Summary: Introduction to "Jesus Who?" Course

Jesus Who? September 16, 17 &20, 2007

Jesus the Superstar – still famous after all these years

In western culture you’d be hard pressed to find someone as famous as Jesus of Nazareth – he has remained famous for the better part of 2000 years! I’m not so sure that Paris Hilton will have that sort of staying power!

The difficulty with fame is that everyone has an opinion about you. If you asked almost anybody on the street who Jesus is, they would most likely have an opinion. The folks at did just that & here are some of the responses:

On the street video

Other Famous People have opinions about Jesus as well:

Napoleon Bonaparte

“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but what foundation did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded an empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.”

Woody Allen

"If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he wouldn’t be able to stop throwing up."

Mahatma Gandhi

"A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act."

Martin Luther King Jr.

"Jesus Christ was an extremist for love, truth and goodness."

John Lennon

"We’re more popular than Jesus now."

Douglas Adams

"2,000 years ago one man got nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be if everyone was nice to each other for a change."

Kanye West

I ain’t here to argue about his facial features. Or here to convert atheists into believers. I’m just trying to say the way school need teachers the way Kathie Lee needed Regis that’s the way ya’ll need Jesus.

The difficulty of doing a course that examines the life of someone so famous is that, with all the opinions about him, he may be hard to find.

Co-opting Jesus

The woman at the Stein Valley Festival – If Jesus were alive, he’d be right here…

Sports figures

Norm Evans, former Miami Dolphins lineman, wrote in his book, On God’s Squad, “I guarantee you Christ would be the toughest guy who ever played this game. . . . If he were alive today I would picture a six-foot-six-inch 260-pound defensive tackle who would always make the big plays and would be hard to keep out of the backfield for offensive linemen like myself.”

Fritz Peterson, former New York Yankee, more easily fancies Jesus in a baseball uniform: “I firmly believe that if Jesus Christ was sliding into second base, he would knock the second baseman into left field to break up the double play. Christ might not throw a spitball, but he would play hard within the rules.”

George Bush - During the ’presidential campaign’ of 2000, a reporter asked George W. Bush II who was the philosopher who most influenced him. His answer of course was “Jesus Christ.” You may find it difficult to connect George W’s foreign policy or even his domestic economic policy with the teachings of Jesus, but for a presidential candidate, it was the right answer.

On the other side of the political spectrum, you have Mikhail Gorbachev who says "Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind."

Fidel Castro

I never saw a contradiction between the ideas that sustain me and the ideas of that symbol, of that extraordinary figure, Jesus Christ.

You might wonder about how cynically some politicians try to co-opt the symbol of Jesus for their own purposes, but I think that many of us want to see Jesus as a person who has the same values and interests as us, except he is so much better. He is the super Mike!

Jeff’s thoughts – judge by the people

So many people, so many opinions about one man

The reality is that we can’t create our own Jesus, we cannot decide who Jesus was any more than you could decide who I am. You might tell everyone that Mike Wilkins is a 6’7” Chinese professional basketball player. But the reality is that I’m a 5’10” Canadian of northern European decent, and no one would every pay me to play any sport!

In the same way, Jesus has a personality and a describable existence outside of anyone’s opinion of him! We are going to try to discover that person in this course. Although it is very difficult to set aside our own personal agendas of who we would like him to be, or even the cultural filter that we see things through, I’ll try to do that as I learn and present – I’m going to invite you to do the same as we learn together. Let’s do our best to find the real Jesus.

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