Who is Jesus to you?
While Jesus wandered through the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi—a place of diverse religious affiliations—He asked His disciples, “Who do people say I am?”
They pop up with a varity of answers, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” There were a lot of opinions flying around about who and what Jesus was.
There are a lot of opinions flying around today as to who and what Jesus is.
Havelock Ellis suggests, “Had there been a lunatic asylum in the suburbs of Jerusalem, Jesus Christ would infallibly have been shut up in it at the outset of his public career. That interview with Satan on a pinnacle of the Temple would alone have damned him, and everything that happened after could but have confirmed the diagnosis.”
Speaking not just of Jesus but of the whole concept of God, Clarence Darrow said in 1930, “I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose.”
Friedrich Nietzsche asks, “What is it: is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man?” Six years earlier he summarized his opinion on the matter: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”
H.G. Wells put it differently: “The problem with Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, is that He is too big for my small heart.”
The critical issue is not what others think about Jesus but what you think about Jesus, so Jesus moves the question from the general to the specific—from the impersonal to the personal. He asks, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?”
Mark 8:29 records the most concise version of Peter’s answer, “You are the Christ.”
If Jesus was a lunatic, as Havelock Ellis suggests, or a nursery rhyme, as Clarence Darrow suggests, or the blunder of our imagination, as Friedrich Nietzsche suggests, then to believe in Jesus would be foolishness, and to submit your life to His leading would be a complete waste of time and the height of foolishness.
But if Peter is right, if Jesus is the Messiah—the One who came from God to rescue and restore our lives—then to submit our lives to His leading is the most wonderful thing we could ever do!
J. Sidlow Baxter remarks, “Fundamentally, our Lord’s message was Himself. He did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He Himself is that Gospel. He did not come merely to give bread; He said, ‘I am the bread.’ He did not come merely to shed light; He said, ‘I am the Light.’ He did not come merely to show the door; He said, ‘I am the door.’ He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, ‘I am the shepherd.’ He did not come merely to point the way; He said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’”
If Peter is correct, that Jesus is the Messiah—the One who came from God to rescue and restore our lives—and if Jesus’ words about Himself are true, that He is the bread of life and the way, the truth and the life, then to submit our lives to His leading is the true way to find the peace of God and the love of God. If Jesus is the Savior of the world, then submitting our lives to Him causes springs of living water to begin to well up within us, with the Holy Spirit transforming us from the inside, enabling us to embrace the forgiveness of God and to know the assurance of eternal life and to live our lives in God-filled hope!
So…who is Jesus to you?