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I once had a student challenge me about Jesus. She said, “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe what you say about there being so many different views of Jesus.” I had, in my classes, only mentioned three. “Good!” I responded, “I’m glad you don’t believe me!” She smiled. She had heard me say that phrase many times before. “Would you like an extra credit assignment that will replace any test grade you want?” Every student’s attention was piqued now, all wishing they had come up with their classmate’s objection. “Sure!” she was completely pleased with the positive academic turn of events.
“OK,” I began, “Here’s my challenge. Go to downtown Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan. Stand on the street corner with a clipboard and ask passersby one question, ‘Who do you think Jesus is?’ In one hour, I will bet you that you will obtain at least 25 different views of Jesus.” Her eyes brightened. I could see the wheels turning in her mind. Only one hour? Substitute that time for a test grade? Prove the teacher wrong? Win, win, win.
It was a Friday. She went to Ann Arbor on Saturday. She was back in class on Monday. I did not make any comment. But she did. “Could I tell the class about what I discovered?” Students were still envious about the whole grade thing. “Sure! What did you find out?” The young woman brought out a sheet of paper where she had collected responses from U of M students. “To be honest,” she began, “I didn’t spend the whole hour.” There was a quiet murmur in the room, disappointment that perhaps their classmate had not fulfilled her end of the bargain. “I didn’t have to,” she continued, “Because in 45 minutes I had recorded 25 different views of Jesus. I figured that was enough.”
The classroom murmur turned to stunned silence. I did not say a thing. She made the point in her concluding comments. “I learned that it’s easy to define anyone or anything the way you want, if it’s just your perspective.” And then she paused, and more pondering than questioning, asked, “I wonder how they would respond if they heard the truth about Jesus?”
For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, president of The Comenius Institute, personally glad to tell anyone, anytime, anywhere, about Jesus. [Published here.]
AFTERWORD: What people say about Jesus is what they believe about Jesus.
The centurion’s claim, “Son of God” Matt 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47
The Syrophoenician woman’s claim, “Son of David” Matt 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30
Jesus claim, “Son of Man” Dan 7:13-14, Matt 9:6 (30x in Matt, 80x in NT), Rev 14:14
The Centurion’s Claim
1st use of the phrase in Mark, uttered by a Roman soldier, referencing Messiah (2 Sam 7:14)
The Woman’s Claim
A Gentile woman uses Jesus’ Jewish name, a link to His Divine identity (Matt 1:1)
Jesus uses what would seem to be simply a human name, but marks His divinity (Dan 7:13-14)