Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?”-Matt 16
Torn by Jesus the only way or a good way to God
The reason many people, including progressive Christians, think of Jesus as a progressive compassionate person who lived a good life as an example for us to follow, devoid of the divinity in him, is driven by the fact that they can’t face the fact that Jesus claims to be the only way to God the Father. Because that will essentially, in effect, rejected all other religions in their ways to get to God. But the problem is, in doing so, they have just rejected the God-Man Jesus Christ. Though you may have endeared others of other faiths, you have just landed yourself outside of the saving grace of the God-Man, because you just demoted him from God-Man to be a mere good man.
The Transcendent God
This is just about the most important and significant question that goes through the minds of millions of young people in America today especially New York city, just exactly who Jesus is. Is he just a good moral teacher who lived a good life for us to follow his life or is he who he claims to be the transcendent Son of God?
John 9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
The reason I picked these verses here showing the transcendent Jesus in healing a man blind from birth to be able to see now is that he made a major statement after the miracle. I don’t know how any scholars can write books about a ‘tamed diminished’ Jesus without any power to heal the sick and do the miraculous when they are all over the Bible. There should be an attitude like if you don’t like the Bible talking about the transcendent Jesus, you need to own up to it by rejecting the whole Bible and not hanging onto church and yet rejecting the miraculous Jesus. I mean opening the eyes of a blind man from birth is no easy matter! The problem is for folks with such liberal minds being attached to their church, it redefines the church by the “miracle-less” Jesus. Somehow, the liberals got to hang onto a Jesus , a ‘toothless’ Jesus. That way, they open up the way to salvation to a myriad of ways without being narrowed down. Check out this outrageous statement of Jesus below right after he opened up the eyes of the blind man in John 10.
John 10: 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Jesus calls himself equal with God the Father. In fact, they are one. That’s actually trinity. Father, Son, Holy Spirit in the Trinitarian God. This is just about the biggest stumbling block for anyone sincerely and wanting to find out who Jesus is, and then make up their minds. Who says this kind of thing in this world? This guy says he and God are one. He makes himself to be God. Therefore this is the make it or break it moment in search of the true Jesus. Don’t hang onto to the skin of the God Man, but abide in him completely. Have all of Christ, or none of him! Accept him and receive him as the Spirit dwells in you, or you are not really a sheep of Christ, follower of Christ.
I will reference this to many liberal Christian friends of mine especially in New York City. It’s most trendy and fashionable to pursue social justice in our cities and even ‘enthrone’ it in such way that forms and shapes who God is. God is far more and above condescendingly above social justice. It’s like a finger to a body, it’s not the body! But that’s what the liberal theology does, loving what Jesus says especially the sermon on the mount, and all his love and care for the socially outcast. Jesus loves the downcast, and He is indeed the champion of them all. However, to pick only that portion of Jesus and run away with it as if that’s all that matters is doing gross injustice to who Jesus is, and what Jesus did. They just missed the most important identity of Christ, the Son of God, and opted for a social justice Jesus.
Matt 16:13 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. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter…
The most important question asked! Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?”
Man of Holiness & Compassion
Jesus is the God of holiness and righteousness, yet with compassion. When the woman of adultery was caught, he told them that those without sin, may throw the first stone.
John 8: 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
This is a real eye opener who Jesus really is, apart from the supernatural divine part of him. Jesus had compassion on the adulterous woman, full of grace, as he told the folks those without sin throw the first stone! Guess what? Who would throw the first stone? One by one, retreated from stoning the woman (which by Moses law to be stoned). Jesus came and not only fulfilled the Law of God through Moses, but also provided grace in such abundance that shocked the contemporary world. He extended mercy to the adulterous woman, when by law, she should be stoned at that time. But not only that, He told the woman to sin no more.
John 8: 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 “No one, sir,” she said.“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus is holy. That’s a point many liberal Christians missed. They love the compassion of Christ, but dropped the holiness of Christ. Why? So they can live the way of life as they like and not constrained by Christ. Jesus, a person of holiness, and yet not without compassion for the weak and sinners. That pretty much defines who Jesus is, to hold both ends of who He is, the compassion (liberals), and the righteousness (conservative). That’s what we Christians are supposed to hold. You see Christianity is not about trying to conform to a set of rules, but be a follower of Jesus. We don’t follow rules. We follow Jesus. He is the personified God on earth, and He sends his Holy Spirit on earth now to be with us and help us, teach us. That’s a lot of difference, following rules is religion, following Jesus is spirituality, organically in relationship with Christ, and empowered by the Spirit of God.
People begin to define God through their lens of social justice. It’s helping the poor and marginalized. God does that, for sure, but it’s not above the redemption of God for humanity. The cross is the absolute pinnacle of Christianity, and without the cross of Jesus meaning his death and resurrection, there is no story of social justice. What would social justice even mean or look like without the cross of redemption? It would be merely a nice socialist sound bite to go to. It will be completely meaningless to help the poor and deed the hungry and help the marginalized without helping them to get to the long-term reconciliation with God.
To say one will fight for the poor and marginalized and calling everything of social racism as your top agenda of your social media postings, begs the question if you have missed the big picture??
What’s the point of helping them, if they and you yourself miss the only big picture that matter?
Every religion teaches you to be good to get to God. But there is only one religion where their God comes down to get us.
God so loved the world He sent his only Son Jesus Christ to die for the world, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)