Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Who Do Men Say That I Am?

I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him. – Napoleon

Even those who have renounced Christianity and attack it, in their inmost being still follow the Christian ideal, for hitherto neither their subtlety nor the ardour of their hearts has been able to create a higher ideal of man and of virtue than the ideal given by Christ of old. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act. – Mahatma Gandhi

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history. – H. G. Wells

Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair. – Blaise Pascal

As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene...No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. – Albert Einstein

I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure, Jesus Christ. – Fidel Castro

Here is a Man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that contemporary society would consider a sign of greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing of this world, only the power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him, another betrayed Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on Earth—His coat. When He was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the centerpiece of the human race, the greatest source of guidance and divine inspiration. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as that one solitary life!—Jesus! - Dr. James Allan Francis

Who do you say that He is?


Ebony said...

Savior, redeemer, comforter. Unconditional love personified.

Anonymous said...

He is....The Christ, The son of the living God...The "I AM".

Anonymous said...


Donald said...

It is amazing to see what some of those people, such as Napoleon and Fidel Castro, had to say about Jesus, especially when one considers how those individuals are viewed by the world community. One would have to conclude from their words, that although many people consider them less than Sunday School type individuals, that they had a relationship or reverence for Jesus/God than most if not all conventional church attendees.
Then when I read the summary of Jesus's attributes which were offered by Dr. James Allan Francis, it is easy to see how one could have such reverence. We are all probably aware of the natural circumstances surrounding Jesus's life, but when you think on it, it is really astounding. He came into this world as a nobody and the odds were totally against Him succeeding. Now here we are thousands of years later and He is known and known of almost everywhere.
There's no doubt that we can give instances of great success stories by unlikely people, but how many of them will be remembered after a couple of generations. Few. And the ones that will be remembered will most likely be remembered in a relatively small geographical area. It seems that the ones that are remembered on a larger scale are remembered for being notoriously evil.
No doubt about it, Jesus is the Man! But something about Dr. Francis's summary hit me differently this morning than any other time that I had read those stats. It seems that I suddenly started seeing all the miracles and big time events as nothing compared to the fact that He came through all the obstacles he faced growing up to get to the point where he could perform all the miracles and other great things that he did. To be crude here, I can see Him as a kid on the playground being called a bastard, and kids calling his mother a whore, and all sorts of stuff like that, and yet he probably never lost it on them. I say he didn't ever lose it on them, I don't know, he might have kicked some butt at some point or another, I don't really know. But anyway, I get the feeling that when it was all said and done he got back to heaven and started singing, "If they could see me now, that little gang of mine."
My point, I have more respect and awe for Him for getting through all the difficulties that he faced than I do for all the miracles and even the crucifixion, even though I know that was the most important thing and his crowning achievement.

HollyC said...

He is my source..

He is everything..

He is The "I Am"

Donald said...

I guess I rambled and didn't answer the question about who I say that He is.
I say that He is everything. It seems that His problem is/was that he fit in everywhere,....except church.

Iris said...

There are many names of the Bible that refer to God, but are nothing less than palatial and dignified. . God… The Resurrection and the Life… The Bright and Morning Star…The Alpha and Omega… The Lord of Host… El Shaddai (God All-Powerful)… El Elyon (God Most High)… El Olam (Eternal God)… and El Berith (God of the Agreement)… just to name a few…

Phrases that stretch the boundaries of human language in an effort to capture the uncapturable, the grandeur of God… They trying desperately to encapsulate the very essence of God… but they always fall short. Sometimes hearing them is somewhat like listening to the Salvation Army Christmas band on the street playing Handel’s Messiah… Good try, but it doesn’t work… The message is too majestic for the medium… (nothing against the Salvation Army…)

The expression “There are no words to express…” is the only on that can honestly be applied to God… Truthfully to me, no names do Him justice…

Bishop… you were talking in last nights service about the name “Jesus”… a common name… many people have been named “Jesus”… I’m sure if He were here today He could have been called “George”… “Bob”… or “Josh”… I know that He would have distance Himself of a lofty name like Reverend Holiness Angelic Divinity III... (thank God for that)…When God choose His name it was common…

Common… touchable… approachable… reachable… He probably was the kind of guy you want to invite over for a cookout… watch movies together on the couch … go to a Georgia Bull Dogs Game with…He’d laugh at jokes…tickle the kids… and listen to you as if He had all the time in eternity…Definitely someone you would invite back…

There was never a hint of one person who was afraid to approach Him for fear of being rejected…We should remember that the next time we find ourselves astonished at our own failures… Or the next time acidic accusations burn holes in our hearts… Remember it is man that creates distance… It is God who builds the bridge…

So who do I say that He is…He is the I AM… He is the God that IS… Still to shallow… still inferior… not big enough… but for the Human language… that is the best I can do to describe the God who created the galaxies of the heavens… but came close enough so we can touch the hem of His garment…


Lise said...

He is the "I AM." Yet, even in all of that magnitude, in all that His "isness" encompasses... He is my very best friend :) And that's really humbling.

peacemaker said...

He is the Pattern to which I try to aspire,
He is the Wayshower to which I try and follow,
He is the Friend who taught me to love my enemies,
He is the Elder Brother to which I wish to emulate,
He is Sage to which I glean Wisdom,
He is the Door whose threshold I crossed into this mystical, cosmic land of eternity,
He is the Firstborn who shared His birthright with me,
He is the perfect embodiment of the Universal, all-inclusive, unconditional, love of God...The Christ.

