The Real Jesus

“Do you know John?”

“Yes, I believe I do. Do you mean the John with a wife and two children?”

“No, John isn’t married.”

“Was he ever married?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Does he work in the oil and gas industry?”

“No, he is in real estate.”

“I’m beginning to think we might be talking about two different Johns.”

I’ve had similar conversations throughout my life. I’m in a conversation with someone who asks me if I know a person. I know someone by that name. So, we go back and forth attempting to discover if the person with the same name is the actual person.

This is what theology has done throughout the years as it attempts to speak of Jesus Christ. Many people have come along and spoken incorrectly about Christ. In Christ the Center, Bonhoeffer identifies several incorrect views of the Biblical Christ:

Some have claimed Jesus was a manifestation of God, a means of communication but nothing more. This description of Christ failed because it never really accepted the fact that Christ took the nature of humanity.

Some have claimed Jesus was an exalted man. This description of Christ claims He was a man who eventually had divine honors placed on Him. It fails because it exalts a man and places him on the level of God.

Some have claimed Jesus was God in a body. This seems to downplay the humanity of Christ.

In the many conversations I have had with Christians, I am amazed at how sloppy some of their thinking is on the incarnation of Christ. When we speak of Christ we have to make sure that we know who we are talking about. When others speak of Christ, we need to make sure that they know whom they are talking about.

Many people claim Christ, but often they are talking about someone other than the Biblical person. Many give distorted, incomplete, or even ignorant portraits of Jesus. We need to be aware of this and ready to tell those who misunderstand that though they might use the name, they are not talking about the same person as we are.

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