Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reflections from the book of John #7: Where is that man and who is he anyway?

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic--on the level of with a man who says he is a poached egg--or he would be the devil of hell.  You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Jesus is a hard guy to figure out.  I mean, who is this guy who goes around blasting the religious establishment,  heals lepers and Samaritans, and hangs out with so-called sinners?

He says God sent him, that he comes from heaven.  He claims he is the Son of Man.  He claims he is the one they have all been waiting for.

But is he really?  Everyone wants the free food he hangs out at large gatherings.  Sick people definitely want him to heal them.  Blind people hope to see.  So he must be good, right?  It's not good to ask too many questions.

At the Feast of Tabernacles, people looked for Jesus, and since they can't find him, they talk about him instead.  Quietly.  Just in case the Pharisees are listening.

He's a good man, they say.
He can't possibly be a good man--he's lying when he says he comes from God.
Wow! He knows lots of stuff.
That's because he's demon possessed.
Maybe he's a Prophet.
Maybe he's the Messiah, the one who's going to deliver us from the Romans.

Who does Jesus say he is?

  • I am the good shepherd.
  • I am the light of the world. 
  • I am the bread of life.
  • I am the way, the truth, and the life.
  • I am the resurrection and the life.
And what does he say about himself?  
  • I am from my Father--he sent me.  
  • Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.  
  • I'm going back to the one who sent me.  
  • Streams of living water flow from within me.  
  • I am from above.
  • If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.  
  • Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.  

 But this is all academic.  We can study what Jesus says all day long, for several days, all year long, and at some point, we have to figure it out.  Who is Jesus?

Is he God?  Really?  Is he our deliverer?  Our healer?  Does he speak words of truth that come directly from God?  Or he is, as C.S. Lewis so aptly puts it, a madman "on the level of with a man who says he is a poached egg"?

If he's God, if God really sent him, we need to pay close attention to what he says and follow him carefully.

If he's not, then there's no use pretending that he's a good man.  Clearly he's crazy or worse. 


Anonymous said...

Great blog!

Don't you love the response of the healed man to the Pharisees in John 9. It cracks me up that this man who has been blind his entire life and is basically uneducated as far the religious leaders were concerned says to them, "Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from and yet He opened my eyes." Kinda like....okay guys, let's not be completely stupid here....THE MAN HEALED ME, don't you get that? He was as amazed by the blindness of the Pharisees as he was by his own newly given sight. I love it!

Erin Flew said...

I was reading that over again this morning, and I love a little later when he sees Jesus, and Jesus asks him, "So do you believe in the Messiah?"

The man responds, "Well, tell me who he is, because I'd really like to."

And Jesus tells the man, "You're looking at him."

The man is so excited, "I do believe. You're God!!! You're the one we're waiting for!"

His passion and his worship inspires me. Sometimes I take God's love and his gifts for granted.