A question for us to contemplate this Lenten season: Who do we think Jesus is?
This question challenges because it is so easy to treat Jesus as someone we construct ourselves. We want to put together tight marketing strategies of a sort, make Jesus appealing, relevant, but also friendly, and "nice."
It's easy to do. It's easy to create a Jesus Who becomes for us a personal reflection of how we see religion and Christianity fitting neatly into our lives and our world. We may give our created Jesus our political leanings, our personal preferences, our ways of relating to others, even. A comfortable, moral, lowercase-g god who wants us to avoid confrontation, to fit in, to make opposite perspectives intermingle in harmony.
And why not create our own image of Jesus?
Because Jesus was a historic, real, human person. Because we have the Gospels to tell us what Jesus really did and said. We have to make a choice between a Jesus we create ourselves and the Jesus of history and the Gospels. A Jesus Who was God incarnate, Who felt human emotions, Who walked the earth of Israel, Who was Jewish.
Jesus not only knew the laws of Judaism inside and out, conversing with rabbis when only a child, but it was the very air He breathed. It was His culture and imbued every aspect of life in that time and place. This fact has played a foundational role in the teachings and traditions of our Faith, always understanding how significant Jewish morality and tradition impacted the context of what Jesus said and did.
Christ's words in today's Gospel tell us that He did not come to earth to simply create a new religion out of thin air; He came to fulfill the promises God made to the Jewish people. We cannot separate Jesus from His historic existence and His existence as a Jewish man. Let’s examine the ways we change Who Jesus is in our minds—do they need a correction? Instead of settling for creating a savior we mistakenly think we want, let’s pray for the grace to mold our hearts to the Savior Who walked the earth over 2000 years ago.
Have you read about covenant theology by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI? This article discusses it.
Christy Isinger is a wife and mom to five lovely, loud children and lives in northern Canada. When not homeschooling, she is a devoted reader of English literature from Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. She writes about the beauty of faith, life, and the home at her blog and is the co-host of the Fountains of Carrots Podcast. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Ten Commandments study found here.