“Who was Jesus, anyway?” When I was a child my answers to that question shaped a character who might best be described as a superhero: a wondrous birth, a childhood so perfect there was barely anything to write about, miraculous actions like turning water into wine, walking on water, healing with a touch and raising people from the dead. There were sad stories too: he was tortured and died a cruel death, but in practically no time, all was made well because the superhero came back to life! My young heart and brain needed the clarity and certainty that Jesus, the superhero, offered. As
an adult, I need something different.
I might prefer clarity and certainty, but my adult heart and brain demand a credibility that other-than-human superheroes can’t offer. As my search for answers to the question “who was Jesus, anyway” continues, I am confronted with Jesus’ humanness. Life, ministry, constant faithfulness, suffering and death would be no problem for a superhero, but superheroes are fiction and Jesus was no superhero. He was flesh and blood human (just like me!) and still he did what he did! Jesus’ humanness is the wonder of it all for me.
Asking questions about Jesus can be an historical exercise and that has
intellectual value I appreciate. But asking questions about Jesus becomes profound and life-shaping for me when I understand that as a person of faith, those same questions can and will be asked about me. Questions like: Who were his friends? Whom did he reject? What made him angry? What made him glad? What were his goals? How did he live? How did he die? What impact did his life and death have on others?
Questions asked in historical and intellectual pursuit are interesting. Questions asked in pursuit of authentic living have the power to shape and give meaning to our lives. I’m grateful to be part of a community that comes together to ask questions like, “Who was Jesus, anyway?” I’m equally grateful to recognize that our answers can change over time, that most of the answers are beyond
our grasp, and that our asking is part of our faithfulness.
Rev. Tina Lang, Minister of Discipleship