August 20th, 2016| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


The other day, a guy got arrested for—get this!—“impersonating Jesus Christ.”

Ilya Novikov, 23, an artist and a filmmaker, was behind the stunt in Perm (Central Russia, near the Ural Mountains).

A video made by an eyewitness showed the bearded Novikov in long, flowing white robes, making his way down the road carrying a huge T-shaped wooden cross on his back. Motorists and pedestrians screamed insults at the Jesus-impersonator. The police was summoned, fearing Novikov could distract traffic.

Two cops quickly arrived on the scene and arrested Jesus Novikov and bundled him into a squad car. It didn’t help the cause of the wannabe Jesus mouthed off at the local constabulary. Anyhow, he was taken to a police station for questioning and later released.

Said the police spokesperson:

A man in white clothes, carrying a cross, was spotted by onlookers and police were called to the scene. Officers talked with the man at the police station and let him go.”

Said the man trying to be Jesus:

My friend gave me some wooden sticks so I made a cross out of them. The experience of Jesus Christ was repeated. People were laughing, shouting and mocking me. This reaction proves that the Bible story was true and that after 2,000 years people have still not changed—we are still cruel and intolerant to our neighbors.”

Said Father Igor Anoufriev, the rector of the city’s Orthodox Church of St George, who condemned the stunt as blasphemy:

This, of course, offends believers. Nobody has the right to try on the image of Jesus Christ, who is our sacred Lord.”

Wait, I thought it said somewhere in the Bible:

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself,
and take up his cross and follow Me.”
Mark 8:34

Yup, the Novikov was kinda sorta right. That doesn’t mean walking around bearded, barefoot, bearing wooden planks, but to be Christlike.

The imitation of Jesus Christ, the Perfect Man (and fully God, course) is a biblical precept that began with the Old Testament notion of following God, as for e.g., God said of Caleb:

“My servant Caleb … has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully.”
Numbers 14:24

And in the New Testament …

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, …
emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant.
Philippians 2:5, 7

Be imitators of me [Paul], just as I also am of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1

Said Augustine:

[A] man who could be seen was not to be followed; God was to be followed—but he couldn’t be seen. So in order to present human beings both with one who could be seen by human beings and with one whom human beings might properly follow, God became a human being.”

In fact, this is God’s goal for all his children, whom …

He also predestined to become conformed to the image [eikōn] of His Son.
Romans 8:29

Every portion of Scripture (every “pericope” = section of the Bible that is usually used as a text for preaching) portrays a facet of Christlikeness. So, pericope by pericope (or, if you wish, sermon by sermon), the children of God are molded into the image of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Pericope by pericope, we are become more and more Christlike. After all Jesus Christ was the model, the exemplar, the prototype of the Perfect human. (Of course, being Christlike does not mean we become divine; only his humanity is imitable.)

Conformed to his image (eikōn in the Greek). That’s what we need, a christiconic interpretation of Scripture: the imitation of Christ.

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