Jesus: known or obscure?

In a brilliant film, Van Gogh, in At Eternity’s Gate (2018), says Jesus became known thirty years after his death. Before then Jesus was obscure, he says. I have a problem with this.

The gospels says about Jesus is that he was well-known to the people during his lifetime, and known soon after his lifetime, as Jesus’ message and Spirit spread immediately after his death and resurrection.

One of things that get overlooked at times, is that the gospel narratives and the story of the early church in Acts are reliable.

It may sound like one of those disagreements Van Gogh and Gaugin had in this movie–but this is me, a viewer, disagreeing with what Van Gogh says. Sounds strange, but it’s the point of view here I’m pointing to that’s a problem, not the movie itself.

Would facing mortality change anything?

If one struggles with identity and individuality, one may take on a persona, a performance, an image of somebody. Then having shown the world an identity, one faces their mortality and starts to asks if what they believed is true. Would facing mortality make a difference to how one saw one’s self? How one believed in one’s self? Would an element of self-doubt or belief creep in, as one realizes that facing mortality can change everything one believed?

What reaction would Jesus get today?

When I read the passage from the gospel of Luke, chapter thirteen verses 1-5, I wonder if anyone today would talk like Jesus did in that passage. Sure, some may, but not in the kind of way Jesus would.

Jesus had the best, if not perfect way of putting something. Sure, it would get a reaction, but Jesus knew how to put his message aptly. He would say it just as it should be said, just as the sender of the message intended it, no missing links, or showing up falsities. Jesus knew how to say things.

So, if Jesus talked about the matter of sin today, I wonder what reaction he would get?

Forgiveness is wonderful

Carrying on from last post, the cross is also powerful to forgive. This is God’s way to forgive the sin in our lives. Our sin or tendency to dark, selfish acts in whatever form is what displeases God, but God’s way to forgive us is the power of the cross.

God’s forgiveness when it is felt is liberating. The burden of sin is lifted off one’s life. Only God can forgive in this kind of way, that goes to the very heart of a person and sets one free.

God’s forgiveness is wonderful. It is so wonderful that God’s forgiveness can enable us to forgive those who have offended us, if we can truly appreciate how God has forgiven our own sins. One who loves much, has been forgiven much.

The message of the cross

Carrying on from the previous post, what is the message of the cross that it is so powerful? Even more powerful than people’s power? Here are my thoughts:

Jesus hanging on the cross looks like defeat, but there’s a hidden power behind the cross. The power of the cross is like a whirlwind, a storm of supernatural origin that one can’t see, but is something that operates in the spiritual realm. This power is power over sin and death that can help a human being overcome one’s powerlessness over death and sin. God’s power suffices instead of human power, to overcome the problems of death and sin in individual lives.

Power of men, power of God

Who is more powerful? Men or God? Jesus said about himself, “The Son of Man is going to be handed over to the power of men.” (Luke 9:44, Good News Bible). But only for a while would man seem to win…God was going to use the handing over of Jesus to the power to men. God let Jesus die crucified on a cross to show the world a greater glory: the power of God. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV). God is more powerful. It’s food for thought.

Good living

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28
Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you.
29
Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.
30
Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
when they have done you no harm.
31
Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.
32
For the Lord detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence.
33
The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34
He mocks proud mockers
but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35
The wise inherit honor,
but fools get only shame

(Proverbs 3:27-35, New International Version)

If Jesus came to save his people from their sins, why do Christians still sin?

I’m no biblical scholar or bachelor of divinity, but I am open to God and the Bible, and I try to read the Bible as it is. In that vein, I have read in the Bible that Jesus existed to save people from their sins. What does this mean? And why do Christians still sin?

As has been said many a time, one needs to define sin so that one’s hearers understand what is meant by sin and why Jesus came to save people from it.

So, for the purposes for this post, I think it is helpful to define sin simply. Sin is an action that displeases God to the extent that God finds it repugnant and can’t be tolerated. Sin’s worse than you and I think.

But Jesus Christ came to save people from their sins. But why do people who believe in Jesus still sin? When someone believes in Jesus that should put an end to sin in their lives, shouldn’t it?

I’ve heard many arguments to explain this, none I must say were my own thoughts, and if I used those here, they would be second hand explanations, and not my own. But I do know that I believe in Jesus and that I can still sin.

At times, sin cuts deep through my soul, and when it does, I was not saved that day from my sin. It was me who let it happen. I confessed the sin to God, and was healed of it, but why didn’t Jesus save me before it happened, if Jesus came to save people from their sins?

I think it’s not as easy as all that. Jesus was on earth to save people from their sins. To save. God hasn’t eliminated the sin nature in every human being entirely. Sin is still there, in the sin nature in human beings.

I may still sin again, somehow. Through all this, God provided the Lamb of God (Jesus) to justify me before God, that I am acquitted of all my sins in front of God. By faith in the Lamb of God I am justified. In other words, I am under God’s grace.

I still want to say no to sin and I have faith to believe that Jesus’s Spirit, which I have received, can enable me to say no to my known sins as I cooperate with him.

This Christmas, we remember that Jesus was born to enable one to overcome their sins and weaknesses while he justifies the sinner who puts their faith in him.