That headline, and the story that followed, ignited a firestorm of controversy that raged in the "Letters to the Editor" pages for the next six weeks. Opinions ranged from "His views are so far out that I can't believe he says he's a Christian" to calling my approach "a way of fully appreciating the richness and beauty of the Gospels, in our 20th century context. Is my search for the historical Jesus a threat to faith? Or does it help make faith a possibility for modern men and women?
A Pilgrimage Who is jesus Is Jesus? Why another book on this first-century Jewish man? Why have I spent years studying the life of an itinerant preacher from a backward town? This excerpt, exclusive to Huffington Post Religion, is the beginning of his new book.
Jesus is walking with his friends to Caesarea Philippi, a town roughly 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. The story comes midway through the Gospel of Mark. Out the blue Jesus asks, "Who do people say that I am?
Perhaps they are embarrassed, as when someone mentions a taboo topic. Perhaps they have been discussing that very question furtively, wondering who would be forthright enough to ask Jesus about his identity.
Maybe Jesus had even overheard them arguing over who he was. The disciples offer halting responses: Herod, the first-century ruler of Galilee, thought that Jesus might be John the Baptist come back to life.
And the comparison to a prophet like, say, Jeremiah seemed sensible because of similarities between the prophet and Jesus. But the disciples are careful to avoid saying what they believe. So Jesus asks them directly, "But who do you say that I am?
Why did I spend two weeks traipsing around Israel under the broiling sun to see places where a former carpenter lived and sites that he may or may not have visited? Moreover, why have I committed my life to Jesus? The answers turn on the question of who I believe Jesus is, so it's fair to tell you before we begin our pilgrimage.
My starting point is a classic theological statement: Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine. This is one of the first things that Christians learn about their faith. But what does it mean? To begin with, Jesus of Nazareth, the person who walked the landscape of first-century Palestine, wasn't God pretending to be human.
He was a flesh-and-blood, real-life, honest-to-God man who experienced everything that human beings do. Jesus was born and lived and died, like any human being.
The child called Yeshua entered the world as helpless as any newborn, and just as dependent on his parents. He needed to be nursed, held, fed, burped, and changed. As a boy growing up in the minuscule town of Nazareth, Jesus skinned his knees on the rocky ground, bumped his head on doorways, and pricked his fingers on thorns.
He watched the sun rise and set over the Galilean countryside, wondered how far away the moon was and asked why the stars twinkled. Jesus had a body like yours and mine, which means that he ate, drank and slept.
He experienced sexual longings and urges. The adult Jesus felt joy and sadness, laughing at things that struck him as funny and weeping during times of loss. As a fully human being with fully human emotions, he felt both frustration and enthusiasm.
He grew weary at the end of a long day and fell ill from time to time. He pulled muscles, he felt sick to his stomach, and maybe sprained an ankle or two. Like all of us, he sweated and sneezed and scratched. Everything proper to the human being--except sin--Jesus experienced.
Jesus's humanity is a stumbling block for many people, including a few Christians. Incidents in the Gospels that show Jesus displaying intense and even unattractive human emotions can unsettle those who prefer to focus on his divinity.
At one point in the Gospel of Mark, he speaks sharply to a woman who asks him to heal her daughter. The woman is not Jewish and, as a result, Jesus seems to dismiss her with a callous comment: When the woman responds that even the dogs get crumbs from the table, Jesus softens.Jesus was a teacher who taught with authority and wisdom.
During his life on earth, crowds flocked to hear him teach about God, right living and forgiveness. The resurrection of Jesus is the most striking thing that singles him out from other religious leaders, and any other person. Jesus: Equality With God When writing to the Philippians, Paul addresses the divine qualities of Jesus, saying, "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Phil.
). Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, and the Catholic consensus (i.e. the views of the Eastern and Western historical churches) is that Mary remained a virgin her entire life. Who is Jesus Christ? The Gospel According to Matthew. The first book of the New Testament is the Gospel According to Matthew, said to have been written by Jesus' s disciple Matthew, who was a tax-collector.
The story in Matthew states that Jesus was a Jewish peasant, the stepson of a carpenter, born at Bethlehem in Judea, a region in Israel or what was then called Palestine.
Who Is Jesus? Disputed Questions and Answers (Eerdmans) is the question posed and discussed by Carl Braaten in this new schwenkreis.com response to those who argue the real Jesus is lost to history, the author argues the only real Jesus is the One found in the pages of Scripture.
THE PASSION. _____ ‘If thou knowest not how to meditate on high and heavenly things, rest on the Passion of Christ, and willingly dwell in his sacred wounds.