“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” – Matthew 16:15a
What would you think if some some simple person with no social standing, home, or education, stood in front of a crowd and said, “I am the light of the world?” That was Jesus in first-century Jerusalem. Who did he think he was? Light of the world? Really?
To Nicodemus he said, “If I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me,” and to his disciples, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Why would anyone make these claims?
He said them because he believed he was God incarnate and that his statements were true. If he was not God, then he must have been a delusional narcissist.
There was no narcissism his behavior, though. He interacted with the religious elite and with the lowest sinners. He chose hard-working fishermen and social outcasts to be his closest friends. He healed, he gave his time lovingly even when he was tired. He was patient with his disciples when they didn’t understand or, worse yet, failed him. And he boldly confronted those who abused others.
“Above all, he was unselfish. Nothing is more striking than this. Although believing himself to be divine, . . . he was never pompous. There was no touch of self-importance about Jesus. He was humble.”*
Who do you say he is? An outrageous egotist or God himself? He can’t be both. Your answer to that question matters more than you know.
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.” – C. S. Lewis
*Stott, John R. W. Basic Christianity, pp. 43-44