We should beware of people who imagine they are the centre of the universe, who expect others to place their trust in them alone, who claim that they alone have the answers to life’s great questions. You know the type: populists who imagine they have more competence in situations than experts whose lives and training have prepared them to address a crisis. Populists who ‘know’ more than the rest of us because they have some special insight because they’re, well, ‘special’.
If we accept that Jesus of Nazareth had – more than other people – a certain claim to special insight, based on what Christians historically believe is his both divine and human nature, one would expect him to act a bit more like a posturing populist or a politician who generally likes to throw his/her weight around. But he doesn’t.
Notice what Jesus does. Although he never tells his disciples not to believe in him, he reminds them that in a certain sense – a very real sense – he is but the representative of God, the one who sent him. He is to be followed because he is of God, fully with and in God. Both God and God’s representative.
At which point our language starts to break up. Although Jesus is God’s representative, he is not just a prophet for Christians. And he is not just God pretending to be human. It’s complicated.
So it should be. Life is complicated. Beware of people who say it is not.