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When Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say I am?” (Matt. 16:15), each replied with a different answer. “Some say John the Baptist; others Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” (Matt. 16:14). It’s one of the most profound questions we followers of Christ have ever been asked, and we’re still wrestling with our answer two thousand years later.
In the centuries following Jesus’ death, a variety of conflicting views regarding the nature of Christ threatened to undermine one of the most fundamental Christian beliefs – that Jesus was the Savior of humanity. The situation needed to be clarified. Early theologians reviewed the biblical data. What emerged was a coherent view of Christ’s nature.
In order to be our Savior, Jesus must be fully God, since only God can save. No created creature can spiritually save another. Only the creator can redeem his creation. But Jesus also had to be fully human, since only a human being could stand in our place and pay the penalty for our sins. Therefore, in order for Jesus to be the Savior, he has to be fully God and fully man. Any other view, no matter how sincerely held, is contrary to the Biblical evidence.
However, there are still people who find this hard to accept. They may acknowledge that Jesus was a great teacher. But God? No – that’s going too far. C.S. Lewis addressed this line of thinking in his classic book Mere Christianity.
“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… or the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon 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. He did not intend to.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
I choose to fall at his feet and call him Lord. I hope and pray that you do too.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of Life.