John 8:53 “Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
Of all of the questions that are asked in the Bible, this is the most crucial. When the religious clerics ask Jesus, “Who do you think you are?” they are confronting what they believe to be is His effrontery and impertinence before God. We tend to ask the same type of question of a misbehaving child or an ‘uppity’ person.
The question is seriously important because of the answer that Jesus gives. He claims to be the Son of God and that His Father glorifies Him. This was blasphemy to the Jewish authorities, which is why they seek to stone Jesus at the end of this encounter. However, His answer is very important to our salvation. If Jesus is telling the truth, then He is the One to whom our beliefs, worship, and lives belong. If He is telling a lie, then our faith is false and our hopes of forgiveness with everlasting life are unfulfilled, unsubstantiated, and unreal.
That’s why Christian evangelists are right when they challenge us to accept Christ completely. It is all or nothing. There is no compromise, or no middle ground. Jesus is either all that He says He is or, as CS Lewis once stated, He is a delusional madman. There is no in-between.
As we enter this New Year, we need to have our thinking and faith challenged. Being a committed Christian is one of the hardest things to achieve in life. It’s unpopular and anti-cultural. It is crazy to the world and cumbersome to the real believer. It’s not something that can be lightly adhered to, or casually carried in our hearts and minds. Jesus is either the Holy Son of God, glorified by His Father and truly worshipped by His people, or He is not. The choice, as always, is ours to freely choose or cast away.
Questions for personal reflection
Who does Jesus think He is? Do I think the same of Him?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You constantly challenge us to live our lives as committed Christians, who witness to Your Sovereignty and Power in the world today. Strengthen our resolve and build up our faith, so that we may solely rely upon Your Words and Spirit to guide our hearts and minds. In Your Holy and exclusive Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is currently the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is one John’s latest Epiphany drawings called “Visitation.” If you’d like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8351/8331526125_acf804947a_b.jpg