Issue 957 – Who is? – January 13, 2023
I brought back (and updated) a classic Gleanings this morning, as I have had a discussion on this very topic recently, and it comes up frequently.
Arguably the most important question ever asked is, “Who is Jesus?” You can answer it in many ways, but there is only one correct answer. The nature of your existence depends on your answer and response to His claims.
If Jesus was simply a good, moral and ethical teacher who was mistaken about being God, we could dismiss Him as being delusional. If Jesus knew that He wasn’t God, we could dismiss His claims as those of a liar. If, on the other hand, He was who He claimed to be, we need to pay attention.
Jesus asked Peter and the other disciples this very question.
[Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-19
Peter’s answer is true but incomplete in many ways.
The way we answer Jesus’ question reveals the truth of our hearts. It also separates the Christian from the non-Christian.
The proper and complete answer typically requires some form of formula or creed. Creeds are not inspired in the manner that the biblical texts are. They are intentional statements or explanations and are accurate to the degree that they correctly represent the truth of Scripture.
I have attended many churches with a steadfast determination to avoid any form of creed or confession. Such groups aim to prevent putting man-made traditions ahead of Scripture. That is a good goal, yet at the same time, every time we try to define Jesus, we make a theological or creedal statement.
To say, “No creed but Christ” is a laudable effort and sounds very spiritual, but it is all but meaningless since it doesn’t define Christ. It can hold value only if people keep to the same unspoken understanding of who Jesus is. In other words, it rests on an unarticulated creed and falls flat.
Creeds or confessions are not God-breathed like the Scriptures. They are accurate only to the degree that they accurately describe what the Scriptures teach. Still, they are immensely beneficial in articulating what we understand from the Word.
The early church ecumenical councils wrestled with the issue of articulating their beliefs. The Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon were not attempting to create a new understanding of the nature of Christ. Instead, they wanted a clear and accurate description of what the true church believed the Bible taught, contrary to some heretical views. You can search Nicene Creed and Creed of Chalcedon if you want more information. You might be more familiar with the so-called “Apostle’s Creed.”
Those creeds are seminal works, but sometimes a new statement can be helpful. The Ligonier Statement of Christology attempts to do so. It makes no effort to change the meaning of earlier creeds. It just restates the beliefs expressed within and paints a beautiful picture.
We confess the mystery and wonder
of God made flesh
and rejoice in our great salvation
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
With the Father and the Holy Spirit,
the Son created all things,
sustains all things,
and makes all things new.
He became truly man,
two natures in one person.
He was born of the Virgin Mary
and lived among us.
Crucified, dead, and buried,
He rose on the third day,
ascended to heaven,
and will come again
in glory and judgment.
He kept the Law,
atoned for sin,
and satisfied God’s wrath.
He took our filthy rags
and gave us
His righteous robe.
He is our Prophet, Priest, and King,
building His church,
interceding for us,
and reigning over all things.
Jesus Christ is Lord;
we praise His holy Name forever.
To view the explanatory notes and documentation, visit https://christologystatement.com. It is a worthwhile study.
This is the Christ that I confess. He is my Lord.
In Him, I trust for my salvation and I long to be with him for eternity.
Who is Jesus to you? The answer matters.
Hallelu Yah / Praise God
Gleanings From The Word
Experience an extraordinary God in ordinary life.
Soli Deo Gloria (For the glory of God alone)
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is from the English Standard Version (ESV).
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