Growing up, I thought Christ was Jesus’s last name. I’ve since learned that’s not the case, but it is how a lot of people seem to say and write it.
Saying Jesus Christ centers ‘Christ’ianity on… Jesus, the fleshy historical figure who walked the earth, died and resurrected a couple of thousand years ago.
Even if you don’t take it as his last name, saying it like that makes it seem as if the ‘Christ’ (meaning, ‘chosen’ or ‘anointed’) part of the equation showed up in the world when this God-man was born and left the world when he died. And now, Jesus Christ is up in a place called ‘Heaven’ which is where we go to after we die (if we live a certain way and do/say the right things).
But just today, I saw it written out like the title of this post, Jesus as the Christ. It immediately hit me. This puts things in an entirely new light.
It puts the Christ as something Jesus borrowed — like a garment that was placed on him. It signifies a Jesus who lived (lives?) as the Christ, the Christ being a more universal anointedness not limited to only him but that he put a face to like no one else.
Putting it this way, we see that the anointedness of Christ doesn’t rest solely in the man, Jesus of Nazareth. It suggests that it’s not particularly Jesus, the man, that we should worship but the Christ in him, as him, and around him in the human world that he was sent to reconcile.
On a similar note, I also learned today (yes, it was quite an informative day) that in a lot of Byzantine iconography, Jesus’s resurrection is shown like this…
See those people he’s holding on to as he ascends?… That’s Adam and Eve. He’s pulling them with him. Adam and Eve are symbolic for all of humanity.
This ancient art suggests that Jesus wasn’t so much into individual salvation as we’ve written the script in modern Western theology. Instead, he’s reconciling the whole shebang. It’s a universal, eternal Christ-anointedness that is placed over the entire world through this Jesus. As the Christ — the Christ present in everything and embodied in and through him.
All of it anointed in Christ.
In Jesus’s name.
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