I just read the quote from C.S. Lewis that says the one thing you cannot say about Jesus is: that He is simply a great moral teacher. Jesus makes claims that are so far reaching that …
Well, if those claims are not true, if Jesus were not God but only a mere human being, then neither would He be any kind of a moral teacher. A man who claims to be God, and is not, is either out of his mind, or a deceiver. Make of Him what you will, but the one thing He cannot be is the one thing He refuses to be – a mere human being. He will not fit! He is not and can never be “lukewarm.”
Jesus makes claims, and each one of us is confronted with those claims. Reject Him, ignore Him, or worship Him. But Jesus has called the question, “What do you make of Jesus?” It is like He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? … [and then] But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13-16) Through His teaching, through His miracles, and through the questions He guides them to Peter’s response, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus makes claims:
- He is God. There is no in-between, and His claim is straightforward. “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am!” (John 8:58) Those who heard Him knew exactly what Jesus was claiming.
- He is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. On Easter Day Jesus walked with 2 of His followers and “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27)
- He is the only Savior. “No one comes to the Father except through” Him. (John 14:6) The disciples knew what that meant. It was Peter who said to the Ruling Council “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
- He is able to forgive sins, raise the dead, and give eternal life. Jesus said to the paralyzed young man, “My son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5) And Jesus claimed, “as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will.” (John 5:21)
But the most important claim of Jesus is that Jesus claims us. He claims you to be His own, to live in His kingdom in everlasting life and blessing. Again, accept or reject it, but that is His claim and that is how He comes to us. It can be disconcerting when someone steps into the world and sets down the claim that you belong to Him. Worship, or walk away, but He will not be anything else or anything less.
- Nicodemus faced that when Jesus looked him in the eye and said, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7) Jesus can and does confront.
- The woman at the well told everyone what it felt like, “Come see a man who told me all that I ever did.” (John 4:29) Jesus can be intrusive.
- The man born blind responded when Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah, “You have seen Him, and it is He who is speaking to you.” That man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped Him. (John 9:37-38) He brings blessings.
- Jesus laid claim to Mary Magdalene, as He called her name (John 20:16); Thomas, inviting him to put his finger into the nail holes (John 20:27); and Paul with the words, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:5) And He can be very personal.
In claiming you, Jesus says that He owns you and wants you to follow Him, have life “abundantly” (John 10:10) , see His glory (John 17:24) , be raised, transformed, glorious, and live forever. He makes the claim by carrying your sins on the cross. And again, He makes the claim by speaking His Gospel and filling your soul with His Words.
When the time comes Jesus will claim us by calling us out of the grave, and gathering with us before His Father. The prophecy says, “He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17) There is an amazing sweetness when the claims of Jesus and the victory of Jesus is exactly this; that we are eternally blessed beyond anything that we could ever dream of. And when our being blessed is what prompts and moves God Himself to exult and burst into song; who could have imagined that?
Lord Jesus, let me rejoice that You have claimed me; that I am not my own to wander on my own; that You have claimed me for eternal life; and with eternal life also joy and blessing. Let me never forget the cost, and by the cost of the cross may I know the full measure of Your grace. Let me sing for joy to be with You, as You will sing for joy to be with me. Amen.