Without a doubt, no person in human history has created such a profound and lasting impact as Jesus Christ. Even today, just the mention of his name brings about intense reactions, both positive and negative. One of the reasons for this is the great amount of confusion over just what manner of being this rabbi from Galilee was. Although there is much disagreement on this issue, we can be certain of one thing: No single definition of Jesus Christ can fully explain him or comprehend him. With that being said, I think it is incumbent upon those of us who identify ourselves as his followers to arrive at some degree of clarity regarding what manner of being Jesus was and is.
Over the years, I have come across myriad definitions and descriptions of Jesus Christ, some better than others. On this page, I want to share with you what I consider to be one of the most accurate descriptions of the nature of Jesus. It is my hope that this will help bring some degree of clarity to at least a few readers. It is taken from Jesus Manifesto, written by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. I offer this not as a starting point for debate, but as one view of Jesus with which I feel a strong affinity.
Set your eyes beyond the stratosphere and see a Christ who confounds the mind. This Christ is – present tense – the visible image of the invisible God. Jesus Christ displays God’s image visible in the invisible realm, where He is seated in heavenly places at the Father’s right hand. To look upon the carpenter of Nazareth is to discover God in totality. To know the Nazarene is to know the Almighty, the one true Creator – He who was, is, and is to come.
But that’s not all.
This Christ is the firstborn of the entire cosmos, the first person to appear in creation, and He is preeminent in all of it. All things visible and invisible were created by Him, through Him, to Him, and for Him. He is the Originator as well as the Goal – the Creator as well as the Consummator.
But that’s not all.
This Christ existed before time as the eternal Son. He is above time and outside of time. He is the beginning. In fact, He was before the beginning. He lives in a realm where there are no ticking watches and clocks. Space and time are his servants. He is unfettered by them.
This Christ is not only before all things, but the entire universe is held together in Him. He is the cohesive force, the glue and gravitational pull that holds all created elements together. He is creation’s great adhesive, the hinge upon which the whole cosmos turns. Remove Christ, and the entire universe disintegrates. It comes apart at the seams. Remove Him, and creations wheels come off.
But there’s still more.
This Christ is the very meaning of creation. Eliminate Him, and the universe has no purpose. Remove Him, and every living thing loses its meaning.
But more than all this, the One who created the universe watched it fall. He saw the cosmic revolt in heaven and the wreckage on earth. Under the caring eye of the Father, the Lord looked upon His own creation as it morphed into an enemy – His own enemy. And then he did the unthinkable. He penetrated a fallen world.
This Christ pierced the veil of space-time. He became incarnate and took on human flesh. As such, He was touched with the same temptations, the same infirmities, and the same weaknesses as all mortals, only He never yielded. Christ entered into His own creation to reconcile it back to Himself and to His Father. The Creator became the creature to make peace with an alienated creation.
Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola