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Perplexed/Challenged/Astonished by Jesus

By Bryan Clarke

We start a new blog series, looking at the person of Jesus who is never far out of the media and away from conversation, even with so many centuries having passed since he was here. He has been called magician, sage, preacher, miracle worker, teacher, and so many other descriptors are attributed to him. So as William Willimon says, “Why Jesus?” will be our reflections for the days to come. This series of blog posts will develop through reflection upon several books: If Jesus Has Come by Steve Brown Encounters with Jesus by Tim Keller The Challenge of Jesus by N.T. Wright Why Jesus? By William Willimon. Each has me looking in different ways at the place of Jesus in my life, in the organization I work for – GraceFinder (GRN), in the lives of students, and his place in the university life of faith. Despite all the heartache and struggles of the last two years, I still wholeheartedly concur with Willimon who says of Jesus “Why Jesus? Because he is the most fascinating person in the world. Into my life he came, unsought and uninvited, took over, and refused to go. He led me into dangerous territory. Only later did I learn this is typical” (p. ix). The implications of a world that knew the presence of Jesus continues to perplex, challenge and amaze me. The record of what people experienced when he was on earth reflects what people over the centuries continue to think and feel – this Jesus is not like anyone who has ever graced the earth with their presence. They are astonished at his teaching as is seen by the repetition of the Greek word θαυμάζω (thou-mad'-zo) - astonished or marveled. People then and ever since continue to grapple with this man, his claims, and how he engaged the world. Since Jesus has come what has changed? This is one of the questions we will struggle with, applying to our 21st century context what has happened to our world since Jesus has come and what he does in our own lives today.

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