We can’t decide to follow Jesus without receiving His abundant grace.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,
Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist;
others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.
But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
When I took my first religion course at Dartmouth College, I found it interesting because the professor was critical of the Bible. I wasn’t a Christian at the time, but his approach made me curious, and I decided to read the Bible for the first time.
As a child, I enjoyed Christmas because of the presents and Easter for the candy and the egg hunts. But I had never really thought about Jesus deeply before the class.
When was the first time you heard about Jesus? What was your initial reaction? When I began to study the different religious leaders, Jesus sparked my interest because He is so unique. As I was gaining information, I realized that I would need to make some decisions about what I believe.
The grace of Jesus caught my attention because there is simply no one like Him. Jesus knows who He is, but He asks a series of questions so that His disciples will realize who He is and put their trust in Him. John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah were significant religious leaders, but Jesus is in a different category.
What makes Jesus unique?
1) Jesus has more followers than any other religious leader.
2) Even many atheists agree that Jesus is the greatest teacher of all time.
3) Jesus is the only person who has not sinned.
4) His list of miracles include calming storms, healing the sick and blind, walking on water, casting out demons, and raising dead people to life.
5) His prophetic statements have all proven to be true in incredible detail.
6) Jesus paid the full price for our sins through His sacrificial death on a cross.
7) Jesus is the only religious leader with an empty tomb— He is risen!
8) He is both fully human and fully God at the same time.
9) He was born through a virgin, Mary, as predicted in the Bible.
10) Jesus claims to be the Messiah, God’s Son.
How do we respond to Jesus and His overflowing grace? The famous author C.S. Lewis made a profound insight: he pointed out that when someone claims to be the Son of God and the Messiah, there are only three possible conclusions to choose from:
1) He is a liar because he knows it is not true.
2) He is a lunatic because he believes he really is the Savior of the world, but in reality he is not the One.
3) He really is the Lord and Messiah. There have been many people who claimed to be the Messiah throughout history, but Jesus backed up His claims with tremendous amounts of evidence.
When Jesus claims to be God, He can no longer be just a nice guy and a good teacher! We now only have three options to choose from: liar, lunatic, or the Lord. We can’t decide to follow Jesus without receiving His abundant grace.
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Excerpt republished with permission from Rooted in Grace by Jesse Bradley c. 2012