The Ultimate Question


Reposted from Radical Mentoring

Imagine for a moment you were faced with a life and death question. Imagine if your answer determined what your current and future life would be like? Well, there is such a question. It was first posed by Jesus to Peter (recorded by Mark in Chapter 8, verse 28). He asks . . .

“Who do you say I am?”

Of all the founders of the world’s major religions, only Jesus predicted His death, died and came back to life as a man. Not a spirit, not an apparition, not reincarnated into another species . . . but as a living, breathing, breakfast-eating, scar-wearing human being. He shared time ‘up close and personal’ with His guys. He let one of them (who was overwhelmed with doubt) touch His wounds. He was also seen by 500 other people over the course of 40 days. Those sightings were recorded by at least 3 independent eyewitnesses, whose 2000 year-old reports are still with us today. There are people who still don’t believe we went to the moon but based on the pictures and eyewitness accounts, I’m pretty sure we did. Similarly to me, the accounts of these eyewitnesses verify that Jesus died and came back to life, meaning He is the Messiah, God incarnate. What’s more is that proves there is life after death. And with that premise, our question from earlier becomes personal . . .

“Who do I say Jesus is?”

C.S. Lewis was a brilliant English philosopher and essayist. He started out thinking there was no God and not thinking of Jesus at all. He was an atheist until age 29 when he came to believe in God and then after 4 years, he trusted Jesus as his Savior and Lord. Lewis believed that each person has to decide for himself who they think Jesus is. He gave three options that provide a clear distinction: Lord. Liar. Lunatic. He finally found himself seeing Jesus as Lord and spent the rest of his life learning about and leaning into his faith in Christ.

For all the hatred and distrust of “Christians,” none of the major world religions are negative about Jesus. They all say He was a righteous man, a prophet, a great teacher . . . even a role model. But to say He is Deity . . . that Jesus is God gives a lot of people heartburn. Even more troubling is this statement . . .

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Research shows that a little more than half of American Christians believe Jesus is the only way to God. Among young people, it’s only a third. It seems that the smarter we get as a culture, the more we question God’s plan. We put ourselves in the position of ‘judge’ and decide what’s reasonable and fair from our point of view. The problem is we’re not God. We don’t know what He knows or see what He sees. We can take Him at His word and in faith, trust Him. Or we can research, reason, imagine, doubt, ponder and wonder. But there exists the very real possibility that we will face the same question Peter faced when Jesus asked . . .

“‘But who do you say I am?’ He asked. Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ.’” (Mark 8:29)

You can’t fake an answer to this question because God knows the truth . . .

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.” (Psalm 139:1-2)

And you may not have time to think about it . . .

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44)

Scripture: “But who do you say I am?” He asked. Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29)

Jesus Frees Us to Love God

danReposted from Learning to be Full of Grace and Truth

We don’t need to be afraid of God. We do need to fear God, but we don’t need to be afraid of God. Proverbs 1:7 says, “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge.” The fear we are supposed to have is a reverence, a respect, an acknowledgement of the holiness and greatness of God. Whenever a people in the Bible encountered God in His glory in the Bible, they fell to the ground, they covered their eyes. They were moved to say with Isaiah, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5, ESV).

In C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the main characters Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are told they are going to be brought to see the King of Narnia, the Son of the Great Emperor across the Sea. And they are told he is a lion. Susan, ever the example of the practical young woman asks, “Is he safe?” I love the reply she is given, “Safe! Who said anything about safe! Of course he isn’t safe, but he’s good.” God isn’t safe. We need to fear Him. We would be stupid not to. But God is also good. He is love. He is Your Father.

A gentleman who thought Christianity was merely a heap of puzzling problems, said to an old minister, “That is a very strange statement, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’ “Very strange,” replied the minister; “but what is it that you see most strange about it?”

“Oh, that part, of course, about hating Esau.”

“Well, sir,” said the minister, “how wonderfully are we made and how differently constituted! The strangest part of all to me is that He could ever have loved Jacob. There is no mystery so glorious as the mystery of God’s love.”

We don’t need to worry about earning or keeping His approval. We are loved by God because of who we are in Christ, not because of anything we have done. We are His sons. We are His daughters. And because of that we don’t need to be afraid of Him.