Charles Stanley - Understanding Who Jesus Is
If someone should ask you, who is this Jesus? How would you answer that question? Could you give them a clear, solid Biblical answer who Jesus is? Or would you find yourself sort of stumbling around saying, Well, He was, let's see, I think He was born back yonder. In other words, could you give them a good answer or could you not? Do you have the kind of relationship with Jesus that, whence, if somebody asks that question, you'd have no problem answering that question, what He's done in your own life; what the Bible says about Him.
And who is Jesus, is a question that Jesus said to His disciples, Who do people say that I am? Now I want you to turn to the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, and I want us to look at this question and I want us to look at this answer. And I want you to think about it in your own heart this morning. If somebody asks you, Who is Jesus? How would you answer that question? And could you answer it with conviction, with confidence, with assurance? Could you answer it in a way that you could give them some biblical reference as to why you believe that Jesus is who He says He is?
So in the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, beginning in verse thirteen, "Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, 'Who do people say that I the Son of Man am?' And they said to Him, 'Some say that you're John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' And Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Now, He wasn't asking them that question for information. He was asking them that question because He wanted to be sure they understood. Because, the truth is it's one of the most important questions anybody will ever have to answer in life. Who is This Jesus? Is He who He says He is? What does the Bible say about Him? "And Jesus said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.'" He said, Peter, you didn't just figure this out. God the Father revealed to you who I am.
So, when I think about that question, I think about this question. What difference does it make? What difference does it make who Jesus is? Does it make any difference? And the answer is, yes, it does. It makes a lot of difference. When you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, it molds your character. You cannot be the same once having received, and accepted Jesus Christ for who He is. Your very character is changed, because of the impact that Jesus Christ has in a person's life. The second thing is that it impacts your beliefs. It doesn't just impact your belief about Him, it impacts your belief about everything. When Jesus Christ becomes your Savior and your Lord, you see things differently. You make different judgments. Your life has a different air about it. There's a different sense of assurance in your life.
And the third thing is this, it influences your lifestyle. This is why the Bible says, "If any man be in Christ," that is if you know Jesus Christ, that person "is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new". That is it impacts your lifestyle. Influences your lifestyle. Things are not the same. And not only that, it'll determine your eternal destiny. This is why knowing who Jesus is, is so ultimately very, very important. Your eternal destiny, where you're going to live for all eternity is determined by your understanding, and your personal relationship to Jesus Christ. And that is an inescapable truth. You cannot escape it. "It is appointed unto man once to die," then what? After this the judgment. Who's at the judgment? The Lord Jesus Christ.
And so, when you think about is it important? It's very, very important because it affects every aspect of your life. Your character, your beliefs, your lifestyle, but most of all your eternal destiny. When you know who Jesus is, and you receive Him as your personal Savior, those four things are absolute. So if that's all you knew, that would be enough to tell somebody how to be saved and why they should be saved and who the Lord Jesus Christ is, at least for a good start, so. Since these things are true and people begin to understand that and you understand that I want you to think about in the scriptures as you look in the gospels, especially, and ask the question, Who is this Jesus?
Oftentimes people get saved. They get baptized, and they think, Well, that's it. That's not it. That's the beginning of understanding who Jesus is. And I can remember when I was saved, I was only twelve years of age and the pastor asked me to give testimony to the people what Jesus had done for me. That was a good question, but for a twelve-year-old, asking me what Jesus had done for me, I remember saying, I don't know all He's done for me, but I know He saved me this morning. And now as I look back, nobody ever stopped me or said to me anything about now that you've been saved, Charles, let me talk to you about what that means. I just sort of had to figure it out. Listening to sermons, I didn't remember anything much he said, but what do you know about Jesus?
Somebody says, Who is this Jesus? If, beyond saying, I know He saved me and I've been baptized and I'm going to heaven. Beyond that, what would you say? And what was Jesus was saying to them, Who do people say that I am? So let's think about it for a moment. So who is this Jesus? Well let's think about His beginnings, for example. His birth was prophesied seven hundred years before He was ever born. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was born of a virgin. And, He was a part of the creation of the world in which He was born. When the Bible says in Genesis, Let us make man in Our own image, who could that be, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. So when you think about His beginnings, unlike any other person who's ever been born.
Then if I think about all the names that He was called in the scripture. And you could name some of those. He was called what? King of Kings, Lord of Lords; He was the Prince of Peace. Somebody tell me one. Savior. Emmanuel. Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. In other words, He has many, many names in the scripture. And so if somebody says, Well, who is this Jesus? Would it ever cause you to stop and think, Well, let me tell this person who He really is. And how many times I've had people say, Well, yeah, I was saved back yonder and I got baptized. And then, if I say, Well, what happened after that? Most people have said to me, Well, you know, I go to church and I give. In other words, nobody says to me, Well, the Jesus that saved me was the Prince of Peace. He was the Son of God. He walked on this earth and say He was crucified for me. He was buried and He was ascended and who is seated at the right hand of the Father for me. We should be able to clearly delineate to people that our Jesus is not like all the other so-called gods.
