Who is Jesus to you?
As a member of the Commission on Ministry in this diocese, this is a question that is commonly asked of individuals seeking Holy Orders.
Who is Jesus? He has been called a mystic, a revolutionary, a legend, a troublemaker and much more. Who is Jesus? What was He like? Do we think of Him as the child in the manger or the crucified Savior? People say lots of things about Him. John’s Gospel closes by saying the world could not contain all the books that could be written about Jesus, but who did He claim to be?
Jesus was misunderstood by people in His day. Today some would see him as a political activist. In his time, religious leaders saw Him as a threat to their authority. Jesus asked His closest followers this question as they were hearing all sorts of rumors as to who people thought Jesus was. Some thought He was John the Baptist because of His preaching; Elijah because of His power; Jeremiah because of His compassion. To call Jesus a prophet only describes part of who He was. He turned to His disciples and asked, “Who do you say I am?
This is one question we can’t afford to get wrong. So let’s say someone asks you this week: “Who exactly is Jesus?” How would you answer?
We can translate John 3:16 and say, “For God so loved the world He gave His unique Son.” Jesus is unique because He is God-the-Son. He came to earth to reveal God to us in human form. To say that Jesus is the Word (as John’s Gospel opens) is another way of saying He is God speaking to us.
We are fashioned in the image of God. He lived the life we should live. On the cross He purchased our forgiveness; He paid the ultimate price for damaged goods, and rose from the dead. He offers pardon to those who don’t deserve it. He didn’t come to judge the world but to save the world. This is true of no other religious leader, of no other religion.
We read in various verses of the New Testament who Jesus is. “Jesus Christ is Lord,” “the Lord of glory,” “the Holy and Righteous One,” “Emmanuel,” “God with us,” “Savior,” “Son of Man,” Jesus is God – fully divine, and fully human. He came to share with us the very being of God.
When we are sick, we want a doctor who understands what it’s like to be a patient. Jesus came as a man, never again would we be able to say, “God, You don’t understand; You don’t know how hard life is. You don’t know what it’s like to suffer as I have suffered. You don’t know what it’s like to face death.” Jesus did not need to experience life to understand us, but because He lived, we understand that He knows what it’s like to live here. Jesus didn’t protect Himself from pain. He felt the pain of nails and the pain of rejection; He felt it all for us.
Jesus reveals a God who loves us and who comes in search of us.
Without Jesus, we have no hope of forgiveness or eternal life. Without Him, we’ve lost our best friend; without Him, we’re on our own; without Him, simply, we don’t have a prayer.
Who is Jesus to you? Jesus is the Way to Heaven. He is both “the goal of our journey and the Companion of our way” (Linwood Barclay) For an ever-changing world, there is a never changing message: Jesus Christ is Lord!