If I was to ask you about, say, your spouse, boy/girlfriend, best friend, parent, or relative, how would you describe them? For example, if I was to look at one of your best friends and ask, “who’s that?” What would you say? How would you describe them to me? Would you share with me about their background, like where they work, their grades in school, shoe size, name of parents, age/grade, etc., or would you explain who he/she is to you?
Now, if I asked you “Who is Jesus,” what would you say? “He’s God’s one and only Son”; “Lord and Savior”; “The Messiah or Christ”…? It’s good to see you remember what you learned in Sunday school as a child, isn’t it? But you didn’t answer my question. Here, let me rephrase it some…”Who is Jesus…to you?” What is your personal relationship with Jesus like? Do you have one, or is it more of “an understanding” or religious practice?
I’ve found that many Christians around the world don’t know how to answer this question. Why? I mean, sure, we all know that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into Hades and on the 3rd day, He was risen and now sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty (Apostles’ Creed). But do we know why God went through all this for us? Yes, “God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son…” (John 3:16), but what was God after? What was the reason He did all this?
To answer this, we look to Genesis 3:8-9, where we learn that God walked among and with all of His creation in the Garden of Eden. In the same way that you and your best friends hang out together, God walked with His creation, whom He called “good”. But since sin has been in the picture, this awesome relationship has been tainted, and creation has separated itself from God. But as we read through the Old Testament, Noah; Abram; Joseph; the Exodus; the continuous message that God communicated through the prophets; we’ll find that God continuously attempted to regain the original relationship with His creation. Even in Cain’s response to his punishment (Genesis 4:14), we find that God was present among them…God didn’t have to be, God wanted to be.
But as time went on, people’s hearts became hardened by whatever reasons. Many liked what they were getting from their idols, or were more afraid of their king than of God. Some figured that with all they had, they didn’t need God, and many just went through the religious motions. But both Isaiah and Micah communicated that the people’s religious practices were meaningless. God didn’t want them to sacrifice animals because they were told to…God wanted their hearts; genuine repentance; surrendering of their full selves, thus opening the chance of mending the broken relationship between them. God wanted us to return to Him, to accept Him as our God…God wanted His creation to love Him back. The fact that we know God as a Trinitarian creature tells us that God is a communal God…He wants – commands – fellowship among and with His creation.
“For God so loved the world (kosmos: the cosmos…everything He created) that He gave His One and only Son…” Why? “So that all who believe in Him may not perish, but have eternal life.” WHY? So that by accepting Jesus as Lord, we may be restored to son-ship with Him, and not only will God live among us, but He will send His Own Spirit so that He may also live IN us.
But we still push God away at times, don’t we? Times become difficult, busy, or comfortable. We either think we don’t need Him, or that we’re not worthy of Him; our obedience becomes meaningless routine; this is what was happening among the Christians in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). But even then, Jesus pursues us in love. For in Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Listen, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If you hear my voice and open the door, I’ll come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.” The world is coming to an end as we know it, yet even in the last moments, Jesus stands at your door, calls out to you, and knocks.
Do you recognize Jesus’ voice? Do you know Him well? Do you open the door? Do you hang out with Jesus regularly? Do you love Him back? Do you know Him personally? Does He live among and within you?
Who is Jesus to you?