Everyone has an opinion on who Jesus was. In fact, I’d venture to guess that people have assigned more identities to Jesus than any other human being to have ever walked this planet! Part of that has to do with the supreme importance Jesus has to history- as Yale historian Jaroslav Pelican said,
“Regardless of what someone may personally think or believe about Him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in Western Culture for almost twenty centuries.”
In easier terms, we even divided time as BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domini or the year of our Lord if you aren’t up on your Latin). Virtually every field of study bears marks of Christ- from art to music to literature to science- there isn’t a realm of our world that hasn’t been influenced by Jesus’ life, even if only indirectly through His passionate followers pursuing truth. That makes it extraordinarily important that we know who Jesus was and is. As He asked Peter, the all important question is, “Who do you say I am?” That is the question we are all looking to answer- and the question that ought to be informed more by what He said than what someone else says!
That’s why we’re picking up the gospel of John to read what Jesus had to say about Himself. Discovering who He said He was should inform our opinion and belief about who He is to us. In John’s gospel, Jesus says the words, “I am…” frequently. “I am..” seems innocuous enough, but we also need to understand the implications that phrase has culturally in first century Judaism. I am is a simple translation of the Jewish tetragrammaton- יהוה- or Yaweh, the name of God Himself. I am who I am, I am who I have been, and I am who I will be are all wrapped up in that one simple word. In Jewish culture the name of God was so holy they never said it, they didn’t even write it completely! Instead you’d see Y-H or another variation, with modern Jewish writers going so far as to write G-d instead of God because of their reverence for the name. Yet, throughout John we see Jesus saying, “I am…” frequently. This had to be on purpose- so it falls on us to figure out why. Jesus says He is the light of the world, the bread of life, the door, the good shepherd, the resurrection & the life, the way, the truth, and the life, and the true vine. Do you know what He meant when He said those things? Want to find out what Jesus meant by all those names He said He was?
Join us as we take a deep dive into Jesus’ own words about Himself and discover for yourself who Jesus is- because that’s the answer to the question that matters. When it all comes down, who do you say He is?