Who you say Jesus is affects every area of your life.

Working one of my first jobs as a teen I was asked by my co-worker Steve, “Do you know who Jesus is?” Admittedly, I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed as a teen; however, I knew who Jesus was… who didn’t?  I was raised in a liturgical tradition and was even confirmed in that faith; of course, I knew who Jesus was.  He’s the guy that people worship as Christians; he’s their holy man, founder and that’s about it.  Like Buddha was connected to Buddhism and Brigham Young with Mormons – so too Jesus was with Christians.  I thought, “come on, ask me a hard question.”  Steve wisely pressed me. He kept asking me about Jesus and my understanding of who he was – he slowly separated Jesus from the pop culture trappings that I associated him with and revealed Him to me. I got a wake up call to Who Jesus was.

It is the question of the ages.  Pontius Pilate basically asked Jesus, “Who do You think You are?”  Who exactly is Jesus has had theologians and scholars in recent decades seeking “the historical Jesus” (researching His 1st century Jewish context) others through the 3 Phase “Jesus Seminar” sought to demystify Him by separating Him from the miraculous and peeling him from the psyche of the disciples and distilling Him down to sage.

Reader the question I’m asking you to consider is “do you know who Jesus is this?  Backing up, is that an important question to even ask?  Well, Jesus thought so.  Join me in Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 16 and verses 13-17.

On the heels of miraculous works like healing, feeding 4K and being questioned by the skeptical religious leaders we find Jesus and His disciples making their way to Caesarea Philippi.   As they are trudging along Jesus turns to them and asks, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The Son of Man is a title finding it’s origin extending from the Old Testament Book of Daniel 7 but it’s also a plain statement of His humanity – an incarnational reminder that He is one of them.

The people Jesus referred to were most likely the people who He has been performing miracles among, feeding and preaching to.  The disciples’ answer, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the Prophets.”  The answer is good; however, not correct.  Jesus turns to directly address the disciples and asks, “But, who do you say that I am?”  The focus of the question makes this moment on the dusty road to Caesarea Philippi all the more personal.

Before others can answer, Peter steps up with a bold and rather concise answer, “You are the Christ (Messiah Savior of the world – essentially King of all creation) and Son of the living God (OT connotation for true God against false god/idols).  That’s pretty big talk for a fisherman from Galilee. 

Who you say Jesus is affects every area of your life.

As far as Peter was concerned he was following the Messiah/God.  Jesus quickly points out that men didn’t teach him this – God had revealed this to him.  It would have been counter-intuitive to give any man this type of credentialed acknowledgment.  Jesus’ actions and words bore witness to Who He was and Peter through the work of the Holy Spirit upon him recognizes this.  It changed his life forever.

Certain events in our lives change the course of our lives forever.  Serious illness, adoption, death of a family member, inheritance of wealth, moving to a different country/culture and marriage.  In a moment, when I exchanged marriage vows with Janis I was a different man.  I came into the ceremony with meager financial assets and left better off because we combined financial assets but more – I was a single man who could look upon other women as potential mates but no more.  From now on my eyes and heart were to be Janis’.  From the moment I said, “I do” I was no longer making decisions for myself but for Janis and I; It’s the same today (35 years later).

One might say the Bible gives Jesus all His attributes – like the Jesus Seminar scholars – Jesus’ deity and power were ascribed to Him by people who wrote about Him.  Jesus never really said any such things about Himself.

To the woman at the well in John 4, when she explained she and her people were looking for the Messiah, the Savior of the world, He said, “I Who speak with you am He.”  Later in John’s Gospel in chapter 14 and verse 6 Jesus makes a powerfully exclusive claim, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.”   

Jesus spoke with authority in His own name.  His sermons begin with “I say to you…”  while Prophets say “Thus says the Lord…”  In His widely received sermon on the mount, Jesus takes the Old Testament Law and carries it forward into the hearts of people with authority when he says, “You have heard it said… but I say to you…”

Rabbi’s would teach to take on the Yoke of the Torah or Yoke of the Kingdom; however, Jesus teaches for His followers to “take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me…” (Mt 11)  Rabbi’s would teach where 2 or 3 gather around God’s Word – His presence is with them; However, Jesus teaches “where 2 or 3 gather in My Name, I will be among them…” (Mt 18)  Rabbi’s and Prophets teach for people to go to God for rest/help; however, Jesus teaches “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11)

So, you might say, hey I believe in God - isn’t that enough?  James writing to the early church puts it this way, “You believe in God, you do well, the demons also believe and shudder.” James 2: 19  If Jesus is Who He said He was – the Savior/Messiah/King… GOD.  We who say we believe must actually do something with that knowledge.  If we don’t that’s like me saying I am married and going on to date other women.  Janis is my wife – a title that carries authority in my life.  Jesus is my Savior and God; does that carry authority in my life?

Who you say Jesus is affects every area of your life.

Why do you suppose Paul and others identify themselves as Bond-servants of Jesus?  Bond-servant is actually a soft sounding translation of the Greek word slave.  When we say slave it carries immediate connotations.  A servant, subject or slave has no rights of their own.  The King or Master has authority in the life of the subject, servant or slave. Paul and other writers in the New Testament reflected their understanding that Jesus was their King in how they addressed themselves to others.

It’s popular in America to have bumper stickers that tell everyone “He’s not my President” or “I didn’t vote for Her” when referring to their elected leaders/authorities.  As Christians; however we don’t have the right to say, He ain’t my King.  To know Jesus is to know that statement makes no sense.

This week:  Who do you say Jesus is?

1.     Is there any area of my life that doesn’t belong to Him?  If you’re a Christian – follower of Christ (Messiah/King) is there an area of my life I don’t allow Him rule/reign?

 2.     Do I follow Him in everything (relationships, work, finances, private behavior etc)?

 3.     Resolve this week – to obey Him – giving Him rightful reign in your life (maybe for the first time).  This is your wake up call to Who Jesus is. Resolve to make Him the King of your life – and if you need help, ask for it! There are people who will help you. Many at Lakeside (including the Pastor) sometimes struggle to make Jesus their King, so you’re not alone.

Who you say Jesus is affects every area of your life.

Following Jesus will set you apart from others and tell people you’re; you will become a light to your spouse and children, grandchildren and community.

You can bring glory to the Living God of all Creation with every area of your life!

Vince Armfield