JESUS CHRIST, MY SAVIOUR

A Study of the Messiah

 

March 28, 2004 – May 2, 2004 ~ Westney Heights Baptist Church, Adult Sunday School

(modified for presentation over the internet, original version can be found here)

 

Outline version can be found here

 

all Scripture references from the New King James Version

 

God stepped down from heaven, took our form and nature upon Himself, and saved us.

 

John 14:6-9 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." 8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?"

 

This work originated in a dream that I had some time ago in which I was given a feeling for what it was to accompany Jesus as He walked upon this earth. Through this dream I came to a small understanding of just how incredible a person Jesus was and what a tremendous impact He had on those whose lives were touched by His. (If I speak in the past tense in the context of Jesus’ life it is only out of recognition of the fact that His earthly life as a human had its occurrence in the past, not that I believe that He no longer lives, nor that I believe that He is no longer in human form, merely that He is no longer in human form upon the earth.) Think of how often we read of large crowds frequently numbering into the thousands surrounding Him as He spoke. How many times we are told that He was pressed upon from all sides by those eager to see Him. Those that clamored for His attention came from all walks of life: The sick came to Him for healing. Those condemned as sinners hung on to His every word of forgiveness. Common, work-a-day folk took time from their lives to spend it with Him. Rich and powerful alike fell humbly before Him and pledged their lives to His cause. No segment of the society in which He lived was untouched by His person. No area of human existence has failed to feel the power of His character. Even today, two thousand years after His feet walked upon our streets, the echo of His steps can be heard in the steps of the countless millions whose lives have been changed by His power and who daily seek to follow Him. Still today those who come to Him come from every human condition. He alone of all who have ever lived can meet the need of every human heart, His appeal is universal, His power is unlimited and His love is without end.

 

how I am able to envy you
the people of the day
He walked among you
healing your sick
raising your dead
turning your water into wine
what joy it must have been
to see Him
to touch Him
and hear Him speak
 
how I am able to envy you
the ones He raised to life
how it must have felt
life returning to your eyes
thrust to your blood
volume to your lungs
waking from your sleep
to tear filled eyes
suddenly dry
clouds of grief
blown aside by the wind of true joy
could life have been better
having tasted death
and knowing its defeat
seeing its Conqueror

how I am able to envy you
the seventy He sent out
His divine commission
upon your head
the power of His name
fire in your blood
you performed miracles!
in His name
what a feeling it must have been
to be His hands
and His feet
on that long ago road
 
and how I am able to envy you
the twelve He called His own
walking, talking, being with Him
for years on end
how I long to learn those words
the way that you learned them
you loved Him as a man
as I never can

 

We’ve all seen them, the pithy statements on church sign boards and car bumper stickers such as:

 

“Wal-Mart isn’t the only saver.”

“My boss is a Jewish carpenter.”

“Real men love Jesus.”

“Only Jesus saves more than Curtis Joseph.”

"Honk if you love Jesus."

 

Jesus wasn’t given to the pithy statement and He does not expect His followers to be His witnesses only through pithy statements. He spoke the truth and spoke the truth directly, without hiding behind clever words whose meanings were ambiguous. Jesus is the most spectacular man who has ever walked this earth. This work is intended to serve as a journal of inquiry into the character of the one man who can truly be said to have changed history. It is hoped that you who will one day read this will be moved to understand even a small part of what it may have felt like to walk next to Him and to have heard Him teach and to learn from Him that the salvation that He offers is freely available to all and is sufficient for all our needs.

 

Prior to going into the study I would just like to take a moment and list some thoughts about Jesus that we all to often overlook. Some may be treated more fully in this document but all are worthy of consideration:

 

He is God

He is the Creator

He is The Saviour

He is as Man is

He Intercedes

He Will Return

He was less concerned about His rights than about our wrongs

 

He was born a Jew!

He was a fascinating individual

He is Our Creator God

He was Foretold
He Lived with Us as One of Us

He is Our Sacrifice

He Ascended into Heaven

He will Return

Pre-incarnate

Prophecy

Incarnate

Ascended

Prophecy

Returning

 

Jesus is Real

In order to make any honest examination of the person of Jesus Christ one must first come to grips with the fact of His reality. Much of the material in this section (points 1-4) is taken from "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" (1999) by Josh McDowell.

