Changing Convictions About Jesus? 1996/2011 (2)

Ted Grimsrud—July 3, 2011

[How, if at all, have my views about Jesus changed in the past 15 years? This is the fourth of a series of six posts on how my faith convictions have changed (or not) since I have been a college professor. Not long before leaving congregational ministry to begin teaching I did a series of sermons trying to state in concise terms what I understood to be key Christian beliefs. I posted an excerpt from my sermon on Jesus here. Now I will reflect on my current convictions about Jesus. Here are links to the first two posts—one on my views of God 15 years ago and the second on present-day thoughts about God.]

 A standard way to begin a conversation about convictions about Jesus is to cite the story from Mark 8 where Jesus talks with his disciples about who the various people they encountered that day said Jesus was. Then he puts them on the spot: “Who do you say that I am?” I think Mark would welcome this use of his story. He has the agenda throughout his gospel of challenging his readers with this question.

I find it ironic, though, that many who use this question today make a similar mistake to the one Peter made when he responded to Jesus’ original question. Peter stated with firm conviction, “You are the Christ.” This, Mark wants us to know, is on one level the correct answer. Mark also believes Jesus is the Christ. But the story continues with Peter showing that his notion of “Christ” is not the correct one—in fact, he is so off the mark that Jesus rebukes him about as sharply as one could imagine: “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Continue reading “Changing Convictions About Jesus? 1996/2011 (2)”