I am a Jesus student.
I follow the life and teachings of a man who walked the earth as a first century Jew.
The Incarnation of God.
Billions of people have been impacted by this man’s life, and I along with them share in the immeasurable grasp of His legacy.
Napoleon mused about Jesus in a discourse. He expressed these thoughts when he was exiled on the rock of St. Helena.
This conqueror of civilized Europe reflected on his own accomplishments. This is a dialogue he had with Count Montholon.
Napoleon asked the Count.”Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?” The Count did not respond.
“Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day, millions will die for Him….I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man; none else is like Him; Jesus Christ was more than a man….I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me….but to do this it was necessary that I be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lighted up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts….Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart. He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally, and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all it’s powers and faculties , becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable , supernatural love towards Him. The phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man’s creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust it’s strength nor put a limit to it’s range. This is it which strikes me most ; I have often thought of it. This is it which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ”
I think about what it means for me to be a Jesus student. I look at his life and teachings: Repentance, the reign of God, and the love of humanity. I look at the implications of His crucifixion and what it means for the evil and brokenness that I see in the world and in myself.
I wrestle with what it means for my literal belief in the evolutionary process and how sin and death factor into the findings of the Scientific Community and what the Judeo Christian scriptures say about humanities origins and what we know of humanities origins today.
I look at my journey.
In my short life of 31 years I’ve experienced a myriad of expressions of faith.
As a child into my early teen years I grew up Pentecostal Holiness, Baptist and Non Denominational.
In my teenage years into early adulthood I was a Black Hebrew Israelite.
In early adulthood I embraced Messianic Judaism as a faith expression.
Later on in my adult life I returned to a non denominational church and embraced the Calvinist Reformed Tradition.
Today I soul search daily for what type of life I am emerging into.
I examine what God is doing in my heart.
Every day I wake up and acknowledge that despite everything, I am a Jesus student first and foremost. He captured my heart at 14, and again at 19 and to this day I am convinced knowing Him and understanding His teachings, life, death and resurrection will be my life long pursuit.
He has expanded immensely for me though. I see Him as so much bigger than I imagined before.
I see Him as literally the Highest expression of God and the very fabric and essence of all of reality. He permeates everything and is accessible to everyone. (Hebrews 1:3, Acts 17:27, Colossians 1:17)
His teachings are simple for me.
He died so that I can live.
So that I can chose the goodness of love and recapture what it means to be a bearer of God’s image and not be a slave to sin.
To pursue a life dedicated to the forming of my personhood to Christ’s personhood.
His sacrifice and gift of Himself (that tangible and ineffable Spirit that He imparts) makes that reality a possibility for me.
He asks that I love- constantly and unfailingly just He loves constantly and unfailingly.
He asks that I partner with Him in the healing of our world and look ahead to the trajectory of the evolution of the entire Cosmos into full and complete union and wholeness with God just as He is that full and complete union of wholeness..
I am grateful to be a Jesus student. I am grateful to continue to love and grow. To commit my life to chasing compassion and healing always.
To giving myself grace in my shortcomings and giving others the same.
To embracing the sacrament of community.
To holding on to hope in the face of uncertainty and terror in the world and in my heart.
I am a Jesus Student…
Feature Image: Painting by Elizabeth Wang