Sunday, August 28, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

The religious leaders were furious: they were thoroughly offended by this man who was performing crowd-pleasing miracles while breaking their traditions, who was telling parables to humiliate them while making heroes of sinners, who was responding to their attempts to trap him with a wisdom of which they’d never heard while returning their questions with ones that were impossible for them to answer, who called himself the light of the world while actually referring to God Almighty as his own Father. And now he tells them that they (who know the Law of Moses backward and forward) are not children of Abraham but children of the devil! What an insult to those in established positions of God-given authority!

And so they demanded of this man: “Who do you think you are?” (John 8:53)

Jesus clearly knew who he was. He knew where he came from and where he was going (). He knew his purpose on this earth (-17, ). He knew why the world would not accept him. (7:7). He knew that those who were his would respond to his voice and follow him (). And he knew that those who loved the truth would believe that his words were true ().

There was no question in Jesus’ mind about his identity and that people’s response to him would determine their eternal destiny.

“…for unless you believe I am who I say I am, you will die in you sins.” ()

Who did Jesus say he was?

I am the Messiah!” ()
I am the bread of life.” ()
I am the light of the world.” ()
Before Abraham was born, I AM!” ()
I am the good shepherd.” ()
I am the resurrection and the life.” ()
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (14:6)

People were divided in their opinions about Jesus. Some though he was a wonderful man, and some thought he was a fraud who was deceiving the people () His miracles did have a significant impact the crowds (especially the multiplication of bread and fish!) “But despite all the miraculous signs he had done most of the people did not believe in him.” ()

Several of those close to Jesus though made beautiful proclamations of their faith in his identity:

Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. We believe them and we know you are the Holy One of God!” (6:68-69)

Martha said to Jesus when he arrived in Bethany after her brother Lazarus had died: “Yes, Lord. I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” ()

And when Jesus was arrested on the Mount of Olives, simply identifying himself to the guards, “I am he,” made them all fall backward to the ground! (18:5-6)

Jesus had all the power of the heavens at his disposal to keep himself from being bound by men, beaten, and hung on a cross. But his time had come and his determined will was to do the will of his Father. The only sinless one to walk the face of this earth died a sinner’s death to make it possible for sinners like us to be made right before God by believing in his Son Jesus Christ. There is no other way to the Father.

When people asked Jesus what God wanted of them, Jesus told them, “This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the one he has sent.” (6:28-29)

John, one of Jesus' disciples and closest friends, began the the Gospel of John with these words:

“In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.

But although the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him when he came. Even in his own land and among his own people, he was not accepted. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.” (1:1-5, 10-12, 14)

John ended his gospel with his purpose for writing it: "so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life." (20:31)

How do you respond to Jesus and his claims about himself?
No other question is more important.

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