Who do you say that I am?
Roughly 2,000 years ago a man lived who would change the times and the seasons. No ordinary man, to be sure. In fact, so extraordinary that his life intersects with each one of ours today, as it has with all those who have gone before and those that have yet to live.
What do you make of Jesus of Nazareth? You can blow off the question, but if you don’t answer it now you’ll have to answer it later.
Mythical figure? Hardly. The evidence for his existence is arguably the most persuasive by far of any ancient personage. No scholar or seeker with any integrity denies the reality that there was a man in 1st century Palestine named Jesus who went around preaching, healing, and challenging the religious authorities.
Charismatic teacher…started his own religion? If that’s all he was, one is left struggling to explain the reports of his mastery over the elements, like walking on water and calming the storm.
A good man with a lot of practical wisdom we would do well to heed? Again…true, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough and is an oxymoronic assessment in light of his claims of divinity. He couldn’t have been good if he wasn’t God, because then he would have been deceptive and manipulative.
What do you make of him? Or are you one of those who has chosen to ignore or disregard him, imagining perhaps that he’ll just go away?
What does it say about a man who has been gone from this earth for almost 2,000 years but is still such a powerful, influential figure to be reckoned with? It says that he was much more than a man.
Jesus is more than simply a great historical figure, though he is that. He left footprints in history which can be traced, examined and scrutinized. He’s more than a religious leader, though the faith he founded has animated more acts of mercy, generosity, freedom and love than any other. And he’s much more than just a good, moral teacher, though he is the greatest that ever lived.
Jesus claimed to be God, the one before whom all must stand and give an account. And the one who would give his body to be abused and killed for the sins of the world, to secure eternal life for all who come to him.
To free us from sin and its penalty is why Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth…to be our Savior and Redeemer. But we must respond with faith to avail ourselves of this great redemption. For he said,
I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins. – John 8:24
This man Jesus, died for your sin and mine, and was raised to life for our justification. He lives, and calls out…or whispers…to each of us,
Who do you say that I am?