This morning I had a cup of coffee with one of my oldest friends. We spoke honestly and to a certain extent confrontationally to each other. The depth of our interaction would have been odd with most people that I encounter from day to day. But it felt normal and life-giving coming from this man that I trust implicitly. We have journeyed through life together with all of its twists and turns; ups and downs; joys and sorrows. This friend’s words have always been dependable and caring even when they made me a bit uncomfortable in the moment. Even though we are not blood relatives, he is a dear brother. That is his identity to me and we relate to each other out of that authentic bond.
Just as I filter all my friend’s words to me through our relationship, this week’s message theme is the filter through which all other questions in this series will need to be answered. This Sunday we consider the identity of Jesus. Not the textbook answer but the one that rises up from deep within your soul. This month we have already considered the context of the Gospels where Jesus asked his questions. Then we looked at some of His queries regarding His authority, His humanity and His mission. This week we consider the pivotal question from Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?”
Just as I told you earlier about my friend and how his words are processed through trust built over many years, how will you describe your relationship with Jesus? Who is He to you and what influence does He have on your thinking and your actions? Many of us know the “right” answers based on years of Sunday School classes and sermons, but what is your soul’s true answer? Hopefully your soul’s response is the same one that you have learned of in the Bible.
My hope is that our answer to Jesus’ question is “You are my Lord and my King. You are my Savior and my most intimate Friend. Jesus you are the center of my life and the place I turn for all I need.” I wish I were able to answer that way with a 100% pure heart but I can’t. Jesus truly is the object of my faith and my hope. For that I am thankful and I rejoice, but I am also in need of Jesus’ grace and mercy to bridge the gap between “wholehearted all-in following” and my actual life that will continue until the day I see Jesus face to face.
In the end, Jesus is all of those wonderful identifiers I just listed in the beginning of the previous paragraph and He is the Christ –the ONE! That is what Peter said in the Gospels and I agree. Jesus is the Long-awaited One. He is the One that took my sins and yours and paid for them on the cross. He is the One that died for me and rose again. Jesus is the Son of God that claimed me as His brother so that I am a child of God. That is who Jesus is!
Who do you think Jesus is?