Friday, July 01, 2011

The Most Important Question

The most important question we will ever be asked to answer is one that Jesus asks in Matthew 16:15, "But who do you say that I am?"

For years, as an atheist, my answer to that question was that Jesus was a nice man. Yet when Jesus first asked it of His disciples, He spurned all answers but one. It came from a guy who often got things wrong, Simon Peter. He said: "You are the Messiah*, the Son of the living God."**

It's only when we trust that Jesus is Who He says He is--God in the flesh Who gives new, eternal life to all who turn from sin and entrust their lives to Him--that we see Jesus right and reap the benefits of His death and resurrection.

Jesus says that "flesh and blood"--things like reasoning or force or tradition or a goose bump-inducing experience--cannot lead us to a confession like that made by Peter. In the end, we're incapable, on our own, of believing the great news of new life for all who turn from sin and believe in Jesus. We're incapable of confessing our faith in Jesus for Who He claimed to be: the Messiah, the Son of the living God. In a bad news world, it doesn't compute.

That's why in another part of the New Testament, we're told that, "no one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:3).

If you're open to believing, God can lead you to a confession like Simon Peter's...and to a new life with God that never ends.

If there's anything about Jesus you find attractive or compelling, then ask the God you're not ever certain there to help you to see Jesus as He demanded to be seen. It might change your life.

How do you answer the most important question you'll ever be asked?

*Messiah is the English transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning Anointed One. It's the term used by Jews who were expecting God to send a king to fully establish His kingdom and set the world right. The Greek translation of the world is Christos, which in English becomes Christ

**In his language and culture, Peter's confession of Jesus as "the Son of the living God" did not mean that Jesus issued from God the Father in the way a human son issues from his mother and father. It means that Jesus is the very embodiment of God or, as the Nicene Creed puts it, "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God...not made." 

Paul was getting at what it means to call Jesus the Son of God, when he wrote in the New Testament book of Colossians, "He is the image of the invisible God..." (Colossians 1:15).

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