Who Do You Say I Am?
Who is this guy? Jesus’ followers asked this question after Jesus had just calmed a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-41) They were blown away by his power, control and authority. The question seems to have accompanied Jesus’ trek through the pages of human history. In terms of calendar, Jesus was among us a relatively short time. In terms of influence, no other person or event has so impacted humanity such as Jesus becoming a man, living a sinless life and dying to take the place of sinners like me and you so that we could be brought home to our father. The query of who he is happens to be one of the greatest questions ever asked. Some asked the question incredulously, looking for a way to keep the movement Jesus began from gaining momentum. Some asked hoping and praying that he was the one they had been waiting for all their lives. Others, recipients of Jesus’ power and mercy, sought clarity about the one they’d already decided to follow. Jesus himself thought the question was a good one and asks his core group of followers who had been with him for more than two years. (Matthew 16:13-20) He first asks, “Who do people say I am?” His followers respond by telling him that the word on the street is that he may be John the Baptist or one of the other prophets in Israel’s history who’s come back to life. Then he brings the question directly to his followers: “Who do you say I am?” This question is posed to all of us, and we are all obliged to answer. Ignoring the question is a response of sorts, it answers the question by saying ‘I do not consider Jesus to be important enough for me to even investigate for an answer.’ Fortunately we are not left to stumble around in the dark, groping for an answer to the question. There are several places in the Bible we can look which shed light on our inquiry. For our purposes here, I would like to take at least one entry each week looking through the lens of John’s gospel (the fourth book of the New Testament). In John’s gospel, we find what Jesus said about himself and what he did, both of which provide us with the necessary evidence to come up with an informed answer to the question. I encourage you to read through the book of John as we proceed and to form your own opinion on the question of Jesus’ identity.
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