Any of you who know me know that I am passionate about influencing people to read the Bible. Why am I so insistent? Because that is the only place on earth to find real answers, real truth. People can look everywhere–all kinds of religion, spirituality, self-help books, humanistic philosophies, and plain ol’ pop culture trends, but all of those will fail you. I guarantee it. They will fail you either in this life (which is better) or when you reach the next (which is eternally and unchangeably worse). We must go back to the Bible. Here’s an example…
When we read the Bible thoughtfully, carefully, amazing things will leap off the page. I have read the Gospel of John dozens of times, maybe 100 times. I really don’t know. But I read it again recently and discovered something I’d never seen before. Look at the progression of who Jesus is perceived to be in John’s Gospel, Chapter 4:
First he is observed to be, “a Jew” (4:9) (One of a great multitude)
But then, “A Prophet” (4:19) (One of an esteemed few)
Third: “The Christ” (4:29) (One unique and foretold individual)
Fourth: “Savior of the World“ (4:42) (This, to me, points to his being God himself)
Also, imagine how amazing Jesus must’ve been to see and hear. After only two days, the townspeople in that area of Samaria came to a staggering conclusion. They didn’t think Jesus was simply a Jew.
They didn’t simply esteem him to be a prophet.
They weren’t merely convinced he was the long-awaited Messiah, the Christ.
No, even greater than that, to a man and to a woman they concluded after being with him some 48 hours that this Man had to be none other than the very Savior of the World.
What ordinary man could have that kind sway over people?
Jesus had no army. No technology. No clever slight-of-hand or gimmicks with which to trick them. He did not have so much as the fiery zeal and wilderness presence of John the Baptist to captivate his audience.
This Man did not travel with the awe-inspiring pomp that comes with descending the presidential stairs from an Air Force One.
The Scriptures say he wasn’t even strikingly handsome! “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2) It wasn’t like a Brad Pitt in his prime came to town to wow and woo. This was a man so nondescript and unimposing that children gave no thought to running up to him. This was a man so ordinary looking that on the night of his arrest, when the Roman soldiers came to Gethsemane, they had to be tipped off as to which man standing before them they were to seize.
He had none of that. All he had was himself.
And He was Everything.
“In him was life, and the light was the light of men…full of grace and truth.” John 1:4,14
There were only ever two reactions when Jesus came into a town. In the area of the Gerasenes (Gadarenes), where Jesus cleansed the demoniac, we’re told, “Then all the people of the surrounding county…asked him to depart from them…” (Luke 8:37). Likewise, in a different village in Samaria Luke records their very different reaction, “the people did not receive him…” (9:53).
The same is true today. Every person who has ever heard of Jesus arrived at some conclusion about him. He was a myth. He was a man. Or, like these Samaritans, by the enabling of the Spirit in their lives, they see his power and see for themselves that he is, “indeed the Savior of the world.”
Here’s my question then: Who is Jesus to you?