Jesus Was NOT Just a Nice Guy: Who Do You Say He Is?
Jesus was walking down the road one day with his disciples and he asked them two questions. Now, anytime God asks a question, you best sit up, take notice, you're about to learn something. It doesn't happen that often, but occasionally we're reading the Bible and God actually asks a question, which is a real learning moment. The first time it happens in the Bible is Genesis in chapter three, Adam and Eve are in the garden and God shows up and God says, "Where are you?" It's an interesting question because the person asking the question already has all the answers to every question.
It's a little bit like when your kids come home, you say, where have you been? You're not asking, because you want to know, you're asking because you want them to know that you already know. In the same way, God came into the garden and he said, Adam, where are you? Not because God didn't know where Adam was, but God wanted Adam to know where Adam was. And we had this same experience in the Gospels, Jesus is walking down the road one day with these disciples and he asked them two questions. First question he asked them is, "Who do people say that I am?" The disciples say, "Well, some say you're John Baptist back from the dead. And others say you're Elijah. And some say you're one of the great prophet." And then Jesus turns to them and says, "And who do you say that I am?"
I call that the Jesus question. And everyone has to answer the Jesus question, Christian, non-Christian, everyone has to answer the Jesus question sooner or later in their lives and not answering the question is answering the question. Jesus turns to his disciples and says, "Okay, but who do you say that I am?" And even as you're reading the scriptures, you can sort of get the sense that that was a bit of an awkward moment for the disciples, sort of looking at each other, I don't know. Is that a trick question? You take this one, Peter. And of course, Peter steps up and says, "You're the Christ. You're the son of the living God."
Now, if Jesus showed up here this afternoon, after the break, and he said to Jeff, "Jeff, can I speak to the people for a couple of minutes?" And Jeff said, "All right, Jesus, but just a couple. We've got a schedule here to keep."
And Jesus stood up here before us this afternoon and said, listen, I got two questions for you. Question number one, 2013, modern day America, who do people say that I am? We'd have to tell him. We'd have to tell him. We'd have to tell him, you know what, Jesus, most people, they just want to reduce you to a nice guy. And not the nice guy, but just one of the nice guys. There's lots of nice guys and Jesus is one of the nice guys. And that's tragic, isn't it? But our culture, our society wants to reduce Jesus to just a nice... I think if Jesus said, well, who do you think that I am? And you say, well, you're a nice guy, Jesus, Jesus probably slap you. Okay. He wouldn't because he's nonviolent. But I tell you what, he would go temple. Because Jesus didn't claim to be a nice guy. And I think to reduce Jesus to nice guy is one of the tragedies of secularism and of modern culture.
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