In class I’ve been asked to introduce myself and to explain who Jesus is to me and why. I’ve tried to integrate these two things as well as possible, but in my answer below I don’t even quote Calvin on knowing self and knowing God.
Hello, I’m Lue-Yee Tsang, a Latin teacher at a classical Christian school in northern Virginia and a part-time student at Wycliffe. The name my parents gave me refers to Psalm 23.3 and means ‘walking in [paths of] righteousness’; unlike many American-born persons of Chinese descent, I have no English name, so my Chinese name is my English name. Perhaps in part for this very reason, I identify not as an Asian American but as an overseas Chinese, and my Chinese identity and my Christian identity are bound up in one another. This fact may surprise those who know I’m Anglican, since that tradition’s roots are in a very particular culture’s Christian identity, but I was brought up to be both Christian and Chinese, and not a day have I lived with one and not the other. Though I know many non-Christian Chinese and many non-Chinese Christians, in my own experience to be one is also to be the other.
For me, though in a different way than for the Hebrews of old, Jesus is the heavenly emperor the Chinese have been waiting for. For the Chinese, the king and later the emperor was the Son of Heaven, the nexus of heaven and earth, through whom God in heaven both ruled the society of man and took order over the earth according to its times and seasons. Like Melchizedek, the emperor was a priest-king; like Moses, who was a kind of image of God on earth (‘see, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet’), the emperor interceded for the people before the Most High. When a natural disaster struck, even into the Song dynasty an emperor would sometimes issue an edict of self-criticism, declaring his sins for which he supposed that God had brought calamity upon the people (cf. 1 Chron. 21.16–17). And in our own uncertain days, after many incursions of Western imperialists in China, and the civil wars and other massive upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the continued mischief of American imperialists and corrupt Chinese, Jesus is my heavenly emperor who has done what no other emperor could: having taken on my flesh as the prologue of John declares, Jesus gave his life for the sins of all and was bodily raised on the third day to make me – to make us – part of a new body.
No emperor born in sin, however powerful and however loving, has ever worked so powerfully or shown such great love, that ‘we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear; in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.’ Therefore, by my baptism I can happily say, in the words of the Heidelberg Catechism, that this is my only comfort in life and in death: ‘That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death – to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.’ Nothing but Jesus is satisfactory; everything else is vapour, and man’s days are like grass. Having him, I have all things that I need, even when I don’t know it. Truly, being very God of very God, and the only-begotten Son of God, he is God’s Anointed in the highest and deepest sense. In Christ Jesus, and only in Christ Jesus, can my name itself be truly fulfilled in the sight of God and in my own conscience: Walking-in-righteousness.