Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
In my personal devotional reading I have been going through the Gospel of Matthew. Earlier this week I came to chapter 14. Beginning in verse 22, we read how Jesus had the disciples get in a boat and go to the other side of the lake. Jesus did not go with them, but later that night Jesus went out to them, walking on the water. Having never seen anything like this before, the disciples were understandably terrified. In the darkness of night, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
To the modern mind, that seems like ancient superstition. Who believes in ghosts today? Yet, we can easily make the same mistake as the disciples. How so? We, too, can wrongly identify Jesus, thinking that Jesus is someone or something that He is not.
This can happen in different ways. Right now, in my home country of the United States, there are Christians (including some friends of mine) who are convinced that Jesus is aligned with the values of the Republican political party. There are also Christians (again including friends of mine) who are equally convinced that Jesus is aligned with the values of the Democratic party. There are many Christians who are sure that Jesus upholds the same position that they hold to on social issues of our day, even though Christians with opposite views of the issues believe Jesus is on their side. Throughout history, many have identified Jesus with their own nationality or race, as can be seen by artwork throughout the ages. Those who promote the “health and wealth” gospel think that Jesus is one who simply wants to pour out material and financial abundance on us if we only believe strongly enough.
All this is to say that we must be careful to avoid the danger of wrongly identifying Jesus. When the disciples thought Jesus was a ghost, He assured them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Thus, we must let Jesus tell us who He truly is rather than trying to make Jesus out to be who we want Him to be. As we study and absorb the truth about Jesus revealed in Scripture, our misconceptions about Jesus will be cleared up, and we will experience the wonder and joy that come from understanding Jesus as He truly is. May we all grow into a fuller and deeper understanding of Jesus, and be fully committed to the real Jesus.
Grace and Peace,