Who is Jesus?; May 17, 2017

Matthew 16:15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

This is the single most important question for any human being on the face of the earth. How it is answered determines the eternal destiny of the one answering. It is the ultimate test of whether someone is a brother or sister in Christ or a deluded heretic. There are groups that use the name of Jesus and would like to be accepted as Christian, but their answer to this question exposes the devil’s schemes. Recently a prominent Mormon politician got publicly upset with the statements of one of the pastors who prayed at the dedication of the US embassy in Jerusalem, claiming he was a bigot for not accepting Mormons as Christian, when Paul said strongly, “Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:8) The Mormons teach that the angel Moroni revealed the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith, and that book claims that Jesus and Satan are brothers! There’s a lot more I could go into, but right there we have a disqualifying answer to Jesus’ question. Likewise, Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus was not the eternal Son of God, but rather was accepted as the son of God because he lived such a good life. There are many people who say that Jesus was a great teacher, but unless He is the Son of God to you, His cross was insufficient to take the penalty for your sins. Actually, there are probably members of groups like the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are saved, but it’s only because they deviate from the standard teaching of the group. Right in line with this is Paul’s statement that “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) There are many who have gone through the motions of baptism and the like without ever making Jesus their Lord. That’s not a different category of Christian, it’s part of the definition of Christian, and sadly, there are many who don’t meet it.

This is of course of vital importance to me, as it is to everyone. As a pastor, and particularly one serving in a largely non-Christian nation, it consumes my life. (If you read all of Romans 10, you see that it consumed Paul as well.) As Jesus said to Peter, who He is has to be revealed to us by God. However, as came out a few days ago, the big issue is whether we receive the revelation God offers us. I can’t save anyone with my own powers of persuasion. I know; I’ve tried! Even so, God can use me to open people’s eyes to Himself, so I’ve dedicated my life to being available for Him to do so. Knowing who Jesus is isn’t enough for me. I want everyone else to know Him too! All I can do is walk in faithfulness, speaking the truth in love so that the Holy Spirit may take my words and use them to touch people, so that they too may be brought to Peter’s confession, for their salvation and the glory of God.

Father, this is my eternal struggle. I so want those to whom I minister to open their hearts to You, submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord, but I can’t make it happen. I ask You to pour Your Spirit out on this city and this nation, so that the lies of the enemy may be exposed and people set free to repent and believe, for a mighty harvest in Your kingdom, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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