I was standing at an intersection in the middle of China, and you got up the courage to ask, “What is the story about Christmas?” I was teaching your English class in South Carolina, and gave you a Christmas card. You tapped the picture on the card and asked, “Who is the baby?” I sat drinking mint tea in Jerusalem and you asked, “Why do you follow That Man?” I was crammed in a rickshaw in Northern India, and you asked, “What god do you serve?” You asked why the spirits in the Himalayas didn’t frighten me.
In essence, you all asked, “Who is Jesus?” and I want to commemorate this, my 100th blog entry, with the most important subject I will ever write about. Actually, I want to spend the rest of my life answering this for you.
The best place to read about Jesus is in the Bible. And if English isn’t your first language, I pray that you can find a decent translation in your heart language. There are still over a thousand languages that don’t have any translation, but you can find copies in many languages here. For a quick start, read the book of Mark, or for the whole story, start in Genesis, the very beginning.
Some people say that Jesus was a good teacher, or a kind leader, a good example for us to follow. All of those are true, but He was much more, and He was clear about that during His time on earth.
In short, Jesus is the Creator God, the Son of God, the Messiah who came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died on a Roman cross to provide a sacrifice for sin so that those who believe in Him may have everlasting life in God’s presence. On the third day after His death, he rose from the dead, was seen by hundreds of people, and then ascended to heaven where He sits at at the right hand of the throne of God.
Even his own disciples, the men who walked with Him for three years, didn’t quite know what to make of Him sometimes. One time, a storm threatened to sink a boat He was in. With a word He calmed the sea, and His disciples gasped, “Who is this ? Even the wind and the waves obey Him.” After He was done teaching a sermon, Matthew tells us that the people were astonished by Him because He taught with authority. Sometimes, His teaching seemed difficult to people listening, and they quit following Him. When this happened, He asked His disciples, “Will you go away also?” They responded with words that echo in my own heart today, “Where will we go? Only you have the words of eternal life.”
So I will use of few of Jesus’ own words to further answer the question: Who is Jesus? John, one of Jesus disciples, wrote a narrative account of Jesus ministry, especially His teaching, in order that his readers might believe that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) and that by believing, they might have life. Jesus said:
“I am the bread of Life.” He satisfies every longing we have with Himself.
“I am the light of the world.” The one who trusts Him will never be overwhelmed by darkness.
“I am the door of the sheep.” He will guard His people and not allow any of them to be removed from His care.
“I am the good Shepherd.” Jesus will guide His people, providing them with comfort and direction.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Only in Jesus can we be assured of purpose in this life and to be with Him in the life to come.
“I am the True vine.” Jesus gives those who believe in Him life and fruitfulness as a child of God.
Finally, some of you have said to me that Jesus never claimed to be God. Actually He did. Here is just one instance where He did–and His hearers took up stones to kill Him because they accused Him of blasphemy–of claiming, indeed, to be God.
There is no other more important question for you to ask and answer than “Who is Jesus.” Ask Him for wisdom, for guidance, for help in seeking the answer. He promises that if you ask, He will give wisdom. If you have asked this question, you can guess that He is already drawing you to Himself. I can tell you that following Him is often not easy, but He is always good and gentle with His own! He will forgive your sin and give you new life.
Please let me know if I can help you meet Him. There is no greater joy!