I've recently stumbled upon a nearly universal presumption that lies beneath every Christian claim: we understand Jesus. It had never occurred to me that all of us work with an undeniable view of Jesus Christ. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say: "I don't understand Jesus" . . . or even "I may have misunderstood Jesus here, but I think I'm right about this . . ." Indeed, every single one of us believe we get him. We know perfectly well who he was, what he was trying to do, and what he would think about any given situation. That's why, whenever we hear someone's different "opinion" about Jesus, we never question ourselves--whether we could be wrong. Oh no. We immediately jump to the conclusion (I mean every single one of us--the academic and the nonacademic, the religious and the irreligious, the pious and the profane) that they must be wrong.
And yet, if that is true, then most of us get Jesus wrong. We've misunderstood him. We don't know him as well as we thought. We've deceived ourselves. And, there's the rub. None of us are willing to admit we might misunderstand him because all of us must believe we know him. It's as if Jesus were our intimate, personal best friend. "He knows me and I know him." It's astonishing to me how quickly those two worlds collapse into one: Jesus and me. "The way I see it is the way Jesus sees it. His thoughts are my thoughts. My prejudices are his prejudices. My ways are his ways." Because, if we ever came to the place where we were willing to admit otherwise (Jesus doesn't think like me!), then we would feel as though we had lost our best friend. But, the truth of the matter is, we'd only lose ourselves.
Albert Schweitzer was right: we all create Jesus in our own image. When we answer the question Jesus posed to the twelve, "Who do people say that I am?", we're quick to talk about how wrong everyone else could be. And when we answer the other question, "But who do you say that I am?", we are really talking about ourselves.