Who is Jesus?
The question that has puzzled people for 2,000 years.
Ever since he came to the earth in the form of a human baby, the world has wondered what to make of him. The scribes and the Pharisees, the religious elite, the ones who studied the Scriptures and should have known better than the rest of the people, rejected him. At first, some thought he might be a prophet. As their hearts were filled with hatred against Jesus, they determined he was demon-possessed. Eventually, they called him a criminal and had him executed. Even after he rose from the dead, they wouldn’t believe he was the Son of God. The Jews refused to give the answer they knew was true to the question, “Who is Jesus?”
Muslims believe Jesus existed and was a wonderful prophet. Yes, he was a messenger from Allah; but that’s all He was to them.
Even atheists or agnostics often believe Jesus existed. Historically, there is plenty of evidence that he was a real man. They’ll acknowledge he existed and perhaps even respect him as a good teacher. There’s no doubt he was crucified under the rule of Pontius Pilate, but his death was merely an unfortunate event, if that. Jesus was just a human…nothing more.
Answering the question “Who is Jesus?” is no light matter. How we answer that question determines our destiny. Everyone has opinions about Jesus, opinions that are either right or wrong. But those opinions matter greatly, so greatly, in fact, that lives may hang in the balance.
It’s true that we aren’t Jews or Muslims or Atheists or Agnostics. We’re Christians. Surely, we have a right understanding of who Jesus is.
Or do we?
There are actually many ways we fail to see Jesus for who he truly is. We often fail to see him as the Son of God, reigning over all, and worthy of our complete dedication. We don’t worship him as we should. There are many false views of Jesus, even from those who profess faith in him . These views include:
1. Life Jacket Jesus
This is the Jesus for when tragedy strikes and you need something to hold onto so you don’t drown. This is the emergency life preserver Jesus. This is when we label Jesus with the words of a fire extinguisher: “Use in case of emergency.” Jesus from this perspective is part time and doesn’t affect our actual everyday lives. We only come to him when we’re utterly desperate because we view Him as our last effort and our last hope.
2. Good Luck Jesus
We have to keep Jesus around, because he promises to give us whatever we want, right? He can give us good things and make our lives great. He can give us happiness and peace and all those wonderful things. We want health, wealth, and prosperity. That’s the real reason we stick around.
3. Vending Machine Jesus
This is the Jesus of those who come to God only to get whatever they want. He’s also known as the Divine Butler. We only care about the things we want to receive from him. If we come to him, it’s not out of a love for Him; it’s because we want something from him.
4. Ticket Master Jesus
Jesus holds the tickets to heaven. It’s easy to purchase a ticket: just go up and ask him for one! By simply calling yourself a “Christian”, you can get an all expenses paid trip to the wonderful land of heaven. Who would miss out on a deal like that?
There are so many other wrong ways we see Jesus. Our selfishness, our pride, and ultimately our sin keeps us from truly seeing Jesus as he is. None of us will have a crystal clear vision of him here on earth. “For now we see as in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face,” as the apostle Paul said (1 Corinthians 13:4).
But we can cultivate a much more accurate view of Christ. If you believe in a Jesus that is no greater than Life Jacket Jesus, Good Luck Jesus, Vending Machine Jesus, or Ticket Master Jesus, you probably have never truly experienced a real relationship with the true Jesus. Jesus is so much more.
Let me tell you who Jesus is to me.
Jesus is my life. He is the author of life, and he is the purpose of my life. I get up in the morning to use the breath he has given me to praise him.
Jesus is my hope. When life is indeed caving in on me, I have the hope of being in heaven with Jesus through his work on the cross to save me.
Jesus is my joy. While I wait for the fulfillment of that hope, I have joy in the here and now because Jesus is with me. Though he is not bodily present here on earth, he has given me the Holy Spirit to live in me and speaks to me through his Word.
Jesus is my peace. Though he does not promise to fix the broken circumstances of this world, he is sovereign over them, exercising his power with wisdom according to his good and perfect will.
Jesus is my comfort. Through his work in redemption and through his work in my own life, Jesus has proved his neverending love to me. I know that he cares about me, and I know that he will do what is truly best for me. Though I might not understand his plans, I know he is worthy of my trust.
Jesus is all of that to me. Ultimately, though, it all comes down to this: Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He paid the price for my sins and brought me out of death and into a new life with him. I owe my whole life to him, so I acknowledge him in his rightful place as my Lord. His will for my life will prevail, and I will spend my life seeking to worship him. Through my obedience and adoration I will praise him. I want to give him the glory due his name.
The purpose of the true Christian is to magnify the name of Jesus. The true Christian life isn’t labelling yourself as a Christian to get whatever you want from God, or to get into heaven, or to have a backup plan in case of an emergency. Instead, the Christian life is one of worship, continually offering up our praise to the King.
Because the true Jesus is not a vending machine or a life jacket. The true Jesus is Lord.