I was dipping into some E. Stanley Jones recently and found the following passage in Christ at the Round Table (o/p). Jones speaks of “interpreting Christ,” which is essentially what we mean in the missional conversation when we speak of “incarnation.”
A Hindu principal of a college, one of the men who in the Round Tables impressed me as having found living reality in religion, said at the close of one of my addresses: “Jesus is lighting up the soul of India as the sunrise first strikes the high peaks of the mountains and then gradually the light sifts down into the valleys. He is lighting the finest among us and the light is gradually permeating down through to the masses. And we are glad to be conquered by that light.” Why did he say these things so frankly before this Hindu audience of his own townspeople? I saw the reason a little later as he talked on. He sad: “I once saw Christ, and I have never forgetten the vision. The plague was raging in the city and everybody had fled in terror except the sick and dying. Whole sectinons were deserted. I drove through that plague-stricken section and to my surprise I saw a missionary lady, Mrs. D., coming out of the houses where there was plague. She came with her hands extended before her and she said, ‘I am sorry, Mr. S., that I cannot shake hands with you, for my hands are plague-staned.’ As I looked at her with her plague-stained hands, I saw Chirst.” No wonder he was glad for India to be conquered by this Light—he saw the interpretation of its meaning in the hands of one of his interpreters. It was Service and Self-sacrifice.
What kind of interpreters of Christ are we?