4. Who is Jesus and why is he important?
It seems pretty clear and universal that Jesus Christ plays a central role in Christianity (though one exception might be the Pentecostals, who focuses on the holy spirit). So, what is the deal with Christ? Probably the most common belief in our culture is that Jesus was a man who was simply a good moral teacher, someone like Ghandi or Muhammad. Christianity therefore, is just another flavor of religion. Religion is simply about doing spiritual things such as meditating, giving some (baseless) inspiration to the simple, and/or just becoming a “better person”. (The dark side of religion is that each thinks it’s right, and must persuade, coerce and even violently force itself on as many as possible.)
But that’s not what Christianity is about (or at least not what it’s supposed to be about). Jesus is 1/3 of God, who became a human man at a specific time and place in history. Jesus is both divine and human, the place where God and mankind meet, where the immortal meets the mortal. Jesus inaugurates God’s ultimate desire for people: that there would be a people who live in relationship with himself. Christ does this by living closely with a group of men and women for several years. He also tears down the barriers which have come to exist between God and man by dying as a punishment for the wrongs that people have done. He displays God’s ultimate power by resurrecting from the dead, demonstrating that he has broken the grip of death, one of the primary consequences of people’s rebellion to God.
The persons whom make up the Trinity of God have such a close relation that Jesus is known as the son, while one of the others is known as the father. God the father loves Christ so much that he decides to make him the center of everything and to put everything under his control (in full time). He is also central to the mystery of the ages and the good news which I’ll discuss next.