Who is Jesus . . . to you?
by Pastor Derrick Jackson on July 10th, 2011


According to a Barna Group survey, two out of every three adults (67%) claim to have an active “personal relationship” with Jesus.

This same survey found that one out of every six Americans (17%) claim that Jesus speaks to them in multi-faceted ways. At least one out of every six adults contends that He communicates with them in the following manner:

• 52%: by influencing or connecting directly with their mind, emotions or feelings

• 41%: through the content of a Bible passage they read or which was read to them

• 36%: by providing a sign

• 34%: through sermon or teaching content concerning their immediate situation or need

• 31%: through miraculous or inexplicable circumstances or outcomes

• 31%: through words spoken to them by someone else who was speaking for God

• 18%: through a passage they read in a book other than the Bible

• 16%: through an audible voice or whisper that they could hear

In another Barna Group survey, the researchers found that Americans Continue to Wrestle with Truth (Biblical Truth).

The survey findings suggest that Americans are continuing to wrestle with the concept of truth, the nature of God, and the value of the Bible in personal decision-making.

Many people who do not embrace a literal interpretation of the scriptures nevertheless accept some of the Bible’s more sensational stories. "Not only do most Americans believe in the existence of God, but they believe in His power and in the miracles He performs," commented researcher George Barna, who directed the study. "Holding back the seas, walking on water, rising from the dead, surviving in a lion cage, and killing a skilled and armed warrior with a sling shot are examples of God doing extraordinary things in the lives of ordinary people.
Millions of Americans believe the Bible content is true, but are not willing to apply the truths of the Bible to their daily life. Sadly, for many people, the Bible has become a respected but impersonal religious history lesson that stays removed from their life."

Views on Spiritual Beings

The Barna survey asked questions about God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Satan, and demons.
All 1,871 self-described Christians were asked about their perception of God. In total, three-quarters (78%) said he is the “all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe who rules the world today.” The remaining one-quarter chose other descriptions of God – depictions that are not consistent with biblical teaching (e.g., everyone is god, god refers to the realization of human potential, etc.).

SATAN: Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective. A minority of Christians indicated that they believe Satan is real by disagreeing with the statement: one-quarter (26%) disagreed strongly and about one-tenth (9%) disagreed somewhat. The remaining 8% were not sure what they believe about the existence of Satan.

JESUS: Although a core teaching of the Christian faith is the divinity and perfection of Jesus Christ, tens of millions of Christians do not accept that teaching. More than one-fifth (22%) strongly agreed that Jesus Christ sinned when He lived on earth, with an additional 17% agreeing somewhat. Holding the opposing view were 9% who disagreed somewhat and 46% who disagreed strongly. Six percent did not have an opinion on this matter.

HOLY SPIRIT: Much like their perceptions of Satan, most Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a living force, either. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.

Demons/Evil Spirits: A majority of Christians believe that a person can be under the influence of spiritual forces, such as demons or evil spirits. Two out of three Christians agreed that such influence is real (39% agreed strongly, 25% agreed somewhat), while just three out of ten rejected the influence of supernatural forces (18% disagreed strongly, 10% disagreed somewhat). The remaining 8% were undecided on this matter.

Another study examined how one segment of the Christian population – those whose beliefs about salvation categorize them as “born again” – differ from the beliefs of people who describe themselves as Christian but do not base their view of salvation solely on confession of sin and God’s grace received through Jesus Christ. (The Barna Group has labeled the latter group “notional Christians.”) For each of the 13 questions examined in the study, there were statistically significant differences between these two segments of the Christian population. Among the most significant gaps in belief were the following:

Born again adults are at least twice as likely as notionals to strongly agree that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches; that their life has been greatly transformed by their faith; that a person can be under the influence of spiritual forces such as demons; and to hold an unfavorable opinion of Wicca.

Born again adults are more than twice as likely as notionals to strongly disagree that Satan is just a symbol of evil, and that Jesus sinned while He lived on earth.

Born again adults are more than three times as likely as notionals to strongly disagree that the Holy Spirit is merely a symbol of God’s power or presence; that Mormons are Christians; and that the Bible, Koran and Book of Mormon teach the same truths.

Born again adults are one-third more likely than notionals to possess a definition of God as the omniscient, omnipotent creator and ruler of the world; nearly 60% more likely to believe that you either side with God or Satan because there is no in-between position; and slightly more than 50% more likely to say their chief purpose in life is to love God with all their heart, mind, strength and soul.

During the time that Jesus walked the earth, there were also people who believed in the Word of God and the Power of God, but didn’t live it.

The Bible gives us an interesting glimpse into how people viewed the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. Matthew chapter 8 offers the following accounts:

1 When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”
7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him.
24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep.
25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (NKJV)

In the accounts listed above, Jesus is acknowledged as LORD & HEALER. The term Lord (Strong's # G2962 kyrios (kü'-rē-os)) means "A Man of Distinction". The term Lord was a title of honor expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greeted their master. The leper, the Roman centurion/soldier, and the disciples all referred to Jesus as "Lord," but not God.

 in verse 2, the Leper says: LORD, You Are Greater Than Myself
 in verse 6, the Roman Centurion says: LORD, You Are Much Greater than Myself
 in verse 25, the Disciples say: LORD, You Are Greater Than Myself, but You are not God.

 The Leper who needs healing comes to Jesus as "a" Lord.
 The Roman Centurion who seeks healing for someone else comes to Jesus as a Lord
 The 12 Disciples who need saving from death (drowning) come to Jesus as a Lord.

However, there’s another group.

The leper, the Roman centurion, and the disciples ALL had a voice to say to Jesus who they believed He was and what they wanted from Him. They said in essence, Jesus is a Great Man and a Healer.

– BUT, there’s another group in whose voice appears to be silenced.

Matthew chapter 8 also states:

16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,
17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
​​​“He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” (NKJV)

28 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.
29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (NKJV)

In verse 16, the demon-possessed are mentioned. In verse 28, the Gadarene Demoniacs are mentioned. What do the spirits have to say about who Jesus is? Unlike the leper, the Roman soldier, and the 12 disciples, the spirits IN VERSE 29 identify Jesus Christ as "Jesus, Son of God", a name reflecting His Divinity and His identity as the Messiah.

Fortunately, the those same disciples would finally BELIEVE that Jesus was both LORD and GOD.

After the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, according to Scripture, Jesus appears to His disciples. John chapter 20 verses 27 and 28 affirm:

27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (NIV)

It is not sufficient enough to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord only.
 Is Jesus the Son of God to you?
 Is Jesus the Messiah to you?
 Is Jesus the Master of your life?
 Is Jesus YOUR Lord and Savior?
 Is Jesus YOUR God?

Jesus, in his instruction to the former Gadarene demoniac whom He had supernaturally delivered, refers to Himself as "the Lord" (kyrios).
Jesus speaks in Mark chapter 5:
19 But Jesus said, "No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been."
20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. (NLT)


Posted in Christian Living, Jesus, Belief, Salvation    Tagged with Christ, God, Jesus, Belief, salvation


Leave a Comment