I think we would all agree that our Christology is among the most important aspects of our faith — our Christianity. So it is in this Spirit that we begin our lives as believers in the Gospels of the New Testament, the words and acts of Jesus, His miracles, His life with the disciples, and His teachings. While most of us would agree that we can never know everything there is to know, if we’re honest there’s still a part of us that believes that we have, to some degree, graduated from the gospel and moved on to something “deeper” or theologically nuanced for our discipleship.
I can’t remember where I read it the first time, but one of the most memorable quotes I’ve run into over the years is, “I’m not sure who discovered water, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fish.” The point here is that, since a fish – any fish – has never existed out of water, it wouldn’t see any need for either discovery or explanation of its known world. Think about the application of this to our own lives, discipleship, and awareness. What are those things that have just “always been”? Those things that we, having put them away so long ago, have stopped considering beyond superficiality or exploring with any intention or depth. Not only are we conditioned from the earliest years of our schooling to learn and move on, but it also seems like Scripture challenges us to do the same. Even Paul in 1 Corinthians refers to moving from milk to solid food.
Our understanding of Scripture, however, as well as how we interact with our own hearts are both always in motion. This reality is part of God’s mystery. And the truth is that we do not graduate from the gospel, far from it. Rather, we continue to grow in our understanding of atonement, our adoption of the gospel message deep within the fibers of our own being and our adoption into God’s fold, and obedience to Jesus’ teaching and message. The more we are in the truths of the Bible, the more it becomes a part of who we are. Central to this transformation is, to again draw from the words of Paul, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Yes it’s true that there is a progression in our sanctification, but this progression never strays from a Christological path. In order for us to follow and worship Jesus, we must truly know Jesus and this knowledge emerges from a familiarity with Jesus’ divinity and humanity as well as an intimate understanding of an essence that’s best understood as the sum of the two parts. This complete and never-ending understanding is the most applicable Christology to the life of a growing disciple.
It likely wouldn’t shock anyone that over the years we’ve come to “know” a rather Westernized version of Jesus. And why wouldn’t we? This long-haired, blue-eyed picture of peace and order practically stepped off the pages of our earliest memories of printed quarterlies, Sunday morning props, and wall art. Just like the fish’s inability to recognize water, we aren’t necessarily equipped to recognize encroaching westernization, or what Robby calls “replacement theology,” even in this case. Regardless, it’s possible that we don’t know Jesus as well as we think we do nor as well as we can. Yes, a devotion to the Gospels and Christology represents at least two parts to knowing Jesus, but an understanding of His actual context — the culture of His life — is perhaps the most neglected. Many Christians have forgotten that Jesus was a Jewish man living in a Jewish land, observing Jewish customs, and investing His life in Jewish men and women. It’s not that we haven’t been exposed to this truth or don’t care, it’s that we haven’t the acumen to pick up on the subtleties that bring an additional richness to the person and deity of Jesus Christ into clearer view.
This is why we have created a small-group Bible study based on Robby’s The Forgotten Jesus. Before this content was book it was a sermon series. We believe this small-group Bible study experience, based on the book released earlier this year, contributes a neglected and crucial piece of Jesus’ ministry to disciples truly seeking to know Jesus and become more and become more like Him. Groups choosing to use The Forgotten Jesus Bible study will consider Jesus’ Jewishness and how it adds to our understanding of His ministry. Groups will also walk through Jesus’ childhood, teaching ministry, miracles, His last week, and words from the cross. The effect is that you will come to know Jesus again for the first time.
To learn more and find free samples of the video and Bible study, visit lifeway.com/forgottenjesus.
The Forgotten Jesus: How Western Christians Should Follow an Eastern Rabbi
Through the years, our understanding of Jesus has been shaped by different cultural influences, and many Christians have forgotten that Jesus was a Jewish man living in a Jewish land, observing Jewish customs, and investing his life into Jewish men and women.
Trading the popular, but inaccurate Western perspective of the Bible for the context in which Jesus actually ministered in 2000 years ago, author Robby Gallaty reveals the fascinating Hebraic culture, customs, and nuances many Christians have never experienced or learned about. He works from the premise that we can’t truly appreciate the New Testament unless we understand the Old Testament.
By uncovering the teaching of the first and second century rabbis and Christian theologians, and highlighting little-known Jewish idioms and traditions, Gallaty takes Christians on a biblical journey to rediscover a forgotten Jesus from a biblical perspective, deepening your relationship with God.