Summary: There is an age old question that has been with us nearly from the beginning of time...It is a question about Jesus. The question is, “Who is this?”
TRIVIAL PURSUIT has become one of the most popular board games of all times. It was created in 1981 by Scott Abbott and Chris Hanley, after realizing that they were missing some pieces of their Scrabble game. As of 2004, according to one source, the game has sold 88 million copies in 26 countries and 17 languages. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivial_Pursuit)
I do not own a copy of the game and would never want a copy of the game. I find it to be quite dissatisfying as board games go. While I’d like to have you believe it is because the game is a bore, the truth is I’m not very smart. I don’t like trivial pursuit because it exposes my ignorance and inability to answer the questions! There is no fun in playing a game that you can’t play!
There is an age old question that has been with us nearly from the beginning of time. People have been trying to answer it for centuries, grappling with truths and incomplete responses surrounding the answers. It is a question about Jesus. The question is, “Who is this?”
The answers sometimes come quickly and other times the answers are not so easy. We are always in pursuit of the answers which are far from trivial. The answers we come up with shape us. It gives clarity to life or completely muddies its purpose creating more questions on top of questions. It can gain an audience or incite a mob. The answers can generate friends or enemies, supporters or critics.
A contemporary answer drawn from wikipedia (a web encyclopedia) defines Jesus this way. He is “known as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity. He is commonly referred to as Jesus Christ, where "Christ" is a title derived from the Greek christós, meaning the "Anointed One", which corresponds to the Hebrew-derived "Messiah". The short answer: Son of God…
The greatest war we fight is the evil that says He is not.
There are several examples of questions concerning the person of Jesus Christ. Two of them in the Bible are significant for our point of reference. The leading officials watching and critiquing Jesus asked the question when a woman was pouring an expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and he forgave her sins. They posed the question, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” (Luke 7:49)
His own followers, having spent considerable time with him, and experiencing his extraordinary power wondered about him. They were in a storm on the water. They thought they were going to drown and calling out to Jesus for help, he calmed the raging sea. In Luke 8:25 we have the account, “In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
As we search for answers to the question, Jesus pushes us for an answer. One such occasion was when he was praying as recorded for us in Luke 9:20ff. His leadership team was with him when he asked them a question. “Who do the crowds say I am?” There were different answers – “some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” (19) There were a lot of answers but none of them exposed the controversial truth of who Jesus is. Finally Jesus pushed the disciples to answer for themselves. The world had opinions and answers. Now it was time for His people to look past society’s interpretation and perceptions and face the question personally and deal with how Jesus related to them. He moved them outside their comfort zone and made them face the issue with the words: “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” (20) Now the pressure was on. Would they join the observers in suggesting he was a great man, a good teacher, or a prophet back from the dead? Such admission put them in one of two camps – they still did not grasp his message that he was Messiah – or they understood the message but did not believe it and so followed in subtle rejection of him. One writer notes of the crowds on that Palm Sunday and you can be sure the disciples were among them, “They called Him ‘Son of David’; but they made no protest against His martyrdom. If not directly, yet indirectly, they shared in the awful responsibility of His death.”
The answer we give to the question probably says as much about who we are as it does about our knowledge of who Jesus is. We may find ourselves like the German philosopher Schleiermacher. He was sitting on a park bench when a policeman, thinking him to be a street person, shook him and asked, “Who are you?” to which Schleiermacher sadly replied, “I wish I knew.”