I know Jesus is God. Why do we have to talk about it?
Kevin Gabriel spoke last week about the true Jesus of the Bible. Of course the identity of Jesus is of paramount importance to the believer…it is what makes Christianity Christian. But, one might ask, “I already believe this…why take the time to survey the biblical case?” Good question. Let me suggest several reasons this is important…
- Most faiths give Jesus either a purely human or a generally mystical identity. In Islam, Jesus is a prophet…whose work had to be picked up and finished by Mohammad. In Buddhism, Jesus is a spirit guide–someone who voluntarily gave up nirvana for a time to help others achieve Buddha consciousness. In Judaism, Jesus is a confused man with a Messiah complex. In atheism, Jesus is just a guy…and the reports of his deity are exaggerated or invented. The fact is you will always be running into people with another view of Jesus.
- Jesus’ claims to deity are constantly under attack in the media and by theological liberalism. Whole streams of theology represented in mainline churches that claim to be Christian reject the idea of Jesus’ deity. You will not only hear objections to this idea from non-Christians and other world religions…you will hear them from those who claim the name Christ. And the fact is that if you have a biblical Christology (understanding of who Christ is)–but you do not know why–you are easy prey for false teachers and religious groups. And if you should not fall for their falsehood…you may become exasperated by the controversy. I say this not because I think you are personally weak…but because I have seen it happen over and over and over again.
- A failure to understand this is a failure to embrace Jesus’ message and a failure to sync with the Christian faith. A person might really appreciate Jesus…see him as a positive teacher of self-sacrifice. They may see him as a good personal role model. They may see him as an unusual and powerful mystic. But none of this makes a person a Christian. In fact, it is likely that millions hold such ideas but fall short of genuine faith in Christ. Because the message of Jesus is more than one of self-sacrifice and giving and love. It is that the Father is communicating to lost man by way of His Son. To miss this is to miss Christianity.
- A failure to understand this makes it impossible to truly evangelize or lead others to Jesus. A non-divine Jesus is an alternate Christ identity. If you were to claim to know me but said that I was a 6 foot architect from Toledo, I would simply reply that you do not, in fact, know me at all. You’ve made up an alternate me. The same is true of Jesus Christ. His identity is not a free floating property we are free to invent for our own purposes. He is who He is…and if one misses that, one misses Christ. When we share Him with others, if we are not sharing the Christ who really is…we are promoting an alternate Jesus.
So in short, this subject is vital if…
- You want to stay true to Jesus in the face of alternate Jesus-versions found all over the world
- You want to be unaffected by the constant and motivated alternate Jesus-versions promoted in popular media
- You want be sure of your own relationship with Christ
- You want to be able to obey Christ by sharing him with others
Outside of that, I guess it’s not important. Hehe.
See you Sunday!