Identity Matters

      In so many places we are required to prove our identity.  If I travel to another country, I’d better have a passport showing who I am.  If I vote in Alaska, I have to show my driver’s license.  If I go to my bank to withdraw money from my account, I need to have ID with me.  Over a third of humanity claim to be followers of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Millions more view him as a social revolutionary, prophet, great teacher or the ultimate life coach.  History is divided by his birth.  If you dig into the historical origins of thousands of hospitals, non-profits and universities, you find Christians trying to help others in the name of Jesus.  Millions give Jesus credit for breaking addictions in their lives.  Others talk of how He has walked them through times of difficulty and offers peace in the midst of the anxieties of life.  Any thinking person should be intrigued by the impact of this first century peasant.  Who was He?  Who is He?
     As a Christian, I believe Jesus Christ is both God and man.  Yes, He is a great teacher, and prophet and healer but He is more.  He claimed to be God.  In a dramatic verbal conflict with the Pharisees, He used a God title in reference to Himself (John 8:58).  They picked up stones to kill Him for blasphemy.  He told his closest followers that if they had seen Him they had seen Father God (John 14:9).  In a powerful scene when “Doubting Thomas” saw Jesus after the resurrection he cried out, “My Lord and My God”(John 20:28).  A first century, monotheistic Jew would never do this unless he believed that Jesus was God.  Christians also believe Jesus was fully human.  For a time, He set aside the prerogatives of deity and lived life on our terms.  This is mysterious, even shocking.  Max Lucado once referred to Jesus in the manger as “God in a diaper.” The eternal God the Son took on flesh and faced what we face, yet lived sinlessly so that He could offer that perfect life on a cross for our salvation. 
      Massive books have been written on the credentials of Jesus but here are a few things to consider.  We can know that Jesus is who He claimed to be for several reasons.  He fulfilled many prophecies written hundreds of years before his birth.  His virgin birth, his birth place, his ministry, his death and even his resurrection were predicted and fulfilled. 
      Next, even if you only view the Bible as a decent history book (I think it’s the inerrant word of God), Jesus lived a miraculous life.  He turned water into wine, opened the eyes of the blind, and raised Lazarus from the dead.   The final and greatest proof is that He predicted his own death and resurrection and then pulled it off.  He walked out of his own grave!  And the impact of that miracle was so compelling that it and the reception of the Holy Spirit turned a rag tag, cowardly group of disciples into an unstoppable force that literally transformed the world.   To this day millions share their own personal stories of how Jesus has changed them—addictions broken, marriages repaired, suicides averted, and hope restored.
      Jesus once asked his disciples “who do you say I am?”   Peter responded “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).  Let me assure you, that question is on life’s final exam.  I hope you will embrace and echo Peter’s answer for your eternal destiny depends on it.
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church