By Rev. Noah Kim – Paradise Point Uniting Church.
For the last 2000 years, this has been probably the most debated question in the world.
For example, Richard Dawkins, who was a scientist and atheist, once said that Jesus was a great moral teacher. Gennady Zyuganov, a Russian politician, said that Jesus was the first communist. Rhonda Byrne, the author of the best-seller book titled ‘Secret’ said that Jesus was a millionaire who lived an affluent lifestyle. And a famous rock opera written in the 70s refers to Jesus as a superstar.
Paul, who was called Saul then, asked the same question when Jesus appeared to him in a vision on the road to Damascus.
To me, it’s interesting that when he saw Jesus, Saul first referred to him as Lord.
Philip Schaff, the German theologian, writes,
“Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander the Great, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, he shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of school, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.”
According to Schaff, Jesus is Lord in the sense that all lines of history converge upon him. Jesus only lived 33 years. He had never travelled more than a hundred miles. He never had any formal education, and yet he has been the most dominant figure in all history. Today 3.2 billion people all around the world bear witness to him.
But then, as the light blinded Saul, lying on the ground, he heard Jesus say to him, ‘Saul, why do you persecute me?’
This makes me ponder, ‘What would Saul have thought when hearing that? Wouldn’t he have thought, “How can this Godlike being be persecuted by a mere man”? “Who is Jesus?”’
The gospels tell us Jesus was tempted just like we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He got hungry and thirsty. He got tired. He loved his friends. He wept at the tomb of his dear friend. He even died. Jesus had all the characteristics of us human beings and paved the way for true living.
This is what I love about Christianity.
Who is Jesus? He is fully God but also fully man. Jesus is not an institution nor an ideology. He is not a religion nor a doctrine. He is a God who knows me.
The question, “Who do I believe Jesus is?” I think this is the most important question of life we can ever ask. An answer to the question is the answer to all other questions of life, such as “What does it mean to be truly human?’ ‘What is the meaning of the present pain and suffering in my life?’ “What are the key values and principles by which I operate? and ‘What is the future that I envision?”
Paul’s story reminds us that you and I are, too, on the road to Damascus, invited to continue to discover who Jesus truly is.