Who Do You Think Jesus Is? by Pastor Chris Symes
“Who do you think Jesus is?” I asked the man sitting next to me whose Chevy Silverado I was driving.
I met the man at our New Year’s Eve game night at Cornerstone Sunday night at around 10. He wandered in from the brutal and biting cold, a little inebriated after celebrating the turn of the year with co-workers. He was looking for someone who might be willing to drive him home to his nearby apartment. Preferably, he was wondering if someone might be able to drive to his truck, parked at a nearby lot, and also drive it to his home.
After mulling it over for a minute or two, I agreed to help him. It was, after all, unbelievably cold, and Jesus does call us to love our neighbors. I walked back into the party and asked someone to come with us. I am grateful for someone’s willingness.
I’m not sure when exactly I decided to ask him THE question. Was it on our way out to my car on the front lawn of the church? Was it on NW 23rd, as we approached his truck? Was it when he and I got into his truck? It was most likely when, just a few weeks earlier, a pastor friend of mine challenged me to ask that question of someone at least once a month. If we are serious as followers of Jesus in making disciples then that question, his reasoning went, is THE most important question we could possibly ask.
As we turned back on NW 23rd street I asked him if I could ask a question. It became clear to me this man had no real relationship with Jesus, was not a disciple, making this question all the more significant. So grateful he seemed willing to do just about anything, he said yes. Then I asked him THE question. There have been plenty of times when I’ve thought about asking this question of someone – times when, despite feeling the weight and potential life change of bringing this question to the fore, I got cold feet. There have been numerous times when I wish I had asked it, but I didn’t. So it was no small step of faith when I said:
“Who do you think Jesus is?”
He was taken aback by the question, I could tell, but he also sincerely wanted to answer. He stuttered and stammered for a moment and then responsed: “He is the Lord’s son.”
I agreed and affirmed his answer, also adding that I believe Jesus is alive. Later, I thought about all that I could have said in that moment to this man who no doubt was humbled and touched by the kindness he found at Cornerstone this night. There is a lot I could have said, but in the wake of THE question I shared a little word about Jesus changing my life and not knowing where I would be without what the Lord has done for me. He began to share about old memories of being at church growing up and even confessed a need to get back into a church community.
As we pulled into the parking lot of his apartment complex off Portland he showed interest of his own accord in coming to worship at Cornerstone and possibly becoming part of the church. After getting his phone number, I prayed for him.
That’s the last I’ve seen him up to the point of writing this, and I hope to see him again. But I marvel at all that came about and all that could happen from asking one simple question, one single question that can change everything. In Mark 8:29, this is THE question Jesus asks his disciples: Who do you say that I am? This is THE question. In this season of resolutions, plans, goals, and aspirations for 2018, it really comes down for everyone to this question, THE question. How you truly answer this question, your heart’s honest answer, will determine the course of your year and your life. Don’t you think we should learn to lovingly and boldly ask this question of others? Don’t you think we need to ask it for ourselves? And so, friends, I ask you:
Who do you think Jesus is?