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Jesus is God – so what?

by on November 10, 2014

I’ve been reading Mark’s gospel with a Nepali friend for a few months now. He reads in Nepali, and then translates into english – wants to practice his translation skills. After a while noticed that whenever he came to the name Jesus, my friend would translate it ‘God’: God turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched me?'” – that sort of thing.

I asked him about it, and he said, “that’s right, Jesus, that’s God isn’t it.”

Now with Aussies that would have been a breakthrough, this is what we’re always trying to get people to see: Jesus is God’s son.  But for this friend, I sensed that it wasn’t a breakthrough at all. He still isn’t identifying as a follower of Jesus. So what’s going on here?

I’ve thought a bit about this. My guess is that for someone from Hindu culture, a story about God is no big deal. They have many gods, and a sense that behind them all is one divinity. So why not Jesus as well? He’s the Christian version. There’s room for him in their world view. My friend is too polite to put it like this, but I think there’s a ‘so what?’ factor in my efforts to persuade him that Jesus is God’s divine Son.

So what’s the way forward here? What does my friend need, in order to understand Jesus? I could try dissing all the Hindu gods, tell him they are false. So Jesus would be unique. But my friend’s family, his culture, his history and sense of identity are wrapped up in those gods. I’m pretty sure it will feel like a personal insult. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to win him over to Jesus just at the moment.

I could try to talk about Jesus’ supremacy over all other powers and rulers. But I’ve got a feeling my friend will just hear me saying ‘God is unique and all powerful.’

= no progress.

I don’t know the answer to this question, and the main thing I’m planning is to keep letting him soak in the stories of Jesus, and pray that the Spirit will do his thing. Also I’m open to your suggestions.

But my sense is that the breakthrough might come if my friend can see that Jesus is truly human, a man like him. I can’t quite explain why I think that, but it sort of makes sense to me. I think the thing that is so unique about Jesus, compared with other faiths, is how close God has come to us. How much he’s entered into our lives and troubles and our lostness. To even carry our sins, as one of us, our representative. A man standing for men (humans).

= God’s grace.

And it makes me wonder too, if perhaps many of us Christians find it too easy to say ‘Jesus is God’, but have little sense of his real, sweaty, bloody, humanity. Of just how close God has come to us now that Jesus has come.

Just a thought…

From → General

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