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Christian Living

Who is Jesus?

Learn about Jesus through the Testimony of Others in the Bible

Who is Jesus? C. S. Lewis attempted to answer this question when he popularized a trilemma (a dilemma with 50 percent more content) about Jesus. He argued that Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. If you’ve read many of my posts, you know that I pick the third option.

Jesus is Lord. Jesus is my Lord.

Of course others deride Jesus, calling him a charlatan or a crazy man. And other people have other characterizations of Jesus too. But let’s set all these perspectives aside and look at what the Bible provides as an answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?”

We’ll start and end with what father God says about his only Son, but we’ll also consider many other biblical voices as well. This list isn’t extensive, but it is what I could quickly come up with.

Interestingly, I found the most input from my outspoken namesake, the disciple Peter. (These are all taken from the NIV.)

Who Is Jesus?

  • “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” -God, Luke 3:22
  • “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” -Peter, Luke 9:19
  • “the Son of God” -religious leaders (incredulously), Luke 22:70
  • “the King of the Jews” -Pilate (questioningly), Luke 23:3
  • “a righteous man” -the Centurion (confidently), Luke 23:47
  • “God’s Messiah,” -Peter, Luke 9:20
  • A man who has “done nothing wrong” –the criminal on the cross, Luke 23:41
  • “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” -Peter, Matthew 16:16
  • Jesus is “a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people,” -the pair on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:19
  • “My Lord and my God!” -Thomas, John 20:28
  • “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher) -Mary Magdalene, John 20:16
  • “Rabbi” -Peter, Mark 11:21, along with many others, including Judas who eventually betrays him
  • “the Son of God; you are the king of Israel” -Nathanael, John 1:47
  • “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” -God, Matthew 17:5
Jesus is the Son of God and we should listen to him. Click To Tweet

So Then, Who is Jesus?

Putting these together gives us a composite understanding of who Jesus is and how we can relate to him. Most importantly, we can focus on God’s own testimony: Jesus is the Son of God and we should listen to him.

May we do exactly that.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Reviews of Books & Movies

Book Review: Mere Christianity

By C. S. Lewis (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)

C. S. Lewis’s book, Mere Christianity, is based on a series of BBC radio broadcasts in the early 1940s.

Initially, published as three separate volumes Broadcast Talks (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943), and Beyond Personality (1944), the works were combined in 1952 to result in Mere Christianity, that is to say, merely expounding on Christianity.

Mere Christianity is divided into four sections:  The first is “Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe,” which aptly serves as a strong foundation on which the rest of the book—and Christianity—is built.

The second section, “What Christians Believe,” shows that we have free will to love God or deny Him, but Satan, our enemy, wants us to think we can be like God (which explains all of history).

God sent Jesus into the world; his death puts us right with God, yet it evokes a response: change. “Christian Behavior” is the title for part three, which covers practical behavior issues. Doctrine is addressed in the book’s final section.

Lewis concludes with the encouragement to “look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in,” a fitting conclusion to this intellectual treatise on what is merely Christianity.

[Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis. Published by Harper San Francisco, 2009, ISBN: 978-0060652920, 227 pages.]

Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

The Good, Better, and Best of Spiritual Understanding

In last Sunday’s post I shared three levels of understanding a book: reading it, seeing it preformed, and discussing it afterward. These have parallels to our spiritual journey.

Read: I was intrigued when I read C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce. However, my primary reaction was confusion. There was too much for me to grasp, especially in one read.

The same is true about the Bible. It’s certainly an intriguing book, but a common response is confusion. There is much there—and we will never fully grasp it all, especially if we read and study it in isolation.

That’s not to imply reading the Bible is without value. Bible study is important, critically so. But reading the Bible should never be the sole means for spiritual growth and knowing God. We need more.

Watch and Listen: Analogous to attending a play is going to church. There’s something valuable about the shared experience. When we see and hear the minister talk about the Bible, our understanding deepens.

However, church is a passive experience. With the extent of our involvement limited to singing along with the musicians, we mostly watch. The rest of the service is one way, with our leaders performing and us observing. There needs to be more.

Discuss: Talking about the play (or the book) allows for interaction. It’s with the give and take of dialogue that deeper understanding emerges.

The application is a faith community that allows members to mutually edify and minister to one another, not passively receiving (as in church), but actively engaging with each other: sharing insights, offering encouragement, and suggesting application.

It’s iron sharpening iron, the intersection of belief with practice. It’s spirituality at its best.

Reading the Bible is good, going to church is better, but existing in community is best. May we do all three, as we focus on what’s best.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

What I Learned From The Great Divorce

Many years ago I read C. S. Lewis’s book The Great Divorce. It’s an allegory about heaven and hell, the connection between the two, and the perspective of their residents. The imagery intrigued me, providing much to contemplate, yet I was mostly confused.

Yesterday, I attended a theatrical production of The Great Divorce. Being able to see and hear Lewis’s words helped me better understand, yet again, full clarity eluded me.

However, they offered an after-show Q & A with the director and one of the cast members who had studied Lewis. About a quarter of the crowd stayed and several cast members joined us.

A dialogue took place, a fuller understanding emerged. One person would share a line or passage they liked, and as more joined the conversation, greater insight resulted. Some admitted to not understanding certain parts, but as others shared their perspective, the scene came into better focus.

One person asked a question and I thought, “He doesn’t get it at all.” But the discussion revealed that I was the one who didn’t get it.

The same applies to faith.

If we make the journey on our own—just like reading a book by ourselves—we may be intrigued, but confusion abounds. The result is more questions than answers.

If we add more senses and tap other ways of learning—just like watching a play—greater understanding can result, though clarity is still lacking.

However, when we experience faith in community, having a safe place to ask questions and engage in dialogue—just like our Q & A session—that’s when a deeper meaning and fuller comprehension unfolds. The result is added depth and increased appreciation.

Faith isn’t supposed to be a solitary journey but a shared experience—anything less is a mere shortcut that serves to shortchange.

What helps you in your faith journey? What do you think about The Great Divorce?

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Bible Insights

Book Review: Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis

Book Review: Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’s book, Mere Christianity, is based on a series of BBC radio broadcasts in the early 1940s.

Initially, published as three separate volumes Broadcast Talks (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943), and Beyond Personality (1944), the works were combined in 1952 to result in Mere Christianity, that is to say, merely expounding on Christianity.

Mere Christianity is divided into four sections:

Lewis concludes with the encouragement to 'look for Christ and you will find Him...' Click To Tweet

The first is Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe,  which aptly serves as a strong foundation on which the rest of the book—and Christianity—is built.

The second section, What Christians Believe, shows that we have free will to love God or deny Him, but Satan, our enemy, wants us to think we can be like God (which explains all of history). God sent Jesus into the world; his death puts us right with God, yet it evokes a response: change. 

Christian Behavior is the title for part three, which covers practical behavior issues. 

Doctrine is addressed in the book’s final section.

Lewis concludes with the encouragement to “look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in,” a fitting conclusion to this intellectual treatise on what is merely Christianity.

Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.