Who is Jesus?
“He was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.”
Who is Jesus? The question is the most critical question we can ask in life. For some, Jesus was a good moral teacher, equal, but not greater, than other recognized religious leaders such as Mohammed, Buddha, or Confucius. For others, He was just a man who sought to bring social justice but tragically died at the hands of imperialist Romans. For some, He was the founder of Christianity, whose message is recorded by the writers of the New Testament. However, the message about Christ is flawed, for the human writers who wrote the Bible distorted His message, so we must deconstruct the story of Jesus. Finally, for others, He was divine, a prophet, but not equal with the Father. In this passage, Christ clarifies three common misconceptions people have about Him.
First, we see Christ clarifying His divine nature. In this passage, we find one of the most precise affirmations Christ makes of His divine nature and His unity with the Father. For all their hostility toward Jesus, the religious leaders understood one thing. Jesus was not merely claiming to be a prophet; He claimed to be equal with God. He was claiming to be God Himself. What is remarkable is that Jesus did not correct them. If He was merely a prophet from God, He would have quickly corrected this misunderstanding. If not, He would have either been delusional (thinking He was God, when in reality He was not) or evilly deceptive (making a claim that He knew was false). If He is either of these, He is no longer a good, moral teacher; He is evil and misguiding. However, there is a third option that Christ goes on to affirm. The third option is that He is divine, equal with God. This is what gives us insight into the Trinity. Jesus is equal with God, sharing the divine nature, but is still distinct from the Father (otherwise, He would have stated He was the Father). However, He does not work independently from the Father. Instead, He works in cooperation with the Father. So that He only does the will of the Father.
Second, Christ clarifies His divine power. Christ is more than just a moral teacher who teaches God and communicates a moral foundation. Christ is the one who gives life to those who follow Him. This life is not just physical life but spiritual and eternal life. To embrace Christ is recognizing that eternal life can only come through Him. He is the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father apart from Him (John 14:6). The Father has given Jesus the power to give life, and it is only through Him that eternal life can be obtained.
Last, Christ clarifies His authority. He not only gives life, but He also brings judgment upon those who reject Him. Many people minimize this statement. They make Christ into a cosmic teddy bear who loves and accepts all people and calls us to do the same. While Christ loves all people and will accept us despite our failures and sins, He will only do so to those who accept him as their savior and obey His commands. Those who reject His message, those who choose to disobey His commands, will come under His divine judgment. Christ is both the Savior and Judge. He gives eternal life to those who believe in Him, but He pronounces eternal judgment to those who reject Him. Who do you believe Jesus is? How you answer this question will determine your eternal destiny.