2011 Question of the Year

by Stephen Rhoda

In Mark 8:29 Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?”  We are using and applying this question as the Ephphatha Reformation Ministries’ 2011 Question of the Year, “Who Do You Say that Christ Is?” — and we hope that this will stir the desire in many Christians to know Christ better and to confess Him more eagerly.

In Philippians 3:10 the Apostle Paul exclaims, “I want to know Christ” (NIV).  Clearly the call of God’s Word is to know Christ and to grow in our knowledge of Him.  Most basically, the call is to “remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in [the] gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8), but obviously we can remember only what we have first known.  So we must study God’s Word to know Him, thus to remember Him, even more, as Hebrews 12:2 calls us, to fix our eyes on Christ.

Such verses, along with countless others, make it clear that Christianity is about Christ and that saving faith is faith in Jesus Christ.  Thus we need to challenge people, even those who are active in the church, to consider whether they know Christ and to ask themselves what it means if they do not desire to know Him better and are not eager to confess His name.  Each of us, in fact, must compare his or her faith to that of the Apostle Paul, who confessed, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain… [for] my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” (Philippians 1:21,23)

The truth is that the entire Bible is about Christ.  His coming is first promise already in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:15, where God says to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”  This proclamation is called the “proto-evangelium,” which means, “first Gospel,” because here is the first announcement of the good news of Christ’s coming and saving work.  Thus Satan is cursed to “crawl on his belly” in the knowledge that his doom is sure.  A man would one day come to bruise or crush his head, and this is the reference made by the demons in Matthew 8:29 when they asked Jesus- “Have you come here to torment us before the time?”  And so Paul teaches us in Colossians 2:15 (NIV), that “having disarmed the powers and authorities, [God] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  And in the end, Revelation 20:10 says that the evil one “who deceived them [will be] thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur…”

So did you notice the progression: From Genesis 3, to Matthew 8, to Colossians 2, to Revelation 20.  These are certainly not the only passages and verses that could be drawn in with regard to this biblical theme, but even these four show us that God’s Word is about Christ, from beginning to end, Genesis through Revelation!

Therefore, the 2011 Question of the Year is “Who Do You Say that Christ Is?”  Each month we’ll be studying the question itself and/or answering the question a bit further, as an encouragement to all to study the Word and to grow in their knowledge of Christ.  I hope you will participate by regularly visiting the website and reading the weekly articles and monthly blog, but more importantly, by taking up the Word eagerly to know your Savior Jesus Christ.