As we continue to focus our stories on trusting God, Angela, our Groups and Missions pastor, is joining us again to share some of her thoughts about trusting in the claims of Jesus as Himself.
I still remember her sweet voice singing,
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, And to know, ‘Thus saith the Lord!’ …
She sung with such conviction and passion, I knew there was something deeper beyond her words, and I longed for that to be true of me someday. Her name was Agnes; she was a widowed senior the Lord used to nurture me in my faith when I was a child.
Oftentimes, when individuals are asked, “Who is Jesus?” their responses are all over the map. Some say Jesus was “a good man, a moral leader, a historical figure, a great teacher, or one of the prophets of the Christian Bible.”
On one occasion, Jesus asked this same question to his first disciples,
…’Who do people say I am?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ (Mark 8:27-28)
Then Jesus posed this question directly to his disciples,
But what about you? ‘Who do you say I am?’
How would you respond to this question?
For those of us who have a relationship with Jesus, the response is vastly different. Like most relationships, we come to know others by spending time with them. By doing life together. By giving them space and opportunity to reveal themselves to us.
Our most reliable knowledge of Jesus comes from the Bible. Historically speaking, Jesus was a Jewish man who lived and preached a little over 2000 years ago in the region of Palestine—the modern-day country of Israel. The Bible paints an astonishing picture of this man and his works. He’s described to be of miraculous birth. His public years were spent preaching, teaching and performing miracles. He clashed with religious leaders of the day, and his life ended with a horrific, brutal death. But His story does not end there. The Bible also describes Jesus rising from the grave three days after his death!
What makes Jesus different from other religious revolutionaries? The difference lies in the claims He made about himself. He did not vie for political power or seek to establish his own religion. Instead, He made an unprecedented claim: that he was the Son of God and had come to heal, redeem, restore and reconcile man to God.
Jesus made these claims about himself:
The Bread of Life
The Light of the World
The Good Shepherd
The Son of Man
In the Father and the Father is in Me
The True Vine
Gentle and Humble in heart
The Lion of the tribe of Judah
The Rose of Sharon
A Healer, A Servant, A Sacrifice
The Almighty King
The Righteous Judge
The Living Word
Famous writer, C.S. Lewis once wrote that Jesus’ life and message were so unique that he simply demands a response from us today.
If Jesus was just another huckster religious leader, then he was a liar and must be ignored. But if Jesus really was who he said… then no matter how messed up our lives are, we can find real meaning and hope. It means there’s a way to break out of the pain and frustration of everyday life and have a purpose. The Christian faith is based on the belief that Jesus was exactly who he said he was. (Mere Christianity)
The apostle, Peter answered Jesus’ question with a profound declaration:
You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:16)
He didn’t fully understand his own declaration until after Jesus had been crucified and resurrected. Peter later came to know the claims of Jesus in a “personal,” intimate way and it transformed his life. The same is true for countless followers of Jesus throughout the ages.
Personally, I know that I know Jesus is my Savior, Healer, Redeemer, Perfect Father, Provider, Comforter and Friend. Not by what I have read in books or even in the Bible; but by what I have experienced in my personal journey and relationship with Him.
Throughout the centuries, people have debated almost everything about the life and message of Jesus. But no matter what anyone else says, Jesus’ significance boils down to just one question: How will YOU respond to this man, Jesus, and his claims?
Jesus said, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life… ” (John 14:6).
Will you trust Him enough to give him your life? All of it; not in part? To trust Him wholly and completely…no matter what?
For me, that same hymn sung by Agnes so many years ago, has become the declaration of my own heart:
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee, Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me, Wilt be with me to the end. AMEN!
[Works Cited: http://www.gospel.com/topics/jesus]