What do we mean when we say Jesus is the Christ? Is it merely part of his name? Or did Peter have something more in mind when he declared Jesus to be the Christ?
This is no minor matter. It goes to the heart of the Christian faith. It needs to be discussed in our churches, since Jesus’ identity and mission defines our identity and mission. So, how do we teach on this for a Sunday congregation?
This podcast (24-minutes) is from the message delivered to Riverview Church’s Joondalup campus on 8 August 2021.
Jesus spent no effort trying to persuade people he was their king.
That’s astounding when you compare the billions of dollars and person-hours of effect expended in the American presidential election, so one person can have partial power in one country for four years. How on earth did Jesus become the enduring king of the planet with a staff of twelve and a zero-shekel advertising budget?
The crucial difference is how Jesus became king. To become president, Biden had to convince the majority of Democrats he was their best choice, and then convince the rest of America that he was a better candidate than Trump. The huge spend of effort and finance was all about gaining acclaim from the people. That’s how power works: it’s given by the people (or taken from them in war).
By contrast, Jesus’ kingship is not derived from human recognition. It comes from divine appointment. That’s why Jesus spent no effort trying to convince people he was king. He believed God would give him the kingship, that this would happen by divine decree, that this would happen whether people acclaimed him or assassinated him.
How can this be the climax to the royal story, to Israel’s story, to the story of God’s kingdom coming on earth as in heaven?
Perhaps we’ve made a mistake? Perhaps the ‘royal’ theme was only a feature of the earlier story, and perhaps Mark is now moving on to something else? No. Look through it again. ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Do you want me to release for you “the king of the Jews”?’ ‘What shall I do with the one you call “the king of the Jews”?’ ‘Greetings, King of the Jews!’ ‘The inscription read: “The King of the Jews”.’ ‘Messiah, is he? King of Israel, did he say?’ And then—echoing all the way back to the royal announcement at the baptism—‘This fellow really was God’s son.’ No mistake. This is what Mark is telling us. This is where the king comes into his own, enthroned (as he warned James and John) with one on his right and the other on his left.