Who is Jesus?
I remember when two high school athletes came to the classroom to find out. "Can you tell me about him?" one asked. 'Can I?!' I thought.
Hmmm... where to start--perhaps with the question, ‘Who was Jesus?’ Why would Jesus come to earth with the express purpose of dying?
To study the life of this sinless human being is to realize there is something far greater at work than just coming up with satisfactory answers, because those answers call for a personal response.
So, who is Jesus? Begotten, not made. He has always been, along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. At the right time in history, Jesus was born to a peasant maiden, a virgin, from a back country town, Nazareth. [see green underline near the Galilee]
Jesus was born to Mary far from little Nazareth at a time when the census workers did not go door to door, but when all had to travel to the city of their lineage to register. For Mary’s betrothed, Joseph, that meant traveling to Bethlehem, because he was of the line of King David. It was at least a three-day trip from Nazareth, at a time when Mary was close to delivering her holy child. [Bethlehem underlined in orange on map]
We do not know much about Jesus’ childhood in the little town of Nazareth, though we know that Mary and Joseph knew the Messiah was growing up in their home, eating at their table. They raised Jesus like other Jewish children, steeped in the Scriptures, the religious observances and feasts, and equipped him in Joseph’s trade.
Jesus began his ministry around the Sea of Galilee at the age of 30, recruiting 12 men to work alongside; we call them the disciples. He would befriend and mentor them, and one day, leave his work for them to take to the world. They looked on as Jesus taught of his Father and of the kingdom which would have no end. They watched as Jesus broke the social mores of his day, extending himself to a Samaritan—reviled and hated by his people—to women, who were viewed as second-class citizens at best—to children, who he loved and embraced. He offended the pious Pharisaical Jews healing on the Sabbath; he broke the laws of nature by working miracles, casting out demons, and restoring sight to the blind. Neither the Jewish teachers nor the Roman leaders could figure him out, and they certainly could not contain him. Jesus was at home with sinners and people of ill repute, dining with crooked tax collectors and loose women. His love drew them to holiness, as he modeled a better way, taught by example in word and in deed.
Jesus knew his strength lie in his connection with his Father, so he met alone to pray, to connect, and to seek direction. He said and did only what his father had him do; he did not execute his own will, but rather his Father’s plan and purposes.
Ultimately, he allowed himself to suffer and die, without defending himself . . . for you, for me. That’s who Jesus was, and is, and wants to be to you.
I understood so much more about Jesus when I got to see where he lived. Then I could visualize the topography he travelled--the distances, the rugged land, etc.
Flying all night to Tel Aviv, my group will gather Monday eve in Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. (39 of us). Because several I love and highly value asked me, I am going to share what I can this next week--of Jesus, of the Land, the people and the Sea. But clearly, a trip like this is simply to gain a greater understanding of the Son of God and the deep, abiding truths of the Scripture. Jesus is who he said he was.**
Praying that you love him and let his love wash over you daily,