College entrance essays ask which historical figures you would like to meet. Magazine reporters ask which three people you'd like to have for dinner. And myspace.com has a listing for each profile, "Who I'd like to meet." It should be "Whom".
We envision our discussions with these people, brooding over the grand questions we'd ask. Why did the Beatles break up? Why did Barry Sanders have to retire so soon? What was T.S. Eliot trying to convey with "The Wasteland"?
We each carry a massive collection of these queries for God.
Why war? Why poverty? Why disease?
Are you not good? Are you not loving? Are you not powerful?
Why don't you fix this mess? Fix my life? Fix my heart?
The questions linger. Then, all of a sudden, we encounter a teacher, someone with the answers. He or she dumps the proverbial truckload of information on us and so much for the murkiness becomes clear. Consequently our tutor renders him-or herself obsolete. Now that our questions are answered, this person isn't so interesting. We just wanted the information, not a relationship.
We sought easy answers and quick information, and we came upon an individual replete with vast experience. The realization arrives: this person just might have something else to say, something about which I've never had a question. This person might have something to offer as motive, passion, fear, hope or intention. Perhaps this person will have something of him-or herself to give.
Now turn the scenario around. When someone seeks nothing but information from us, we wonder, "Is that all your want? What I can give you but none of myself? Just this commodity? Do you not want to know me?"
Parents know this feeling well. God knows it well also.
He also knows our questions remain, even though we don't fully understand what answers we need. Or, more importantly, we haven't yet pondered the deeper questions.
What can he give as a response? Can he provide an answer as complicated and deep as we need, given the harsh, brutal and complex experiences of life?
He does. He presents his answer in the only understandable form: a person. He offers not a word or a bullet-point doctrine, but a person. We want to know this person, and we want this person to know us. In light of the world's dizzying questions, the only answer we truly need is human form.
Jesus walked into the world. Isn't that we always wanted?
Who, then, is Jesus? What does God tell us through him?
What is the message of Jesus?
Why is this important?
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