Meeting Jesus Again For The First Time
by Diane Bricker
What are your earliest images of Jesus? Divine Savior? Teacher? Are these early images the images that you still carry with you today?
In his book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Marcus Borg challenges us to expand our images of Jesus. In his view, most of us form our images of Jesus early in our faith lives, and do not continue to refine or expand them as we grow older. If our images of Jesus are limited, so will the shape of our lives as Christians be limited.
Does Borg have your attention yet? He certainly captured mine the first time I read this book many years ago. My early image of Jesus as an object of belief was so limited it caused me to simply walk away from the church for many years, despite still feeling a hunger to know God.
In this book, Borg invited me to look at Jesus in some new ways, drawing me into a lifelong, adventurous, and profoundly meaningful faith journey.
Borg believes the two most common images of Jesus are divine savior and teacher. The divine savior image leads us to focus on “believing” doctrinal claims (my experience); the teacher image (often adopted by those who struggle with doctrinal claims) leads us to focus on being good, on seeking to live as Jesus lived.
So, what are these additional images? They are images that would have been in the hearts and minds of both Jesus and his followers, Jews steeped in the Old Testament. After all, Borg reminds us, in the days of the early church there was no official Christology.
So, Borg introduces us to Jesus as a spirit person, who has an intimate relationship with God, his Abba, and thus, can help others to know Him; and to Jesus as a movement founder who introduces compassion and inclusivity as central to this new religion; and to Jesus as a teacher of alternative wisdom who challenges the conventional wisdom of the time and offers an alternative understanding as to how to live; and, finally, to Jesus as the incarnation of divine wisdom, the child of Sophia, who in the Old Testament book of Proverbs, is a female personification of divine wisdom. Does this whet your appetite to learn more details?
With these images before us, Borg helps us to see that a Christian life is not just about believing or about being good, but that it is about a relationship with God that involves us in a journey of transformation.
Leave us a comment:
What images of Jesus do you have from the different times in your life?
How has your understanding of what it means to be a Christian changed throughout your life?