He entered into the hall where a strangely elated mood prevailed fed by the strangest of talk – everyone in the hall was talking of having seen the Messiah! He could not believe it! Just how could he? Had he not witnessed the Master’s death on the cross in all its cruel gory detail and seen Him buried? He knew very well that The Teacher was dead. How then could they say that they had seen Jesus? They must be dreaming or were victims of some mass hallucination. But – could it be? Was it really true?
Just then, He looked around and who was there, the Messiah Himself!
“My Lord and my God…” was all he could say when he beheld Him.
“You believe because you see me, blessed is he that believes even though he sees not,” was The Master’s simple but profound answer.
Thomas beheld Him in awe, because He saw Jesus for who He was. It was the first time that any of the disciples ever addressed Jesus as both Lord and God. Further, Thomas personalized it – “My Lord and My God”.
What would be your reaction today if Jesus appeared to you? Would you be able to call Him ‘My Lord and My God?’ What ‘version’ of Jesus do you know or were introduced to? Do you know Him as the Lord and God or someone else? Will you recognize Jesus when He Himself appears on the last day? Will you be shocked to see Him as He is on that day or will you recognize Him as He you have walked with in your life on earth? Will you really know Him? When you see Him, will you like Thomas say, ‘My Lord and my God’ or will you run away in fearful terror? When you evaluate the music that you listen to, the preachers that you listen to, the books that you read, what Jesus do they portray? Is it the Biblical Jesus or a different ‘Jesus’? This article is meant to help us explore the scriptures to see whether we have ‘versions’ of Jesus out there that are not the Biblical Jesus and how to tell whether the Jesus you know is indeed the Biblical Jesus.
A few weeks to Thomas day of delightful recognition, Jesus had made a very profound prayer for His disciples and for those who would later know Him through them. He made a very passionate appeal to God that His disciples would know Him as the only TRUE God praying thus: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. (John 17:1-4)
This was the only mission that Jesus had on earth! It will surprise you to note that by the time Jesus was making this prayer, He had not yet died on the cross. He still had that task ahead of Him. Yet in this scripture He says: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” He seems to say that He had finished the work that He had been given to do. So what was this work that He had been given? He says I glorified you on earth! Yes, to glorify God, to make Him known, to make Him famous – if you like. That was Jesus Christ’s mission – to make His father known on earth. Everything He did boiled down to that one mission. Going to the cross was the climax of making His Father known. And he goes further to say: “this is eternal life that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”. So do you know Him? Do you truly know Him?
As though desiring to gauge public reaction to His ministry and revelation of God’s love for them, Jesus asks His disciples what people said of Him, who people thought He was. At face value, one would think that when Jesus asked this question, His greatest concern was what the public thought of Him. However a close scrutiny of the text and in particular the question He poses thereafter and His subsequent comments suggest otherwise: Jesus was more interested in whom the disciples perceived Him to be.
13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:13-17)
See how He personalizes the question to the disciples – “But who do you say that I am?”. It sounds like, ‘Ok guys, that is what other people say (and it is not as important to me as this), what do you (in whom I have invested so much) think of me? Who do you say that I am?’ Jesus is concerned by how the people who are called by His name – Christians – know Him.
Note Jesus’ response to Peter: “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven”. Do you have a revelation of Jesus that is by the Father Himself? Is what you know about Jesus and the Jesus you know from the right source – God, the Father Himself?Soon to come is an exploration of some of the wrong concepts of Jesus we have.