Patricia Hofer

Is Jesus Christ a Saviour or a Wayshower?

Is Jesus Christ a Saviour or a Wayshower? The answer is not as apparent as one might think. In 325 CE/AD, the early Christian church spent months arguing over this question at the Council of Nicaea. I apologize to Christian theologians for my oversimplification of the issue. But for me, it’s personal.

That’s because I grew up as an Arian Christian. My belief was centered in God, the Father. And it was a strong and steadfast faith. But I saw the Son of God as subordinate to God. As such, Jesus Christ became the Wayshower, and it was my job to follow in his footsteps.

Embracing Jesus in this way, as a Wayshower, has its attractions. We just naturally like to be in control of our decisions. We like to take credit for our special talents and splendid victories. But following the demanding teachings of such a Wayshower, trying to accomplish them in my own life, became a huge burden of responsibility. When I failed, and I often did, it was my fault. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. Maybe I wasn’t praying often enough. Maybe I wasn’t being good enough. Or, worse yet, maybe God was teaching me a lesson.

The harder I tried, the heavier the responsibility got. Eventually, this misguided faith overwhelmed me completely, and I was crushed under the weight of it. As the psalmist wrote, I was “in hell” and “the uttermost parts of the sea” were washing over my head (139: 9-10). And the wonder is that “even there” the Saviour came to me in the most remarkable way. He picked me up, lifted me out of my despair and loneliness, and filled my heart with light. For me today, Jesus Christ is “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). My part, the only role I can play, is that of yielding and trusting, allowing the Lord to work in my life. (Living Large, chapter 56)

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