January 23, 2015
Who Is Jesus?
By Skip Heitzig
If there's one issue the world consistently gets wrong, it's the identity of Jesus Christ. Every year, there's a news article at Easter or Christmastime or a special TV documentary on "the real, historical Jesus." But inevitably and invariably, they get it wrong.
It's nothing new. Even when Jesus was here on the earth, they got it wrong. For example, in John 7, some said He was a good man, and others said He was a deceiver. In Matthew 16, the disciples told Jesus that some people thought He was John the Baptist resurrected from the dead, or the prophet Elijah, or Jeremiah, or another one of the prophets. In Luke 23, they called Him a tax evader and one who subverts the Roman government. In John 10, some people said He was demon-possessed. In Mark 3, even His own family said He was out of His mind. They all got it wrong.
In John 5, Jesus healed a man who had a disease for thirty-eight years. But it happened to be the Sabbath day, and this was the response of the Jews: "Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God" (v. 18).
When Jesus called Himself the Son of God, He didn't mean it in the "pop psych" sense of the word, where God is everybody's Father and we're all children of God. He meant it in the very narrow, unique sense of one who has the very same nature as God Himself. Did you know that verse 18 is one of the strongest verses in all of the Bible that attests to the deity of Jesus Christ, and it's from the mouth of His own enemies? They knew exactly what He was saying. In John 10, they accused Him of blasphemy for claiming to be God. I find this fascinating, because groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormon Church, and Oneness Pentecostals will all deny that Jesus ever claimed to be God. That baffles me, because even His own enemies knew that He claimed to be God.
Jesus never said anything remotely like this: "I'm really just another nice guy. That's all I am. I'm a model of religion. I'm here just to be a good example for people to follow." What did He say about Himself? Here's a sampling, just from the book of John: "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst" (John 4:14). "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever" (John 6:51). "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness"; "I am from above.... I am not of this world.... If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins"; "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:12, 23-24, 58). "I am the resurrection and the life.... Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die" (John 11:25-26). "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me"; "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:6, 9). So, tally all that up. Do you see any room in there for "I'm just another nice guy"? No!
Here's the bottom line, the inescapable reality: Jesus claimed over and over and over again to be the eternal God in a human body. That's the whole theme of the gospel of John. Jesus did it all the time—unmistakably. So, if anyone denies that Jesus claimed that, they are denying the historical accuracy of the gospel record, and they are setting themselves up as a better, higher source of truth than the biblical record. In effect, they are saying they know much more about what happened 2,000 years ago than even the eyewitnesses themselves. So the onus is on them to prove that, and they'll have a difficult time.
Now, here's the personal question: If He is who He said He is, is He supreme in your life? Everlasting life is as simple as believing, trusting, and relying on what Jesus said about God and about Himself. There are only the two choices. Jesus said, "He who is not with Me is against Me" (Luke 11:23). There's no in-between. Receive Him as your Savior, and make Him the Lord in your life.
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