Over the years I’ve found that one of the most helpful apologetic and evangelistic questions is “who do you think Jesus is?” Because of the pluralistic worldview that permeates our culture, many people want to respect and acknowledge Jesus alongside any other major religious figure, and maintain that one religion isn’t ultimately more true than another. Yet the Bible doesn’t allow us to do this. If Jesus was who he claimed to be, and did what the Bible claims that he did, you must deal with these exclusive and grandiose claims. Josh McDowell wrote a classic, small book on just this issue.
“It didn’t take long for people who knew Jesus to realize that this carpenter from Nazareth was making astounding claims about himself. It became clear that those claims were identifying him as more than just a prophet or teacher. He was obviously making claims to deity. He was presenting himself as the only avenue to salvation and the only source of forgiveness of sins – things they knew that only God could claim.
For many people today Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God is just too exclusive. In our pluralistic culture, it is too narrow and smacks of religious bigotry. We don’t want to believe it. Yet the issue is not what we want to believe, but rather, who did Jesus claim to be? And is his claim true?”
More Than a Carpenter is a great resource for your own study as you develop relationships with non-believers. It’d also be a great book to give to someone to read, or offer to walk through with them. We need to lovingly challenge people to decide what they will do with the claims of Jesus, and pray that they will recognize he really was more than a carpenter.