"Who do you say that I am?" Such a question, voiced by Jesus of Nazareth, has echoed down the
corridors of time. It has faced every man, woman, and child who has looked seriously at the
message of the scriptures.|
Who is Jesus? It is the question of the ages!
And who do we say Jesus is?
- Jesus, the Noblest of Teachers - Hail, Rabbi. With your mind and your spirit you have probed the depths of the unknown and have brought the hidden to light. You have made the profound simple and the simple profound. You have drummed upon all the themes that are revelant to life and have prepared a banquet table for the mind and heart so rich with food that we shall not digest it in a lifetime. Though you died at the hands of the angry and unjust, your truths live on; and they shall never die until the last star falls.
- Jesus, the Moralist - You make the paths so narrow. Your everlasting "thou shalt nots" are too prohibitive among those of us who demand to be free. Why inhibit us with your insistence upon honor, integrity, justice, and virtue. We are not made of such fiber.
- Jesus, the Friend to the Friendless - When any were wounded in body and spirit, you healed them. Each person you met was of immeasurable worth in your eyes, and no one stood beyond the reach of your loving arms. Though you deplored sin, you loved the sinner. While you lashed out at the proud and the unrepentant with the fury of a storm, you stooped down and lifted up the weak, dirtied your hands in the needs of the needy, and spent your life in the giving of yourself.
- Jesus, the Revolutionary - A rebel in a good sense! One so dissatisfied with the status quo that you launched an attack on evil at every level. You verbally assaulted the scribes and Pharisees, who were the zealous protectors of the traditions. You belittled their type of righteousness, implied that they were hypocrites, questioned their presuppositions, declared that they were void of understanding, accused them of blatant transgression, and pronounced woes upon them. And when you were led before the high priest, Caiaphas, you might have recanted and given the "powers that be" a chance to recapture their self-respect, but you didn't. You would not compromise with clear-cut principles or bend your thinking to fit the patterns of evil. And so you were sentenced to death.
- Jesus, Called by Many Names - Emmanuel, Beloved Son, Son of God, Lord, Teacher, Son of David, carpenter's son, Son of man, the Christ, Master, the Galilean, the King of the Jews, King of Israel, Holy One of God, Son of the Blessed, Savior, great prophet, a glutton and drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners, my Chosen, the King who comes in the name of the Lord, the Lamb of God, Rabbi, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, son of Joseph, the Bread of Life, a good man, the Light of the World, a sinner, the Door of the Sheep, the Good Shepherd, the Resurrection and the Life, Light, the Way the Truth and the Life, the True Vine, an evildoer, Rabboni, and Lord and God.
- Jesus, the Hoax - Yes, this too, was one of the charges hurled at you when you walked this earth. Some who listened to your claims thought them so outrageous that they classified you as an imposter of the first rank. Others thought you were possessed of a demon, and even your best friends feared that you had lost your mind.
And the most startling contention of all: God was in Christ!
- A Teacher? - Emphatically so!
- A Moralist? - To be sure! Jesus loved God's law and held it forth as an eternal, unchanging code of ethics, binding upon members of the covenant community. And though he rebelled against a distorted use of that law, he never suggested that it could be taken lightly or treated as if it were nonexistant. Hence, the Redeemer called upon those who would follow him to love the law, to honor it, and to obey it.
- A Friend to the Friendless? - Indeed! It was his nature to be so, for he was the Savior of the world.
- A Revolutionary? - Yes! Here was a rebel with a cause, seeking to crush one kingdom, that he might establish another.
- A Hoax? - Every man and woman confronted by him must answer that question individually. There are only alternatives that face us:
His kingdom was built totally upon truth or upon a fantastic lie. It is one or the other. Who do you say that I am? The sound of it rings on. It is the question of the ages!
- Either Jesus was everything he claimed to be, or
- He was an imposter and a fraud, pretending to be something he wasn't.
The drama of that incarnation is preserved for us in the Gospel of John 1:1-3 and 1:14a. Jesus Christ embodied in his person and manifested in his nature the very mind, will, heart, and nature of the eternal Deity. Jesus said it this way:
" . . . He who has seen me has seen the Father . . . " (John 14:9)
Little wonder then that when Jesus came, he posed the question, "Who do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27b) Life hinges upon the answer which we give to that query. It is the question of the ages!