 

1) The reliability of the Old Testament documents (which speak at length of the ministry of Jesus) is beyond question. The accuracy of the text as copied through the ages was held to be of utmost importance by the copyists. Archeology has verified many of the events spoken of in the Old Testament. Extra-Biblical documents uncovered through archeological investigation also verify the culture and context of the Old Testament.

2) The New Testament documents are among the most numerous and reliable ancient documents in existence. Josh McDowell gives the following comparison of the New Testament to other widely accepted ancient documents:

 

 

AUTHOR

BOOK

DATE WRITTEN

EARLIEST COPIES

TIME GAP

NO. OF COPIES

Homer

Iliad

800 B.C.

c. 400 B.C.

c. 400 yrs.

643

Herodotus

History

480-425 B.C.

c. A.D. 900

c. 1,350 yrs.

8

Thucydides

History

460-400 B.C.

c. A.D. 900

c. 1,300 yrs.

8

Plato

 

400 B.C.

c. A.D. 900

c. 1,300 yrs.

7

Demosthenes

 

300 B.C.

c. A.D. 1100

c. 1,400 yrs.

200

Caesar

Gallic Wars

100-44 B.C.

c. A.D. 900

c. 1,000 yrs.

10

Livy

History of Rome

59 B.C.-A.D. 17

4th cent. (partial)

mostly 10th cent.

c. 400 yrs.

c. 1,000 yrs.

1 partial

19 copies

Tacitus

Annals

A.D. 100

c. A.D. 1100

c. 1,000 yrs.

20

Pliny Secundus

Natural History

A.D. 61-113

c. A.D. 850

c. 750 yrs.

7

New Testament

 

A.D. 50-100

c. 114 (fragment)

c. 200 (books)

c. 250 (most of NT)

c. 325 (complete NT)

+ 50 yrs.

100 yrs.

150 yrs.

225 yrs.

5366

 

Josh McDowell, "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict," pg. 36

 

3) No historical documents exist in any form that conclusively show that Jesus did not exist.

4) No ancient historian gives evidence of any doubt concerning the reality of Jesus. That many of these were antagonistic toward Christianity gives weight to their acceptance of His existence.

5) It is inconceivable that the disciples would allow themselves to be persecuted to their deaths for a system of belief built upon a person who never existed, which they themselves had concocted and knew to be a lie.

6) It is equally inconceivable that such a story could have been invented and so widely accepted without significant and lasting opposition (such as is voiced today against those who deny the holocaust).

 

Jesus – Our God Who is Man

 

Jesus. He is a Man like no other. He is God as no other man could hope to be. He alone is the Saviour of mankind. The writer of Hebrews begins his exposition of the ministry of Jesus with the following words:

 

Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

 

In so doing he encompasses all aspects of Jesus’ work and shows Jesus to be:

 

1. The Son of God and heir of all things
2. The power through which the world was made
3. The exact image of God
4. The maintainer of all things
5. The one through whom our sins have been purged
6. The one who now is seated at the right hand of God in Heaven

 

Notice that neither here nor anywhere else in the Bible does any author attempt to prove the reality of Jesus. His existence, like God’s, is accepted as an indisputable fact. All considerations of His work are built upon the undoubted fact that He exists. The reasons for this are twofold:

 

1) One does not attempt to prove the reality of what cannot conceivably be doubted. When discussing the qualities of air there is no one seriously considers that the existence of air needs to be proven. Likewise the writers of the New Testament do not attempt to prove that Jesus lived, for while they may anticipate disbelief in Jesus (for the very purpose of their writing was to encourage belief) they do not anticipate disbelief of Jesus. His existence is understood as a fact that is beyond doubt.

 

2) One does not attempt to prove the reality of what one has personally experienced. It is expected that their testimony of their experience will be taken at face value by those to whom they are speaking. When I am out with my children and introduce them to someone as my children I do not prepare to show birth certificates proving the relationship. It is understood that that my testimony of my own experience is all that is required to prove the relationship. Likewise those who wrote of Jesus wrote from personal experience and expected that experience to be all that was required to enable them to convey the truth of Jesus to their audience.

