Who is this man? It’s a fair question, one asked by Sadducees and Pharisees, by priests and Romans, Jews and Gentiles. Who is this man? We’ve been asking this question for over two thousand years, and we’re still asking it, still looking for an answer.
In Acts, when Saul meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus is a flash of light from heaven and a disembodied voice. In John’s Revelation, as he stands in heaven in a dream-state, or what we might call a trance or a vision, we see another Jesus: the Lamb who was slain. This is the exalted Christ, the Lamb that was slain for “persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Rev. 5:9) In John’s Gospel, though, Jesus is much more human, appearing at the seaside and joining the disciples for a fish-fry. Matthew’s Gospel records that the sight of the risen Christ made the tomb guards shake and “become like dead men.” (Mt. 28:4) Indeed, within all the different stories of the post-resurrection Saviour, no two stories describe Jesus in the same way. Is he recognizable, or a stranger? Is he bodily present, or not visible to the naked eye? Who is this man?
There are thousands of images of Jesus in the pages of Scripture, and most of us tend to play favourites with some of them, preferring to picture our Jesus as one thing over another: infant, precocious 12-year-old, full-grown son leaving home, battler of Satan, healer of the blind, comforter of the grief-stricken, miracle-worker and cross-bearer, friend, servant, rabbi and revolutionary. He’s the Son of Man and the branch of Jesse, Son of David and a boy from Nazareth. He’s a broken man who weeps at the tomb of his friend, and a risen Saviour walking the road to Emmaus. He’s as mysterious as the wind, and as intimate as our breath. Jesus heals the broken, rebukes the wind, brings redemption, judges, intercedes, and welcomes.
Mature Christian faith involves deepening and widening our understanding of who Jesus is; as a living Saviour Jesus never remains static, and neither should our understanding of him.
S. M. Lockridge was a preacher at Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego, California from 1953 – 1993. He offers a powerful answer to the question, “Who is this man?” I invite you to watch, and see if his words challenge your understanding of who this man is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzqTFNfeDnE
The Rev. Janet Taylor
Braeside Presbyterian Church
St. Albert, Alberta