Hebrews 4:15

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”


Red-letter New Testaments used to be very popular. They’re still around. Maybe you have one or know someone who does. They highlight what Jesus said. I’ve never seen a New Testament that highlights  what  Jesus did or who He was. Is what Jesus said more important that what He did? Are His parables and stories more important than His miracles? Why all the red ink for His words when He was at least as famous for what He did and who he was? Should publishing houses print Bibles with what he did in red? How would they highlight who He was?


The words of the Church and the actions of the Church are not one. That is who we are. Those who are caught in all sorts of discontinuity highlight words in red. Words are more manageable. Theologians pre-occupy themselves with Jesus’ words like beetle-browed engineers working out complex problems. We resolve the wholism of Christ into a collection of wisdom sayings, accessible to and subject to our reason. We make Him into some kind of sage who dispenses proverbial tips for living, points to mull over as we stumble along, disassociated from ourselves, so far beyond the wholism of innocence that we can hardly bear it. In fact, we cannot.


Jesus words and works were one and that is the key to who He was and who He is. We call that being wholistic. There was no discontinuity between God’s willing and Jesus’ speech and action, word and compassion, saying and doing, death and resurrection. When word and action, wisdom and miracle, thought and spirit are completely whole, when they are perfect in purpose, there can only be one explanation…divinity is present. This is what the New Testament, in the totality of its’ witness, is revealing about Jesus. This is what it means to say that Jesus was without sin.


Faith restores us to the trust that takes in everything at once, that receives God all at once. There is, after all, only one, Living Word. In water and promise, bread and wine, in the gift of creation, we know Him like a child knows its’ mother’s milk before speech, before abstraction, because faith restores the capacity to receive without dissembling, without dividing down. 

Therefore, Jesus words and works are one. For in their sum you may see Him for who He is – God’s indivisible word of grace and forgiveness given for you.


“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”