 

In the passage that heads this study Jesus makes the astounding claim that "If you had known me, you would have known the Father also." There is an almost universal understanding today that Jesus was a great teacher. Even those who do not believe that He is God will concede that His teaching was magnificent and of a caliber unmatched by any other human teacher. No other teacher in human history has known his teaching to have made so lasting an impact. In the east there may be teachers whose lives predate Jesus’ human existence but not one of them enjoys so lasting and universal acclaim as does Jesus. The eloquence of His teaching, the simplicity of His words, the ability of His lessons to touch the very heart of human need, and His willingness to teach all who came to Him have combined to make Him the ideal teacher even to those who would reject His claims of Godhood.

 

Jesus’ teaching cannot be isolated from His claims of Godhood. The man who said “Knock, and the door will be opened for you” also said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus could not be the greatest human teacher who has ever lived if He were not also God. He is either both or neither. The nature of His ministry to man and on behalf of man necessitates that He become so completely a man as to make us forget that He is also our God and yet remain so completely our God as to make us forget that He is also a man. He is unique in that He alone is both man and God and He is completely both.

 

To those who would deny the Godhood of Jesus with the claim that He was a gifted teacher but no more than that C. S. Lewis has given this eloquent reply:

 

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 a 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.

 

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

Jesus is God

 

Since He exists He must be God. Neither Jesus nor any New Testament author displays the slightest doubt of His Godhood. He is God. He is the creator and sustainer of everything. Regarding His identity with God and His creation of all that is the apostle John, the disciple closest to Him wrote these words:

 

John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 

Concerning His sustaining power over creation the writer of Hebrews adds that Jesus is:

 

Hebrews 1:3 the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power.

 

Someone once said that if God were to remove His attention from creation for the merest instant it would disappear as though it were nothing more than smoke. This creation exists, as do you and I, through the ongoing work of God. Jesus indicates this same idea when He says:

 

John 5:17 My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.

 

Jesus confirmed His eternal existence again when He told the Jews:

 

John 8:56-58 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. 57 Then the Jews said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.

 

Before Abraham was. Past tense. “I AM.” Present tense. The same “I AM” that God spoke to Moses from the burning bush. Eternal sense. Of the use of the phrase “I AM” in this context John Gill writes:

 

This signifies the real being of God, his self-existence, and that he is the Being of beings; as also it denotes his eternity and immutability, and his constancy and faithfulness in fulfilling his promises, for it includes all time, past, present, and to come; and the sense is, not only I am what I am at present, but I am what I have been, and I am what I shall be, and shall be what I am.

 

John Gill, John Gill’s Expositor

 

Jesus has the same relation to eternity as does His Father. He is from before the beginning of time on to beyond the end of time. Before the beginning of time Jesus lived. All that exists owes its creation and continued existence to Him. He will remain after all that exists is destroyed.

 

During His ministry on Earth Jesus made no secret of His identity as the Son of God. He never beat around the bush, never hid the truth behind clever words but boldly proclaimed Himself to be the Son of God without fear or shame. It was this confession which ultimately served as the excuse for which He was put to death. He repeatedly identified Himself as one with the Father, an identification which the religious leaders of His day rejected and viewed instead as heresy since by this identification Jesus was actually making Himself one with God.

 

Apart from God it is Jesus alone who does not refuse the worship of man. He is worshipped by His disciples, His friends, those who came to Him for Help, the hosts of heaven in His glory and the multitude of the redeemed. The angels who stand in the very presence of God and act as His messengers refuse worship for they are created beings, the work of the hand of God. By accepting the worship of man Jesus shows that He is not created but Creator.

 

1) Jesus is the visible manifestation of God the Father

 

John 14:6-9 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." 8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’"?

 

2) Jesus is the power through whom creation came into being and is maintained

 

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

 

3) Jesus is the One through whom forgiveness from sin is received

 

Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

 

4) Jesus exists before and beyond all else

 

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

 

John 8:56-58 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. 57 Then the Jews said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.

 

Revelation 1:17-18 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore."

Jesus is Man

 

He is man. His work of salvation required that He become one of those whom He came to save. Quoting again from Hebrews:

 

Hebrews 2:16-17 He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

 

This is to me, perhaps, the most comforting fact about Jesus: He understands me because He became like me. He is not some remote god who is alien to my condition such as the pagans worship. He is intimate with me, He took my condition upon Himself so that He could save me.

 

Throughout the gospels Jesus is portrayed as a man who endured all that you or I would in our own lives.

