November 29

Text: Acts 2:36

"Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."  (NASB)

The foundation of the New Testament message is the identity of the person we know as Jesus.  The basic question (not the only one) asked by the Jewish people of Jesus’ time was this: “Is Jesus the Messiah (the Christ) that God promised Israel?”  The basic question (not the only one) asked by non-Jewish people after Jesus’ death was this: “Did the resurrection actually happen?” (See Acts 17:32.)

There were many questions.  “Why would God send someone to such poor, lowly circumstances?”  “How could mortals kill someone God sent?”  “Why would God allow mortals to kill His immortal son?”  “Why would God send His son to a small, insignificant nation?”  These were some of their questions. 

Jesus’ power and resurrection did not make his identity a “slam dunk” then!  As today, some believed and some did not. Faith (then and now) was an option.  How many believed then is impressive.  How many made a conscious choice to reject is also impressive.  Always, faith in Jesus involves the person.

Though there have been radical cultural shifts and scientific developments, there are also ways little has changed.  Just as then, there are many religions.  Just as then, there are many ways to view human life and the world.  Just as then, Jesus’ identity is the central issue—was he an incredibly good man? a bad, deceitful man? a fantasy figure? from God?  Just who and what he was—a person who exploited expectations? a myth? a fulfillment to divine promises?—determined what people did.

As then, your decision about his identity will determine belief or rejection.  As two thousand years ago, you still decide for you who he is.  As two thousand years ago, his identity will decide who you are.

Suggestion for reflection: What have you decided about Jesus?  (Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell