Jesus asked his disciples the question, "Who do you say that I am?". He made it clear that a vague answer was not enough. A definite answer to that question was the only one that could be life changing. Over at Pastoralia, Pastor Jason Coker, has been having people blog on a project where people give an answer to that question. Specifically the questions are: Who is Jesus? what has he done? and why does it matter? I'm glad to know that thousands of years later, this question is still seen as pivotal to where a person stands with God.
One of the contributors is Pastor Ben Sternke. I was very impressed with his answer. It was clear, biblical, and relevant in the best sense of the word. I have hope that churches can actually present a gospel message like this without making it formulaic, fake sounding or worse: boring. I'd like to put it here in full with a minor critique after that.
I hope you saw what I saw. It's something I could share with anyone I know. My one concern is one of personal sin. I know he touched on basically anything any of us would (and discipleship has been on my mind a lot lately) but I think we can also forget that our sin placed Christ on that cross as well. As I put it in my response, "Not only did people one day put Christ on that Cross, I did. My sin, my own contribution to the worlds wrongs, put him on there. He died to actually forgive that. If I didn’t have that, I’d be completely lost". The Apostle Paul put it like this:Who is Jesus Christ? Wow, where to start. Jesus is a lot of things. First, I should say he was a man who caused quite a stir around 2,000 years ago by claiming that the God who created the entire cosmos was working through his life to save the world from itself, to make everything right.Which sounds incredibly cliché, doesn’t it? It’s easy to find nutcases like that today. The thing about Jesus, though, was that he backed up his claims by making things right with unusual power and effectiveness: delivering people from sickness and psychological oppression, bringing freedom from guilt and shame, challenging injustice, and teaching people how to live well.Ultimately this put him on a collision course with the religious and political authorities of his day, because they had stock in keeping people fearful and needy. But instead of fighting them, Jesus allowed them to torture and kill him. Even those closest to him didn’t understand this. Why not fight to stay alive? They thought it was over after that.Hang with me, because here’s where the story gets crazy. He didn’t stay dead. A few days later he was alive again, in a totally new way, like he’d gone through death and out the other side. He had actually conquered death by his own death and through his resurrection opened the door for everyone to enter into a truly blessed life in God’s family.We enter into that life by becoming an apprentice of Jesus. It might sound kooky, but you can actually know Jesus today. You can really be with him and he will teach you how to live a blessed life in God’s family, just like him.Pretty unlikely story, huh? Yet I find myself living in it every day.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)That the Lord died to forgive our sins is pivotal to the gospel message. Without the justification of our past, there is no hope for the future, with it, our whole world changes. I'm glad for the people out there who are making sure the gospel is getting out to the masses clearly. I look forward to seeing more good work from this project. I'd also like to include some video of people answering the very question of who Jesus is.