 

1) Jesus had a human mother

 

Matthew 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

 

2) Jesus experienced human life as we do

 

i) Jesus was tempted

 

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

 

ii) Jesus was hungry and thirsty

 

Matthew 4:1-2 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.

 

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled*, said, "I thirst!"

 

*See section discussing Prophecy

 

iii) Jesus had a family

 

Matthew 13:54 And when He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, "Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 "Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 "And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?"

 

iv) Jesus had a job

 

Mark 6:2-3 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 "Is this not the carpenter?"

 

v) Jesus rejoiced

 

Luke 10:17-21 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." 18 And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth."

 

vi) Jesus grieved

 

John 11:33-35 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." 35 Jesus wept.

 

vii) Jesus felt exhaustion

 

Luke 8:22-24 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side of the lake." And they launched out. 23 But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to Him and awoke Him.

 

3) Jesus suffered death

 

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Jesus is both God and man

 

While the acts below are the acts of God what we miss in reading the narratives of Jesus' life is that His contemporaries saw these acts being performed by a man.

 

1) Jesus forgave sin committed against Himself and against others

 

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

 

Matthew 9:2-3 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you." 3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!"

 

2) Jesus healed the sick

 

Matthew 14:14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

 

3) Jesus cast out demons

 

Matthew 8:16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word.

 

4) Jesus had power over nature

 

Mark 4:35-39 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

 

5) Jesus had power over the deaths of others as well as His own

 

John 11:41-44 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 "And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!" 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."

 

John 10:17-18 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.

 

6) Jesus allowed Himself to be worshipped

 

John 20:25-29 So he [Thomas] said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" 27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

 

The gospels make no apologies for writing of Jesus as a man for it is primarily as a man that His intimates saw Him. Repeatedly the comment is made by those who encountered Him "Isn't this the son of Mary? Don't we know His brothers and sisters?" It is not a comment along the lines of "Hey, look at that, we know someone famous!" It is more like "How could this person, whose family we know, put on such airs?" The problem of His humanity is that it distracts from His Godhood. We try to rationalize the impossible miracle of the incarnation and are unable to do so. For me one of the single greatest proofs that humanity and deity were combined in the person of Jesus is found this passage from the gospel of Mark:

 

Mark 4:35-41 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

 

Jesus and His disciples are sailing across the Sea of Galilee in a fishing boat. Jesus is sleeping. The boat is being overwhelmed by a storm. The storm that is so violent that Jesus' disciples, many of whom were professional sailors feared for their lives. The disciples are rowing for their lives and casting desperate glances in Jesus' direction. All the while Jesus is so exhausted that He does not awaken. Humanity.

 

Jesus' disciples, having finally succeeded in awakening Him, implore Him to save them and He speaks. Suddenly they are standing drop-jawed as the waves that had threatened to sink their boat melt into a dead calm and they are confronted by the slowly dawning awareness that this happened in response to a simple command spoken by the Man they had just woken up. Godhood.

 

There are many miracles in the gospels that attest to Jesus' Godhood. There are many situations that attest to Jesus humanity. So much of each that to disclaim either is impossible. He is either entirely God and entirely man or He is nothing.

 

In one place He is both man tired from a good day's work and God in control of every situation.

 

Jesus – Our Creator

 

Mark 4:35-41 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

 

His disciples were terrified, first of the storm and their imminent death then of their Lord and His incredible power. Power which revealed an unusual relationship with creation itself. Suddenly He is more than a teacher and worker of wonders, He is…The Creator! And if He is the Creator then He is truly the holy God before whom sinful men have need to fear for their lives. John speaks of Jesus as the Creator at the beginning of his gospel in a much more joyful sense:

 

John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 

Jesus – Our Sacrifice

 

Those who have doubt of Jesus’ deity need only consider Jesus’ death to have their questions challenged. The circumstances surrounding His death are remarkable. Consider that throughout His ministry He consistently predicted His death, even to the point of describing the method (the Roman cross) and the time (the Hebrew Passover). Consider that He went to His death willingly even though He could have avoided it at many points along the way. Consider the words He spoke from the cross, nails piercing His body, the crowd ridiculing His apparent failure, death mere minutes away. Looking over the people upon that hill He calls upon His Father to forgive them. Even now, in the final minutes of life, His character is that of love, His attitude one of concern for His fellow man. Who among us could exhibit such selflessness and even if one of us were able would it be so effective as the selflessness of Jesus?

