2002-11-27 - Who Did He Say That He Is?
Encore from 2000-11-29
Matthew 16:15-16 (NIV) "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Spirituality and religion appear to me, to be becoming almost faddish. Whoever has "the latest and greatest" way of doing life "spiritually" becomes the most popular. Some of the New Age movements and other cults combine a little Christianity, a little Eastern religion and whatnot, to appeal to people. Some books that seem to be Christian are actually not Biblical. Sermons are preached that seem to expound the Gospel, but do not. My own personal litmus test for any author, preacher, teacher or religious group is the same question Jesus asked Peter: Who do you say Jesus is? Many people will agree that He was a great teacher and had a profound impact on history. But when you narrow the focus down to Jesus being God, you will eliminate the false teachers and teachings.
Unlike other major religions, Christianity is the only religion that is really a personal relationship with not only God, but also the Creator of the religion. Other sects focus on the teachings, but not the teachers; Christianity focuses on Jesus.
Did Jesus claim to be God? Lets look at the following verses. Jesus is clearly claiming that He and the Father are one and the same.
John 14:8-9 (NIV) Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Jesus answered: "Dont you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, Show us the Father?'"
Below, Jesus is claiming that He existed before Abraham was born.
John 8:58 (NIV) "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"
In fact, John writes that Jesus existed even before the beginning of time. 1 John 1:2-3 (NIV) He was with God in the beginning.Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.
The prophet Isaiah tells us that only God can forgive sins.
Isaiah 43:25 (NIV) I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
In Mark, Jesus claims to forgive sin.
Mark 2:5-6 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? Hes blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
Even his enemies point out Jesus claim to be God.
John 10:33 (NIV) "We are not stoning You for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because You, a mere man, claim to be God."
The most compelling claim of Jesus being God is His prediction of His own resurrection.
Matthew 12:49 (NIV) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
There is proof of that predicted resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6 (NIV) For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
I would like to leave you with one of my favorite verses:
Acts 17:11 (LB) But the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and gladly listened to the message. They searched the Scriptures day by day to check up on Paul and Silas statements to see if they were really so.
I wanted to take the time to lay all this Scripture out before you, so that you may do as the people in Berea and search the scriptures daily to see if what you are reading or hearing is the Truth. Any teaching that denies the Deity of Jesus Christ is simply false.
Father-protect us from the seemingly "true" religious fads. Help us, particularly in these busy and stressful days, to stay focused on You. You are the Author and Perfector of our faith. In Christs name, Amen.