Who do you think this Jesus of Nazareth is?
Let me remind you what we’ve all seen and heard about Him. Many heard his teaching, and they were astonished at it. He didn’t teach like the other teachers, simply stringing together a long catena of what other teachers have said. Nor did he simply quote the Scriptures. He amazed and astonished because he taught on his own authority and that of God directly, saying things like, “You have heard it said . . . but I say to you . . . .”
Even more amazing to some of the eyewitnesses was when he confronted a man possessed by a demon. Most of the people were terrified and just wanted to quietly creep away. But he walked right up to this demon and told it to “Shut Up” and come out of the man. This was Jesus’ most astonishing word yet, because by simply saying, “Shut up and come out,” the demon shut up and came out!
Who is this, whose word is a deed and who makes things happens just by speaking?
Now on the same day when he had taught with authority and cast out a demon with a word, he went and visited the house of one of his disciples, Simon. When he found Simon’s mother-in-law sick with a high fever, he rebuked the fever, and the fever left her.
Not bad for a day’s work!
Of course, there are stories that he also changed water into wine, rebuked wind and waves and made them stop, raised people from the dead, and had the power to forgive sins.
Who do you think this Jesus of Nazareth is?
If Jesus Christ really did all the things we’ve learned from the time we were children that He did (and He did), then what are we to think of Him in our lives? What do we really think and believe about Him, not just in our heads or as children who are supposed to believe, but in our hearts and as adults who must make their own choices?
As is so common, we can’t directly translate what Jesus did in 1st century Israel to our own time and place. This is true for the simple reason that Jesus Christ is not physically present in Tyler, Texas in 2013. Even if He were, there would be no guarantee that I’d see a miracle every day or even every year. And if I did, here, then you wouldn’t there because He would still have been bound in His human body to be in one place at a time.
But if Jesus Christ is still who He is and still has the same power and authority, where do we see Him today? I confess that I think it would be a lot easier if I saw one immediate miracle of the kind we see in the New Testament. I think it would make things easier, but the moment the miracle stopped and became a memory, I’d still have to go on living in relation to Jesus Christ and the miracle that He had done once upon a time.
The fact is that the disciples of Jesus Christ have always had to walk by faith. But our faith is not a naked or blind faith: it is enlightened by the Holy Scriptures and the things that Jesus began to do and to teach. It is enlightened by the things that Jesus continued to do and to teach in the book of Acts, and it is enlightened by the things that Jesus continues to do today. And we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, who guides us to Jesus Christ.
So now who do you think this Jesus of Nazareth is? If you believe Him to be the Lord God Almighty, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world, then what will you do today? How will you approach Him? What will you say to Him? And more importantly, what will you say and do when He speaks to you today?
If you really believe Jesus is who He says He is, then you know the answer. Now go out and speak and act as if you really believe!
Prayer: Jesus, I believe You to be my Lord, and I ask that You would strengthen my faith today. I confess that I don’t see You as well, or hear Your voice as well, or obey You as well as I would like to. I ask You to come to me today, in whatever way You desire, and that You would give me a humble heart and willing hands to receive You today. Amen.
Point for Meditation: Spend some time today remembering what you believe about Jesus Christ. How do you feel towards Him today? If you do not feel especially close, then spend some time asking Him to reveal Himself to you or to help your unbelieving heart or to remove obstacles from your sight. Or spend time reading part of one of the Gospels and imagining that you are in the story in which He appears.
Resolution: I resolve to put my faith into action in one specific way today. It might be by praying more earnestly or fervently to the One who I know can help, or reading His Word more intently, or serving someone or sharing Jesus Christ with a person more lovingly, etc.
© 2015 Fr. Charles Erlandson