 

Consider also the fact of His resurrection, for fact it must be. No body was ever provided save one alive. No adequate reason is ever given, in any history of the time, for the persistent belief among the followers of Jesus that His death was temporary. Excuse is given that the power of the Church over the centuries has sought out and demolished any such evidence but if that were so, if Jesus resurrection were a lie why has it continued to outlive all who believe it and for two hundred centuries has remained an undisputed truth. Given the actuality of His resurrection all question of His deity must be thrown aside. While others have returned to life no other has ever spontaneously enjoyed such a return. While others have returned to life they have also returned to death. Jesus’ return to life is a return to unending life. His followers did not see Him die but saw Him taken into heaven with the promise of His return. His life continues to this day.

 

He took my sins away.

 

He paid the debt that I could not pay and still enjoy the benefit of paying it, if I had been able to pay the debt at all. The debt that Jesus paid was the punishment for my sin. The punishment for my sin was death. Had I been the one punished death would have removed from me all possibility of living to enjoy the consequence of the payment of my debt. In other words I could not have done for myself what Jesus did for me for not only did the debt have to be paid, and that debt was death, but the power of death itself had to be broken so that those whose debt had been paid could enjoy the blessing of a debt free life.

 

Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.

 

For me the single most astounding facet of Jesus’ character is His capacity to forgive. We see no other person in history so perfectly capable of forgiving those who wronged Him, so completely willing to forgive even the most horrible acts. Consider the relationship between Jesus and those whom He forgave, they were His creation, individuals the days of whose lives were planned before one of them ever was. They were people with whom He was more intimately involved than a mother with her child. His forgiveness was an extension of His love, His concern was that the wrongs that prevented His people from enjoying Him be removed.

 

Jesus Fulfills Prophecy

 

At almost every turn the gospels record events in Jesus' life that fulfill prophecies spoken centuries, even millennia before His birth. The letters, particularly that to the Hebrews, continue showing how Jesus fulfilled prophecy. Revelation shows the final fulfillment of prophecy in the consummation of the Kingdom of God for all eternity.

 

Prophecy fulfills multiple purposes the two primary purposes in the context of this discussion being:

 

First – That Jesus arrival on earth was not an unexpected occurrence but was planned even before creation began.

 

Second – That in foretelling specific aspects of His ministry they served as Jesus' credentials, validating Him before His audience.

 

1) Jesus' arrival on earth in human form was planned before creation existed

 

2 Timothy 1:8-10 – Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

 

2) Jesus told the Pharisees that Moses had spoken of Him

 

John 5:46-47 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?

 

On this verse Adam Clarke writes:

 

He wrote of me - For instance, in reciting the prophecy of Jacob, Genesis 49:10 (The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people). And in Deuteronomy 18:18 (I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him). Confer this with Acts 3:22 (For Moses truly said to the fathers, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you"), and Acts 7:37 (This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear"). Besides, Moses pointed out the Messiah in a multitude of symbols and figures, which are found in the history of the patriarchs, the ceremonial laws, and especially in the whole sacrificial system. All these were well-defined, though shadowy representations of the birth, life, sufferings, death, and resurrection of the Savior of the world. Add to this, Moses has given you certain marks to distinguish the false from the true prophet, Deuteronomy13:1-3 (If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, "Let us go after other god" —which you have not known—"and let us serve them," you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul); Deuteronomy18:22 (when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him), which, if you apply to me, you will find that I am not a false but a true prophet of the Most High God.

 

In many ways Moses was also a type of Jesus. Both Jesus and Moses:

— Were preserved in childhood (Exodus 2:2-10, Matthew 2:14,15)
— Contended with masters of evil (Exodus 7:11, Matthew 4:1)
— Fasted forty days (Exodus 34:28, Matthew 4:2)
— Controlled the sea (Exodus 14:21, Matthew 8:26)
— Fed a multitude (Exodus 16:15, Matthew 14:20,21)
— Had radiant faces (Exodus 34:35, Matthew 17:2)
— Endured murmurings (Exodus 15:24, Mark 7:2)
— Discredited in the home (Numbers 12:1, John 7:5)
— Made intercessory prayers (Exodus 32:32, John 17:9)
— Spoke as oracles (Deuteronomy 18:18)
— Had seventy helpers (Numbers 11:16,17, Luke 10:1)
— Established memorials (Exodus 12:14, Luke 22:19)
— Re-appeared after death (Matthew 17:3, Acts 1:3)

