by Bob Wickizer

Who is This Jesus Anyway?
Bob Wickizer
Exodus 1:8-2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20

One of the hazards of producing weekly bulletins is the potential for typographical and other kinds of errors. Typically several people review the bulletins yet with human nature the way it is, errors happen. You have no doubt seen some of the classic ''Church bloopers'' circulated as Internet jokes. We generally try to avoid those in our bulletins, but one that you did not see this week was the title to our processional hymn. The unedited version read, ''The Church's ON Foundation.''

And that blooper provides us with a good question. Are we ON our foundation or not? Since the second hymn refers to Christ as our sure foundation, this foundational sermon is going to ask the basic question, ''Who is this Jesus anyway?'' and how would that make a difference in your life?

Was he just a prophet? A radical rabble-rouser? An itinerant reformer of first century Judaism? Just a ghost or an apparition? The king of the Jews? The Son of Man? The Son of God? One example among many of living an exemplary moral and sacrificial life? Was he the sacrificial lamb? The scapegoat propitiation for our sins? A reclusive Essene Jew? A Pharisee? A drunkard and a glutton? The Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed one?

Is this Jesus the savior of humankind or is his ministry totally focused to be the sole, personal savior of little old me? Was the church that Peter founded intended to fund private jets and mansions for preachers with their own radio and TV channels or was this the church Peter founded to serve the ''least of these'' - the poor, the lame, the prisoners, the orphans, the widows, the disabled and the refugees from violence?

In one, short gospel passage we pose important questions about the identity and mission of Jesus as well as the identity and mission of the church. Very smart people have been debating and writing about these two questions for centuries. We have ...

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