Thursday, December 3, 2015

Most Important Question!

            “[Jesus] asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’
            They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’
            ‘But what about you?’ he asked.  ‘Who do you say I am?’  (Matthew 16:13-15)
            “Who do you say I am?”
            This is the most important question we will ever consider.  The most important question we will ever answer.  And we are all asked it.  We all have to answer it.  And it will determine our eternity.
            Who do you say Jesus is?

            Maybe He was just a myth, never really existed?
            Study your history and other sources that refer to Him.  Even other opposing religions acknowledge that Jesus was a real man.  There is far too much evidence that He really did live to believe that He was just a myth.   
            Is He just “a good teacher”?  A good, moral man? 
            Nope, sorry!  Wrong answer!
            If He is not God then He is the greatest deceiver ever to go around telling people that He is God and that the only way to get to the Father is through Him.  He cannot be a good, moral teacher if He is not also God.  If He’s not God, He is a liar!
            But maybe He was just mistaken?  Maybe He is a good man but got His theology wrong?
            So then He is just crazy, right?  He’s a liar if He knows He is not God but tells people that He is.  But He is a crazy man if He really thinks He is God but really isn’t.  “Crazy” is no better than “liar.”

            So what is the last option?  Either He is a myth, a liar, a crazy man, or . . . He is telling the truth!  He really is God!  He really is the only way to eternal life!
            “Who do you say I am?” 
            Jesus is asking this of all of us.  And we have to answer.  (And not answering is an answer.)  Is He a liar?  Is He crazy?  Or is He Lord?

            “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’
            Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.’”  (Matthew 16:16-17)  
            Even we Christians who have already chosen Him as our Lord and Savior will be asked this question regularly throughout our lives. 
            You work all day doing menial jobs that no one notices or appreciates.
            “Who do you say I am?  Am I a God who notices and cares about the small details, about your faithfulness in the little things?  Am I the rewarder of your faithful obedience, even if no one else sees your sacrifice and all you do?”
            You live a lonely life, feeling overlooked, unwanted, like you don’t belong or fit in.
            “Who do you say I am?  A God who loves you so much that I would send My Son to die on the cross for you so that you can join My family?  A loving Heavenly Father who wants to scoop you up in His arms and be the family you never really had?  A Faithful Friend who will never leave you or forsake you, no matter what?”
            You still feel guilty, no matter how many times you confessed that sin to the Lord.
            “Who do you say I am?  A harsh, condemning God who holds grudges, rubs your nose in your messes, and who wants you to jump through more hoops to show Me you are really sorry?  Or a quick-to-forgive God who has already nailed that sin to the cross with Jesus and who is anxious to take you back when you turn to Me in repentance, because I want to be near you?  A God who wants you as much as you need Me?”
            You try and try to perform well for Him, to do everything just right, and to walk the Christian life like a tightrope so that He notices you, is pleased with you, and loves you.  And it’s exhausting you.
            “Who do you say I am?  Am I a God who wants your performance or a God who wants your heart?  Do I love you only when you are “good enough” or do I love you unconditionally, always, even when you are a broken, imperfect mess?  Am I the kind of God who wants you to polish yourself up before you can approach Me?  Or am I a God who knows you are a mess and loves you anyway?  Enough to die for you?  A God who desperately reaches to pull you close, no matter what condition you are in?”    
            Life isn’t fair.  Wrongs have been done to you.  The wicked seem to be prospering while things only get worse for you.
            “Who do you say I am?  Am I watching over all things?  Can I carry you through the trials and turn the bad into good?  Do you believe that I really care about what you are going through, that I ache with you, and that I am a righteous judge who will eventually make all wrongs right and who will judge everyone fairly in the end?”
            The burden is too heavy to carry.  You don’t know what to do next.  You don’t know if you even have the energy to keep breathing and standing.
            “Who do you say I am?  Am I big enough to carry your burden?  Am I strong enough to carry you, too?  Do you believe Me when I said I would give you the wisdom you need, if you ask for it?  When the time is right?  And that I will straighten out your path if you commit your plans to Me and walk in obedience and faith?  That I will work it out in the best possible way, if you give it to Me?  Or can you handle it better than I can?”    
            The medical test comes back positive. 
            “Who do you say I am?  Do you believe I am sovereign, wise, and loving?  That I know what I am doing?  That I can heal if I choose to but that I will carry you through this trial if I choose not to?  Do you believe that I will work all things out for good?  That My wisdom and plans will be clear in eternity, even though they are mysterious and unfathomable while you are on earth?”
            Another tornado levels a neighborhood.  Another war starts.  Another prayer isn’t answered the way we wanted. 
            “Who do you say I am?  An absent God who isn’t listening, doesn’t care, or isn’t powerful enough?  Or a God who is in control, who holds the future, who loves you dearly, and who hears all prayers and always answers in the best way for My purposes and glory?  A God who is still good, even when life doesn’t feel good?  Still worthy of praise, glory, and trust, even when you don’t get what you want or life spins out of control?  A God who can and will make something beautiful out of the messes?”
            “What about you?  Who do you say I am?”