Different individuals have diverse views concerning Jesus, because they have been impacted differently by the religious traditions of their countries. However, despite the disparity in their views, they all concede that God is mighty. Jesus is omniscient and omnipotent. He rewards human beings depending on their deeds. Jesus can punish and reward. Despite the human’s evil nature, He is willing to save them from sin. According to Matthew (1:23), Virgin Mary will conceive and bear a child, who will be called Immanuel. The name Immanuel means, ‘God is with us’. This means that Jesus is omnipresent among humans, and came to save the world and help people to confront the challenges in life.
Many people feel skeptical about Jesus’ story, because He has been depicted as an almighty and self-sacrificing figure. Jesus is like a magician, who can save people from struggles, illnesses, and even death. His relationship with the human beings can be compared to the relationship between children and their parents, which is full of love, teaching, hope, faith, and self-sacrifice. The only difference is that, unlike a parent who is visible and tangible to a child, Jesus is like an invisible father with whom we maintain a relationship based purely on faith. This paper is going to explore Jesus as an authoritative leader, forgiver of sins, sacrificing parent, wisdom teacher, and a supportive obligor in the gospels.
First, God the father sent His son Jesus to the earth as an authoritative leader. His mission was to bring salvation to the people of the earth. When His mission is over, He will judge the culpable individuals, who refused to embrace righteousness. Many authors describe Jesus as an authoritative person who can perform miracles. For example, while He was on earth, He made the blind see and the paralyzed walk. In this regard, Jesus has the authority, bestowed upon Him by God, to perform miracles and convince people to follow Him. The miracles reveal the difference between humankind and Jesus. Moreover, in the gospel of Mark, Jesus is portrayed as an authoritative leader. According to Mark, Jesus, in His powers, tries to make people change their evil ways and live according to God’s commandments. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus has used the term “follow” for several times. For example, in Mark 1:17, Jesus said, “Come, follow me.” In addition, according to Mark (2:14), as Jesus was walking, “He saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax collector’s booth.” Jesus told Levi to follow Him, and Levi immediately got up and followed Jesus. Both the terms ‘follow’ and ‘come’ are widely used in the gospel of Mark. In this regard, the usages of these two terms can be interpreted to mean that Jesus requested His subjects to follow behind him. Therefore, in the gospel of Mark, Jesus is depicted as a leader who can protect people and make the appropriate decisions for His followers. The leadership aspect of Jesus is also portrayed in the gospel of John. Here, Jesus is depicted as a shepherd who leads his sheep. According to John (10:27), Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” This scripture depicts that Jesus is capable of convincing people to follow behind Him. His power is demonstrated in the incidences that He and disciples encountered together.
According to Meier, Jesus has supernatural powers, as mentioned in the gospel of Luke (Gowler, p.112). According to Luke (11:20), Jesus says that if He casts out demons with the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has surely come upon humankind. This statement indicates that Jesus is superior to the ordinary people because he has the strength to overpower demons. By referencing to the “Kingdom of God” Jesus is depicted as a prominent figure that owns magnificent power and authority.
Secondly, Jesus is not only depicted as an authoritative leader in different gospels, but he is also portrayed as a person of immense love. Like our parents, Jesus is described as a sacrificing and forgiving person. Jesus’ sacrificing aspect is clearly demonstrated in His crucifixion. He suffered, bled, and died on the cross, because of the love He had for humankind. According to Mark (10:45), Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and offer His life for the salvation of the humankind. Jesus is depicted as a sacrificial lamb that would die to save sinners. Although Jesus comes into the world by the order of His Father, He does not have any privileges. He had to suffer in order to prove His love for His followers. He came as a ransom in exchange for human’s freedom and eternity.
Similarly, parents raise their children loving, forgiving, and leading them in the right direction despite the numerous inappropriate things that children do. Furthermore, Jesus is depicted as a forgiving person in the gospel of Matthew. In Matthew 18:22, where the issue of forgiveness is discussed, Jesus says, “I tell you, not seven times (to forgive), but seventy-seven times.” This indicates that Jesus is always willing to forgive the wrong doers, as long as they are sincerely sorry for their misdeeds. Jesus stresses the importance of forgiveness and tells people not to hold grudges against one another, because our parents always love us and tolerate our faults.
We can associate His role of coming into the world with that of our parents, since we are bound to them with an unselfish love since our birth. That is why a parent will do anything to ensure that his or her children are safe and happy. Jesus emphasizes that the relationship between Him and people goes beyond the Christian doctrine. Similarly, parents should take care of their children, love them, and nature their relationship with them. A scholar, Meier, describes that the image of Jesus is determined by the relationship between Him and His disciples. Additionally, in the work of Jesus in Seattle, different churches have the same aspect of the relationship with Jesus going beyond the doctrines stressed. The members of the church should keep praying, worshipping, and singing in order to maintain their relationship and communication with Jesus. By cultivating a relationship with Jesus that is similar to our relationship with our parents, we can view Jesus as a parent.
