Jesus Is Just Alright with Me
By Ben Johnson
(This week, Pastor Matt began a series on Hebrews by discussing the sonship of Christ. The following reflection is on the importance of Christ’s identity as the Son of God).
“Jesus is an alright guy, I guess.”
That’s what the freshman sitting right in front of me said one early morning in the college cafeteria. I had been meeting with him ever since he had come to my Bible study two weeks previously. The student had claimed to be a Christian, but as I got to know him I began to have my suspicions that he did not know what it meant to truly follow Christ. That sentence confirmed it.
I’ve never met a person who disliked Jesus. I grew up with kids from different religions in school, I’ve met with people from different religious backgrounds, I’ve led Bible studies with international students from countries that have hostile attitudes towards the Bible, and no one has ever had a problem with Christ. They share the sentiment that that freshman did, “He’s alright.”
It’s not that surprising that most people think Jesus is alright. There’s lots of things about Jesus in the gospels to like. He’s a compassionate, no nonsense, selfless, generous religious leader who stuck it to the religious elite and preached against legalism and moral superiority. Jesus in the gospels is a rebel, and who doesn’t like a rebel?
If that was the entire story about Jesus I don’t think anyone would have a problem with him, but that’s only half his story. The other half is that Jesus claimed that he was the Son of God, the promised Messiah of Israel, and that one could only be united to God through him; and that part is where people start to get uncomfortable. Jesus as a teacher, rebel, philosopher, that’s easy to accept; but Jesus is the Son of God is a much more serious claim that changes everything.
The author of Hebrews spends such a long time talking about the identity of Jesus because it is such a radical claim. If Jesus is the Christ, then that means he is exalted above every other thing in the universe. Not only that, it means he made the universe and is the ruler over it. It means that he is our Lord and Savior, and that our lives should be shaped in obedience to him. It means that we are to serve someone greater than ourselves.
That’s where people draw the line. They are fine when Jesus is just the teacher and rebel, but people don’t like the part about Jesus also being Christ because if Jesus is Christ then that means things must change. That means we have to admit that we our hopelessly lost without Jesus, that we do not have it all together and need to be saved, that we are broken and need to be put back together. It means that Jesus is more than just alright, he’s almighty.
Jesus claims that he is enough for us. We are lost in our sin, yet God came down to us to teach us and ultimately die for us so that through Jesus’s righteous acts we can be reunited with God. Christ taught us all that we need to know and did all that we could not do. That’s a claim that a lot of people struggle with, but it is also the most important claim in history.
What you think about the identity of Jesus is the most important opinion you will ever hold. If you think he was a great teacher, then you can learn a lot about morality from an “alright” guy, but you will never be made right with God. It is only when you accept that Jesus was the Christ and that he lived the perfect life that you could not, that you will be able to find the true peace of Christ. There have been a lot of teachers, philosophers, and rebels throughout time, but there has been only one who was God.
Ben Johnson is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary pursuing an MA in theology with a concentration in Church Planting. He is originally from Huntsville, AL, and is a graduate of Samford University. He and his wife reside in Greenville, SC.