Start with Jesus

One of Jesus’ biographers wrote about him asking his closest followers, “Who do people say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). They responded with a variety of answers, just as people do today; some saying he is a great teacher, others a prophet, others a revolutionary, and still more a good man. All these answers agree on one fundamental fact, Jesus was human.

But how did Jesus understand himself? Who did he say he was?

In one short sentence, Jesus clearly states who he is, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). In other words, Jesus claimed not only to be human but to be God. Those who heard him say this understood that is exactly what he meant. They accused him of blasphemy and even attempted to kill him for it.

Why would God become human?

In short, God became human so that He could save us and the world. As a man, Jesus was tempted in every way that we are. He knows stress, pain, and betrayal. He knows the temptation to use power for His own benefit. He knows what it is to cope with heartache and uncertainty. Yet, in all of this He lived perfectly and obediently. He loved God completely and so kept all God’s commands. He loved people selflessly, stood up for the poor and the disenfranchised, and even loved those who considered Him their enemy.

Rather than claiming the reward for His perfect life and obedience, Jesus voluntarily took on punishment, rebellion, guilt, imperfection, and shame. He was executed on a wooden cross, only to rise from the dead. In rising again, Jesus demonstrated power over all the powers of darkness and even death itself. His resurrection is a foretaste and guarantee of the complete reversal and healing of all that is wrong in the world.

For those who trust Jesus, He takes their punishment and exchanges it for His reward. Thus, the gift of God, for those who have faith, is forgiveness, new life, reconciliation with God, and acceptance into God’s family. This is what it means to be saved.

What does this mean for us?

What this means for us, is that our relationship with God doesn’t have to depend on our effort, strength, obedience, perfection, or good deeds. Instead of being afraid and working for God’s approval, we can freely receive God’s love and respond to that love with thankfulness, joy, and love of our own. As the old ways of living and habits in us give way to God’s love and grace, we are compelled to serve as Jesus served and to love our neighbors and our enemies, just as he did.

“Who do YOU say I am?”

After Jesus, heard the various responses to His first question, He turned to His closest followers and made it personal, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” That same question comes to every one of us. What about you? Who do you say Jesus is?

If you are convinced that Jesus is God, and He is the source of your salvation. We would love to hear from you! You can let us know by emailing us at [email protected] and we would love to connect with you and help you connect more deeply with God and His church.

If you are still unsure who Jesus is, then now is a great time to try to figure it out. You can explore more of what He said, taught and did by reading the Bible (the books of Mark or John are a good place to start). Also, we would love to hear more about your story and help you explore whatever questions or doubts you may have as you take the next steps on your journey.

Here are a few options of next steps that may make sense for you: