He questioned His disciples, saying to them, 'Who do people say that I am?' They told Him, saying, 'John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.' And He continued by questioning them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Peter answered and said to Him, 'You are the Christ.'
But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, 'He is out of His Mind.'
And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, 'He has Beelzebub,' and, 'By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.'
How do people see Jesus today? Is He a lord, a liar or a lunatic? During His last role as Earth's Leading Man, people thought all three. Religious authorities even called Him a demon.
But He was a Lightening Rod. He was a Lion. He was a Fireball of passion and power. He was a Lover and a Fighter, a Uniter and a Divider. He appeared to each man as God individually prescribed.
Therefore, He was worshipped and whipped, praised and persecuted, hallowed and hunted. But here's what Jesus was not: He was not complacent, uninformed or indifferent. Jesus did not ignore people. Neither was He ignored by them. Is He ignored today?
In a New York City street survey,* a few people called Him their Savior. Others mocked Him. But the majority showed a casual disregard:
'Jesus was just a story made up by someone--could have probably been a real person and something special, but not like the story says.'
'In my religion, it means we can 'mess up' (word substitution) as much as we want, and as long as we are truly sorry, we are saved.'
'I don't know. I don't know Jesus very well.'
'Yes, there's definitely something special about Jesus. The same things that are special about me and you, and well--everybody.'
'Definitely good morals and beliefs and possibly some special gift.'
'He seems like a godly type guy.'
'I think he's inspiring for a lot of people, so that's really cool to me.'
'A make believe story that's got blown out of proportion.'
In our self-professed Christian nation, most people don't see Jesus as a lord, a liar or a lunatic. Tragically, they don't see Him at all. He is disregarded.
This disregard is of the utmost danger. It's like toy-toting children, self-obsessed teens, intoxicated hippies, work-worshipping professionals or a billion people staring at the phones in their hands--while walking through a minefield. They stroll and strut in ignorance of an imminent explosion.
'For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief' (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).
To Be Continued...
* Who is Jesus? (NY city street survey, video. Expect some mockery.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=johNLhZ5y48
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Who Do People Say That I Am? series.