Who Do You Say Jesus Is?
Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am” (Matthew 16:15)? What is your answer? Be careful how you answer it: your eternal destiny depends on it.
Before you give your answer, let me clarify what the question is not about. It’s not about what you think of the institution of the church and its checkered history. Nor is it about its wayward leaders and the flawed Christians you know. While these things may be related, they are not the question: the question is what you think specifically about Jesus Christ.
You may have a strong opinion about who Jesus is. If so, let me ask you where you got it from. How reliable is your source? Is it a critic or opponent of Christianity or is it someone neutral? And what kind of expertise does s/he have on the issue? Have you consulted sincere and knowledgeable Christian theologians to arrive at your answer?
You may say that your source is the Bible. That is good because, whether we like it or not, we must admit that the Bible is the most reliable source for finding out about who Jesus is. Other resources are too scanty and too far removed from the historical events related to Jesus Christ. So, you have read the Bible from cover to cover and decided that you will not be a Christian. I can respect that. But if I may ask, is it because you didn’t like a lot of stuff you read in the Bible or because you were turned off by the figure of Jesus Himself, by something He taught or did?
For those of you, who may not know much about what the Bible says about Jesus, let me mention a few examples. When Peter answered the question in view, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus blessed him and said, “...flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:16-17). Jesus also said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He also said before He raised a man named Lazarus from the dead, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this” (John 11:25-26)? How about, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58)? The crowd responded in this way: “So they picked up stones to throw at him...” (John 8:59). Why did they try to stone Him to death? Because “I AM” (Yahweh) is the name God used when Moses asked for His name (Exodus 3:14). So, when He said, “...before Abraham was, I am,” He was claiming to be God! Jesus also declared, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
What incredible claims Jesus made! But He was not just all talk and no walk. He spoke of His coming suffering and death and His subsequent resurrection from the dead (Matthew 16:21), and He rose again from the dead according to His promise.
C.S. Lewis spoke of only three options available to us when it comes to our opinion of Jesus Christ: He was either a lunatic, a liar, or what He claimed to be—our Lord. Was He a lunatic? When you read His teachings in the Bible, you don’t see a lunatic rambling on his delusional thoughts. He could not be a liar, who made up the whole thing. How could He control where He was born (which had to be in Bethlehem according to a prophecy [Micah 5:2]) or what day He would die (on the night of the Passover as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world)? If He lied, He should not be considered a great teacher as many are willing to do. So then, the last and the most likely option is that He is the Lord, whom should be worshipped and served. For He has the authority to save people from sin and death through His death and resurrection. Trust in Jesus and be saved!