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Who is Jesus?

Reflections and papers written for a course in Christology…

Final One-page Reflection: Who is Jesus?

The Good Shepherd & the ScapegoatOver the course of the semester we have examined various images of Jesus.  I find myself drawn a few in particular to Denny Weaver’s Narrative Christus Victor, with its nonviolent overcoming of the systemic evils of the world and to the empathic subjective view of the atonement through which the sacrifice of Jesus and his ability to identify with the suffering of humanity elicit a response of love and transformation.

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The Christological Symbolism of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

"He is afraid. He is alone. He is three million light years from home." The Christ figure in this Steven Spielberg film is none other than the title character, E.T. – a squat, wrinkled alien no more than three feet tall. [Instructor Comment: So, not ontologically human.] It is clear that he would never pass for human. Suggested likenesses offered in the film range from coyote to iguana, leprechaun to goblin. His chest cavity is transparent, revealing a "heart light" that shines when he is in communication with his mother ship. Finally, when using his special ability to cure sickness and restore life, E.T. touches his subject with an index finger that glows brightly.[1] Yet even in his difference, there is enough of what makes us human found within this alien frame to make us feel secure and at home in his presence. Though the physical strangeness of this character could be off-putting, Spielberg went to great lengths to ensure that E.T. would have many human expressions and gestures.  [Instructor Comment:  Psychologically human-like?]

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Jesus the Vine

I am the Vine.  You are the branches.In John 15:1-7 we find Jesus delivering a monologue in which he describes a scene common to first-century Palestinians: a vineyard in which a vine is cultivated to produce fruit.  Drawing out the analogy, the disciples are branches who draw their life sustenance from their connection to the vine.  This image aligns well with the metaphor of Jesus the Life-Giver.  [Instructor Comment:  Right.]  As he continues to explain, those who remain in him will bear much fruit.  Inversely, those who are separated from him can do nothing without the life that he provides.

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