Blogging Towards Sunday May 3, 2009
Jesus says I am the Good Shepherd. What exactly did he mean? We wonder, in the light of the academic quest for the historical Jesus (primarily by the Jesus Seminar), did Jesus think he was the Messiah?; or did the early church interpret him as the Messiah in light of the transformative resurrection experiences they had of him after his death by crucifixion? Can we know? Are we splitting hairs in that search, aiming to reconstruct the psyche of Jesus? Is it purely heretical intellectual back-flips?
Hard to know. Yet, there is indeed something that we can know: like the expanding ripples on the surface of a pond after a rock is thrown in, we can see the consequences of who Jesus was, how he lived and how others experienced him - ripple through time, history, culture and knowledge. While that may or may not be enough for you to invite you to a deeper experience of this Jesus, I think that when we try to reconstruct the historical Jesus we oftentimes reconstruct him in our image, according to what we hope he was like, prioritized or did. I wonder if we have to have historical certainty in order to make a leap of faith?