“If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know the witness which he witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.” John 5:31-34 NKJV
I think I am about to cause a lot of ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’ with what I am about to share, but I think it has become necessary in order to appreciate the fullness of The Eternal One without trying to break The Lord into manageable pieces.
There is nothing wrong with proclaiming Messiah, of course. John [the Baptizer] did, and people came from all around to prepare themselves. There is nothing wrong with embracing Messiah; Jesus Himself lamented that people ran away from Him to their own “desolation” rather than to come under the cover of His mercy (Matthew 23:37-38).
The problem we seem to have today is similar to a problem which existed in the early Church prior to the 4th century Council of Nicaea whose sole purpose was to finally and completely define the nature of Messiah. Whole movements had sprung after the apostolic period from varying and conflicting beliefs in an “Old Testament God” and a “New Testament God”, the merciful NT God being the One who could be defined by Messiah. Yet there were still substantial efforts made to completely separate Jesus from the Almighty, the Father being “without form”.
Jesus, more than once, makes a clear distinction between Himself and The Father, and His efforts seem directed toward His sole mission to point people to the Father rather than to Himself. Over time we have all but made Jesus a “god” in His own right, failing to defining Him within the doctrine of the Trinity, the fullness of The Lord in the Father AND the Son AND the Holy Spirit. If we listen carefully today, Jesus has been made into a magician who can be “hired” or “summoned at will” – OR – He is our reason not to hope but to excuse ourselves from Torah, the statutes and ordinances of The Lord. These are the things Jesus came to “fulfill” (that is, to perfect), not to do away with (Matthew 5:17-18). Yet by His authority we remove ourselves from the challenges of discipleship, we distance ourselves from the fellowship of the Church, and we absolutely reject the authority of the Church – all in the name of Jesus! “There is nothing new under the sun”, says the teacher (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11) We’ve been here before.
There can be no real discussion about Jesus if there is no full connection to The Father, and there can be no abiding appreciation for The Father if we cannot acknowledge His Presence in His Spirit. Above all else, we must take great care that this popular notion that “the Christian God is named ‘Jesus’” be put away finally and completely because the theological truth is Jesus has no meaning apart from Torah. He teaches from the Scriptures, the Holy Scriptures which testify to The Father alone. He is “the Word which became flesh”.
There is nothing wrong with holding on to Jesus as long as we recognize He is not baby-sitting us; He is leading us. He is not our “co-pilot”; He is the Pilot who is taking us somewhere. Maybe if we could dispense with the “bumper sticker theology” and rubber wrist bands, we might actually get somewhere!
We must not look for theological “sound bites”. We must get the whole story, for only then will we know the whole story. Then we will realize The Story is all about The Father – and all roads lead home.