There are portions of scripture that quite singularly, pointedly, and uniquely introduce a truth in such a way as to light the path of any disciple of Jesus Christ toward the goal of understanding the subject in question. They are pivotal points upon which one is turned to see clearly upon that path so as not to be misled by what appears to be the way, but which only leads finally into a sort of thick jungle of directionally-confusing undergrowth beneath a forest of trees whose abundant foliage adds to the confusion by hiding much of the light of the sun. With that analogy behind us, let's look at that portion of the narrative of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus which singularly, pointedly, and uniquely enlightens our path toward understanding the place that Jesus of Nazareth holds in the biblical story of God's purpose within the ages.


The portion I'm dealing with is the one describing Saul of Tarsus being confronted by the sudden appearance of a great light from heaven, a light of greater brightness than the noonday sun, withstanding him, and shining all about him with such intrusively confrontational force, that he was thrown to the ground, at which point He heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou Me." (KJV) Saul immediately intuited that One greater than He was confronting him, clearly One of divine origin, calling forth out of the depths of Saul's being, the very question the voice meant to, and knew that it would, evoke: "Who art Thou Lord?" The answer is of supreme importance in keeping Jesus in His proper place in our spiritual estimation. The voice replied, "I am JESUS, whom thou persecuteth." (emphasis mine).


From the full story of the four gospels, we know that this appearance of Jesus followed His resurrection, and that, onto ascension, enthronement, exaltation, and glorification. He is at this point the fully perfected Mediator between God and man, dispensing out from His glorified Humanity, the very economy of God's new covenant relationship with man. This One, short of nothing in respect to what God has for man, and what man needs from God, is Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, the historical Jesus. He is in that moment, and continuing on, both above all the heavens, yet still within history, and in fact, as some have said, history is HIS story. I would add His story in union with the whole of humanity with which He stands in immutable solidarity in respect to the Deity of His Humanity, and the Humanity of His Deity.


This Jesus, AS the Christ, has been commissioned to do the will of Him who sent Him. As the title indicates, He is anointed, that is, infused with the life from the Father that teaches Him to know with exactness the Father's purpose and will, and in turn, that life from within Him overflows upon Him as enabling power to fulfill His mission. The very Breath of God is His anointing, which breath is increased at the command of the Father, to become a great Wind of empowerment. All this, as the Christ, He shares with His body, the called-out assembly, apportioning to each particular member its part of the whole.  


Allow me now to make a strategically important application of what has been affirmed above: The Christ is not larger than, not beyond, not more universal, not more cosmic, not before or after, Jesus, glorified, then increased in and by His corporate body, the called-out assembly. When scripture speaks of this One as simply Christ, it is in no way, in no sense, indicating that there exists something from God, and out of God, more all-inclusive than Jesus, and/or that our understanding of Jesus should be that He fits somehow within that greater something. Christhood comes out of, and rests upon God's only/uniquely begotten Son, who was sent out from within God into the ages with the anointing that is integral to His Personhood. In a sense, He fits into nothing, that is, nothing can contain Him, except---to repeat myself--- that which is the increase of Himself, His body, the called-out assembly. Everything fits into Him as such. We need to get that straight.


Think Son first, then Christ second. That's the divine order. I know that "eternal" is more a Greek concept than it is Hebraic, but as the Greek concept of " the Logos" was sanctified by John in His Gospel to describe Jesus as the finality of all that God has to say to man, so "eternal," and "eternity," can equally be sanctified to describe the One, who with His Father, is without beginning, and without end, yet Who joined us in the dimension of a long sequence of beginnings and endings which consummate with God being All in all timelessly, within the I AM of God. Not I once was, nor hope to be, but always I AM.


God's Son, begotten before all time, was given the Name, Yeshua (God saves) describing His person and mission within the ages, and He, the Son, has been expanded, increased, and enlarged (magnified), AS the Christ. As the Christ, He becomes to us, all that He is. According to Paul in Colossians, IN (specifically) Jesus Christ, all things were created, and all things consist (cohere, hold together). This One, in whom all things were created, was sent INTO all the all that has been within Him from creation and continues to be so onto into the ages of the ages. The natural mind just can't get its reach around such a marvel. When the Son of God was sent into the world, He came as the One in whom all things were created, and all things continued to be within Him, even as He came into all that was created in Him. In His Personhood, as the historical Jesus, He contained seminally---we might say in DNA form---all things, the whole, the vast stretches of God's creation, but most importantly He contained within Himself the fullness of the Godhead bodily while being the summation of all mankind in One Man.


[As an aside, please don't write to me that I should use our Lord's proper name, Yeshua. The effect on me of such insistence becomes a mix of boredom and consternation. Yes, I know, in His day in Israel, during those times when conversation was in Hebrew, He was called, Yeshua, but His name has been translated---as is the case of everything in scripture written originally in Hebrew, Greek, and some Aramaic---fittingly into many languages. If I were to emigrate to Italy, the origin of my ethnicity, over there, they would be inclined to call me, Giovanni, but here in America, I'm John. OK? All this insistence on speaking of our Lord as Yeshua is in my opinion (pardon my bluntness), nothing but a cheap attempt to be thought of as more righteously scriptural. I'm sure, if there had been an England with modern English in our Lord's time, and He would have visited there, He would have been happy to be known as Jesus.]


All that He is, we are, in Him. In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and we are complete in Him. We are complete in Him because we share, as I've written above, the Deity of His Humanity, and the Humanity of His Deity. As I've written in a previous series, He, the eternal Son, who became Jesus of Nazareth, is the Christ Fountain Head. Christhood flows from Him, AS God's Son, and As our Elder Brother. Lately there has been a too-much leaning toward systematic theology as verses biblical theology in seeking to describe the relationship between Jesus, and the Christ. With all that's been written and preached of late about the problem of duality, this might just be at the very heart of what duality-mindedness is all about. Jesus remains Jesus, but as the Christ, HE has become, and continues to become a many persons-membered body. As the body has many members, and the many members are one body, so also is Christ. The glorified Jesus is the Source of that Christ-embodiment. There's nothing I can think of that can summarize better what I've been trying to say in this article, than the message of the lyrics of the great and sublime hymn, Fairest Lord Jesus:


Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,

O Thou of God and man, the Son.

Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,

Thou my soul's glory, joy, and crown!


Fair are the meadows, Fairer still the woodlands,

Robed in the glittering garb of spring;

Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,

Who makes the joyful heart to sing.


Fair is the sunshine, Fairer still the moonlight,

And all the twinkling starry host;

Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer,

Than all the angels heav'n can boast!


All fairest beauty, Heavenly and earthly,

Wondrously, Jesus is found in Thee;

None can be nearer,

Fairer, or dearer,

Than Thou my Savior art to me.


JESUS [John R. Gavazzoni] 2015          2

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