Inspirational Profile: Jesus

Yesterday, I began a mini-sermon series within our series on the Book of Colossians from Colossians 1:15-23.  I am attempting to ask and answer this question:  Who is Jesus? 

Here’s how I introduced this series:

There is no doubt that there still remains uncertainty about who Jesus, whether with regard to his person (that is, who He is) or His work.  Take for instance this book that we received as a parting gift from friends in Norfolk….  The World’s Best Bathroom Book: An Inspirational Collection of Wit, Wisdom, Humor, and Fascinating Facts – a book published by a well-known Christian publisher.    Sounds interesting regardless of where you read it.  I am thankful for the kindness of this gift, but I was discouraged by what I found inside.   The first main section is a collection of about 50 or so alphabetically organized “Inspirational Profiles” starting with Neil Armstrong and ending with the Wright Brothers.   So, where does Jesus of Nazareth fit in?  Well, under J of course.  The first sentence is thus:  “Jesus Christ, to the Christian, is the Hero of all people who make a difference”.  The profile does go on to proclaim the Gospel of Christ clearly, but in my mind the damage is already done.  Jesus is just another Inspirational Profile, in between Galileo and Martin Luther King.

Paul has something radically different to communicate to the church, than that Jesus is just another good ______ (prophets, teachers, heroes, examples), in a long line of other good _______ (prophets, teachers, heroes, examples).  What Paul tells us about Christ, in line with what Christ said about himself during his public ministry, will not allow us to be so casual.”

If a Christian publisher doesn’t distinguish Jesus from other “inspirational” people, how can we expect those who don’t believe in Christ to trust Him with their lives?  Why should they?  If the Church is going to be unclear about the supremacy and all-sufficiency of Christ, how can we fault others for being clear that they don’t need Christ?


4 responses to this post.

  1. Your point is well taken. I just blogged on Col. 1:22, as it astounds me that I can stand before God without a single fault. This is what separates Jesus from all other “inspirational” people: His is the only name that guarantees that status before God.




  2. You bring up some great points here. It is disturbing for a Christian to lump Jesus into the load with other inspiritational characters from history. Could the intention be to make it sort of a covert operation? Could he intentionally be writing from a secular perspective to open dialogue?

    It is true that Jesus does have a good and perhaps even great reputation with those “who make a difference”… and that is a great diving off point for great dialogue and conversation which may help people to consider him worthy of their faith and trust.


  3. There are Christian publishers and there are Christian publishers. I worked at a Christian bookstore for 5 years and saw the difference. Some publishers’ strategy is “produce absolutely useless, foolish nonsense and put a Bible verse inside like the prize in a cracker jack box.” Others are committed to publishing solid, Christ-honoring material. Baker used to be excellent, lately I’ve been impressed with Crossway, and consistently with P&R.


  4. Jim: thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.

    Aaron: We can hope that was the intent, but I feel that kind of conversation takes place better in person. I do appreciate that perspective.

    Ken: true. true. And yet, it is still disheartening. Also, discernment is sometimes lacking in the pew with regard to what makes a good publisher or not.


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