Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who is Jesus?

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Acts 2:22-36

TO CHEW ON: "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses .... Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:32,36

Understanding Jesus' identity was a process, even for the disciples. It is illuminating to see how many times Jesus alerts His close followers to who He is and how that will play out. Here's a sampling:

Still they don't understand. Peter is especially forward in voicing his disapproval of Jesus' prediction that He will suffer and die. In Mark 8 after Jesus says plainly what His fate will be, Peter takes Him aside and rebukes Him.

Later, when Jesus asks His disciples, who they say He is and Peter gives the right answer: "The Christ of God," Jesus again reminds them of His fate, that He will "be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” Luke 9:22.

When these predictions become actual events Peter is the most adamant that Jesus' arrest is a big mistake (he actually attacks one of the soldiers, cutting off his ear). He is then so shaken that he betrays Jesus by insisting to those who identify him as one of Jesus' disciples, that he doesn't even know Him.

Despite this thickness, God doesn't give up on Peter or the rest of the disciples. At the tomb, the angels reiterate what Jesus has been saying (Luke 24:6-7). Later, the disciples who encounter Jesus on the road to Emmaus get another teaching session about how Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecies in the writings of Moses, the psalms and the prophets (Luke 24:13-27).

In our reading today we see that Peter finally gets it. He proclaims boldly, "This Jesus God has raised up of which we are all witnesses .... Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus both Lord and Christ."

Watching this process brings two things to mind:

1. I wonder how often we don't hear the things we don't want to hear. That seems to have been the disciples' problem. They had an idea of who Jesus was but thought that He would establish an earthly kingdom. So anything that didn't fit with that, they didn't hear. Are we so different? Do we take to heart the things Jesus said, for example, about the last days in Matthew 24 and 25, and as a result live alert?

2. Each one of us must come to our own conclusion about who Jesus is. Do we believe He is just another good prophet in a parade of prophets that have walked this earth — as a majority of earth's inhabitants would believe? Or do we believe He really is who He said He was — God the Son, who died in our stead so that we can be reconciled with God the Father? Our eternal fate hangs on our answer.

May we, through the Holy Spirit, experience what the disciples did that day on the Road to Emmaus: "And He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures" (Luke 24:46).

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for coming as the fulfillment of prophetic scripture to die for me. Help me to understand the Bible and apply it to my life. Amen.

MORE: "My Deliverer is Coming" - Rich Mullins

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  1. Hi Violet, I identify with the deaf and blind disciples so often!

    Thank you for the beautiful slide show with Rich Mullins, one of my favourite singers. I loved it.

  2. Thanks Belinda! And I'm afraid I too identify with the deaf and blind myself more often than not...


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