What actually was Jesus all about?
Despite the efforts of the Church to make Jesus an anathema , there have been miracles in Jewish history. Not only have Jews embraced Jesus as their Messiah, but even some brought up in Orthodox Judaism, trained in the Talmud, some as religious leaders for their people. Some have been able to refer to Jesus as Haver, friend. Some, such as Alfred Edersheim, David Baron and Arnold Fruchtenbaum, have blessed the Church immeasurably with their unique insights. It is worth repeating the verse from Romans:
Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! (Romans 11:11-12)
Finally, Jesus will return as King, Messiah, Son of David, Mashiach ben David. We wait for this day with bated breath.
The Man of Many Names sits in a plush reception, flanked by fresh flowers and a water cooler. He has come for an interview. He wants to be Lord of your heart and your mind, but first needs an invite. This you have done and he has come willingly for an interview, a personal encounter with you. Those who call themselves Christians have had this personal experience of meeting with the Master and have extended the experience beyond this initial encounter through the privilege of prayer. For many of us, this first interview has secured the position. We call it faith and a personal encounter with Jesus Christ is often sufficient to seal the deal.
But, continuing with our job interview parallel, in the cut-throat business world, the interview is just part of the process and most don't even get that far. The crucial element is the CV, the Curriculum Vitae. This is the document sent to the employer, where all aspects of the applicant's life are laid bare. The CV gives details of the background, training, skills and aspirations. It is a holistic snapshot of the applicant, sufficient to determine whether the application is to be taken further.
I have attempted in these articles to provide a CV for Jesus, the Man of Many Names. We have his name, well a dozen or so of his main ones. We also have both his current address (heaven) and a full employment history, past and future, from the dawn of time to the end of days. A complete list of skills and attributes are furnished, as God's communicator to mankind, teacher, healer, prophet, priest and king. His achievements are laid out, not the least being the work done on the Cross to redeem us and provide us with eternal life in his presence. As for references, a million testimonies of redeemed lives bear witness to his character.
That's good enough for me.
It is our responsibility to have a good read of this CV, to find out as much as we can about the One we have surrendered our life to. The heart may be won over, but the brain needs also to be engaged. Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, rabbi and Christ, all titles and pieces of the mosaic that fit together to provide the perfect portrait of the Man of many Names. Understanding these titles is to understand the Man and his mission. I pray that these articles have filled in a few gaps in your understanding and encouraged you to dig deeper.
Let's face it, who could refuse this man an interview on the back of such a pedigree and glowing record of achievement? If he's sitting in your reception area waiting for a personal encounter, then what are you waiting for?
(This is an abridged extract from Steve's book Jesus Man of Many Names)