Some years ago the Sukuma Research Committee met in Mwanza,
Tanzania to give an inculturated answer to Jesus Christ’s adapted question in
Mark 8:29: "Who do you Africans say that I am?" The members decided on the
combination of Jesus Christ as Chief Diviner-Healer and Eldest
Brother-Intercessor. In the African tradition diviners use mysterious power for
finding the cause of a person’s misfortune. A healer uses this same power for
making magical curative and protective medicines. Often a person combines these
two functions and so is called a diviner-healer or a local doctor. Many of the
African names and titles of Jesus Christ refer to him as "great and powerful"
and as a "diviner-healer." Taken together this is an important part of African
Christology: Jesus Christ as the "Chief Diviner" or "Chief Healer" (also called
"Chief Medicine Man").
In the African tradition the eldest brother makes an
offering to the ancestors and to the Supreme Being on behalf of all the rest of
the people. In constructing an inculturated African Christology the research
committee decided a key name for Jesus Christ is "Eldest Brother-Intercessor"
especially in light of his ongoing intercession for human beings in heaven.
Unlike the African eldest brother who only infrequently made intercessions to
the ancestors, Jesus Christ is always interceding for human beings.