With the exact same data available to us, people around the world have very different opinions about WHO Jesus is.
Some people think that Jesus was a great teacher who showed the world how to love and care for those marginalized by society and bring about lasting social change. For them, that sums it up.
Some people believe that Jesus was one of many great prophets sent by God to teach us how to live a good life and please Him.
Some people believe that Jesus is a myth. A divine idea – a principle inherent in every person.
Some people believe that Jesus was this guy - chestnut brown hair, blue eyes, a fair complexion, perfect English. He spent most of His time sitting in peaceful meadows stroking lambs and cheering us on. Sort of like the ultimate “Mr. Rogers.”
Of course, that’s just a start. Depending on who you talk to, Jesus is a Revolutionary; a Magician; a family man who married Mary Magdalene; a Charismatic; a Rabbi; a Cynic; a staunch conservative; a long-haired bleeding-heart liberal, and the list goes on and on.
Think about it. We all have the same set of stories – we all have the same account of what He did and what He said – yet our world is still confused about Jesus Christ. It’s no different than it was in His day. Everyone knew what He did, but no one could agree on what it meant.
In John 8, Jesus begins to reveal His identity in a plain, straightforward way. The Pharisees demand that He tell them: “Who are you?” So Jesus complies, and His answer means everything.
WHO Jesus is matters way more than what He did or what He said. If Jesus was just a prophet like those in the Old Testament, or if He was a great teacher who captured the fancy of His nation, then the things He did and said can be explained away, and we are even free to ignore the parts we disagree with.
But if Jesus is GOD – the Alpha and the Omega – the Beginning and the End – the same I AM that Moses met in the burning bush – the same God who created you and me – that changes everything. That Jesus demands our Worship, and our submission, and our heart.