The Jesus Enigma


George HatzfeldOf the Holy Trinity, the One who keeps eluding me is the One in plain sight.

God, the omniscient, omnipotent creator and loving parent. The Holy Spirit, a magnificent comforter and helper, the enabler for what needs to be done. Jesus, the human form of God, sent as our best glimpse of what it is to be both a human personality and the transforming power of deity. It’s a concept that seems incredulous, impossible, beyond logic. The Doubting Thomas in my Missouri upbringing demands proof: Show me, I’m from Missouri!

For Jesus, I need the willing suspension of disbelief: in other words, Faith.

The Book of Hebrews defines “faith” as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And Isaiah writes:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

Isaiah goes on to suggest that from God, the “word that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Is that the “Word that became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” that John talks about in his Gospel?

How does the Word, – this Word – become flesh, except by God’s expression of God’s own essence? So if I can accept, through faith, that this amazing human, whose three-year career as an itinerant preacher ended in crucifixion, was sent as my chief clue as to what God wants each of us to aspire to, if I can listen as Jesus is raised from John’s baptism to hear, “This is my Beloved Son, hear him,” then I must accept the human personality of Jesus as but the earthly manifestation of a transcendent being. Yet as a Christian I was taught to believe in Jesus’ immanence, or accessibility to the rest of us in this life, now, here. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Everlasting. Eternal. My finite mind can’t come close to grasping that, because all I have ever known is time. But suppose we are already part of the eternal, and in grasping the little we know of Jesus, whose human personality came to reveal God’s love, not God’s vengeance, we – I – learn a lesson in everlasting truth? The complex, hard-to-comprehend, illogical Trinity that by grace placed a part of the eternal in this finite world, one small habitable planet of a bazillion across a slew of universes beyond our imagination to contemplate… What’s so hard about that?

Jesus didn’t operate by ordinary rules. He taught forgiveness, healed chronic diseases, died an agonizing death and gave us his body and his blood as a memorial to his humanity, sent from God. Why should I operate by ordinary rules to believe in him? For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. Amen.

-George Hatzfeld

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This piece was originally presented to the congregation as a part of its Jesus Stories series.

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