We find a very telling theological statement in the movie Talladega Nights, “I like to think of Jesus as wearin’ a Tuxedo T-shirt, ’cause it says, like, ‘I want to be formal, but I’m here to party too.’ I like to party, so I like my Jesus to party.” We often have self-conceived versions of Jesus. We may not say that we think Jesus is “wearin’ a Tuxedo T-shirt” but we do very often have misconceptions about who Jesus is.
How can we clear up our misconceptions and why is it so vital? It is vital because if we know Jesus, God the Son, then we know the Father because Jesus has made Him known. Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature (Heb. 1:3). God’s glory is shown through the heavens (Ps. 19:1-2) but it is most clearly shown through His Son because Jesus is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4). “The Word [God the Son] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). Jesus Himself said, “I and the Father are one” (Jn. 10:30) and He said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9).
If we leave Jesus in the cradle as the incarnate Son we are doing Him an injustice because we are forgetting about His pre-incarnate state. We are forgetting about the riches that He lift in heaven to come to earth (2 Cor. 8:9). We are forgetting that all things were made through Him (Jn. 1:3). We are forgetting that He upholds the universe by the Word of His power (Heb. 1:3). We are forgetting that He is utterly “holy, holy, holy” (Is. 6:3; Rev. 4:8). We are forgetting the respect that is due His Name as YHWH. We must have a biblical perspective of Jesus before we will truly know Him and fall at His feet in worship and amazement. If we do not have a biblical perspective of who God the Son is passages like Philippians 2:6-9 and Colossians 1:15-22 will not rightly amaze us and cause us to weep and worship as we should.
So what will keep us from “Tuxedo T-shirt” misconceptions of Jesus? We must remember that are hearts are desperately wicked and we have a bent towards idolatry. We have a tendency to make gods in our own image; including making Jesus in our image. This is an especially difficult temptation for us because Jesus is in the form of a human. He is fully God and fully human yet we must not error on either side here.
We must know the Word of God; the New Testament and the Old Testament. We must build out view from Scripture not from society, music, movies, our own thoughts, or anything else. We must look at the ways that He has been revealed, not at the ways we would have liked for Him to have been revealed.
The awesome thing is the more we get to know the real Jesus the more we will fall in love with Him and the more we will worship Him as the exalted God. As we see who God is, we will see that gazing upon Him is like seeing a multi-faceted diamond. We can look at any one facet and be endlessly amazed or we can zoom out and see the diamond as a whole and likewise be endlessly amazed. We will now look at different views of Jesus’ work and see different facets and perspectives of who He is and what He has done.
Jesus is the thread weaved all through Scripture. He is the end and the culmination of all the types and shadows in the Old Testament (2 Cor. 1:20). In Sherlock Holmes mysteries there are all sorts of problems put forward but Sherlock Holmes is the one in the end that solves them. In a similar way all the problems presented in the Bible are solved in Jesus. He is what the whole story of the Bible is truly about.
If we get Jesus out of the cradle, off the cross, and in the glory clouds in our minds it will change the way in which we live. The incarnation of Jesus is absolutely vital and we should never play it down and the cross is also absolutely vital and we cannot play it down but we never only see these views of Christ. We must not only see the humble and suffering Jesus but we must also see the exalted Jesus. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is described in Revelations with flames coming out of His mouth. Jesus could not be bound by the cradle or the cross, may He never be bound there in our minds. He, as C.S. Lewis has said, is not tame but He is good.
A sampling of who Jesus is:
- Jesus is the promised offspring (Gen. 3:15), the long awaited Messiah. He is the son of Adam, the son Abraham, the son of David, the Son of God (Matt. 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38). He is the offspring that was bruised on the heel by the serpent on the cross but by His death and resurrection He stroke Satan the serpent of old with a death blow by bruising his head (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 16:20). Jesus is the offspring through which the nations are blessed (Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:16).
- Jesus is the better Adam. Sin came into the world through the one man Adam and it is through the one man Jesus that we can receive the free gift of righteousness (Gen. 3:6; Rom. 5:12; 17).
- Jesus is the creator of all things and it is in Him that all things hold together (cf. Jn. 1:1-14; Col. 1:15-20; Heb. 1:3).
- All through the Old Testament there were lambs sacrificed for intentional sins and even unintentional sins. We know that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb. 9:22) and yet “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). So there was a need for a better lamb. Jesus is that lamb. Jesus is the perfect Lamb without blemish that takes away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29; Rev. 5:9-10; 12).
- Jesus is the true High Priest (Heb. 7:23-28). Jesus went into the holy places not with the blood of animals but with His own blood and thus He secured an eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12). We are as whores (Hosea) but Jesus presents us to God without spot or winkle (Eph. 5:25-27).
- Jesus is a better King and long awaited true King. All the Old Testament kings were let downs and failed. Jesus is Kings of kings and Lord of lords. He is the eternal true King (Phil. 2:9-11)!
- Jesus is perfectly wise. He is wisdom personified, wisdom incarnate, wisdom in flesh. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He always did the right thing He always acted in perfect wisdom.
- Jesus is not tame but He is good (cf. Ex. 19:21-24; Lev. 10:1-3; 2 Sam. 6:6-7; Rev. 1:12-18).
- Jesus is God. He is fully God and fully man. For example He slept in a boat during a storm at sea and then He calmed the storm. Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature (Heb. 1:3). God’s glory is shown through the heavens (Ps. 19:1-2) but it is most clearly shown through His Son because Jesus is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4). “The Word [God the Son] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). Jesus Himself said, “I and the Father are one” (Jn. 10:30) and He said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). Jesus is the Great I AM, YHWH (Is. 40:3-5; Ex. 3:14-15; Jn. 8:58-59; Jn. 18:5-6. Is. 9:6; Lk. 2:11; Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23).
Jesus is all of this and yet He was born of a woman born to die. He was born to be despised and rejected by man. He is being worshiped in heaven right now and always as the angels say “holy, holy, holy…”
Do you know Jesus? Will you worship Him as He deserves?
 Jeff Owens helped me see this in a sermon he preached.