Who is the Real Jesus? – Gospel in Life

Who is the Real Jesus?

Tim Keller |  September 8, 1996

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  • Purpose and Calling
Matthew 11:2-6
RS 72-1


John the Baptist used to support Jesus, and at one point he actually encouraged his disciples to follow Jesus. But in Matthew 11, he asks, “Are you the One who is to come or should we look for another?”

Why would John be struggling with the identity of Jesus? The first reason was because his life was going so badly. The second reason was that he heard the things Jesus was doing and it filled him with offense. The average educated person in New York feels exactly the same way: “How can I believe in Jesus Christ in light of the sufferings of my life and of the world in general?” and secondly, “How can I believe in someone who is so emotionally and intellectually offensive in the things he says and does?”

What’s so great is that Jesus does not say, “How dare you question me?” But he gives John an answer. And it’s an amazing answer. We actually can learn 1) two things from John’s question and 2) two things from Christ’s answer.

Matthew 11:2–6

John the Baptist, once a supporter of Jesus, starts to doubt Him because of his own personal pain and his upset about how Jesus is doing things. This is similar to problems people face today when they question their faith because of hardship in life or because they find some of Jesus’ claims hard to accept. But Jesus doesn’t ignore these doubts; He gives them a deep and satisfying answer.

1. The two things we learn from John’s question

John the Baptist’s question, “Are you the One?” shows us that understanding who Jesus is crucial to understanding who we are. It tells us that we need to recognize Jesus as our Creator and the One in charge of our lives before we can truly understand ourselves and what we need. Without accepting Jesus, we’ll always be searching for what life means, never really satisfied as we try to find substitutes.

2. The two things we learn from Jesus’ answer

When we come across the real teachings of Jesus, we may feel upset or offended, and that shows we’re really engaging with what He’s saying. The things that might have upset John the Baptist, like Jesus’ bold claims and His death on the cross, show us that we need to wrestle with the hard parts of Jesus’ teachings and recognize the power of His love to change us. If we try to make Jesus seem less offensive, we lessen the importance of His sacrifice on the cross and the chance for deep change in our lives.



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