Tuesday, 09 December 2008 18:50
Who is Jesus Christ?
Who is Jesus Christ? That is a crucial question. His disciples answered this. So do we. But our answers are not all the same. Maybe you acknowledge that he is who he said he is. Maybe you deny his claims. Perhaps you have no idea who Jesus Christ is. Whatever the answer is, it will be reflected in the kind of life we lead. In the Bible, the Gospel according to John records a series of "I am" statements made by Jesus Christ. They can be found in John 6:35 ; 8:12 ; 10:7, 9 ; 10:11, 14; 11:25-26; 14:6; and 15:1, 5. I have listed them so that you can look them up if you have a Bible. Those are very remarkable statements. It is clear as we read them that Jesus is a man. But he also claims to be far more than just a man. Just think, for example, of his words: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25-26). These are the words of one who claims to be no less than God himself. He claims to have the power to give eternal life, life that goes beyond death itself. Such words oblige us to cast off indifference and make a choice: Believe in him or don't believe in him.
What kind of life is Jesus Christ talking about? When Jesus Christ promises eternal life, he does not simply mean life that never ends. He means life in fellowship with God. That fellowship does not end with death. It continues. So if he is speaking the truth, believing in him has consequences. Eternal consequences. Then physical death is not the end of everything. This ties in with another one of his striking statements: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Many people think there is a God. Many people think there are many ways to God. They assume one way is as good as another. But what are the grounds for such an assumption? How reliable are they? The words of Jesus oblige us to make a choice. He is saying that he is the only way. That is an exclusive claim. Either he is indeed the only way, or he is a liar. If he is the only way to God the Father, this truth must be taken seriously. It means that if I want a relationship with God, I cannot remain indifferent to Jesus Christ. He speaks as the Son of God. I must submit to his authority and listen to whatever he says. I must learn what it means to be his follower. That gives content and direction to life, - eternal life in fellowship with God.