Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who Do You Say That I Am?

“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.'” Matthew 16: 15-16

There are numerous Scripture passages in the Gospels where either Jesus says He is God or it is said about Him and He does not correct this statement about Him. This evidence was enough to convince the well-known Christian writer, C.S. Lewis in his masterpiece Mere Christianity to conclude that Jesus was a lunatic, a liar or the Lord. And if you think about it, there really are no other options. Some will try to say that He was a very good, holy prophet who had nice words to say. Some will try to say that Jesus was simply a teacher who tried to preach a message of peace and hope. But that doesn’t jive with what He said about Himself, or allowed others to say about Him without correction or clarification. The only choices we have about Jesus when we are confronted with the question of who He is are that He was mentally imbalanced, that He was a gifted liar or that He really was (and is) the God of the universe.

So maybe He was crazy?  Except that He never acted crazy throughout His life. His teachings at times might seem unconventional, but no one at the time nor since has really ever claimed that Jesus was mad. He was stable, normally calm and in control of Himself and His faculties. He spoke with passion and clarity. He did not ramble, babble nor act in delusional ways.

Well then, maybe He was a liar? Perhaps, but again, does the evidence really suggest this? I think the most telling evidence against this claim was that He went to His death, as did all of His apostles (except John) as a result of His teachings. Do you really think He (or they) would’ve taken the lie so far that they were willing to die for it when all they had to do was recant and they would have been able to live? No way. I know you and I can go a long way getting tangled deeper and deeper in lies and deceptions, but at the point of death, we would finally tell the truth, wouldn’t we? Would you willingly die for a lie when you didn’t have to? Me neither. And think about how many times when someone is lying that eventually the truth comes out. Jesus was very public about His teachings and ministry and He had many followers. Had He been deceiving people, it would have eventually come out and been recorded.

So the only real conclusion that we can make is that Jesus is the Lord as St. Peter exclaimed. And what a conclusion this is, for in the face of such knowledge our lives can never stay the same. St. Peter’s life changed and he became the first pope and the Church was built on him (the rock). St. Paul’s life changed when he was blinded and knocked from his horse in order to finally see Jesus his Lord and he became the greatest apostle to ever live. C.S. Lewis’ life was changed for he had been an atheist trying to disprove God and Christianity and when confronted with this knowledge of Christ instead embraced Christianity with zeal and his writings have led countless souls to known Jesus.

And so must you and I change after answering Jesus’ question. For if we acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord, we cannot just keep on living as if He is not. We must at this point either begin to accept Him more fully into our lives and reap the rewards or begin to reject Him in our lives and reap the consequences. Ignorance cannot be claimed any longer in our lives and we must now choose between life and death. To be sure, the path of Christ is not the easiest in the short term, but it is a great adventure filled with peace and hope that nothing else in this world can offer. And the retirement plan is out of this world.

Dear Jesus, You are my Lord and my God, please help me to choose You more and more each day. And with Your grace, may my life bring others to the knowledge of Your Lordship. Amen.

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