1 November 2010

Who do you say that I am?

Christians ought to respect and love all people irrespective of their religious beliefs. That does not mean, however, that Christians should reckon other religions as true or that Jesus our Lord should be placed on a par with the founders and leaders of other religions. It is our sacred duty and joyful privilege to lift up the name of Jesus to the highest heavens, above all creation!

When Jesus asked his disciples what the people thought about him, he was not satisfied with the answer that they considered him a prophet. He therefore asked his disciples what they thought of him. It was at this point that the apostle Peter uttered the historic statement, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus is not a mere prophet. Many people today will gladly say that Jesus was a great moral teacher, while Muslims readily admit that Jesus was a prophet. Sadly they refuse to believe that he is the Son of God. The implications are most serious.

Since he is the Son of God, Jesus is a distinct person from the Father and submissive to him. This however does not imply that he has an inferior nature to the Father. My son is submissive to me, his father, and yet he is just as human as I am. In the same way, the Son of God shares the same divine nature as God the Father.

On one occasion, the Jews sought to kill Jesus because ‘he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.’ (John 5:18). Jesus confirmed that they had rightly understood his claim for he asserted that he could do all that the Father does. Indeed he further asserted that he is able to raise the dead, give life to whoever he wills, and that he will execute the final judgement.

Can any created being, whether human or angelic, irrespective of his greatness and power, make such claims about himself? Can a creature perform all the works that the Creator does? Can a creature raise the dead and judge the entire human race, including the secrets of the heart? Can a creature claim to be equal with God its Maker? For a mere man to utter such claims is the sure sign of blasphemy or madness.

Now if we don’t want to accuse Jesus of sacrilege or insanity, even as some of his contemporaries did, we must conclude that Jesus was speaking the truth, and that he is the unique Son of God, equal with the Father. Jesus, the son of Mary, is truly God.

This is the solid rock on which God’s people, the church, is built. Through the Son we have come to know the Father; when we received him, we received the Father, when we honour him, we honour the Father.

Jesus solemnly claimed equality with the God. “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). His audience understood the implications and wanted to kill him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Those who did not believe accused him of blasphemy and eventually nailed him to a cross; whereas those who believed, entrusted their salvation to his care, submitted to him as Lord, and worshipped him as their God. This is our choice today!

Jesus blessed Peter when he confessed him as the Son of God. He will also bless us if we believe in him with all our heart. Indeed the gospel was written for this very purpose, that we should believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through faith we may have life in him.