(19) and in Jesus Christ . . .

The Creed is a continued story. I have said, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” Before you can say “So what?” I must go right on to tell of what God did with his world, what he is doing with it, and what he will do with it through Jesus Christ, his Son. The Creator is by no means like a fitful hobbyist who once tried his hand at world-making but quickly gave it up, abandoning the incomplete project forever. I believe that God’s first creating was only a beginning. There is an “and” to it, which leads on directly to the story of Jesus Christ. The Almighty could not be called “Father” Almighty without a Son. Mere belief in a God who made heaven and earth is not enough for me. I need to have some notion of what he made it for. What does God expect of me, one of his creatures? Without Jesus Christ I frankly don’t have a likely clue. And neither has anyone else. Without Jesus, everything dangles like the dot under a cosmic question mark. My slightest move in Christ’s direction is a move toward the ultimate answer to my ultimate questions. For fuller understanding of myself, the world, and our destiny in the Creator Father, I must know more and more about Jesus, his only Son, our Lord.

Who, then, was Jesus? This is the most important question that anyone can ever ask. Whatever answer I give in my heart largely decides what road I shall travel through life and what the end of my journey will be. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Jesus was real. He was at least a human being much like me in many ways. He was no make-believe, storybook hero dreamed up by some teller of tales in the land of the Jews. When he was born into the family of Mary and Joseph, he was a flesh and blood baby who had to be looked after just the same as the other children who came along later. His brothers and sisters saw him washing up for lunch, getting his hair cut, and trying on new sandals. While the little ones played with shavings in Joseph’s carpenter shop, Jesus was learning his trade. They all knew that slivers, cuts, and blisters hurt his hands the same as theirs. After a long day’s work Jesus was tired and hungry. This big brother of theirs spoke and dressed like everybody else.

But as Jesus gained experience of the life around his home and the village of Nazareth with its synagogue, its visitors, its fields, and hills, he gradually came to seem somehow different from the neighbor boys. He never lost his childlike trust in God, while the other young men became worldly wise. He never lost his simple, straightforward honesty, while the others learned how to conceal their meanness under a polish of politeness, with a show of respectability and religion. Jesus was never self-consciously concerned about developing his own reputation for righteousness. He just loved people and wanted God’s best for them. ln the process he showed himself to be good, clear through. Jesus discovered how to be good without trying.