The biggest issue in the religious world today can be summarized in three words: Who is Jesus? In the past few years several best-selling books have radically challenged what people believe about Jesus. From that, another 35 or 40 books were spawned, all either affirming or refuting the basic premise of who Christ really is. Among Christians and non-Christians alike, there’s been quite a stir recently, and I believe that’s rooted in something deeper than just the 45 million copies sold on the subject.
There’s a movement going on that raises the question “Who is Jesus, really?”
In the Gospel of Mark, Mark is addressing a Roman audience. Chapter eight is the apex of the book, and in Mark 8:27-29, while walking with his disciples and Jesus asks his disciples two important questions. He says, “Who do people say that I am?” Then he asked, “Who do YOU say that I am?”
Before examining their response, it’s important to look at WHY Jesus poses these questions to his disciples, the very people who arguably knew him best.
A genuine relationship begins with an accurate view of the other person. Whether it’s dating, friendship or a business relationship, perception is a foundational component. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone you thought you knew well only to have a piece of information surface that somehow calls into question their character or motive? The outcome in this scenario is rarely good.
Jesus understood that when it came to his disciples, the men who would be responsible for transforming the entire world that first and foremost, they had to know with their whole heart, and with their entire mind the answer to the question “Who is this Jesus?”
As a follower of Jesus, you need to be able to answer the same question.
I don’t mean habitual agreement with the stories you’ve been taught from childhood. What I mean is when the question arises “Who is Jesus, really?” you should have an intellectual and a heart response that’s based on absolute conviction resulting from your own research and evaluation. It’s impossible to have a relationship with Christ without firsthand knowledge of who Jesus is, what he’s done, what he’s said and the evidence that supports these truths.
Why is this so important? Because just as in Christ’s time on earth, there are many views on who Jesus really is. The question is isn’t a new one, and it isn’t unique. Your answer, however, is essential to the vitality and authenticity of your life as a follower of Christ.
This week we’re beginning a new series called “Who is Jesus, Really? Man, Myth or Messiah?” Through it, we’ll take a 360-degree look at the makeup of Jesus. We’ll weigh the evidence against popular opinion and take a deeper look at how the actions and words of Christians influence others on the matter.
My prayer for you is that this study will challenge you to conduct your own investigation of who Jesus really is. As you do, you’ll discover new conviction that’s based in your personal knowledge of the Son of God. Understanding the truth about the very essence of who Jesus is will forever transform your life, empower your relationship with God and equip you to share that joy with others.
Keep Pressin’ On,
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip