about 2000 years ago, a roman governor by the name of pilate asked this question. he had been approached by a group of leaders from the jewish faith who insisted that this jewish carpenter named Jesus from the small village of Nazareth be put to death for blasphemy. pilate knew nothing about Him. to be honest, he could probably care less about Jesus, as long as He wasn’t threatening the roman rule.
but, the question remained. this jewish man had created quite a stir. some people loved Him and came to Him for his healing powers. this resulted in huge crowds that followed Him everywhere He went. like some sort of present day celebrity, He routinely had to work to escape these crowds of people.
others, however, weren’t quite so fond of Him. the Jewish leaders of the day didn’t think too highly of this man who didn’t live according to their customs: He routinely ate and drank with ‘sinners,’ he healed those in need on the sabbath, and, worst of all, He claimed to be God.
this seems to be a point that many people like to gloss over. some people have no problem saying Jesus was a great guy, but they will absolutely not believe that this man was God. Jesus wasn’t put to death for being a nice guy. he was put to death for stating that He and the Lord of all creation, the One who the jewish church who had been worshiping for centuries, were one. that’ s quite the claim.
now, if Jesus were some loony who was known for making crazy claims, attempting to fly and partaking in other craziness, then there would be little reason to think twice about this Jesus guy. we’ve had plenty of crazies throughout the years and this one would deserve our time no more than the next. but the thing about Jesus is that He wasn’t known for being deranged.
i am not a huge fan of the Chronicles of Narnia series (not that i dislike it, just didn’t get into it), but i do remember a scene in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where the older siblings are fed up with their sister who claims she could walk through a closet and into an alternate universe. they bring up their frustration to the professor, an older gentleman who owns the house they’re staying at and where the said closet resides, and when they tell the professor about their sister’s ‘crazy’ claims, rather than laughing or joining in the campaign to call her a liar, he asks them if their sister is known for telling stories. after some thought, they reply “no.” “so,” the professor says, “perhaps she is telling the truth then.”
the point i am making is that if Jesus wasn’t just some crazy guy from a little rinky dink town looking for some attention, if He wasn’t known for making crazy claims, then it makes sense to at least consider what He said to be true. perhaps He really was who He said He was, God in the flesh.
this of course isn’t a strong enough argument to make anyone believe that the man named Jesus who lived 2000 years ago really was who He claimed to be, nor was it meant to be. rather, this is a plea to all who would read it to at least consider the question, “what am i to do with this man called Jesus?”
if he’s not who He says He is, then He was simply a man who died a terrible death, and one who just happened to claim He was God. but he’s certainly not the first to do that. and, as a result, all who believe in Him for eternal salvation are to be pitied more than any other people who have ever lived. for, if His claims aren’t true, then Christians have believed in Him and trusted in him for saving grace in vain. the apostle Paul, a man who’s life was literally transformed from killing Christians to telling everyone he could about the goodness of Christ, puts it best.
if, however, He really is God in the flesh, the One who came to die and rise again so that all who would believe in Him would receive eternal life with the Father, then that changes everything. if His claims to be The Lord are true, if He really did live a life of perfection and die an unjust death in our place so that we can go free, then He deserves all we have. our lives should be lived out in a way that brings Him glory and more people to Him.
“What are we to do with this man called Jesus?”
it’s a question with infinite implications. there’s no middle ground. no maybies. it’s a question that, eventually, everyone will need to answer.