Everywhere Jesus went while He was on earth, He caused a stir. His words and deeds so stirred the people to the depths of their minds and souls, that they were either wholeheartedly for Him or against Him. There was something about Jesus that made it hard for people to remain neutral in His presence.
certainly He was a disturbing factor in
Up and down
the hill country and on the highways of
So, it was
not strange that when He entered
question about Jesus was answered in
representative of the Roman empire, found in Him a faultless and innocent man,
delivered into his presence because of the envy of the Jews, and not worthy of
death. In the eyes of at least one of the robbers who hung on the cross with
him, He was the Savior; and the Roman officer who watched Him die, confessed
that He was “A righteous man” and “the Son of God.”
The disciples and other immediate followers of Jesus were strangely silent during that last week, and the words of one of them as He journeyed toward Emmaus, “We hoped that it was He who should redeem Israel,” words of deep disappointment, probably reveal what was in the minds of most of them.
For 1900 years this same Jesus has been coming into our comfortable Jerusalems and causing a stir, disturbing us no end. And whenever He has come, the same question is raised, “Who is this man?”
He came to that group of frightened and discouraged disciples who had left His body in the tomb with the Roman seal on it; and He did not leave them until they had answered this same question. He came to the Empire whose representative had given the word to crucify Him, and continued to cause a stir until this same question was answered. And then, when the Church had taken the place of the Empire, and through its lust for power had practically excluded Jesus from its life and plunged civilization into the blackness of the Dark Ages, He came again in the Protestant Reformation, demanding this question be answered.
He came to the 18th century with its intellectualism and dawning industrialism, with the same question facing the people. He came into the 19th century with its wealth of knowledge, its perfection of representative government, its scientific discoveries, its literary achievements, its religious devotion, and made this same question the great question of the century.
And he has come into the 20th century, with all its progress in increased knowledge and destruction. Still the same old question awaits our reply, “Who is this Jesus?”
Jesus has come into the
also come into the
come into the troubled
Some of His own day looked at Him as “Jesus of Nazareth” not knowing that this same Jesus was destined to take the rough timber of human life, and make of it a temple which should be the habitation of God. They saw only a man, with the tradesman’s hammer and the tradesman’s hopes.
Others looked upon Him as unlearned, indicating that He had never studied in the higher schools, and consequently must be far behind the scribes and others of His time. And yet He was wise enough to know people, and was able to interpret life in terms of spiritual and eternal values.
There were others who saw in Him a great Teacher, recognizing that “He spake as never man spake before.” Blind leaders of the blind had given them little help, but here was One who “taught with authority and not as the scribes.” The truth, as He taught it, cut like a surgeon’s knife, but some there were, like Nocodemus, who felt that “here was a teacher sent from God.”
conception was the one held by even some of His disciples, that He was destined
to become a great national leader of peoples and nations. They saw a throne in
the City of
Then one day, there came the conception expressed by Peter, in his confession of faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Carpenter, Teacher, Leader, Prophet --- yes, all of these and then some. The soul-stirring, vision-clarifying, life-ennobling conception is that Jesus is the Christ. We go into the Four Gospels and find the writers in agreement, Jesus human yet divine, son of man, and, Son of God. The writer of the Book of Acts convinces us of this also, that this same Jesus has been exalted as both Christ and Lord. For the Apostle Paul, Jesus was first “the Man of Galilee”; and when he was transformed from Saul the Hebrew to Paul the Christian, a new conception appeared in his life --- this Jesus was the Son of God become both Lord and Master of the soul of Paul.
What we think of this same Jesus colors and determines all our thinking. Nothing in all the world will so quickly set a life aright as a right conception of Jesus Christ. Miracles in the form of changed lives, world-changing thinking occur daily, though we may not notice this. The one who once gets a right conception of Jesus will from that day interpret life in terms of eternal values.
Then, too, our conception of Jesus Christ determines our attitude toward Him. How many there are who have a warm place in their hearts for the church, and for religion as a whole, BUT are not very pronounced in their conception of Jesus personally. Consequently, their attitude is such as to make it impossible for Jesus “to do any great works” in them or for them.
Do you see Jesus the Teacher? Then He can teach you much that is profitable this day. Do you see Him as a great national Leader? Then place Him alongside and above other leaders of the world.
Does He appeal to you as a Prophet? If so, then you will do as some in His own day did, place Him in the ranks with Isaiah and the others. And His teachings may stir your heart and fire your imagination, and you will be a better person than you would have been without this conception of Him.
And yet, all of this falls short of the real mark. Jesus does not ask that we give Him recognition by calling Him good, or interesting, or a great prophet, or any of the hundred other things that might suggest themselves to people. He does not come to us that we may give Him a “character” or “prestige” or some other outstanding status. This Son of God rides triumphantly on His own.
When we behold Him as the Christ, then He does for us the work that the Christ of God, the Redeemer, came into the world to do. If our idea or conception of Him is that He is in very truth the Savior of the world, and are ready to accept Him as the Lord of all life, then our attitude is such as makes it possible for Him to do mighty works in and through us.
Then, finally, our conception and our acceptance determine our eternity. Actually, what we do with Him now decides our future for all eternity. By this decision and action we are raised to the heights of fellowship with God, or we are cast to the deepest depths in our separation from God.
saw the John Denver TV show Thursday night; it included a takeoff on the movie
Oh God. And again John Denver asks about all the suffering and hunger and
disease in the world. And God responds, “I’ve given you ALL the tools.”
Who is this Jesus? I’m not asking, where does He stand BUT
WHERE DO YOU AND I STAND?
WHAT DOES JESUS MEAN TO US?
WHO IS THIS JESUS?
O God, speak to us each one here this morning, we pray, that each soul may be brought into closer fellowship with you. Be Thou the Master of our lives, in worship, in work, in play. Make us willing subjects in Thy Kingdom on earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord.