Beginning the Conversation With Jesus

A great article in the Lutheran Witness on beginning religious conversation with Jesus.

Another option is beginning the religious conversation with Jesus. That is, after all, where our Gospels begin. Like other famous figures, He really was a part of history. Luke notes that Jesus was born when Caesar Augustus ruled the Roman Empire and was executed by the governor appointed by that emperor. Ancient creeds even catch this by saying that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

So, if we can agree to the reality of Jesus, the question about religion can continue, even if those to whom we talk can agree only to see Him as a great moral teacher and not God. The conversation can continue by agreeing to listen to what He said about Himself as God, His relationship to the Father, and His astounding claim that no one comes to God except through Him.

At the same time, the four Gospels begin with Jesus. Luke starts with apostles who were eyewitnesses of the Word, that is, Jesus. Mark simply says, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” John begins with Jesus as the Word and then introduces God. “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Matthew begins with Jesus as the Immanuel child, “God with us,” who by being called out of Egypt is recognized as God’s Son. This is confirmed at Jesus’ Baptism by the voice from heaven claiming Him as His Son. Finally, the Trinitarian God is revealed with the appearance of the Spirit in the form of a dove.

Only later, at the end of his Gospel, does Matthew give us the familiar order of how the divine persons exist with one another: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But in the well-known benediction, Paul still begins with Jesus: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Rev. Scaer sums it up perfectly.

Jesus is the content of faith and Jesus is the content of faith and its boundaries. its boundaries. With Him, we begin and end the religious conversation.

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