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“Who is Jesus”

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”  So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:13-16

Who is Jesus?  This is the question of all questions.  Though some will indeed try to ignore the question or not attempt an answer at all, the question of Jesus’ identity, and what you believe about Him, cannot be avoided.  The Bible reveals that a judgment day is drawing nearer.  And though many ignore such a warning, it cannot be avoided, regardless of how anyone disbelieves it.

So who is Jesus?  In Jesus’ day, some professed Him to be John the Baptist (risen from the dead, John 14:1ff).  But Jesus was not John the Baptist.  Some believed Jesus to be “one of the prophets,” as in one of the Old Testament prophets.

Still today, there are those who see Jesus only as a prophet, only one among many.  Such belief is found also in nonChristian religions (i.e. Islam, Buddhism, etc.).  But Jesus as only a prophet saves no one.

Jesus surely did preach and proclaim (compare the messages of St. John the Baptist & Jesus, Matthew 3:2 & 4:17), but He did more than preach and proclaim.  He gave His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).  He is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  He sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world, in order to save sinners.

If Jesus were just a prophet, such sacrifice would be for naught.  If Jesus were just a “good” teacher, you are still in your sins.  If Jesus were just an example, further “in the hole” would we be.  Also, if Jesus were just a man, we would still be under God’s wrath and judgment.

Confessing Christ to be a great man, a compassionate leader, a “new Moses,” equal to the Old Testament prophets, or just a “good fellow” is not the Christian faith.  It is the demonstration of unbelief.  Though there be many, even within Christian churches today, who have high regard for Jesus, high regard for Jesus does not yet mean the Christian faith.

Christians confess Christ to be who He claimed to be—the very Son of the Living God.  Christians confess Christ to be who God the Father declared Him to be—His only begotten Son.  Christians, according to Holy Scripture, confess Jesus to be God in the flesh, the Savior of the world.

Only in such a Jesus, who is God and man in one person, who was born of a virgin, suffered, died, and rose again from the dead (2nd article of the Apostles’ Creed), only in such a Jesus is your sin done away with, having been put to death by His death.  Only in such a Jesus do you, a sinner, have life, even eternal life.

No man can do anything to make things better between himself and God, let alone for others.  But Jesus is not merely a man.  He is also God, God for you.  See the nail prints and His side!  He is flesh.  Yet this one who died—is risen from the dead, and sits at the right hand of God.

Therefore do we not only confess Jesus to be as He is in truth according to the Bible.  We worship Him, too.

Who is Jesus?  With Peter we confess, “Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Amen.

Luther

“The Arians were truly sharp. They conceded that Christ has a double nature and that He is called “God of true God”—but only in name. Christ, they said, is a most noble and perfect creature, higher than the angels; through Him God then created heaven and earth and everything else. Thus Mohammed also speaks of Christ in a laudatory way. But all this is nothing but fallacious reasoning and words that are pleasant and reasonable, by which the fanatics deceive men unless they are careful. But Paul speaks of Christ differently. You, he says, are rooted and grounded in this knowledge, that Christ is not only a perfect creature but true God, who performs the very same works that God the Father performs. He performs divine works, not those of a creature but of the Creator. For He grants grace and peace; and to give these is to condemn sin, to conquer death, and to trample the devil underfoot. No angel can grant any of this; but since it is ascribed to Christ, it necessarily follows that He is God by nature.”  (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p31-32).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, keep us ever faithful to Your Holy Word, that we not deny You, nor Your Son, but continue in true Christian worship all of our days.  Amen.

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