Years ago I was at a prayer gathering and we had a number of visitors from out of town. One of them, a young lady from Canada, requested prayer but was seemingly unsure of what she wanted prayer for. Our group spent the next hour praying for her and as we continued, it became apparent she was suffering some sort of oppression and it got to the point where she was unable to even express words! With tears in her eyes, we can all see that her angst and anxiety and what seemed like fear had fully taken over. I seem to recall even the room we were in seemed to grow dimmer as we prayed and the oppression became more obvious.
One woman had a sense that this young lady needed to call out to the Lord and pray to Jesus… yet when she attempted to pray aloud, she simply could not get words to come out! It was obvious she was trying, but it was as if her lips were sealed… and as we kept on praying for her and doing our best to bind the enemy and ask God for deliverance, she remained unable to speak!
At the time, I remembered many of the stories I had heard over the years about Pentecostals “tarrying for the Spirit.” So we kept vigilant and kept on praying and kept on ”pressing in.” Finally, after what seemed to be hours, the young lady began to stutter and stammer and we all, with baited breath, press in closer… and she finally said it…
Immediately tears began to stream down her face and those tears of joy and her smile continued that she had been freed! As the song goes, ”There is power in the name of Jesus… to break every chain!”
If there’s any particular theological topic that matters to Christians, it’s related to Christology, the doctrines connected to Jesus, largely connected to two areas of concern:
- Who he is.
- What he accomplished.
Early in Christian history, the church was particularly focused on attempting to understand who Jesus was. Was he God? Was a human? These questions are related to the Incarnation, how Jesus was both fully 100% God and fully 100% human, a mystery, no doubt.
If we’re concerned with theology, certainly we need to take seriously our understanding of Jesus. In order to properly do so, we not only need a thorough understanding of the New Testament (particularly the Gospels), but also the Old Testament. After all, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures and the majority of the Hebrew prophets foretold of the Christ, Israel’s long anticipated Messiah. While the cultural gap between our modern world and the world of ancient Israel is vast, having an awareness of how Jesus fulfilled the promises of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel help us better understand the New Testament. One can no understand Jesus without understanding the foreshadowing of Moses!
I guess I’m simply nudging us to really think a bit more about Jesus. Many of us seem to have a small picture of who Jesus is but could do well to lean into more of the kingdom story. How is Jesus both Lord and Messiah? What does Jesus’ incarnation mean for us and how should we apply it in our ministries? Is there something about Jesus’ earthly ministry that can shape our mission today?
Many of these questions need to be thought about because I’m increasingly convinced that the old ”WWJD” bracelets that were all the fad back in the 90’s were more accurate than we realized! What would Jesus do? Or more importantly, what did Jesus do? And if he lived his life in the power of the Spirit and didn’t lean on his divinity as the source of his ministry, are we supposed to be like Jesus?
Yes. Yes we are.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.