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Thirdly, Jesus is a wonderful teacher. The role of Jesus as a teacher is extensively discussed in the gospel of Matthew more than in other gospels. This gospel emphasizes the ministry of Jesus. Because of his divine powers, Jesus is described as an authoritative teacher. According to Matthew (7: 29), Jesus taught with authority, unlike the scribes. He is depicted as having the power to manage all difficulties, such as illnesses, sin, supernatural beings, and even death. There are five speeches of Jesus presented in the gospel of Matthew that are influential to His disciples. For example, Jesus talks about violence. According to Matthew (5:44), Jesus encourages people to love their enemies because anger originates from Satan. According to Matthew (5:38), Jesus uses a parable stating that one should offer the other cheek to someone who has hit him on the right cheek to discourage His followers against hatred. Christians conform to these instructions, which they perceive as the principles of being a Christian.
Concerning the gospel of John, Jesus can be viewed as a wisdom teacher. According to chapter 8 of the gospel of John, when a woman was caught committing adultery and people suggest that she should be stoned to death based on the Laws of Moses, Jesus intervened and stopped her imminent death. He made people, who had condemned the woman to death, to introspect themselves by asking if any of them was without sin. Jesus can pinpoint the mistakes that all people do in their daily life. He requests people to accept their sins and he will forgive them, because everyone is a sinner. In this regard, we can view Jesus as a wisdom teacher, because He did not condemn other people for their mistakes, but asked them to introspect themselves before judging others. Therefore, he preached the message that sinful people could be forgiven. In this regard, He taught people to acknowledge their flaws and change to become better persons. This depicts Jesus as a teacher full of wisdom.
Jesus also wants people to love and help one another rather than cause harm to each other. Not only does the gospel of Matthew stresses on the importance of love towards each other, but it also emphasizes on compassion and forgiveness. The teachings of Jesus form the basis of Christians’ conduct, regarding the attitude towards enemies, wealth, and life. The discourses of Jesus indirectly exhibit his principles. Undoubtedly, Jesus’ teaching aims at leading people to love, and keeping them away from evil by providing God’s rules and help. When Jesus is teaching His disciple to live righteously, He resembles our parents. They always advice us about the right things to do by reasoning with us based on their own experiences.
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Lastly, when Jesus is depicted as an authoritative, self-sacrificing, and wisdom-imparting personality, He is also revealed as a supportive obliger in the gospel of Luke. Luke expresses his concern for the minority individuals and outcasts, who suffer considerably. According to Luke (6:24-26), Jesus says, “people who are rich, well-fed, happy, or respected are going to hell.” This illustrates that poverty deserves a better outcome than wealth. Jesus considers “injustice” to be the only factor that causes poverty. There is more injustice in the world, and this is mentioned in this gospel. Jesus is not only supportive of the poor, but all the suffering people in the society. According to Luke (11:29), “This is a wicked generation”. This demonstrates that the world constitutes of several evil people, who promote injustices. In the gospel of Luke, negative words are used to describe higher status and wealth, whereas favorable terms are used to refer to the disadvantaged. Besides, Jesus is portrayed as an individual, who is willing to help the disadvantaged. For example, He gives sights to the blind beggar and makes the disabled walk again. In Luke (18:35-43), Jesus ‘encourages the oppressed in the society. In chapter 18 of the gospel of Luke, Jesus said, “Take courage, stand up”. Such statement clearly demonstrates Jesus’ support for the oppressed people in the society.
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Jesus plays the role of a caring obliger. He not only helps the minority, but also looks at us as His sons and daughters and provides everything we need. According to Matthew (7:7-11), Jesus will always give us when we ask with faith. Besides, He fully understands what we require and gives us the best.
Jesus power is demonstrated by the fact that He can change people and people accept His teachings. He not only has the power to perform miracles, but is also capable of convincing people to follow Him and spread God’s word. We understand the faces of Jesus through the gospels, which reveal the sacrificing face of Jesus, face of teaching, face of support, and the face of justice. Although many different faces are portrayed in the gospels, the common theme throughout the books is that Jesus is love. He is sent to the world as a commoner where He plays the role of an authoritative leader who commands people to follow him and leads them on the righteous path. In addition, as a self-sacrificing and forgiving father, Jesus comes to earth and love us unconditionally just because He wants to save us from sins. Moreover, as a wisdom teacher, Jesus teaches us to distinguish the right from the wrong, understand the truth and be just. Furthermore, Jesus is a supportive and caring obliger who gets along with different people with different needs and provides for them when they request. Jesus is not only a person sent as a commoner to experience the human’s pain, but also comes to bring salvation to humankind. With the integration of the faces mentioned above, Jesus is depicted as an omnipotent man with imminent powers working with the humans on God’s behalf. There are several faces of Jesus because “at every stage with remarkable consistency, evidence has forced us to recognize an element of distinctiveness, at times even uniqueness, in Jesus’ experience of God” (Dunn, p.90). We cannot define Jesus as a particular person or only as one face man, because He is omnipotent and he has done many different things in different aspects such as teaching, providing, healing, and sacrificing.
Going back to projects that we did concerning the exploration of the faces of Jesus in Seattle, most of the members in the church do not really care who Jesus, is because they think that the relationship with God is the core of the church.