— Is Jesus really God?
Have you ever met a man who is the center of attention wherever he goes? Some mysterious, indefinable characteristic sets him apart from all other men. Well, that’s the way it was two thousand years ago with Jesus the Christ. But it wasn’t merely Jesus’ personality that captivated those who heard him. Those who witnessed his words and life tell us that something about Jesus of Nazareth was different from all other men.
Jesus’ greatness was obvious to all those who saw and heard him. And while most great people eventually fade into history books, Jesus is still the focus of thousands of books and unparalleled media controversy. Jesus’ only credentials were himself. He never wrote a book, commanded an army, held a political office, or owned property. He mostly traveled within a hundred miles of his village, attracting crowds who were amazed at his provocative words and stunning deeds. Much of the controversy revolves around the radical claims Jesus made about himself, claims that astounded both his followers and his adversaries.
What was it about Jesus Christ that made the difference? Was he merely a great man, or something more? Jesus’ unique claims caused him to be viewed as a threat by both the Roman authorities and the Jewish hierarchy. That persecution continues to this very day. Some believe he was merely a great moral teacher; others believe he was simply the leader of the world’s greatest religion. But many believe something far more. Christians believe that God has actually visited us in human form.
In The World’s Great Religions, Huston Smith observed, “Only two people ever astounded their contemporaries so much that the question they evoked was not, ‘Who is he?’ but, ‘What is he?’ They were Jesus and Buddha.
The answers these two gave were exactly the opposite. Buddha said unequivocally that he was a mere man, not a god—almost as if he foresaw later attempts to worship him. Jesus, on the other hand, claimed to be divine.
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
Jesus’ friends and enemies were staggered again and again by what he said and did. He would be walking down the road, seemingly like any other man, then turn and say something like, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Or, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Or, very calmly, after being accused of blasphemy, he would say, “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” To the dead he might simply say, “Come forth,” or, “Rise up.” And they would obey. To the storms on the sea he would say, “Be still.” And to a loaf of bread he would say, “Become a thousand meals.” And it was done immediately.
Is it possible Jesus was merely a prophet like Moses or Elijah, or Daniel? Even a superficial reading of the Gospels reveals that Jesus claimed to be someone more than a prophet. No other prophet had made such claims about himself; in fact, no other prophet ever put himself in God’s place.
Lead singer of U2, Bono once said of Jesus’ divinity, “No, it’s not far-fetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off the hook. Christ says, ‘No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me a teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet … I’m saying I’m God incarnate.’ And people say: ‘No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet we can take.’”
So what you’re left with is either Christ was who He said He was, or a complete nutcase. The idea that the entire course of civilization for the past 2000 years and over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside down by a nutcase, for me that’s far-fetched.
So, was Jesus a liar or a lunatic, or was he the Son of God? You must make your choice. You cannot sit on the fence post and stay neutral on this. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, our Savior or else a madman or something worse. What will you do with Jesus this Christmas?
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Merry Christmas to all and to all I pray you see the Light!
David Nowak and family, Rhonda, Josiah, Caleb, Timothy and Michael