You ask a Buddhist about his god, he's dead. And you can just start from that and go down the religions of the world. We're the only religion, if you want to call us religious people, who have a Savior who was crucified in our behalf, who died on a cross, who shed His blood, who was buried, who ascended and who is seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us, helping us every day of our life. We have something to talk about and Someone to talk about sincerely. So when we think about all of His names, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, all of these names have meaning. And yet, most people when they get saved they never think about well who is this Jesus that saved me? And so people are oftentimes ignorant. And I think one of the reasons most people don't bear testimony for Jesus or try to give testimony, they don't know what to say.
So I would just ask you this morning, If somebody said to you before you walked into church this morning, Would you tell me who Jesus is? Would you be able to clearly, absolutely, without hesitation, no hem-hawing-around and saying, Well I think this and I think that. But you could tell them exactly who Jesus is to you in your life. Who is this Jesus? And the Bible is very clear. So in the beginning, we see what He was like, the names that He was called. And then what about His attributes? That is what about Him? Well, first of all, He's deity. He was not like any other person who ever lived. He was God who came into this world in human flesh. He never ceased to be God. He was always God, walking on this earth; He was God in human flesh, crucified, He was still God. Omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. I'm certain there were certain limitations upon Him that He consented to before He was ever born. And so, while Jesus had many attributes that He did not exercise all of which He was on the earth necessarily. But He was sinless.
And think about this. He was sinless and at the same time, He was human. He had to be human in order to explain Himself to the world. But He also had to be sinless in order to die for our sins. And oftentimes, when people talk about Jesus, they just make Him like an average person. Well, He was the Son of God and He died on the cross. Well, He had to be sinless. What was His death all about? And certainly, the one characteristic, and there are many characteristics of Jesus, His mercy and so forth, Jesus was a man of love. He demonstrated it. He taught it. And oftentimes we forget that part; that we are the sons and daughters of a loving God.
And so, when we think about how He described Himself, He described Himself as a Good Shepherd. Well, what a wonderful way for Jesus to describe Himself so that all of us would know how to relate to Him. A good shepherd watched out for his sheep. Protected His sheep; watched over His sheep; loved the sheep; provided for the sheep; willing to defend the sheep. Jesus said, He's a Good Shepherd. So when you think about Him, do you think about Him being a Good Shepherd in your life? And so many Christians think about Jesus being up yonder somewhere; He's seated at the Father's right hand.
Well He is, but at the same time He indwells the heart of every single believer. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, three persons of the Trinity, but acting together. Jesus Christ, sitting on the throne of our heart in the presence of the Holy Spirit. He's the Good Shepherd, we know Him as the Savior, the Good Shepherd. He also said He was the Bread of Life, which is His way of saying, I'm going to feed you what you need to be to grow up, spiritually. I want to make you as much as possible like Myself, a follower of the Heavenly Father; obediently walking in His way and in His will. He spoke of Himself about being the vine, the vine and the branch. We're the branch, He's the vine. Sap that runs in the vine, runs in the branch, that's what gives us life. You and I have the Spirit of God living within us because we're related to Him.
And then of course, He said in different ways, but the verses that we know in the fourteenth chapter of John, He says, "I am the way, I'm the truth, and I'm the life". And those of us who believe in Him, have eternal life. He's a very specific Person that we can believe in and trust in. Then when I think about that, I think about Jesus' extraordinary life. And think about it for a moment. He never wrote a book, but this Book is all about Him. He never wrote a song. And there are thousands of songs that have been written about the Lord Jesus Christ. He never built a house, but the scripture says He went away to make a place for us, to build a house for us. And He never traveled less than a hundred miles from home. You think about this. Jesus never traveled but about sixty-some miles from where He was born and He has impacted the whole world.
And He, let's think about this. I think about how many people Jesus healed and He was not a physician. He was the Great Physician. And He's still healing people today. There is no person like Him. And you could just go on and on and on describing the Lord Jesus of who He is and what He was like and how He walked among men. And yet He was crucified. And you think about how perfect He was, always loving, never in too big of a hurry for people in need. And you'll remember that the children would come to Him. Listen. Children aren't attracted to someone who has this attitude; who is unkind, who is unloving. You can tell about somebody by just watching how children relate to them. They have this inborn, God-given, divine discernment to know where love is and kindness and acceptance and all the rest.
And Jesus was that kind. He had to say to His disciples, Look, I'll take care of the children. You just take care of yourself for a moment. Let Me just love on these kids and let them love Me in return. That's who He was. No person's ever lived like Him. And yet He understood how people would respond to Him and how they would react. And if you'll recall, as we say He's never too busy, never too big a hurry. On His way out of the city of Jericho, and of all the people, old Bartimaeus, who was a poor blind beggar, and he kept saying, Jesus, son of David, have mercy upon me. And Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who sits at the right hand of the Father, who was there in the creation, who rose from the dead. Jesus, all of these qualities and what? He stopped for one poor blind beggar. And in fact, they tried to tell him to be quiet, but Jesus heard him.
