Why it Matters to Say Who Jesus Is
Even in Jesus’ time, people had a lot of answers for who Jesus was. As recorded in the passages above, some thought He was a prophet, while in other passages, He was accused of being of the devil. The Jews killed Jesus as a heretic, the Romans as a potential insurrectionist. Yet His followers claimed that He rose from the dead and worshiped Him as God, and for this, they were willing to die. Clearly, whoever Jesus is, what we believe about His identity has consequences.
According to the Bible, proclaiming Jesus’ identity is part of salvation. Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” If Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, He made some outlandish claims. He claimed He existed before Abraham (John 8:58). He confirmed that He was the Son of God (Matthew 16:16). He offered forgiveness of sins, something only God can do (Mark 2:5). He even claimed, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
In the words of famed theologian C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Only as the Son of God can Jesus offer hope.
What About You? Who Do You Say That Jesus Is?
The core principle that sets Christianity apart from every other religion is our belief that the supreme God of the universe took on human flesh, lived among us, and then, in His immense love, died that we might be forgiven.
If we are willing to claim Jesus as Lord and submit ourselves to Him, we are invited to live with Him forever. This is something no prophet, teacher, or revolutionary can offer. Are we willing to accept the great power and love of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God?