and MSNBC — because Jesus’ term of office will run forever. And for sure, I can vote for that.
David B. Smith writes from California. (4 of 28) His web page is Copyright © 2014. Click here for content usage information. Biblebay