Another Jesus

Another Jesus

Written by Andrew W.G. Matthews |
Thursday, October 27, 2022

If the contemporary church is going to abandon all its theological territory and take a final stand for Jesus Christ, it better be for the real Christ. Be done with this palatable and tamed jesus and introduce the world to the real Lord Jesus Christ: the eternal Son of God sent into the world to save and rule the world, crucified, dead, and buried, but risen and exalted; the One who receives sinners and makes them saints. The Christ who created and sustains all things and will return once again to judge his enemies and make all things new. Any Christ less than this is not worth knowing.

For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough! 2 Corinthians 11:4

As the evangelical Christian church has been pummelled by secular critics for being hateful for her biblical views on ethics, many church leaders have responded by shifting the focus from ethics to “Jesus.” They say that the main thing is “To know Jesus and make him known,” and not get broiled down in controversial ethical issues. To know Jesus Christ and make him known to the outside world is certainly a laudable goal. But as they keep name-dropping “Jesus” I start wondering, “Who is this ‘Jesus’ guy they keep talking about?” The more they talk about him the less I recognise him. It has made me question if we are thinking about the same person. I have this sneaking suspicion that many churches are promoting “another Jesus” than the one that is revealed in the New Testament (2 Cor. 11:4).

Taking a stand on the person of Jesus Christ ought to be the ultimate apologetic of every Christian for Christ is at the epicentre of our faith. Yet in our day simply alluding to the name of ‘Jesus’ is not enough of a witness to this world. We need to have a theologically sound understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ (Christology). Unfortunately, the “Jesus” that is being bandied about in the modern church has become a poor substitute for the true and glorious Son of God. How so? I see a few errors.

What’s in a name? Many Christians seem to be on a first-name basis with Jesus. It’s always, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” Why do Christians simply call their Lord and King, “Jesus”? If you were invited to Buckingham Palace would you say, “Good to meet you, Charles”? Consider the offence of not addressing or referring to the present king of England as “Your Majesty.” Terms like “Majesty” and “King” are titles appropriate to the office. If you would never disrespectfully address an earthly king, how much more should you reverently address the King of kings and Lord of lords?

After Jesus died, rose, and was exalted to the right hand of God the Father, he was anointed and was bestowed titles such as “Christ,” “Son of God,” and “Lord.” The apostles, who intimately knew him, consistently refer to Jesus Christ as “the Lord,” “the Lord Jesus,” “Jesus Christ,” “Christ Jesus,” “Christ,” or “the Son of God,” but they almost never call him “Jesus.” It is true that the Gospels use the name “Jesus” in their accounts of his earthly ministry and that the apostles referred to “Jesus” when explaining the significance of Christ’s ministry to their contemporaries (see Acts 2:36Heb. 12:2), but believers should by their naming of Christ acknowledge his exalted, authoritative position over them. When people flippantly allude to “Jesus” it may betray an attitude that Jesus is simply your friend and equal. Christ is not our buddy or our mate, he is our Lord and God (John 20:28).

Demoted King

The misuse of Christ’s name is inexorably tied to the church’s failure to recognise the majestic rule of Christ over this world. Christians who regularly refer to just “Jesus” emphasise his incarnation and humiliation during his past life and ministry on this earth to the detriment of acknowledging his present kingdom and ministry from heaven as the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s suffering during his incarnation certainly enabled him to sympathise with all our weaknesses, but he no longer lives in that humiliated state. He retains the experience of his former weakness, but rules now with his present power.

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