Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Story, Week 25 - Jesus, the Son of God.

Jesus was the epitome of an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Who really was this man? Questions abound about the true identity of this teacher from Nazareth. No doubt he was an extraordinary teacher, a charismatic leader, and an indisputable miracle-worker. But was he another prophet like Elijah? Was he another King like David? Was he another deliverer like Moses? Was he another father of a nation like Abraham?

Jesus seemed to be like all these other Old Testament heroes, but there was no one category you could fit him in. He was all of the above wrapped into one plus a little something more. That little something more actually is a big something - Jesus is making a claim to be more than human. He makes claims that only God himself can make. This becomes especially clear in a discussion he has with the Jewish leaders when he makes the bold statement, "Before Abraham was born, I am."

With this, Jesus is claiming not only to have existed before he was born (enigma wrapped in a mystery) but this "I am" claim harkens back to the burning bush episode when God reveals himself to Moses as "I Am." There is no doubt that Jesus is making a claim to be God!

Up to this point Jesus had been reticent about revealing his true identity (often times after a miracle Jesus instructs the beneficiary not to tell anyone about what just happened), but as the time for his death approaches Jesus becomes more open about precisely who he is. And this is what really gets him in hot water.

You see, the problem with Jesus' identity is not trying to figure out who he is, it's deciding what to do with him when you do find out who he is!

The enigma and mystery has been revealed- Jesus is unique among all men. Jesus is more than prophet, more than king, more than servant - Jesus is the one and only Son of God. He is God himself. Jesus is God in the flesh! Immanuel - God with us!

Once we find out who he really is we need to decide what to do with him. The leaders of the day decide that Jesus needs to be silenced. They know who he is (Maybe they know more than even the apostles. They seem really confused at times) but they are unwilling to rearrange their own lives to accommodate him. That's the response of many people. Others come to know Jesus' identity and give themselves wholeheartedly to him, even willing to take up their own crosses in faithful service to Him.

Chapter 25 begins with the question, "Who do men say that I am?" A question all of us must answer. But more important is our reaction when we discover who he really is. Think about it for just a moment - Jesus Christ is God in the flesh! What does that mean to you? Are you living your life in the recognition that Jesus is God in the flesh or have you put him aside unwilling to rearrange your own life?

Jesus is not the enigma wrapped in a mystery. His identity is clear. It's all of us who halfheartedly follow this man/God who are the enigma. Why are we not as devoted? Why are we not as willing to follow him at all cost? Why are we so obsessed with things of this world? That's the real mystery!

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