There are many different venues where His followers can represent or present Jesus. They range from where some work in a factory, in an office, or on a construction site. Perhaps for other followers, it may be where they work in a health facility, or meet other truckers at a diner, or join with the firemen in the station. Wherever or whenever this representation of Jesus happens, it will be an extension of what we understand Jesus to be and to have done.
This reality isn’t different in kind from what happens in other areas of life. For example, the more I understand what fire can do (and it can do a lot of both good and harm), the more I will want people to relate realistically to fire. I have seen its benefits; I have seen its damages. I will want people to relate correctly with fire. The same is true about contagious diseases, about energy sources, and about the practice of law. I do no one a favor by misrepresenting what a contagious disease can do, what energy sources can do, or what the practice of law can do. Knowledge, understanding – they are unavoidable for correct representation.
The same is true about Jesus. I have not yet seen the results of a statistical study (perhaps it hasn’t been done!) that measures the consequences of presenting Jesus well versus misrepresenting Him. But, I can tell you, on the basis of teaching about Jesus to hundreds of students in many places, the following – the greater our uncertainty about Jesus, the less we will represent Him. The more mistaken we are about Jesus, the greater will be the damage caused when we do attempt to represent Him.
Consider the following situation. A person affirms that all our views of Biblical texts are no than our opinions. “There is no proof of anything when it comes to making a truth claim about what the Bible supposedly teaches. All we have is opinion. Theology is opinion, nothing more, nothing less. I have my opinion. You have yours. There is no way to have truth about what the Bible says.”
This posture, as just describes, militates against representing Jesus, since there supposedly is no correct understanding of Jesus specifically, or of theology in general. Although this posture is self-defeating, the advocate that voiced this posture doesn’t appear to recognize the self-contradiction. If theology is only opinion, if affirmations about Jesus are only opinion, then it is also only opinion to say that theology and affirmations about Jesus are only opinions.
Should I expect the proponent of “opinionism” to represent Jesus well? No. Such a person is inwardly blocked from representing Jesus for Who He is and has done; Jesus is unknown. There are only opinions about Him. And, about opinion about all we can say is what is summed up in the Spanish expression, “sobre gustos no hay nada escrito” — “when it comes to tastes, there are no rules.” The “opinionists” may tell us what they are thinking about Jesus, but if we ask if there is reason to take their opinion as truth and commit ourselves to it, they can’t answer the question without admitting that there is some kind of truth somewhere. Such an admission would destroy their position. Of course, such an admission would also be a step toward representing Jesus properly.