Rethinking Jesus: Who we say Jesus is matters more than anything else in our lives

by Kyle
published September 6, 2014


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“Who do people say that I am?”

What a strange question. Jesus moved from strange to awkward with how he followed-up his question. Imagine one of your friends or coworkers asking you this, “Who do you say I am? (Mark 8:27-29)”

At the end of the day, though, who we say Jesus is matters more than anything else in our lives. Who is Jesus?

Peter’s answer was spot-on. He said, “You are the Christ. (Mark 8:29)” His answer was technically right because with an understanding of Jesus and of the Old Testament, calling Jesus “Christ” or “Messiah” perfectly described who he was, but Peter had an advantage we don’t. He was looking Jesus in the face. He spent years with the incarnate Christ and knew him in a way we can only wait until heaven to know.

Or do we?

What would our lives look like if, somehow, we were able to know Jesus personally like a friend? Can we know more about him than simply, “He is the Christ.” Is the person and personality of Jesus available, even so far removed by history, to make a difference in our daily lives, or his he relegated to the halls of academia to be studied as mere historical data by stuffy old men?

Does it matter to you that Jesus was a real, breathing, living human being? His friends got married and the died just like yours. He went to weddings and funerals just like you do. He worked, just like you do. His family was dysfunctional. He got tired and overwhelmed just like you do.

In his most basic humanity, he doesn’t differ from really any other historical figure who ever lived. He had his own personality with human foibles and peculiarities. He had that one catch-phrase he always began what he wanted to say with: “Amen, Amen, I tell you ...”

But here’s the difference: Jesus, unlike any other historical figure, is not dead. Jesus is every bit as alive now as he was 2,000 years ago and he is available to interact with. We cannot do it physically, but we can know him and love him and talk to him and hear from him.

And it matters that we do just that. Jesus said, “A student is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)” As we spend more and more time with someone, we begin to share habits and expressions. We become more like the other person as we influence each other. At the end of the day, that’s what God wants for our lives, that we “become conformed to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29)”

So that’s my invitation to you. Let’s spend some time reconsidering the assumptions we have about who Jesus is by looking at the most detailed account of his life we have: the Bible. Even Peter got Jesus wrong. The very next thing he did after declaring his faith in Jesus as the Messiah was to put his foot in his mouth and Jesus scolded him. So how much harder should we work to understand Jesus the best that we can?

The reward, though, is as we get to know him better, we’ll be able to relate to him better. As we are able to relate to him better, we will, and as we do, we will begin to look more and more like him and the world will begin to change.

What do you think?

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