Who is Jesus Really?

Dec 9, 2018

Who is Jesus really? That’s the issue we’re tackling in our Advent series: “They Will Call His Name.”

The question matters to us because it mattered to Jesus. In conversation with the people of His day, He was relentless about pressing home His identity. In fact, He wouldn’t even discuss His saving mission with them until they acknowledged who He was: “Jesus said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.  24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.’  25 So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.  28…When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.'” John 8:23-25, 28

Why does Jesus argue so strenuously over this? Why doesn’t He simply say, “Look, I am going to pay for your sin so you can be right with God by faith for free! Isn’t that good news? Just believe so you can have everything I’m offering.”

Apparently Jesus can’t just say that because they need to know and believe more than that. His identity as God in the flesh matters to His mission. He can’t save the world if the world doesn’t know exactly who He is. Even His saving death confirms His saving identity (v28).

It’s a highly relevant point for our culture, especially around Christmas. Christmas is a time deliberately built on myths and feelings, not careful inquiry into facts and truth. Even Santa Claus, the iconic face of Christmas, is a fiction that’s treated with a wink and a smile. Everybody knows it’s a joke, but it’s such a nice, warm-feeling joke. After all, who can criticize a man who stands for peace, love, hope, and joy—even if that figure is a myth?! Jesus obviously felt otherwise.

This Advent, we’ll see that Jesus’ names tell the true story of who He is. What we’ll discover along the way is that His identity is the truth we must embrace in order to experience the peace, love, hope, and joy that Christmas really offers.