A well-known song from the mid-90s asked, “What if God was one of us?” Two thousand years earlier, Jesus had already answered this question.
The following is an excerpt from Kurt Mahlburg and Warwick Marsh’s latest book, Jesus: The Centre of It All. Buy the book here.
Just a Slob Like One of Us?
In 1996, the song One of Us, sung by Joan Osborne, spent twenty weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, making it one of the most popular songs of the year. It ended up being nominated for three Grammy Awards and was a chart-topping hit in many countries worldwide. In her soulful performance, Osborne asked:
If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
Yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?
Two thousand years before Joan Osborne sang these thought-provoking questions, Jesus had already given us His answer. The central claim of Christianity is that God was one of us in the person of Jesus.
Jesus’ Claim Was Unique
Jesus’ self-revelation as God is unique. It might surprise you to learn that among the many religious figures of history, very few have actually claimed to be God walking among us. The Buddha never made such an assertion, and neither did Muhammad, Confucius or Zoroaster. Even the more recent religious leaders who said they were divine have mostly taken a shortcut: claiming to be a reincarnate Jesus, they have simply hoped to borrow some of His unassailable fame! The late New York pastor Timothy Keller put it this way:
In the whole history of the world, there is only one person who not only claimed to be God himself but also got enormous numbers of people to believe it. Only Jesus combines claims of divinity with the most beautiful life of humanity.
Perhaps Jesus was lying when He said He was God. It is also possible that Jesus was insane. But if His biographies are true, Jesus seems far too virtuous to be a deceiver and far too brilliant to be a lunatic. The only possibility that remains is that Jesus really is who He says He is: God in flesh.
If Jesus is God…
If so, God is not far off but near to every one of us. He has come to earth and promised to be with us to the very end of the age. If Jesus is God, we do not need to wonder what God is like. We can simply look at Jesus, who reveals the Father to us. If Jesus is God, then our Creator can relate to us because He experienced all of the weaknesses and temptations we face in this life. If Jesus is both God and man, He is the perfect mediator, finally bridging the great divide between heaven and earth. If Jesus is God, He deserves all of our worship and all of our lives.
Prayer: Jesus, God in Flesh. Thank You for stepping out of heaven and walking the dusty roads of Israel to reveal the Father to us. I believe that You are who You claimed to be—the God who took on all the trappings of humanity to reunite humanity with God. Thank You for relating to me in all of life’s difficulties and for Your promise to be with me forever. Amen.
Buy Jesus: The Centre of It All here.
Image via Unsplash.