ANSWERING THE PERENNIAL QUESTION WITH A RHETORICAL QUESTION
WHO IS JESUS? WHY ASK ME?
It took me by surprise that a Church prayer and action Group, Handmaids of the Lord, asked me to give them an online talk on WHO IS JESUS. Why ask me, was my immediate impulse – one, because I am no public speaker or orator, and two, it is a perennial question in all of Scripture (typology or prophesy), Church and world. They wouldn’t take no for an answer like Lydia in Acts 16:15.
The thought of the talk to answer Who Is Jesus caused both internal and External turmoil – is it an intellectual quest, or experiential or Biblical or personal or spiritual or even fundalmentalistic curiosity?
When I finished brainstorming what I would say, I noted that the summary would have to be four revealed answers – LAMB, BELOVED, LORD, SON OF GOD! But before this ultimate/fundamental answer, I would have to pose a question to my listeners to clarify what answer to give or is expected. Who is Jesus to who? To Herod, Pilate, Pharisees, Scribes? To the sick, poor, hungry, lame, blind, possessed, oppressed? To the villagers, the fishermen? To the civilized, the urbanized, the intellectuals, the learned? To the pagans, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists…?
But the crux of the matter for me, was Why Ask Me? Ask The Alpha Course; ask St Faustina; ask St Matthew, St John the Evangelist, St Therese of the Child Jesus, St Teresa of Avilla, Padre Pio, Mother Mary, Mother Teresa, Vasulla Ryden; ask your spouse, your neighbour, your mentor…
Landing from Who Jesus is, as Lamb, Lord, Beloved and Son, I said: Jesus to me, in me, for me and like me is the Suffering Servant of Yahweh in Isaiah 52-53. And when I passed round the microphone for each participant to share in 30 seconds who Jesus is to them, the response was spontaneous, overwhelming, simple, profound – Jesus is my Lord, my friend, my best friend, my healer, my financial adviser, my protector, my rock to lean on, my Redeemer, my provider, my Divine Physician, my guidance, my daddy, my brother – He died for my sins.
I wasn’t quite ready for this exam on Christology or Iesu-ology!
Equally taken aback was I when, after a hospital call and prayers with a 90+ woman wanting to be visited by a Mill Hill Missionary, with a great link to Missio and our veteran missionaries in the UK; outside the hospital, as I approached my car, two middle aged ladies, pouncing on their cigarettes and highly worked up, (most probably not believers in the name), noticing me in Roman Collar and purple stole in hand, looked at me eagerly, and one desperate to shake and kiss my right hand (and would not take no for an answer), asked for prayers, saying the doctors are about to switch off the life support on their young sister in her twenties in an hour or two. “Could you say a prayer for her, please?”, they pleaded.
May the (name of) Jesus we grapple to comprehend and dispense, reach out and be reached by us the living and the stronger; the weaker and the wretched; the restless, the dying and the dead.
Indeed God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and he went around doing good and healing those who were in the power of the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38.
Who is Jesus? Let’s ask him, Who are you Lord? He is Son, Lamb, Lord, Beloved, King, Judge…
He is in the Eucharist, in the priest, in the poor, in Heaven, in mystery, in you and me.
To all who received him, those who believed in His name, he gave them right to become children of God. John 1:12.
Emmanuel Mbeh MHM