In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asks, "But Who do you say that I am?" Peter, led by the Holy Spirit, said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." But what does this mean? And Who do you and I say that Jesus is?
Prior to taking time off in July, I began re-reading the Book, Jesus, The Revolutionary by H. S. Vigeveno. During the time off, I also a book entitled, Choose Love, Not Power by Tony Campolo. Although these books are separated in time by over forty years, and even written in different millennia, each expresses the Gospel in a very clear way. With titles such as "The Unconquerable Christ", The Challenging Christ, The Compassionate Christ, etc., the first tries to dispel "romantic" false ideas about Jesus. The latter goes through the life cycle of a person, and shows what it is like to choose love, as Jesus did, rather than power, that the world urges.
How is it possible to read these books with out confusing theology? The key is to see how they loft up the Gospel message. Both work to remove the "mistaken identity thoughts" of who Jesus is. Perhaps it was in the reading of "The Humble Christ" of the first book that this became clear. In this chapter, Vigeveno points out the meekness and humility of Jesus. The crowds and cries of that first Palm Sunday are not a victory march as most would see it, although that is what the people wanted it to be. Rather, he points out, "The heroes of the world come on horses. They are men of power. He comes on a beast of burden, symbolizing peace. The proud rulers of the world are surrounded by weapons of war. Jesus has only palm branches around Him. Most rulers come well protected by police and secret service men. He arrives unprotected . He comes humbly. And when the parade peters out and the shouting dies down, He seems to slip away. He gets lost among the temple crowd." (Page 142f).
Campolo, as he leads us through such stages as children, teenage, courting, marriage, politics, business, etc. leads us to see the vast difference between Love and Power. One of the keys is hiding the truth, or at least part of it. This is done both to "protect" ourselves and to prevent others from seeing the "true self", and having power over us. However, this comes at the price of losing in our relationships with each other, as well as with Jesus. When Power is chosen instead of Love, often the intent is to control others, even God. When Love is chosen, we make ourselves vulnerable to attack and the power of others, just as Jesus did.
The book In His Steps asks the question, "What would Jesus do?" trying to have us second guess just that. Maybe the questions you and I need to ask is "Am I telling the whole truth or trying to hide something?", and "How does this affect my idea of and relationship with Jesus and others?"