“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’” Matthew 16:13-15 ESV
What do you think you would say to that?
We get a lot of chances to sit down and talk with other Christians and non-Christians alike about the character of Jesus. I got an awesome opportunity to do this after a Large Group meeting (worship nights with our fellowship on campus). Our “After Hours” challenge was something of a survey. We were charged to go out and find out what people think about who Jesus is. It was definitely interesting to hear everyone’s different answers to the question. Some said he wasn’t real, some people said he was just a man, and some people believed in Him the same way we do. But often, the tables turned and we were asked the same question. It’s something really interesting to think about. I noticed that often, we answer one of two ways.
We tend to answer with two styles – what Jesus is, and who Jesus is. Both of these are equally important in explaining who Jesus is, and they’re both incredibly interesting to explore.
What is Jesus?
Alright, so I’m not asking if Jesus was a person – at least I don’t think the Bible tells us he’s a rock or a bear or something – but I’m leaning towards what are the things that make Jesus who He is? What is His character? I’d love to share a few of my favorites!
- Comforter. There are so many awesome examples we get to see of Jesus being a comforter in the Bible. He supports us in what we do, and is a source of comfort for us when we are anxious, stressed, tired, hurting… “Cast all your cares on me, because I care for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
- Healer. This is one of the things we talked about in church a few Sundays ago when the Canaanite woman approached Jesus to have her daughter healed. She had complete faith in Him to heal her daughter, and approached Him humbly for help – and He healed her daughter instantly. “‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.” Matthew 15:28 ESV
- Prayerful. This is something I strive to be in my own life. So I find it incredibly helpful to have Jesus as an example to look to in this. He prayed no matter how busy he was. He made His relationship with God intentional, a priority. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35 NIV
Who is Jesus?
When we talk about who people are, we don’t just talk about what they’re like. We include how we know them, where they’re from, who they’re related to, and more. This is the other side of how we can try to explain who Jesus is. We can look to the Bible for those answers. Amidst a storm of conflicting views and opinions, as I got to experience in our “After Hours” exploration, we have a perfect, unchanging resource to tell us the answer.
“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.'” Matthew 16:16 NIV
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31 NIV
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV
There are so many more examples of this I could have used here – but I think you probably got the point by now of how awesome the Bible is as a resource to learn more about Jesus, and for so many other reasons! I’d like to challenge you this week to think about the question of “Who do you say that I am?” What are your favorite “character traits” of Jesus? Which are the ones you feel you have to work on the most as you look to Jesus as an example? If someone were to ask you today, “Who is Jesus?” how would you answer?
I’ll be praying for each of you as you explore these questions, and over the conversations you have about these questions.