Who Is This Man?
Scheduled for October 5
is a wonderful old movie which surfaces this time of year, Miracle on 34th
Street. If you can, watch the old version; the new ones lack the sense of
wonder and innocence of the original production. It is important, for the
story contains a truth.
plot is relatively simple. An elderly gentleman, through a series of comic
circumstances, claims to be the one and only Santa Claus. He is locked up as a
suspected lunatic. The hero of the picture, with romantic complications,
represents him in court -- and proves to the court’s satisfaction that he is
“the one and only Santa Claus.” The case is dismissed; the boy gets the girl,
and all live happily ever after.
is, however, a point in all this. If I claim to be Napoleon, then the lunatic
asylum awaits. Jesus of Nazareth claimed on numerous occasions to be the one
and only God -- the representation in the flesh of the awesome Jehovah of the
Old Testament.. As C. S. Lewis once put it, that gives us only three options:
either he is genuinely the son of God, or he is the devil of hell, or he is a
lunatic on the level with a man who says he’s a poached egg. He did not leave
us any other choice. He did not intend to.
point is important for this. Christians say that Jesus is indeed God in the
flesh. Such a claim would meet with approval from any number of people if only
Jesus had performed to their expectations. It would have been so convenient if
he had left us some wise sayings, told us to be good, and then politely
ascended to heaven. He did not.
the whole purpose of his coming seems to have been to die on the cross. He
came to be a ransom for us. That he left us much wisdom, that he taught his
disciples well, that he performed many miracles, all these are true. His
purpose, however, was to die on the cross. That’s why he came. This is, to
some, scandalous. A God who comes to us to give us a little good advice and
then assure us that we’re all bound for heaven is very reassuring and
comforting. A God who tells us that we are sinners -- and then dies to take
away the penalty of our sin -- is vastly more challenging. Indeed, the whole
point of his life seems to be that we are sinners; he offers us salvation --
if we will cast our entire lives into his hands.
it comes down to this: Who do you say He is? Devil? Lunatic? Son of God??
If you say He is the Son of God, then the Lord’s Supper is a way of remembering
what He did for you. He did not come to give you wisdom; he did not come to
make things smooth; he came to die for you and for me. He calls us then to
live for Him. As you take the bread and the cup, remember: this is who He is,
and why He came.