Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Who Do You Say Jesus Is?

[This is a the column version of an earlier blog post. The column will appear in The Logan Daily News.]

The most important question any of us will ever be asked is one that Jesus Christ once asked: "But who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 6:15)

When I was an atheist, my answer to that question was that Jesus was a nice man. But when Jesus first asked it of His disciples, He accepted only one answer, one that came from a man named Peter: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

“Messiah” was the Hebrew term used by Jews for the anointed king they expected God to send to bring God’s kingdom into the world. "Christ" is the English version of the Greek word, Christos, meaning the same thing.

Jesus also claimed to be “the Son of the living God.” In first century Judea, where Jesus lived, this didn’t mean that Jesus was “a chip off the old block.” It meant that Jesus was God in the flesh!

It's only when we trust that Jesus is Who He says He is—God and King of all kings—that we receive the gifts He came to bring: forgiveness of sin for all who repent and trust in Him, new and everlasting life with God, and the presence and power of God in our daily lives.

Our eternal destinies hang on whether we trust that Jesus is exactly Who He says He is.

Jesus says that “flesh and blood” can’t teach these truths. Reasoning, force, tradition or goose bump-inducing experiences can’t convince us to believe that Jesus is God and King.

That's why the Bible tells us 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 help you believe in Jesus, Who took your punishment for sin on the cross, then rose from the dead to give you new, everlasting life with God.

If you’re not open to Christ, nothing will convince you otherwise and you will be lost to God for eternity.

You may be an atheist, as I once was. Or you may simply be a skeptic. Whatever the case, I’d like to do a little begging right now:If you’re willing to take Jesus at His word, though you find it hard to believe, then ask the God you may not even be certain is there to help you to see Jesus as Jesus demanded to be seen.

Not as a nice man.

Not as a great teacher.

Not as a good example. (Though He was all these things.)

But as your God and your King. Your God. Your King.

You can’t see Jesus this way “by flesh and blood”; only by the power of God’s Spirit.

But, if you’re willing to let God build faith in Jesus in your life, you’ll see Jesus differently…and because of it, have a brand new life.

As Jesus puts it, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Who do you say Jesus is? It’s the most important question you’ll ever be asked. Ask God to help you see and live the only answer that leads to life with God: “Jesus is God and King and I give my whole life to Him.”

[Mark Daniels is pastor of Saint Matthew Lutheran Church, 258 East Hunter Street in Logan. Sunday worship is at 10:15AM.]

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