the god that became jesus

jesus god?Before Jesus, the Jewish ideas of God were certainly stable, no doubt (creator, redeemer, etc.), but –importantly– they weren’t so fixed that there was no breathing room. At any rate, after Jesus, the New Testament writers could not write about God without mentioning Jesus in the same breath. Any complete picture of God, Tom Wright says, would now have to have Jesus right in the middle of it…

The theological question, ‘Is/was Jesus God?’ is, of course, not a simple one, and Wright wisely answers the question with a very necessary clarifier – ‘That depends on which God you mean.’

Mark Strom, principal of Bible College of New Zealand, has written a poem about God which grew out of his reflection of this backwards way of looking at the question: ‘What kind of God could become Jesus?’ Here it is for your own reflection…

This God

This God could put on eyebrows and kneecaps, tear ducts and saliva glands.
This God could be born under the tyrants Augustus and Herod.
This God could accept the smells of shepherds, and the extravagancies of political emissaries.
This God could start life a vulnerable hunted child born into scandal.
This God could grow up under foreign domination and among terrorists and outcasts.
This God could sit in the street playing marbles.
This God could wear with pride the calloused splintered hands of an honest workman building the houses and fixing the furniture of half-castes, outcasts and bigots.
This God could ask his cousin to baptise him along with the rest of the crowd.
This God could make the best vintage Pinot Noir or Cabernet Savignon even when the guests were too drunk to know the difference.
This God could befriend a bloke in a tree with small man syndrome.
This God could enjoy a prostitute washing his feet, giving her his full and undivided attention, and ignoring the eye-rolling of lawyers and theologians.
This God could spend a whole night making a whip to crack over the backs of con artists who rip-off the poor.
This God could wrap the greatest truths in the simplest stories, and put a sting in the tail of every yarn.
This God could let himself hang on a tree, nails tearing at his sinews, blood, faeces and urine running down his legs.
This God could invite women to be the first to know that he was back.
This God could delay his own glorious homecoming long enough for a bite of breakfast on the beach and a yarn with an old mate to let him know there were no hard feelings and to pass on his mantle.
This God could take his own story and give it the most surprising ending.

This God, this God, is worth knowing.

This God could reach into the crevices of my soul to bring to life the longings I smother so pathetically and recklessly with shame and excuses.
This God could raise me up to life with him.
This God could give me every blessing he could give himself.
This God could draw me out of my petty self-interest without a hint of a ‘tut-tut’, a frown, or a patronising smile.
This God could be more infuriating and fascinating and gobsmacking than any god I could ever make up.
This God could love my obsessiveness and overlook my forgetfulness.
This God could laugh and cry with me, and come play with me.
This God could make me his glory.
This God could love me.
This God could make my heart good.
This God could trust me.
This God could never be safe, but always be good.

This God, this God, is worth knowing.

This God I want to know.
This God I know in the face and Spirit of Jesus.

(A very slightly different version in PDF form can be found here.)

2 thoughts on “the god that became jesus”

  1. I would like to add that this man (God) became what He was not that we might become what we could not be……

    He who knew no sin, became sin, that we might take upon ourselves His righteousness.

    We cannot know God, until we know this man, for He took upon Himself flesh and blood, He became like the seed of man that He might die for our sin; the sin of His creation.

    This Man I know. He is my Saviour. He is my God.
    Yeshua ha Massicah.

    malachi

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