Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cameron, Morgan, pt. 8

Wise Witnesses # 6: The Question of Questions

At the end of Matthew 22, in response to yet another trick question, Jesus poses a riddle of profound depth:

Mt. 22.41ff: Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David." He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord“Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”  And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Again, whole books could be written about these words, "Who is the Christ, really? How can David speak of his descendant as his Lord? His God?" Whole books, enough to fill many libraries, have been written, and they are still being written, to answer this inquiry. That's as it should be; this is a deep question, "What think you of the Christ?" Many have answered truly; no one has answered fully; no one ever will.  

Jesus subject here is his own person: The Christ. He introduces a meditation on the person of His Person. Who is the Christ? He is the offspring of David -- and yet Lord of David. He is son of David, Son of Man, and Son of God; he is, must be, very human, in living flesh; he is, always has been, very God of very God, the living God. With this question, Jesus is tossing a tea cup to men by the shore, and saying, "Drink the ocean."

Such thoughts satisfy the mind of curious man like a tidal wave of sweet water suddenly engulfing a thirsty man. "I can see the deeps, but I cannot see the bottom," Augustine said. "Such thoughts are too wonderful for me," said Job once, and David more than once.

"What do you think about the Person of Christ?" Here is a real question: a question worthy of meditation: a question which ponders the depth of the knowledge of Son of God. Knowledge, incidentally, which the apostle Paul deemed the most valuable thing in the universe (Phil. 3.8). "What do you think of Jesus?" Here is a question which also calls us to take responsibility for our own disposition toward a Person. We must not forget, though we may think of theology as dusty and distant, God takes it personal. To reject Jesus is to reject God, heaven, life, joy, happiness, and eternity; in such rejection, you sign your own death warrant, "condemned (John 3:17)."

What do you think about Christ? This is a question about a Person, but also a personal question -- not, "What do others think?" and not, "What do the best theologians think?", but, "What do you think?"

A fitting response from Jesus’ assailants would have been to put their hands over their mouths, and bow right then and there: before Him who has the power to question every human answer; to him who is the answer to every question, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords -- "Who are you, Lord? ...well, for that matter, who am I? A man with a surplus of words, but a deficit of knowledge, and now, here I am before The Holy One. Woe is me; I am ruined. I repent in dust and ashes."

Who is Jesus Christ? This is a real question. This is a question which truly curious men should be asking, and a question which sincere men could spend a lifetime pondering, "Who is this King of Glory?" 

If you consider this kind of question for a moment, you'll pity Piers Morgan and his superficial curiosity. I wonder: has he ever considered what a real question is? -- a real question worth asking? -- a real question worth answering? His onslaught of simplistic poking at Cameron's moral compass reveals – not how deep he is – but how sadly shallow. What think you of Christ? Such a real question, "reduces... jostling egos.... to the feeble crackling flicker of burning sticks against a majestic noonday sun (Muggeridge, The New Statesman, "Am I A Christian?")."  

"Who am I?" -- with this, Jesus silences his critics once and for all by tossing a question on their heads that weighs more – not just than other questions, but than all other questions combined: “Who am I?!” He asks it at other times, and in other ways, and here he comes back to it, and presents it as a riddle. How can the son of David be the Lord of David? Now, here's a question that Cameron might have brought up. It is the question of questions. It should be at the heart of all of our apologetic endeavors.

This to say, it would have been good for Cameron, and it is good for us, to direct discussions to the Person and Work of Jesus. We don't engage in controversy for our own name, simply to shout our own little opinions. We engage as soldiers of Jesus Christ, for the glory of His name, to speak the words of His truth. Our message, unlike the world's, is not private, nor self-concerned, and it is not open to debate. We come to speak the truth about The One who is The Truth.

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