Summary: Jesus is the exclusive and universal Savior.
Cary Grant, the movie star, once told how he was walking along a street and started to pass by a man who began staring at him with a look of excited recognition. The man said, “Wait a minute, you’re... you’re — I know who you are; don’t tell me... uh, Rock Hud... No, you’re....” The famous actor interrupted him, thinking he would help him out a bit, and finished the man’s sentence: “Cary Grant?” But the fellow said, “No, that’s not it! You’re....” The irony was that Cary Grant was standing right in front of the man and identified himself to him, but he would not take Cary Grant’s word for it. He was sure that he was not who he said he was, and yet equally sure that he knew who he was — even though he was completely wrong.
Jesus often found himself in the same situation as Cary Grant. He stood in front of people and claimed to be the incarnate presence of God, yet people said to him, “No, that’s not it. You must be someone else — a prophet, or John the Baptist back from the dead” (Matthew 16:14 (quickview) ). Jesus made claims to be the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, Deity itself (Mark 14:61-62 (quickview) , John 10:33 (quickview) ), yet people confronted with this truth said, “Surely, that’s not who you are. You must be someone else. The miracles are impressive, but you could not be Messiah. We know where Messiah comes from and what he will be like, and you don’t match the description we had in our minds” (John 9:29 (quickview) ). John spoke the truth when he said, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him” (John 1:10 (quickview) ).
It is incredible, is it not, that the Scriptures are so clear in telling us who Jesus is, and yet we still seem so uncertain about his identity? I remember very clearly preaching in another church about the divinity of Christ. After the service a woman approached me and said, “I could not believe what you said today about Jesus being God. It sounds like something from a cult?” She had been in the church all her life, and somehow the truth of the divinity of Christ had never made its way into her conscious mind. It is as though she had never understood the word “Trinity” (God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and its implications. At Christmas she had sung about Immanuel, and heard the Scripture read which says, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel — which means, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23 (quickview) ), but she never understood its meaning. She had heard the word “incarnation” and never realized it meant that God had come “in the flesh” to live among us.
This morning I want us to take a trip through the Scriptures so that we might understand who Jesus Christ really is. He has said about himself: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6 (quickview) ). I want us to explore what that means. The first thing we need to understand about Jesus Christ is: He is the Way. He is not just one of the ways among many. He is THE way. The only way. If what he said is true, then there are not many paths to God; there is only one. The way is not a path or a road, the way is a person. If we would take a poll and ask people who they think Jesus Christ is, we would get a variety of answers, similar to the response Jesus received when he asked his disciples, “Who do people say I am?” They said, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” Then Jesus said, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mark 8:27-29 (quickview) , Matthew 16:16 (quickview) ). Then Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17 (quickview) ). At this point the polls were wrong. The opinion of the majority did not change the truth or dictate reality. Peter knew who Jesus really was, and in spite of what everyone else thought, he held to the truth.