Vol.XVII No.V Pg.1
July 1980

And Jesus Said, "What?"

Robert F. Turner

The following was found among the graffiti on a wall at St. John's University: "And Jesus said unto them, 'Who do you say that I am?' And they replied, 'You are the eschatological manifestation of the ground of our being, the kerygma in which we find the ultimate meaning of our interpersonal relationship.' And Jesus said: 'What'?"

Commenting upon the above, Bill Love (Christian Appeal) wrote, "Jesus did not talk in the code language of a third year seminarian because he cared too much for... people. He spoke in parables because he came to confront the pride of man with the love of God; he wanted both to bless the 'poor in spirit' and to confuse those who were inflated with religious and intellectual pride.... Jesus set forth the deepest truths about God and man in seemingly simple stories about a young runaway and his father, about a poor woman searching for her lost coin, and about a farmer sowing a field... Those who are as unpretentious and receptive as children will see God in these stories; those who are full of their own achievement will 'go empty away'." Are you unsophisticated enough to grasp that? Paul wrote, "Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called" (the last two words being supplied in K.J., 1 Cor. 1:26). McKnight suggests the supplied words should be "call you," referring to the "earthen vessel" character of the callers (preachers) rather than to those who heeded. God chose not the learned and noble of this world as messengers; but humble, lowly men, whom He then equipped with His Spirit so that the glory might be of God and not of man (2 Cor. 4:7). This does fit the immediate context of 1 Cor. 1 and 2:1-f. Either way, it isn't difficult to imagine the perplexity of an early saint, should he hear the religious jargon, the human philosophy, or even the social announcements that come from pulpits of our day. With a puzzled look he might well say, "What?"

When we have filled ourselves with the content of God's message; when "Christ, Son of God" says "Savior," and means exactly what it says; then plain gospel truth will be enough.