Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up

When I was a kid, there was a game show on TV called “What’s My Line.” Three contestants would each claim to be a person with a particular job, often quirky. A group of panelists would ask them questions, then select who they thought was the real state champion Frisbee distance thrower, or whatever. At the end of each segment came the reveal — the person who was what he claimed to be, stood up.

In many ways, Jesus’s public ministry was a grueling inquiry into His line. Who are you, Jesus? Are you the Christ? I Am. Are you the King of the Jews? I Am. Are you the Son of God? I Am.

The questioning came from friend and foe alike. Jesus’s cousin, John (known best by his full name, John the Baptist 😉 ), was the first to identify Jesus as someone special, and yet he too asked the question, Are you the one we’re waiting for or is there to be someone else?

Jesus answered these questions in a variety of ways. Sometimes He elicited the answer from His disciples. Sometimes He referred to other witnesses, an especially effective approach in Jewish culture since two or more witnesses were required in a decision of law.

John (the gospel writer this time) records several of these exchanges. Here’s one:

You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. But the testimony which I receive is not from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. … You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; … For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.” (John 5:33-46, emphasis added)

Pretty impressive group of witnesses, and this without Jesus adding His own voice.

Of course, whenever He did stand up and say who He was, the Pharisees accused Him of blaspheme and tried to kill Him. And whenever He worked miracles — the signs the Pharisees asked for from time to time — they apparently missed them or disbelieved them.

Take Lazarus, for example. A dead man coming out of the grave four days after he’d been put there was a little hard to ignore, or disbelieve. Yet the Pharisees managed to pull it off and even determined to kill Lazarus because so many people were flocking around him and as a result believing in Jesus.

It seems apparent to me that evidence and witnesses were not lacking. The seeing blind man, the walking lame man, the living dead boy, the clean leper, the demon-free demonic — these all pointed to Jesus. Yet the onlookers thought He might be a prophet or, no, maybe Elijah, or wilder still, John the Baptist come back to life.

The wild explanations would stretch anyone’s imagination. Why not accept the truth? Why not take Him at His Word? “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” Or, “I and the Father are one.”

In the end, the real Jesus has been standing up all along.

Published in: on June 30, 2011 at 6:05 pm  Comments (3)  
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