I've never loved Him more than I do right Now.


Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Beautiful observations, everyone. Reading your words all together here gave me chills and brought a tear to the eye. DCNMS, your post made me think of Hebrews 5:8..."Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered." That's an amazing concept.

The church has been so focused on defending His divinity that they have overlooked the sacredness of His humanity.

The bottom line is that the mystery of Jesus, the Christ is that He was/is equally Son of Man and Son of God. If we see Him as more Son of God that Son of Man, we have an imbalanced paradigm of him, and don't really see who He is at all.

Interestingly, Jesus virtually always referred to Himself as Son of Man. To know Him we must be willing to embrace all of Him.

DoubleBack Alley said...

Streamin’ Away Again in MannaRhemaville. Caught some of the broadcast. Was called away on an emergency. First and foremost, congratulations to Pastor Debye for her work in the Georgia Congress. I think I know why you have water problems if they mistook her for David Bowie. How can they be trusted to protect a life giving resource without recognizing the treasure that was in their midst? I would suggest an eye check up as well. I knew David Bowie and I served with David Bowie; she sir is no David Bowie.

You mentioned God being the forever I AM. That's about all I caught, but that thought has been careening through my head all night. Since he is the forever I AM, he exists outside of all space and time. That isn’t as radical as it sounds and I know it surprises no one in this blog. Ferlin Husky in the Georgia Congress may have an issue with it, but that's for another blog.

Sometimes the most elemental truth can be astonishing in its simplicity. I AM forever negates the linear time walk. It is the totality of amness that allows us to say, "this too shall pass". The amness, if it were truly traversed, would render good and bad, evil and pure, light and dark, as conditional to a temporal experience and permit the immutable laws of eternity to rule in our lives. Everything just “is” and no value judgments can be made on that. You and I are not sojourners yet on that magical mystery tour, but we are gearing up. I want to know more.

I want to know why time can be bent, but religion tells me not to think that way. I want to know why I can see Heaven if I look up, but I can't see Hell no matter how hard I try. I want to know how Jesus laid his life down to free mine, but my bills can make his comforting words of little effect. I believe there is a murder one warrant out for religion. How free can I be if I receive the alternative to the letter?

Peacemaker proved there was eternal life before Calvary. Was that Jesus’ intention? I truly believe that he wanted to set us free with our words, but that if it took laying his life down, he was willing to do that as well. What a man. My God, what a son of man.

Who is the Christ? Sounds like a Jeopardy question, but I say that opening the door for a pregnant woman, giving up your seat to a senior citizen on the CTA, writing a thank you note to someone who hasn’t done anything for you is Christ. Anything a lily can do I can do better, but I’m not flying like a raven yet. Still working on that.

Who is Jesus Christ? Let’s not ask Ferlin, he thinks that’s the Braves new shortstop.

Ain’t God Good?

Lise said...

OMG! DBA, I love your post... brilliant! But I gotta yell ya, "Streamin' away again in MannaRhemaville"... that is just PRICELESS :):O:)

Anonymous said...

Magnetic MannaRhemaville meanders monumentally in my mind and being!! What a week to have a major project due at work.

He is my first love.

Anonymous said...

He's the only one who is by your side when everyone else has left you.
He holds your tears and comforts you when all have gone.
He sets forth a new day and leads new people into your life.
He provides all your needs and some of your wants.
He Never Fails You

Anonymous said...

thanks so much for this post Bishop, it is amazing how all these different people in different, positions, countries, and even religions or lack thereof; all have somehow conected with the Christ, the living word of God that is not bound between to leather covers or limited to paper and ink. Christ can and does touch the lives of every individual no matter who or where they may be. He is Lord of all. This post really reinforced what I put on my blog this week; and I needed it. I have kind of ben given the cold shoulder because of it, from some close to me. but they didnt comment on it openly. Gotta love ya Bishop; your a great encouragment to me.

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks, Iconoclast...the truth will your recovery is going well...stay strong.

Teezy313 said...

He is you,

He is me,

I can't see all of him unless I see him in you and in others,

He gave us the power to heal, to forgive, to set the captives free, to bind up the enemy,

I can't make it without Christ

I can't make it without You

Donald said...

Teezy313, that is some good stuff you're saying there. I clicked on your profile and saw that you're only 18 years old.
We have a joke among us working guys here that if one of them says they are "however" many years old, we will say "there's no way, you couldn't have possibly gotten that ugly in such a short amount of time", but in your case, I almost want to say, "you can't be just 18 because there's no way you could have possibly gotten that wise in such a short amount of time."
The next time someone tells me that there's no hope for this younger generation, I'll just have to tell them that they apparently have never heard of Teezy313!
Live long and prosper!

tracy said...

With the I Am-am meaning present ..I'm with Teezy, He is you- He is me. He is the good in all of us, and the things that are not so good He says will work together for our good. He is the sun , the rain, the stars more than we can count-He knew us from the beginning, how could we not have known Him?

peacemaker said...

I absolutely agree with dcnms, Teezy313. The most profound truths are usually manifested in the simplest of terms. Your post beautifully illustrates that.
Your are an old soul, my brother. Truly wise beyond your chronological years.

Peace as you continue to awaken,

Anonymous said...

He is my GOD! What more can I say! No one in history including unbelievers has ever refuted that fact that Jesus lived and change the course of history. He is my everything and it is because of Him that I will inherit the Kingdom~Praise be to God, the author and finisher of my faith!