March 22 I Monday
“A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.’” —Luke 9:35
If we were to poll non-Christians on whether Jesus was God, we would get many different answers, but most in the negative. Jews claim that Jesus was an ordinary Jewish man and an effective preacher, but His legacy was ruined by followers who claimed He was divine. Muslims believe Jesus was the penultimate prophet, superseded only by Mohammed 600 years later. Mormons affirm Jesus is the Son of God, but not that He is eternal or equal with the Father. Jehovah’s Witnesses say Jesus is God’s first creation, not God Himself. The most common answer is that Jesus was merely a great teacher, arguably one of history’s best, but not divine.
Some argue against Jesus’s divinity because He never outright said the words, “I am God,” but many things He did say must lead us to conclude that He was, in fact, divine. John 8 provides many examples, but two stand out. The first is John 8:23, where Jesus says, “You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” Jesus is clearly distinguishing His heavenly origins from the rest of humanity. Then, in John 8:58, He says, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” Jesus claims to be both eternal and divine in this verse by referring to Himself by the name God revealed to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).
The thing that sets Jesus apart from every other religious leader in history is that all of Jesus’s teachings were centred on Himself. Where others said, “I will show you the way,” Jesus said, “I am the way.” Where others said, “I will feed you the bread of life,” Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” Where others said, “I will switch on the light,” Jesus said, “I am the light.” His invitation is always, “Come to Me. Then abide in Me.”
The biggest myth about Jesus is that He was just a good teacher. Good teachers do not speak the way Jesus spoke. His claims to divinity leave us with two options: He is either a lunatic, or He is who He claimed to be. If a lunatic, we must wrestle with how a madman’s teachings have so drastically changed the world. But if He is who He claimed to be, then we must take very seriously what He said. Jesus is God, and He did not come to earth only to leave us His teachings and be on His way. He has given us Himself—through the Holy Spirit—to be in us, with us and through us, confirming all that He claimed to be.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, You are so much more than just a good teacher. Thank You that You are all that You claimed to be. Praise You!