O Christ!

O Christ! January 2, 2014

Jesus’ last name is not Christ.

I heard this in Sunday School, as a joke, so long ago that I cannot remember the year or the teacher. I did not LOL.

But it turns out to be a truth more needed than I might have thought: there are people out there who do not “know” what the “Christ” in Christmas means.

It is a bit like a title, “President” is not Obama’s first name, and a bit like a unique characteristic. We have had many Presidents, and God willing will have many more, but there is only one “Christ.” Christ is an English word that in good My Big Fat Greek Wedding style comes from a Greek word which in good Biblical fashion comes from the Jewish term “messiah.”

To call Jesus “Christ” is to say that He is the “anointed one.” And to be the “anointed one” is better than being Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. Aragorn was heir to the throne, but he had to gain character. Jesus, the God-Man, had to empty Himself of His power in order to save us all. He was King and became man: King became a man in order to return as King later!

The rest of us long for anointing. Jesus, as the Christ, lowered Himself in order to be anointed. What we aspire to be, Jesus knelt to receive: the power and grace of God to save as a man in His human nature while cooperating fully with His Divine Nature.

The One who anoints, emptied Himself to be born, grow, be baptized, and die: the Spirit symbolized by the water of baptism and anointing oil came on Him. All the symbols of power came on the One who gave up all the real power. Every bit of religious symbology came to life in His life. His very blood and his very flesh became the truth behind the symbols of wine and bread. The water that flowed from His pierced side became the water of our baptism.

Jesus was the Christ.

The Giver enabled Himself to receive the Gift. The love of Jesus did not grasp equality with God, which He had by right, but instead submitted to the Father. He allowed Himself to be alienated from the Father on the Cross and experienced all the pain of fallen humanity in one hour. His exaltation that followed was not a mere regaining what was lost, but bringing the human into eternal synergy with the Divine.

The next time you think happiness comes from being “true to yourself,” “following your heart,” or being “positive,” remind yourself that God became man, gave up everything worth having, so you can become like God. God loved Himself, He is the only who should, and yet allowed Himself to be alienated from Himself. We are alienated from everything worth having and in our arrogance, demand that He accept our broken state as wholeness.

Jesus, the son of God and the son of Man, is anointed: in His divine nature by essence, in His human nature by perfect cooperation with the Divine.

Jesus is the Christ. To see Him is to see God. To read His words are to read the very Words of God. We need nothing else, we must have no other king than King Jesus, no other Law than His perfect Will. We can see all we need to see by looking to Jesus. 

When we celebrate Christmas, a feast drawing now to a close, we celebrate the Christ: the anointed One, the one who got the “power” by giving up all power.

Oh, Jesus the Christ!



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