FAITH IN FOCUS: TELL US WHO HE IS
‘Christ’ is not Jesus’ surname. It’s not Mr and Mrs Christ and their son Jesus. Insofar as Jesus had a name like ours, then it was Joshua Josephson. Christ means anointed, and in the case of Jesus it means that he is the one sent by God to reveal the true purpose of life and how to achieve it for ever. So when Jesus asked who people thought he was, it was Peter who came up with the answer: ‘You are the Christ’.
But if Jesus is the Christ, the anointed Son of God, then we can’t simply take it or leave it. We have to accept him as Lord or ruler of our lives. We have to accept that he offers us a different quality of life. And strangely he tells us that to keep our life we must give it up, we must carry our cross and die to self.
This is not a very popular teaching. Our world laughs at the idea and prefers a ‘get what you can’ way of life: if I want it why shouldn’t I have it… if I think it’s OK then it is… I’m entitled to my share of the cake… charity begins at home.
So when the world asks us who this Christ is, what do our lives reply? When they ask what importance he has in our world, what do our lives show? Why do so many people live today without seeming to need to know about him? Is it because we don’t need him?
Is there anything about our lives that gives the impression that it’s someone else who makes us live? Do we appear to be living resurrected lives, on a level that is deeper than simple human existence? Do we live a comfortable Christian existence or do we take risks to live for Christ?
Do our ways of looking at problems and difficulties come from Christ? Are we living a risen life? Or are we just the same as everyone else?
Taking up our cross and denying ourselves means more than not complaining about our toothache or giving up chocolate. It’s about identifying ourselves with Christ’s rejection, shame, suffering and death in order to live his new and risen existence.
Jesus asked, who do people say I am? The only way they are going to find out today is through the way we Christians live. Do we go for the easy option or do we follow the Christ of God to the point of denying ourselves for the sake of others?