Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.
Jesus is unique from other religious leaders because He claimed He would someday return to judge the world. Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’” (Matthew 25:31-34). Other religious leaders have said that a person’s eternal destiny depends on their response to a higher being–somebody greater than the leader. But Jesus said our eternal destiny depends on what we believe about Jesus Himself. In John 3:17-18, Jesus said, “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Jesus said in John 8:24, “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Your eternal destiny depends on what you believe regarding Jesus for the salvation of your soul.
In his book “The World’s Living Religions,” Robert Hume noted that the nine founders of the world’s greatest religions all had a period in their lives when they doubted who they were and what their mission was. But Jesus never doubted who He was. From the time Jesus was 12 until His death, He knew exactly who He was–the Son of God who came to provide salvation for the world. Jesus never claimed to be looking for some light for guidance, as other religious leaders claimed. Instead, Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (8:12). Jesus claimed to be God. He claimed to be able to forgive sins. He claimed to conquer death. He claimed He was coming back to judge the world. And given the fact that Jesus claimed all those things, you cannot say, “I think He was just a good moral teacher.” That is not an intellectually honest conclusion considering what Jesus claimed about Himself.
Given the fact that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, C. S. Lewis said you have to come to one of three conclusions. The first possibility is that Jesus was a liar. That is, Jesus claimed to be God when in fact He knew He was not God. A second possibility is that He was a lunatic. That is, Jesus thought He was God when in fact He was not. But given what you know about Jesus–His words, His actions, and His teachings–is it logical to say Jesus was a lunatic? Lewis said there is only one other conclusion and that is Jesus is Lord. He is exactly who He claimed to be. If Jesus Christ is in fact the Messiah, then that means everything He said is true.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jesus: Man, Myth, Or Messiah?” ” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Robert Ernest Hume, “The World’s Living Religions” (Edinburgh, Scotland: T&T Clark, 1929).
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.