Who do you say that I am?
Jesus posed this question to his disciples on one occasion. This was because some people had been saying that he was Elijah who was to return to earth, some said that he was a prophet. The Pharisees said that he was possessed by a demon. People’s opinions of him were divided.
It is the same today. If you go around asking, some will say that he was a good man who gave sound moral guidance. Some will say that he was an impostor, others that he was a prophet. Again, some will say that he was a god, others will argue that he was nothing but a deluded man. Yet others will say that he is the Son of God.
What does Jesus say of himself?
First of all, let’s look at what he said about himself through his deeds. He comforted, encouraged, gave wise counsel. He went around healing sick people, paralyzed people, blind people and others who had seemingly incurable diseases (John 5: 1-8 for example). He even raised some people from the dead (Lazarus).
On the occasion of healing the paralyzed man, the religious leaders of the time did not take to it too kindly.
“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5: 18)
According to this (and a few other similar instances), Jesus clearly indicated that he was the Son of God. One Sabbath he was reading in a synagogue from the book of Isaiah;
“And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 17-21, quoting Isaiah 61: 1, 2)
These words refer to the ministry of the Messiah (the Anointed One) and Jesus pretty much made it clear that this particular passage was written about him.
Now those of you who think that Jesus was just a good man who taught people to respect others and to live a good life – would you consider someone who lies a good man? You see, according to your theory Jesus was lying when “making himself equal with God”. He clearly thought and taught that he was more than just a good man. In fact, he considered himself equal with God. So, either he was and is the Son of God or he was a fraud, or at least a deluded person.
His actions and words were not those of a deluded person. Nor did he appear to be a fraud. Deluded persons or frauds do not go around healing people and raising them from the dead, especially not without taking any merit. Jesus always gave glory to God.
And what is more, frauds do not sacrifice themselves, to die in a horrendous manner on a cross. Ask any fraud to give their lives willingly for others in any manner, and they will disappear in the blink of an eye.
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me.” (John 5:16)
If you are one of the people who think that Jesus is a god, somehow smaller than God in heaven, or if you think that he was/is the Messiah but only in a human form, the Holy Scriptures speak to you:
“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.” (John 5: 22, 23)
If a dignitary of sorts, say the queen of England, invited you to her home, what would your reaction be? Would you think that ah, well, she may be the queen of England but she means nothing to you? Would you think that it must be a joke, she would not invite you? Would you just leave it be or would you at least check it out? What if one of the people you admire, say some great sports personality or an actor, invited you to their home? How would you react? Would you jump at the opportunity and tell everyone how greatly you have been honored? Or would you scoff at it?
What I have seen of life, most people would rush to accept such an invitation. Yet, when it comes to Jesus, many laugh at his invitation, some mock, some become angry, and some believe he is nothing. Think about it for a moment. If God really exists and if he sent his son on earth to invite you to his home, would it not make sense to check out if the invitation is true? The almighty, all powerful, all wise God, the creator of all universe, invites you to his home.
What is his invitation? Here, listen:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11: 28)
“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” (John 7: 37)
“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4: 10, 13, 14)
“Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22: 17)
And finally, a promise to those who respond to his invitation;
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14: 1-3)