Jesus Christ, life and mission
The understanding and views about Jesus, his person, life and mission explained by different faiths and churches is also a paradox for me, which I want to describe here. It may raise questions, which cannot be explained here because the topics are too deep and diverse.
first announcement of Jesus Christ (Christ is “Messiah” or
“Anointed One”) can already be found in the Bible, after the fall
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall pierce his heel.” Genesis 3:15 Since this event, the Old Testament chronicles the preparation of the Jewish people for the coming of the Messiah over several thousand years. The short life of Jesus, told in the New Testament, ends very tragically from a Jewish perspective. The “chosen people” did not recognize their Messiah and killed him. Jesus' dramatic prophecies about his people come true. The traditional church's explanation to this day is that the crucifixion of Jesus was God's Will to free fallen humanity from their sins.
This declaration raises the following questions: Why does God prepare a people for thousands of years so that they can then simply kill their Messiah? That wouldn't have needed such a long preparation. The unbelief of the people was the cause of the killing of the Messiah. In all of human history, God's will has never been accomplished through people's unbelief in God's Word. How could this work in this case?
Even Jesus, when asked what the will of God was, said: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29
Saul, later Paul, persecuted the followers of Jesus because he could not believe in a crucified Messiah. In fact, we find different prophecies in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Isaiah about the mission of Jesus.
Isaiah 60:20-21: “Your sun will not go down, nor will your moon wane; for the Lord is your everlasting light; your days of mourning are at an end. Your people consist only of the righteous; they will inherit the land forever, as the flourishing plantation of the Lord, as the work of his hands, by which he shows his glory.”
Isaiah 53:7-8: “He was mistreated and oppressed, but he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, and like a sheep before its shearers, he did not open his mouth. He was carried away by imprisonment and court, but who cared about his fate? He was cut off from the land of the living and struck to death because of the crimes of his people.”
In the Christian faith it is often interpreted that the prophecy about the suffering Jesus refers to his first appearance and the prophecy about Jesus, as Lord of Glory, refers to his second coming. However, there is no reference to a second coming in the Old Testament or in the Jewish faith. The believing Jewish people are still waiting for the Messiah! It would be more understandable to assume that the success of Jesus' mission is also linked to the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the chosen people, as Jesus often put it. Jesus spoke of the near kingdom of heaven and the fulfillment of God's will, in heaven and on earth. Only when he realized that he could not establish the ideal of God on earth due to the unbelief of his people did he speak about the path of suffering that would enable his future followers to enter spiritual paradise:
Luke 23:43: "Jesus answered him, Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise." These were the words of Jesus on the cross to the thief on his right side, who demonstrated faith in Jesus. Paul, who was expecting a Messiah who would establish God's kingdom on earth, also sought - after he recognized Jesus as Messiah through a spiritual experience - for an explanation that was very long and not easy to understand:
1 Corinthians 2:8: “None of the rulers of this world has known them; For if they had known the wisdom of God, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” He does testify in this sentence that Jesus would not have been crucified if people had recognized him. However, he goes on to write that people often cannot understand the will of God. But I am convinced that it is God's will that people, as his created children, understand him and build a heart relationship with him. I cannot believe that after the crucifixion of Jesus, it was God's will to see His children continue to suffer as we have seen over the last two thousand years.
Another important topic that is still being discussed, is the question of whether Jesus was or is, God or human. Here too we find statements in the Bible that support both points. As mentioned at the beginning, God said in Genesis 3:15 that from the descendants of men one will come to crush the head of the enemy of God. For this reason, the Gospel of Matthew begins in the first chapter with the family tree of Jesus. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man in some situations, emphasizing the difference between himself and God:
Matthew 11:19: “The Son of Man has come, eating and drinking; Then they say: This glutton and drunkard, this friend of tax collectors and sinners! And yet wisdom has been justified by the deeds it has brought about.”
Matthew 16:13: “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
Mark 10:18: “Jesus answered, Why do you call me good? No one is good except God, the One.”
There are also texts in the Bible that support the theory that Jesus is God:
John 14:9-10: “Jesus answered him, I have been with you so long, and you have not recognized me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say: Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you do not come from myself. The Father who abides in me accomplishes his works.”
Jesus often explained that a human, as a child of God, is God's temple. He encouraged us to be perfect children of God, just as he is. Seen this way, an ideal human being is the visible expression of his Creator:
Matthew5:48: “You must therefore be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”
At the First Council of Nicaea, convened by Constantine I in 325 AD, due to disunity between the Eastern and Western bishops, Emperor Constantine decided that Jesus was to be seen as God. This basically finished the debate in Christianity as to whether Jesus is God or human, to this day.