Jesus the Messiah

Evelyn Uyemura

Jesus is the Messiah, the King, the Savior. But how? Christians have done a really strange thing. Jesus said He came to reveal the Father to us, to show us what God is like.  And Jesus is lowly, simple, humble, antagonistic to religion, at home with sinners and outrageous people, one who touches lepers and allows prostitutes to love Him.

The end of His life goes like this: He rides into Jerusalem on a stupid donkey, while a ragtag bunch of kids wave palms and make a commotion--this is his entry as king. He gets Himself kicked out of the temple by the priests. He goes to the house of Simon the Leper where a woman of questionable taste anoints his head with oil--the anointing by which Messiah the Anointed One is made king.  An argument breaks out among his own people over this nameless woman (woman!!) who has performed this ultimate prophetic task (the parallel to Samuel anointing the great King David.)

Then he is betrayed by his own follower, found guilty of blasphemy by his church, and found guilty of insurrection by his government.  His royal robe and scepter is the one put on him by mocking Roman soldiers.  His crown of victory is made of thorns.  And the announcement of His kingship is made in the three official languages of the land: Hebrew, Greek and Latin: "This is the King of the Jews."  The plaque is nailed to his cross as he is dying naked and in shame.

This is how God has been revealed to us.  What Christianity cannot believe is that Jesus actually DID show us God.  So they have taken the Jews' idea that God would come to judge and punish and set things to right, and said, OK, well Jesus showed us ONE side of God, the merciful, humble, forgiving side.  But there's ANOTHER side: the angry wrathful powerful glory-seeking side of God, and the NEXT TIME Jesus comes, He's going to come the way a proper king SHOULD come: in power and great glory.  But Jesus said that He was to be his death!  His death like that IS His glory.

That IS the revelation of God. God is God with us, in our sorrow and suffering, confusion and despair.  God washes feet and bleeds and dies rather than overcoming evil with evil.  God is not pie in the sky by and by.  God's kingdom is right here and now, in our flesh and blood lives, identifying with all that seems hopeless and unholy, removing the sting of poverty by choosing to be poor, removing the sting of sin by being made sin for us, removing the sting of death by dying.

When I ask Jesus, Who are you? he answers me: I am your brother.  He is the Son of Man, and He is the Son of God. These are not two different people or two halves to Him.  God is heart-breakingly humble and merciful. That's all I know. He is not far off. He is here.  The only place I can really love Him is in those He calls his brothers and sisters--people, lowly, sinful, troublesome people.  Everything else is a means to this end, to bring me to the point of actually accepting this.  To be one with him will mean being humble and merciful enough to identify with sinners, with sin itself.  Jesus is the Savior because He was made sin for us. He says that his followers must drink the same cup he drank and be baptized with the same baptism he was baptized with.