Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
– John 14:6-7
For many people, Jesus is a ﬁgure from the past—someone to be admired as a great teacher, even a prophet. For others, He is someone to call upon in a time of crisis who will wipe our tears away, rather like a tissue. We can either take this Jesus or leave Him, and if we are reasonably psychologically together, we will leave Him.
If we look at the Gospels, however, a totally different picture emerges. Here is no “gentle Jesus meek and mild,” but a person so dynamic and so inspiring that hard-bitten ﬁshermen, tough tax collectors, Roman soldiers, and a man with one of the greatest intellects of his day—the apostle Paul—were all prepared to put their reputations and their lives on the line in order to follow Him. What made them do this?
It was the fact that they concluded, as Peter memorably did, that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). How did these people reach that conclusion?
The disciples who worked with Him for three years would have seen and heard the extraordinary claims He made for Himself. These would have been arrogant if they hadn’t been true: claims that He was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one could come to the Father except through Him.
They would have heard His teaching, so authoritative that even the Jewish temple guards had to say, “no one ever spoke the way this man does” (John 7:46).
Then there were the amazing miracles that he performed: demonstrating His power over disease in the healings He did; over nature—He could calm a storm or change water into wine; over evil spirits; and ﬁnally over death itself—He raised others from the dead, and death could not hold Him either. The evidence is overwhelming. Only God could do all this.
The Gospels give us ﬁrsthand testimony about Jesus as evidence of His claims. And as no two witnesses will see something in exactly the same way, the supposed differences in the Gospels only serve to authenticate their veracity. But Jesus is not just a ﬁgure from the past. He is alive today, still changing the lives of men, women, and children all over the world. He is not someone we can cast aside—He demands our allegiance and our worship. In return He gives us life in all its fullness—life that will last into eternity. Do you know Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God? How has he given you life in all its fullness?