Who Do You Say I Am? (Article 19-4)
Who do you think Jesus is? This is a question that has been relayed a million times over. As it relates to the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism views Christ as an ordinary man, not the Messiah nor even a divine person. Islam concludes Jesus to be a prophet, sent by Allah (“the God”) and born of the Virgin Mary, but not divine. Christians believe He is the promised Deliverer and Savior of the world, as well as the second mentioned God Head of the trinity; the Son of God; the Son of Man; the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The question represents a challenge that Jesus Himself posed to His own disciples when He asked them, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, Am"? (Matthew 16:13). As believers, who do you say Jesus is? What scripture reveals may enlighten you, for the descriptions provided thus far represent mere specks of sand toward understanding who we refer to as our Lord and Savior.
Who Do You Say He Is? From a historical context, Jesus represented many things to many people. To the Jews, He was hoped to be Deliver of an enslaved Jewish nation, while to those who became His disciples, He was seen as the “the truth” and “the way” to eternal life. In a spiritual context, the Gospels talk to His kingmanship, servitude, and deity, as well as His position as the Son of Man, Son of God, and God incarnated with the Gospels as a whole, revealing Christ’s humanity and deity. Still though, do we really have a comprehensive understanding of who Christ is? To answer this question, let’s review John 1:3-5. In these verses John states that “3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” In reading these verses, note that John says “In Him was “life” and the “life” was the “light” of men and that the “light” shines in the darkness. John makes important reference to the words “light” and that “light” is used synonymously with the word “life”. In other words, “light” means “life” and “life” means “light”. With the exacting of the words “light” and “life”, John reveals that the existence of “life” is dependent on “light” and visa versa. So, what is the “light” that John refers to? Well, as we read further into the Book of John, we see that Christ Himself reveals that He is the light, thus life, that John is referring. Specifically, Christ stated to the would-be witnesses to the almost stoning of an adulterous woman (John 8:12), “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Given the understanding that Christ is the “Light” thus the giver of life, I invite you to now go back to the Book of Genesis to further broaden our understanding of who Christ is.
Jesus Revealed in The Beginning of Creation. We know that God created the world for man; however, note that man was not created until the sixth day. The first thing that God created was “light” and with it, brought goodness to the world in the eyes of God. In Genesis (as is done in John) God reveals that “light” is to be separate from “darkness” (Genesis 1:3-4) giving way to the creation of “evening” and “morning”. What is the significance of this? Before He created man, God knew that man was destined to fall away and be separated from Him due to sin and man’s need for salvation. This is why, God denotes in the very first day of creation that both goodness (light) and evilness (darkness) would co-exist and with this, each day would have an evening (a falling away from God) followed by morning (an ongoing opportunity to be reconciled with God, by way of Christ - thus a new beginning). Very important to understand too is that God’s knowledge of man’s fate and plan for salvation shows that He is in total control and has a master plan that each and every one of us are part. This is further supported in John 8:24, “Unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.” Again, we see that God has a plan by which man is able to pass from death to life if we know and believe in Christ (the light). Why? He did so out of love and necessity! But there is even more to understand.
There Is More to Understand. In Colossians, Paul reveals even more about who Christ is to the world. Paul states in Colossians that Christ is not just the invisible God, but also, “the firstborn over creation” and that “… by Him all things were created … in heaven and on earth, …”. (1:15-17). In His human nature, Christ is the visible discovery of the invisible God, and he who knows Him knows the Father (God). Second, Paul points out that Christ was born before all creation, thus showing Christ’s “eternal beginning”. Christ always existed by which the eternity of God (the Father) is revealed. Third, all things, by way of Christ’s power, were created by Christ and were created for His pleasure, praise and glory. Fourth, this scripture reveals that Christ as the Head of the body, the church and that all grace comes from Him and as a result, all fullness dwells in Him e.g. righteousness, strength, peace and rest. Finally, Paul's writing show that God's love is so great for us, that He gave us Christ as a supreme and ultimate sacrifice so we should not eternally perish to sin and not live as we are own, but as God’s own.
Christ – The “Alpha and the Omega”. As we now understand Christ to have both an eternal beginning with no end, I would be remiss in not making reference to Christ in the Book of Revelation, for that is the true intent of this book – to reveal Christ and His glory. I suspect many who read The Book of Revelation is frightened by its contents, as it speaks of the rise of the evil one, the Great Tribulation, and the end of the age. Dramatic as it describes the final battle of good and evil, it points to Jesus Christ in the beginning of the book as the “Alpha and the Omega” (Revelation 1:8) and with it, the ushering in of a new era of new hope and optimism. This book reveals that Christ is the chief and protector of all things, including the covenant of grace and serves as the approver and confirmer of it, as well as the Mediator and messenger of it. Christ is the covenant itself and, with this, teaches us that all the blessings and promises are in Him. Christ is the sum and substance of the Scriptures, the Gospels and both the Old and New Covenants for He has fulfilled the law, and stands in the first verse in Genesis, and in the last of the Revelation. Christ is at the center of the universe and desires to be at the center of our hearts and all its desires. He addresses the business of salvation, in the affair of justification before God, in the sanctification of His chosen people, the adoption of the Gentiles. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5).
In the interim of our passing from this world to the next, let us remember that He serves as our advocate at the throne, providing us with continuous cleansing and prayer before the Father. Let us adore and embrace, in humble faith, the mysteries of who Christ is, and behold the glory of our Lord. For He is the truth and the “light” from which “darkness” is overcome, thus revealing the way for all and from which all things were created and all things are sustained. Glory be to our Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ.