April 21, 2015

The Question We Have to Answer

It was humanly impossible for anyone to perfectly fulfill every single prophecy about the Messiah. Good thing Jesus isn't just anyone, or just human.

What in the Word: Mark 8:27-29

Hang-Onto-It Verse: " 'But what about you? Who do you say I am?' " (Mark 8:29 NIV)

The Backstory:

Jesus was a master teacher. Actually, He was a master everything. That's why His followers called Him "Master"! One of His genius teaching tools was to pose questions that led people to truth. One day, He asked His disciples, "Who do people say I am?" (Mark 8:27). They answered, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets" (Mark 8:28). Then Jesus asked The Big Question: "But what about you? Who do you say I am?" Gulp. This is not just a question for a teachable moment in an ancient village. This is a question I need to be able to answer today. This is a question you need to be able to answer today. Because if we do not know who Jesus is, our faith in Him will be on very shaky ground. Personally, my faith gets a big boost from studying some of the thousands of prophecies written about Christ hundreds of years before He came to earth and seeing how He fulfilled every single one, to the letter. Look up 2 Corinthians 1:20 and fill in the blanks: "No matter how many promises God has made, they are ______ in _____________." Love it! Let's look at some of the "yes's" of God in Jesus.

The Main Event:

You know those vocabulary matching quizzes you sometimes have to do in school? This is SO not one of those. Just look up the Bible verses in the numbered list below. Read the reference, then figure out which verse in the lettered list shows Jesus living out that prophecy. Write that letter next to the prophecy it matches. I've done one for you as a freebie. This is like putting together a puzzle: in the end, every single piece fits together perfectly to create one amazing picture. Ready? (Yes, you are!) Go!

1. Zechariah 9:9 ____ 

2. Isaiah 53:7 ____

3. Isaiah 7:14 ____

4. Psalm 69:21 _ D _

5. Psalm 22:18 ____        

A. "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up His clothes by casting lots." (Luke 23:34)

B. "The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them." (Matthew 21:6,7)

C. "Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, 'Are you not going to answer?'...But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to Him, 'I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' " (Matthew 26:62-63)

D. "A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plan, and lifted it to Jesus' lips." (John 19:29)

E. "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 1:18)                                    

The Take-Away and The Truth in Action:
So, here's that question again: what about you? who do you say Jesus is? 

This is where I've got to show some tough love. I didn't put this one on the Answer Key because only you can answer this question for yourself. And while we're on the subject of your answer, I need to tell you a couple tough truths. Please stay with me and then I promise I'll leave you some treats at the end! 

1) You should not be satisfied answering "I don't know" to this question. And this is not the time for your parents' or your Sunday School teacher's answer. This has to be your response from your mind and soul. Also, deciding not to answer IS answering. If you say Jesus really isn't anyone to you, then He is nothing to you. If you say you can take or leave Jesus, you're leaving Him. I know this sounds harsh. But I really, really want God's best for you, and I've walked with Him long enough to know that His best only happens when you know the truth about who Jesus is and own it for yourself. If you're at a place in your life where you don't care about Christ or think He's nothing in your life, I encourage you to call, text, email, or message the wisest, most mature, most encouraging Christian woman you can find, and tell her where you're at. If she's the right spiritual mentor for you, she won't be shocked, horrified, or put off by your raw honesty. Instead, she'll guide you along and pray with and for you. Then, she'll rejoice when you get to the point of knowing your answer to The Big Question. Which leads me to my second tough point (please, please don't quit on me yet!)...

2) We do not get to decide who Jesus is. He is who He is. Period. Who we think He is does not change of the truth of who He actually is. Someone may say, "I think Jesus was just a kind person and a good teacher." They can certainly think and believe that, but it does not make it true. Only careful study of the Bible, conversations with God in prayer, and the wind of the Holy Spirit blowing through your soul and mind can lead you to truly know and believe Jesus. When the One and Only asks us, "What about you? Who do you say I am?" He is not asking who we think He might be. He is asking if we know and believe the truth about who He is and if we can give an answer to anyone who asks that question. Again, our job is to discover the truth about The Truth and then own it for ourselves. Only then, will we know what--and Who--we know.

Phew! Thanks for sticking with me this far! Here's a lemony treat plus a couple favorite new quotes to reward you for all your hard work. I'd love to read your personal answer to The Big Question, so if you're willing, share it below. And if at this point, you're wondering, "Okay, fine, now who does Jesus say I am?" stay tuned. That's a sweet subject for another day...

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I'd love to hear from you. What do you think? What's on your mind? Did you learn anything from this study that you didn't know to begin with? Did it make any sense? Tell me...I really want to know.