Your Own Personal Jesus

faces-of-jesusThose shopping around for a Jesus that suits their fancy have no shortage of options. Looking for a Jesus who’ll put you in synch with your inward spiritual self, who’ll help you tap the divine potential within? There’s one for you. Looking for a more practical Jesus who’ll help you raise children with straight A’s and happy smiles, run a successful business, or manage your finances with biblical principles? There’s one for you, too. Or are you shopping for the open-minded, Americanized Jesus who feels equally at home in a church, synagogue, or mosque; who accepts every prayer to any god; the Jesus of many ways, many truths, and many lives? Then there’s certainly a Jesus for you, too.

But whether you choose the spiritual, the practical, the open-minded Jesus, or another such, you’re really getting the same thing:  the Jesus who is also known by another name, Satan. For among the vast number of masks worn by the demons, none is so well-used, none is so popular, none is so convincing as the Jesus disguise. For hell is just as happy with those who believe in a fake Jesus, as with those who believe in no Jesus at all. For there is no difference.  There is only one Christ, there is only one Jesus, there is only one Savior, but there are a world full of imitations. And each fake Jesus will gladly take you by the hand, walk with you and talk with you, and lead you safely through this world until you hear, “Well done, good and faithful fool,” spoken by the father below.

“Who do people say that I am?” Jesus asks. They say everything under the sun. But who do you say the Son of Man is? “Thou art the Christ,” Peter confesses. And the Church says Amen. Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.  He is not the Christ of many faces, but of one. His is the infant face pressed against His virgin’s Mother’s breast; His is the face wet with river water from John the Baptist’s hand; His is the face aglow on the Mount of Transfiguration; His is the face set toward Jerusalem; and His is the face kissed by Judas, defiled by the spit of the ungodly, splattered red with sacrificial blood, and un-tombed on Easter day. This is the face of God—the only face that saves you, that forgives you, that shines upon you and gives you peace.

In that face is the scandal of particularity, the bold audacity of Christianity, the exclusivity of the message we preach that alone saves sinners. Thou, O Christ, art the only face of God. In Thee alone do we see God, in Thee alone do we have forgiveness, in Thee alone is there a way out of the shadow of death into the light of heaven above.

ChristAloneCoverIf you’d like to read more reflections like this one, check out my new book, Christ Alone: Meditations and Sermons. If you’re looking for feel-good, saccharine devotional material, you’d better keep looking because you’re not going to find it here. If you’re looking for moralistic guides to the victorious Christian life, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed by all the Gospel in this book. But if you’re looking for reflections drenched in the Scriptures, focused through and through on the saving work of Jesus Christ, and guided by a law-and-Gospel approach to proclamation, then I daresay you’ll be pleased with this book. Purchase your copy by clicking on CreateSpace or Amazon. And thank you!

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Your Own Personal Jesus

  1. Dave Sewing on said:

    Have you ever listened to Johnny Cash sing “Personal Jesus” fits well with this post. Thanks for posting!

  2. The good ol’ Lutheran band “Lost & Found” also has a song along these lines out on their brand new album. Bunch of different verses about all the different “Jesuses” that people believe in. Good stuff to reflect on, always.

  3. Crystal on said:

    Do you have a key for all the different works of art that you used to make this image? If you do will you please email it to me? Thank you in advance either way!
    crystallubinsky@gmail.com

  4. On the light side, from the movie “Talledega Nights”, Prayer to Baby Jesus:

    And C. S. Lewis’ reflection on “historical Jesus”:
    “Any theory which bases itself on a supposed “historical Jesus” to be dug out of the Gospels and then set up in opposition to Christian teaching is suspect. There have been too many historical Jesuses—a liberal Jesus, a pneumatic Jesus, a Barthian Jesus, a Marxist Jesus. They are the cheap crop of each publisher’s list, like the new Napoleons and new Queen Victorian. It is not to such phantoms that I look for my faith and my salvation.” (from his essay, “Why I am not a Pacifist”)

  5. Pingback: Clearly Christ | Concordia and Koinonia

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