He Said What?!
The marginalization and demonization of the messenger while dismissing or avoiding the message is ubiquitous in our society. This reality is certainly the plight of the Christian today and may dissuade us from sharing the truth that sets men and woman free.
Yet we must remember as His witnesses it is our responsibility to simply deliver the message of Christ. The response to that message, whether positive or negative, is the responsibility of the one receiving the message.
One of the most potent ways we can share the Lord is to let Jesus witness to others in His own words!
You see, the truth claims of Christ are outlandish, insane and downright blasphemous, unless, of course, they are true!
And true they are!
Jesus either directly or indirectly made many profound claims for Himself, including these from the gospel of John:
The Savior – “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-16).
The Bread of Life – “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
The Light of the World – “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
The Good Shepherd – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11).
Among the other incredible claims He made about Himself, these three stand out:
He said He is the Messiah in John 4:26.
He said He is God, the great “I Am” in John 8:58.
And then He stated with crystal clarity in John 14:6, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
Here’s an excellent apologetic article about the truth claims of Christ from Christian apologist Greg Koukl.
The purpose of this submission is to encourage us to let Jesus speak for Himself in our witness to others. For His testimony about Himself in His own words is powerful, persuasive, and convicting.
Years ago, I was sharing Jesus from the Gospel of John with a Jewish man on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He seemed to be resonating with what the Bible was teaching, with one exception.
Soon after arriving at his apartment for another Bible study, he stated in so many words, “You’re making me very uncomfortable.” I said, “How so?” He replied, “The Jesus you’re presenting from the Bible is not the Jesus I’ve been thinking about. I like a lot of things about Him, except for His claim to be the only way to God.” He was referring to Jesus’ words in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
I looked at him calmly and directly, “You know. Maybe that’s exactly the way you’re supposed to be feeling.” Conviction is powerful. Truth pierces “even to the division of soul and spirit” (Hebrews 4:12). That Bible study was our last. He didn’t want to study with me anymore. It’s worth noting that man didn’t reject me; he rejected the Lord.
While witnessing to His Jewish people in John 8, Jesus made a singular claim that evoked a potently negative response:
“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:56-59).
Yes, Jesus claimed to be Yahweh and their response was to attempt to murder Him on the spot!
Think about it. They didn’t try to stone Jesus because they misunderstood Him, but because His claim to be God couldn’t be any clearer!
In contrast to rejection, note a positive response to Jesus’ claim to be Messiah in John 4:
The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:25-26, 29-30, 39-42).
In our post-modern world, so many want to quibble with exclusivity. Yet at times it may be necessary to state that all worldviews, religions and philosophies, by their very nature, are exclusive. For they, as biblical Christianity, also have truth claims that are exclusive, and therefore exclude other truth claims.
In short, biblical faith doesn’t have a monopoly on truth claims, just on truth claims that are true!
Either Jesus is who He claimed to be, or He is not. Either He is Messiah, or He is not. Either He is the only way to the Father, or He is not. Either He God, or He is not.
When we share Jesus’ witness about Himself with others, we can expect a powerful response, just as the Lord did when He walked this earth as a man.
May the Lord open doors for us to share the truth claims of Christ, in His own words, allowing people the opportunity to interact with the truth.
Don’t be discouraged when someone responds negatively to the message. Remember, they’re not rejecting you; they’re rejecting Christ. Rather, rejoice in those who will be drawn to Jesus through His testimony in and through you! Amen.