Two Views of Jesus
I read an article the other day which was intent on drawing the battle lines across our culture.
It stated that there were two views of Jesus in common circulation: the view that Jesus is God, and the view that Jesus was a social radical who preached a revolutionary message.
Read that again. The two views aren't "Jesus is God" vs. "Jesus was just a man". The two views are "Jesus is ranked as equal to God" vs. "Jesus taught important things". This author is contrasting two views of what is perceived to be most significant about Jesus. Is it more important what Jesus' rank and status was, or what he taught and did?
This Christian's answer was that it is more important what Jesus' rank was. It is more important to see Jesus as having the rank of "God" than to understand his teachings. And in a twisted way, I can see how this makes sense.
I think this is a common approach among Christians. Rather than worry about understanding the social significance of Jesus to his people and time, all we have to do is fill in the right name on our diagram of heaven. Thus, "Jesus" becomes simply another word for "God", and the Jesus these people pray to wears a white robe and emanates rays of light.
But I think both of these views miss the point.
If we understand Jesus as simply a social teacher and radical, we miss the fact that Jesus is revealing to us that God is like this.
And if we accept Jesus as "God", but don't understand what he did or taught, then we've missed the whole point of Jesus coming in the first place:
...to show us that God is unlike anything we ever imagined.