by Danny Boggs
What do you think about Jesus? Peter confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus told Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17-18).
What do people today say about Jesus? The Barna Group found these five perceptions…*
The vast majority of Americans believes Jesus was a real person. We should. No person’s life in ancient history is better attested than His. Two thousand years from now will people know more about you and how you lived on earth than we know about Jesus? I doubt it.
Younger generations are increasingly less likely to believe Jesus was God. That is sad. The most reliable information about Jesus makes Him more than human. He avowed, “Unless you believe that I am He [the One from above, v.23], you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
Americans are divided on whether Jesus was sinless. Even though we don’t like to admit our own sin, it is hard to imagine a grown man who has never sinned. If He ever sinned, Jesus might still be a better person than us, but He cannot be our Savior. “For Christ also suffered once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).
Most Americans say they have made a commitment to Jesus Christ. Sixty-two percent of all Americans say so, but only 46% of young adults. Everyone needs to be a Christian! But even among that 62% who are “committed,” sweeping ignorance prevails. Most of them don’t know that baptism is essential in becoming a disciple of Christ and that lifelong obedience is the real mark of discipleship (Matt. 28:19-20). We have work to do!
People are conflicted between “Jesus” and “good deeds” as the way to heaven. We can’t count on ourselves. The good deeds that really matter are the ones that show we count on Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
Jesus is Who He is, no matter what we believe. But in the Bible God offers us the truth about Him so that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we may have life in His name (John 20:30-31). I believe.
*Read more at “What Do Americans Believe about Jesus? 5 Popular Beliefs,” barna.org.