Is Christ The One Or Shall We Look for Another?

“Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?”  Matthew 11:3

 Of the most vital and central importance in our earthly existence is our concept of who Jesus Christ is. When John the Baptist sent his followers directly to Christ to confront him about who he was, they in fact asked a crucial and pivotal question: “Are you the Savior of the world, or shall we look for another?”

In spite of his physical and mental depression while he was in prison, John the Baptist did the right thing when he told his disciples to go at once to Jesus, to ask and see for themselves. In the same manner, we can go to the Gospels and consider Jesus Christ, his words, his miracles, his death on the cross, his resurrection from the dead, to see for ourselves whether we find our answer in Him, or keep on searching.  And as we read the Bible, let us analyze and discover whether we come to recognize, as Martin Luther did, that “Christ is the key to Scripture”, that “everything must be understood in relation to Christ” (1).

 The message of the gospel is the person of Jesus Christ Himself, and the astounding claim that He is the Son of God who came into this world and dwelt among us, and that there is “no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).

“He is central, he is first, and if we are wrong about him, it does not make any difference, even if we are right everywhere else.” (2)

Part of the difficulties we confront about the person of Jesus Christ are aspects which cannot be understood in terms of abstract or philosophical reasoning.  And if what the Bible tells us about him is true, then it transcends human intellect and comprehension.  It comes to us as a revelation, an announcement of good news in a world beset with problems, sin, misery and death.

Hence, instead of trying to grasp, reason out and span the “infinities and the immensities” about what and who Christ is, let us be guided by what John the Baptist advised his followers: just go to Him, confront Him and learn about the many aspects to His nature and character as portrayed in each of the Gospels. We look at Him in the Bible, speak to Him in prayer, and consider the testimonies of other Christians.  And when we do this, it may well be that we shall arrive at the same conclusion that many others in a similar quest have come before us:

They have considered Jesus and made the decision to look to no other: Jesus Christ is the incomparable One, the Son of God, the Savior and Light of the World, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

(1) Lectures on Romans in vol. 25 of Luther’s Works (1515; ET Concordia, 1972); Gloss on Rom. 1:5 (p.4)
(2) Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Heart of the Gospel, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1991, p. 13

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Heart of the Gospel, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois,1991, pp. 11-25
John Stott, The Incomparable Christ, Intervarsity Press, Downer’s Grove, Illinois, pp. 15-42

*** Image courtesy of firepress

The Tea Cup of Today

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24

 In the midst of a frenzied afternoon at work today, I paused to read an email from my daughter Amy:

“I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately:  “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  The last two words, “in it”, are what have me thinking. The phrase makes it seem like it’s a special place – a porcelain cup, specially made, specially prepared – to rejoice, to revel, to live fully in — when you are in something like a cup of tea, surrounded.”

Any given second, any given breath, we are within the walls of a day. We can’t see tomorrow – and so we can only treat it with what we can’t see – with hope (but how great is our hope when we think about Jesus)? We see only today, and our hands, and our feet, and our loved ones, and whatever else God has given us for today. “

What Amy wanted to tell me is that today is not only a special time, but a unique and wondrous place designed by God for us to live and breathe in.

The porcelain tea cup of today.

I smile at the thought of today and of pink porcelain cups.

by D. G. V.

*** Author’s Note: this link leads to a poem I wrote for my daughter Amy.

Not from Gibbons, but in the Image of God

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:27

“Inaccuracies in a science textbook come from two primary sources. The first is human error.  Authors, editors, and illustrators occasionally make mistakes. Fortunately, such mistakes are rare.”  (1)

I stared at irony in the face.

I was dumbfounded as I thumbed through my daughter’s Biology textbook, particularly when I recognized the book’s foundation from which the study of life on this planet is based upon: a random force of evolution that somehow brings about the order and the wondrous intricacies of all forms of life.

The theory professes that man emerged as a result of primate evolution based on the concept of a molecular clock of time and DNA sequences in a mitochondrial gene. Along this timeline emerged the species of siamang gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees, whereupon man came into existence as a result of random changes that emerged in the genome. (2)

Random changes that emerged in the genome.  How is it, then, that out of all the gazillion random changes among all forms of life, only the homo sapiens species is controlling the planet’s resources and transforming the world through its intelligence?

Contrary to the man-made theory that molecules are the origin of life, the Bible states that God created man in His own image.  Everything starts with God, the first cause, the Creator of the universe.  Let us consider this concept of God’s image in the human species.

Jonathan Edwards describes two main elements of this divine image concept. “The natural image consists very much in that by which God in His creation distinguished man from the beasts, namely, in those faculties and principles of nature whereby he is capable of moral agency.”  The “spiritual and moral image, consisted in that moral excellence with which man at the beginning was endowed” by God.  (3)

What are the capacities that make us like God and unlike ordinary beasts?

John Stott distills these faculties into five distinct characteristics:  “Firstly, we human beings are rational and self-conscious.  Secondly, we are moral, having a conscience that urges us to do what we perceive to be right.  Thirdly, we are creative, like our Creator, able to appreciate what is beautiful to the ear and the eye.  Fourthly, we are social, able to establish with one another authentic relationships of love.  For God is love, and by making us in His own image, He has given us the capacity to love Him and others.  Fifthly, we have a spiritual faculty that makes us hunger after God.  Thus we are uniquely able to think and to choose, to create, to love, and to worship.” (4)

Being made in God’s image breaks the shackles, the chain of evolution theory, that pigeonholes human beings into the taxonomies of the animal kingdom.  And as God’s image-bearers, we recognize that the sanctity of human life is irrefutable, its value, beyond measure.

by D. G. V.


(1) Brooker, Widmaier, Graham and Stiling, “Biology”, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2008, p. vii
(2) Ibid. p. 548
(3) Jonathan Edwards, (1703-1758), Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1, Hendrickson Publishers, 1998
(4) John Stott, Through the Bible Through the Year”, Baker Books, 2006, p. 18.

*** Photography:  Fisherman by Jose Miguel Rodriguez