Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
The vision of our little group of friends is to do whatever we can to advance the conversation of Jesus most attractively and most persuasively. When I worked with a team who was intent on having an impact on SMU, I learned so much about how to converse about Jesus with students and faculty on campus. My 2nd year there we determined to do one thing at SMU for the year. We were going to make Jesus the issue on campus-in the classroom, in the Greek system, in the dorms and in the Student Center. Those were great days! I have that same strategic feeling of purpose today as we are intent on advancing the conversation of Jesus throughout society-in the home, the community, the corporate marketplace, in the schools, and in the religious institutions. I want to make Jesus the issue everywhere!
Today, I want to examine the use of the name Christ. The way we use Christ makes one think that Christ is Jesus’ last name. You know, like Joseph and Mary Christ had a son and called him Jesus Christ.
The Jesus we are following and surrendering our lives to is not just Jesus, but Jesus of Nazareth. My good friend and long-time mentor first made me aware of this. He calls it, “Name and location.” The early followers of Jesus gathered at the house of Jason in Thessalonica. It was Joseph of Arimathea who offered the tomb for Jesus’ burial. We work together with Milt & Karen Richards of Carlsbad or Scott & Wendy Sanders of Huntington Beach. We are known as Tim & Diana Timmons of Newport Beach.
So, to say you are a Christ follower doesn’t say anything. Paul was a follower of the Christ, before meeting Jesus. Jesus said there are many Christs: Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”(Matthew 24) Christ is a title and not Jesus’ name. Christ or Messiah means the anointed one and I do believe Jesus is God’s Christ or Messiah. So, I see Jesus as Jesus, the Christ. To be genuinely the Christ, you are to be divinely appointed, or more precisely, divinely anointed by God.
To say that you are a follower of Jesus has a more personal relationship to it, than to say you are a Christ follower. In fact, I’m thinking that even saying you are a follower of Jesus may be too general. Maybe, just maybe, it’s even more accurate to call yourself a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.