Monday, August 28, 2017

Who is Jesus?

The title of Jesus reveal something of His identity and they also give us a hint as to the meaning of His activity. Though we may distinguish between person and work, we must never isolate one from the other.

No title captures His work more completely than the title Savior. The believers of the early church bore witness to this when they used the sign of the fish as their cryptic signal of recognition. The acrostic formed by the letters of the Greek word for “fish,” ixous, spell out: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.

God Himself named Jesus as an infant. Jesus means “the Lord saves” or “the One through whom the Lord saves.” Thus Jesus’ own name carries within it the idea of savior. His titles—Logos, Messiah, Son of Man—all indicate Jesus’ qualifications to be the Savior of men. He alone has the credentials to offer atonement, to triumph over death, to reconcile people to God.

Here is where the relevance of Jesus crashes into our lives, bringing crisis in its wake. Here is where we step over the line of detached scholarly investigation into the realm of personal vulnerability. We argue endlessly over matters of religion and philosophy, about ethics and politics—but each person must ultimately face the personal issue squarely: “What do I do about my sin?”

That I sin and that you sin is debated by none save the most dishonest of men. We sin. We violate each other. We assault the holiness of God. What hope do we have in such dreadful turmoil? We can deny our sin or even the existence of God. We can exclaim that we are not accountable for our lives. We can invent a God who forgives everybody without requiring repentance. All such avenues are established in delusion. There is but one who qualifies as Savior. He alone has the ability to solve our most abysmal dilemma. He alone has the power of life and death.

Jesus, of course, had many other titles and all of them tell us who He is. Contained in them, however, is a thesaurus of insights into what He did. His person and His work meet in the drama of life.