Diocese of Swansea and Brecon Read more about the history of our village St Barnabas Church Learn more about Saint Barnabas, our church patron saint Use our online form to send us a prayer request Discovering the love of God in Jesus Christ
   
Jesus on the Cross - Stained glass window from the east window above the altar at St Barnabas Church
 
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Pwy yw Iesu? Ymunwch a ni ar Daith Ffydd
Who is Jesus? Join Our Journey of Faith


Who Do You Say Jesus Is?

Perhaps you can recall such times in your life when a best friend asks: “So, is she your girlfriend or what?” Or your mother forcing the issue by using the parental tactic of asking a question by making a statement: “So, she’s the one...?” At some point, relationships get personal—they intrude on our private space and demand that we answer a fundamental question: “just what does this person mean to me.” It’s a watershed question in any human relationship. And once it’s asked, the relationship can never be the same.

The question forces us to either move deeper in the relationship or become more distant. It forces us to search our heart, mind, and soul and decide who the other person is. A mere acquaintance? Just a friend or buddy? A best friend even? A soul mate? A potential life partner? 

Why Did Jesus Die?

The idea that the death of Christ deals with the problem of human sin and brings people into fellowship with God is one of the central ideas of the New Testament. An appreciation of the significance of Christ’s death permeates the very architecture of Pauline thought1, and no more prominently than in the passage in his letter to the Romans that is the focus of this essay. Here Paul weaves together many of the key threads in the biblical view of salvation. This intricately argued and awe-inspiring passage focuses on the way in which God has revealed his righteousness, making it possible for sinners to be ‘justified’ before him through faith. Earlier in the letter Paul sketches out humanity’s plight: before and outside of Christ, people are helpless captives of sin and are powerless to do anything to escape its tyranny (Rom. 1:18-32). The “But now…” of 3:21 signals the transition from the foregoing depressing portrayal of sinful humanity.

The Da Vinci Code And All That

Is Jesus’ life (as recorded in the Gospels), his ministry, his divinity, after all, only a myth, and beliefs that the church no longer needs to hold? Some of the ideas currently in circulation are reminiscent of some pretty long-standing historical debates.

The kind of errant nonsense typified by Dan Brown’s recent bestseller (racy read though it might be) is certainly nothing new and needn’t take anybody by surprise. It has a long and chequered history dating back to at least the fourth century, and was felt to be as important - and dangerous - then, as it is now, for reasons I shall try and explain. For an indication of how important a strong affirmation of Jesus’ divinity was, and still is, we only have to look at the liturgy we use each Sunday morning in our service of Holy Communion.

Jesus: Who Is He?

To read John’s gospel in the light of the synoptic parallels reveals noticeable differences between the writer’s representation of Jesus and that of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The gospel has been prized by Christians for its distinctive portrayal. John characterizes Jesus as the light of the world (3:19); the way, truth and life (14:6); the resurrection (11:25); the vine (15:1); the good shepherd (10:11); and the bread of life (6:35). He begins his gospel account with a philosophical statement about the eternal Word (1:1-18) which has no counterpart in the synoptic gospels. This has led some commentators to argue that the writer presents material and versions of events that have virtually nothing in common with the synoptic accounts and that seem irreconcilable with them.  Literary style is an important difference. While the synoptics make extended use of incidents, parables and aphorisms, John includes long Christological discourses.

Jesus of Contradictions

In comparison with Matthew, Mark and Luke, John’s gospel (particularly) has been regarded by some commentators as presenting material that seems to be contradictory.

Even a cursory examination reveals that, while the Synoptic Gospels make extended use of incidents, parables and aphorisms, John includes long Christological discourses or meditations. It is around the identity and significance of Christ that the question about the nature of the Fourth Gospel centres.

For example, John begins his Gospel account with a philosophical statement about the eternal Word (1:1-18) that has no counterpart in the Synoptic Gospels.

       
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  Would you like to learn more about who Jesus is? The best place to learn is from the Bible. To help you, we have put together material about the Son of God, the Messiah: Jesus Christ.  
     
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