Think about this. And I love this personally. Amidst all the people who were telling Bartimaeus to be quiet and shut up, this is, don't you know who this is? Jesus heard above all the people the cry of one poor blind beggar and He stopped long enough to meet his need and He simply said to him, Bartimaeus, what do you want me to do for you? Bartimaeus said, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And He gave him his sight and he went on his way. And I think about what a beautiful picture of Jesus. Everybody else saying, Shut up! Don't you know who this is? Think about this. The truth is, they didn't know who He was. Don't you know who this is? This is Jesus, the Messiah. And he said to Him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
The next time you get down to pray and you're having a hard time getting through; and you're thinking about all the things that you're having to deal with in life, maybe in your marriage, among your children, on your work, your health or whatever it might be. And you're wondering if God would listen to you. You remember this. If He would listen to a poor blind beggar that people ignored and hated to see them on the side of the road; and Jesus said, Stop and call that man to me. And He took time on His was to Jerusalem; and He would never pass that way again. And what that said to me a long time ago is, The Lord Jesus is never too busy to listen to me. And I could never bring a problem to Him that would leave Him helpless or wondering what to do. Jesus never had to wonder what to do.
I think about that, I could just shout. He never had to wonder what to do. He always was prepared and ready and able to meet the need of every person. And I wonder sometimes if we don't just forget who He is. We see Him as a person of the Trinity, but we don't see Him as a person, as He walked among us. And you see, the truth is God could have arranged redemption some other way. But He sent a baby who grew up to be a young man, and a man. He sent Jesus to walk among us so that we'd understand how God feels and how He loves us and all the rest that God does for us.
When somebody asks you who Jesus is, tell them that side of Him. He isn't just the Savior who died on the cross to save us from sins. He came not only to die but He came also to be arisen, so that those who follow Him will know we serve a living God. We don't have tombs where you go find Jesus. He's a living God. He says He came to teach the truth, to build His church. And He came, the scripture says, to assure us that we're going to have life after death. Suppose, for example, that we could go to Jerusalem, or go to Bethlehem, or anywhere in the vicinity that Jesus lived and finally end up at the Garden Tomb and say, Well, Jesus was buried here and He's still in there. That's where He is. He's not to be found in a tomb because the tomb couldn't hold Him. He came to die on the cross and to rise to be seated at the Father's right hand.
Thank God you can't find Him. Thank God He's not in a tomb. Thank God He's seated at the Father's right hand to do what? To make intercession for you and me, to listen to our prayers, to hear our hurts, to heal our sicknesses and our diseases. He's a living Christ. And this unbelieving world needs to understand He's a living Christ. He's the living Messiah. He's the living Lord. He's not dead. So on the basis of who He is, you can think about it for a moment. How should you and I respond to Him? We just talked about who He is.
And so, I'll give you four things. How should we respond to this living Christ? Trust Him for our salvation, Submit to Him as our Lord. Serve Him faithfully and share Him with others. That's it. Look at that. Trust Him for your salvation, submit to Him as your Lord, serve Him faithfully and share Him with others. And the whole purpose for this message is simply to say, Here's who Jesus is, now what kind of a relationship should we have to Him? We've accepted Him as our Savior. Am I submitted to Him as the Lord and Master of my life? Am I serving Him with my whole heart?
And somebody says, Well, you know, I don't teach and I don't preach. That's not the issue. You serve Him where you live. God doesn't want everybody doing the same thing. Where you live, where you work, are you submitted to Him? Are you serving Him? And when you think about it, when you think of it, the whole idea of sharing Him, all of us can. But watch this. You will only share Him if you believe what we've said before. If you're not persuaded who He is, you're not going to share Him with anybody enthusiastically with conviction. If somebody says, Who's Jesus? And you say, Well, Jesus is the Savior of the world.
And that isn't going to convince anybody of anything. But when you're able to say, at least part of what we've talked about in this message, then the Spirit of God will use you to bring conviction to their heart. They need the gift of eternal life. They need forgiveness. And let me tell you something. There are multitudes of people who do not believe in Jesus but feel very, very guilty. They say, Well, I don't believe in Jesus. But they feel guilty. They don't know why. They're violating truth. They're violating the law of God. They're violating righteousness. They feel guilty, but they'll tell you they don't believe in.
Oh, what do you feel guilty about? If there is no Jesus, what do you feel guilty about? If there's no holy God, what do you feel guilty about? It is a denial of the truth. Let me tell you this. You can deny the truth through the last moment you live, that doesn't change the reality of Jesus, the truth of the Word of God or eternity. Doesn't change any of that. So that every single one of us needs Jesus Christ as our Savior, our Lord, our Master, out Life and our Eternal life. So I would simply ask you a question. If somebody said to you, Who is this Jesus? Would you know what to tell them? Amen?
Father, I pray for somebody here today who is unsaved, who's thought about it, never got serious about it; not sure about it, would settle this issue right now and be willing to pray this simple prayer. Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus' death on the cross paid my sin debt in full. I'm asking You to forgive me for my sins, not because I deserve it because You love me enough to forgive me. I surrender my life to You this morning, receiving You as my Savior, my Lord and my Master. Now Lord, give me the courage to share what You've done for me today with those whom I meet, whom I know do not know You as their Savior. Grant me the courage to bear a good witness, in Jesus' name, amen.