Few would dare to sit outside on an August day in South Carolina, but we found a table close to the building that kept the worst of the heat at bay. The sun was getting ready to go to bed but still had plenty of power to exude – and we had plenty to discuss.
“You say that in the Old Testament, salvation was by ‘faith in God,’ but in the New Testament it is by ‘faith in Jesus.’ So the way has been changed – a completely new way in the New Testament that none of the older prophets would have known. They didn’t even know the name of Jesus! But we believe in a long succession of prophets that all had the same exact message.”
This is a summary of his argument for me. I must say, he was well-researched and well-spoken. This was the third time we’d met – and the third time we discussed much of the same thing: who was Jesus? Merely a prophet or merely God Himself as a man.
Recently, I thought about (and preached on) the need to know who Jesus is. After all, as Tozour would say, “What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” And that is certainly true.
But beyond that, couldn’t we say, “What you think about Christ is the most important thing about you?”
After all, if Jesus is God, then He has shown us exactly who God is and what He is like and how to come to Him. But if He’s not, then we don’t even really need to factor Him into the equation – we just need to go straight to God, the Almighty, the Most High, and figure out a way to reach Him.
This “quest” to discover who Jesus is and what He was like has been on my mind recently. I watched a great series of YouTube videos that are “doodles” of CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity, and I was reminded there of Lewis’ excellent points on the identity of Christ – He can either be a liar, a lunatic, or a lord, never just a “great moral teacher.” I also have been reading two books on Jesus and His identity and parables and again have been struck by our need to know who He is.
Plus, of course, my conversations outside the coffee shop on the hot summer nights.
“You’re right that it is ‘faith in God’ then ‘faith in Jesus’ – but we believe Jesus is God, and thus those two are the same thing!”
The identity of Jesus is a big deal. He is a big deal – the most important person who ever lived!
And yet how often does He come up in my thoughts? How often does what He says affect my day and my schedule? How often does my loyalty to Him alone cause me to abhor the things that pull me away from Him?
We are far too apathetic about this Man. I can argue about His identity – I can read about it – I can watch good arguments about it. But can I live like He really is God? Can I love like it’s true?
That is the part of the quest I’m on. Join me.
“The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks;
He summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.” -Psalm 50:1
Even as it set there on our conversation about who this Mighty One was.