In September, we took a group of students to Beulah Beach in Vermilion for our first ever Fall Retreat. We had a blast, and kicked off our theme for the year: Knowing Him [Jesus]. We have spent the last nine months working our way through the gospels, discovering who Jesus is, what he said, and what difference that makes for us. It's been a great journey!
The hope at the beginning of the year was to move from simply knowing about Jesus, to actually knowing him personally. There's a big difference. We wrapped up the end of the year with the same passages we dove into on the Fall Retreat, and came back to the same question: "Who do you say Jesus is?" It was cool to compare and contrast the answers from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
Jesus' conversation with his disciples goes like this [Matthew 6:13-17]:
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
Jesus is not nearly as concerned with who others say he is. He wants a deep, personal relationship with each one of us. He wants to know who you say he is. As you read through the Old Testament, the prophets point to who Jesus is. In the Gospels, Jesus makes some pretty bold claims about himself - about who he is. And throughout the rest of the New Testament, other writers proclaim with confidence that Jesus is the Messiah. The question then becomes whether or not you believe it.
The following quote by C.S. Lewis is worth pondering:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Mere Christianity, 55-56).
Who do you say Jesus is? Who do your teens say Jesus is? It's our hope this year that they have taken steps toward knowing Him more. Thank you for allowing us to partner with you as we seek to grow extraordinary students who love God, love people, and make disciples!