Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What Must a Person Know About Who Jesus Is?

The Deserted Island Scenario post below was actually part of a speech given by Professor Zane Hodges in 2000 at a Grace Evangelical Society conference. Following the speech there was a question and answer session with the audience. Below is a question that was raised. As time permits, other questions and answers will be posted. The questions and answers are transcribed from a tape of the speech. Contact the Grace Evangelical Society if you are interested in a copy of the 2 tape series--"How to Lead People to Christ."

Question from the audience: Zane, I think it has been very helpful for you to provoke us to think through how we present the gospel and the content of it. And maybe this is just a point of clarification coming from your opening example (the guy on the beach). Wouldn’t someone need to know something about Jesus, Who He is and His identity, apart from just that five letter name? And isn’t that, in fact, what John does with his gospel? He didn’t write just John 6:43-47. He wrote all 21 chapters, and that’s what he’s trying to communicate—Who Jesus is.

Answer from Professor Hodges: There’s no question that John is giving us a lot of information about Who Jesus is. But the issue that I’m raising is basically the issue of the core minimum which is necessary for salvation. The first question is, Is the Jesus mentioned in John chapter 6 the Jesus who really offers eternal life? The answer to that question is, Yes. And, therefore, if the person believes that this Jesus will indeed do what He has promised to do, he has believed the promise of the Word.

Now, I think what you’re really thinking is, Is it likely that a person with that minimal type of information about Jesus would exercise faith in Him on the basis of that fragmentary verse? I will admit to you, that’s not very likely. And that’s why we try to present the Person of Christ, the work of Christ. What we’re really doing is painting a portrait of Jesus that invites men increasingly to believe in Him.

So in my illustration about Sam, Sam comes up to me and he offers to meet my financial need. And maybe I don’t know a single thing about Sam, but Sam sounds honest to me, and for some reason or another I trust him. But that’s probably not going to happen too often. Maybe I’m even a little gullible there. But if I find out that Sam has enormous resources, that would certainly enhance the offer that he makes to me. But I think the basic issue is, Is the Jesus being referred to in John 6:43 the Jesus who does indeed fulfill His promises? And the answer to that question is, Yes.