This week I am posting a series on What do I believe about God? This is the third in the series and in some ways both the most important and the most challenging. What do I believe about Jesus? Who is this person that took hold of my life 45 years ago, and has faithfully led me ever since? Who is this Son of Man who turned my life upside down, transformed not just me but also my values and in fact who continues to turn my life upside down and transform me?
I believe that Jesus was the incarnate presence of God. He is the best representative the human race has ever had of what God is really like. All that he did on earth gives us a glimpse into a God of love and compassion who cares deeply for our world and all that is in it. Jesus acts of healing the sick, raising the dead, speaking out against the injustice of the religious leaders are all glimpses into the character of a God who wants to restore all of human kind and in fact all of creation to the wholeness God intended for it. This is the good news of God that Jesus preached.
I believe that Jesus call to repentance – to “turn around” – is not just a call to believe in God in our hearts but it is a call to commit our lives to the same things that Jesus committed his life to – sight to the blind, healing to the lame, justice for the poor and the formation of a new community of love and mutual care.
This is beautifully summed up in Luke 4: 16 – 21 where Jesus inaugurates his ministry:
Luke 4: 16-21 (The Message)
He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, “God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor,
Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”
Let me finish with this prayer that I wrote for my new book Light for the Journey: Morning and Evening Prayers for Living into God’s World, which will be available in a couple of weeks.
We believe in Jesus Christ, word made flesh,
Incarnate presence of God,
He came amongst us not in power, not in might, but as a child,
Born of a woman, raised as a refugee, servant of the poor
Lowly and humble he came,
Washing feet, embracing kids, touching outcasts
He came as a servant king
Loving, caring, compassionate he walked beside us
Shouldering our burdens, suffering our pain, healing our sicknesses,
He came as a God who hears our cries
Bringing freedom for the oppressed, justice for the poor
Providing food for the hungry, salvation for us all
He came as a God of celebration and joy
Sharing meals, celebrating feasts, laughing and rejoicing
He came to give us life
So that we might find life in doing his will.