Still Figuring Out Jesus

Who Was That Man?

I’ve been staring at Matthew 2 for the past few days in contemplation. For the past 2,000 years, those of us who enjoy contemplating such things, especially take this time of year to reflect on just who this Jesus is.

Matthew is more concerned than the other New Testament writers about tying Jesus’ life to the history of God working through the Jewish people. In two chapters, he ties a lot together.

He had started with heavenly signs and visions. Then he looked at some ancient writings and saw parallels (I believe that this is the sort of teaching Jesus did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus after the resurrection). He has Jesus born in Bethlehem. Then fleeing to Egypt only to be called out of Egypt (sound familiar?) and growing up in Nazareth (so he could be called a Nazarene). So Jesus, in his life, mirrors the experience of the nation.

Abraham is amazing

I am still amazed about Abraham. How is it that he decided to follow the “One God” rather than all the tribal gods of his homeland? We have the stories all about his life, but nothing really about the beginning. With Moses (the next great prophet or leader), we have the story of the burning bush where he first met God. Changed his life and the life of the people.

With Jesus, the “prophet greater than I” that Moses predicted, we are presented with one born into life with God. Certainly Mary sang her songs to Jesus as a baby filling him with the vision of the purpose of his birth. Certainly Joseph was a fantastic parental model of a person living the with-God life.

Then you look at the history of the Jewish people as the people who were supposed to be a blessing to all mankind as the keepers of the faith of the one true God (we call it monotheism). But they kept falling away. Then wanted a king. God told them through Samuel that that was a mistake. But they asked. They had three kings. Then the empire crumbled. Actually there was a fourth, but shortly after his ascension after Solomon, the kingdom split. Eventually the two kingdoms were wiped out.

Yet, hundreds of years later, the people still wanted another one of those kings.

But with Jesus, God tried again. It was not about a nation. It was about individuals. Each individual needs to repent and change their lives.

We still need that repentance. We still have so many people, even in this “Christian nation” who have not felt the need. And some do terrible things. There is so much work to do to bring everyone into the life with-God.

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