 

3) Of the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus (see Jesus is the Messiah) and His role as the messiah the chances of eight of these (birth in Bethlehem; preceded by a messenger; entry into Jerusalem on a donkey; betrayal by a friend; sold for thirty pieces of silver; money thrown into God's house and used to purchase the Potter's field; silence before His accusers; death by crucifixion) being fulfilled in one person is equivalent to the following: Cover the province of Ontario to a depth of 40 centimeters with toonies. Throw one marked toonie into the middle of it all. Stir vigorously. Pick out one single toonie and have that toonie be the one that is marked.

 

Why Was Jesus Not Recognized?

 

Given that prophets spoke in various contexts of the Messiah why was Jesus not recognized by those to whom He came? How could they experience Jesus directly and not believe that He was the Messiah? It has been said that "prophecy is a poor guide to the future," it is also a poor guide to the present. This is not because the words God speaks concerning things to come are inadequate but because our minds understand imperfectly and we can therefore be deceived and become blind to the truth. This may be illustrated in the seventh chapter of the Gospel of John where we can see various responses to the prophecies of the Messiah by the people who lived with Jesus and experienced Him personally:

 

John 7:25-44 Now some of them from Jerusalem said, "Is this not He whom they seek to kill? 26 "But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? 27 "However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from." 28 Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, "You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. 29 "But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me." 30 Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. 31 And many of the people believed in Him, and said, "When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?" 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. 33 Then Jesus said to them, "I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. 34 "You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come." 35 Then the Jews said among themselves, "Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 "What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?" 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40 Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, "Truly this is the Prophet." 41 Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Will the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 "Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?" 43 So there was a division among the people because of Him. 44 Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

 

Of verse 27 Robertson indicates that:

 

This is a piece of popular theology. "Three things come wholly unexpected—Messiah, a godsend, and a scorpion" (Sanhedrin 97a). The rulers knew the birthplace to be Bethlehem (#7:42; Mt 2:5), but some even expected the Messiah to drop suddenly from the skies as Satan proposed to Jesus to fall down from the pinnacle of the temple. The Jews generally expected a sudden emergence of the Messiah from concealment with an anointing by Elijah.

 

Robertson's New Testament Word Pictures

 

and in so doing reconciles verse 27 with verse 42 where the geographical source of the Messiah is known to be Bethlehem. The Jews expected a sudden revelation of the Messiah with an accompanying sudden deliverance and the establishment of the eternal kingdom that God had promised to King David more than one thousand years earlier:

 

2 Samuel 7:10-13 Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, 11 since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

 

And Gill, on verse 52, writes:

 

For out of Galilee ariseth no prophet; but this is false, for Jonah the prophet was of Gathhepher, which was in the tribe of Zebulun, which tribe was in Galilee; see #2Ki 14:25 Jos 19:10,13,16. And the Jews {z} themselves say, that Jonah, the son of Amittai, was, Nwlwbzm, of "Zebulun", and that his father was of Zebulun, and his mother was of Asher {a}; both which tribes were in Galilee: and if no prophet had, as yet, arose from thence, it did not follow that no one should arise: besides, there is a prophecy in which it was foretold, that a prophet, and even the Messiah, the great light, should arise in Galilee; see #Isa 9:1,2; and they themselves say, that the Messiah should be revealed in Galilee; see Gill on "Joh 7:41".

 

John Gill's Expositor

 

Showing that in Jesus' day as today the clear teaching of the Bible was occasionally ignored in favour of personal preference.

 

Elsewhere indication is given that even those who had studied prophecy were confused as to the true nature of Jesus:

 

John 9:13-16 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see." 16 Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.

 

We have a similar response to prophecy in our own day. There are many who have read, studied and taught upon the book of Revelation. Many of us as well have been intrigued by and paid special attention to those sections that deal with the second coming of Jesus and the rapture of those who have called upon His name. Yet there is disagreement and difference of opinion, even among devout believers who seek only the glory and honour of God. What is happening is that our opinions and desires get in the way of rightly interpreting the word of God. We have some ideas of what will happen when Jesus returns and we tend to interpret the Bible according to those ideas. Many believe that Jesus will take up His followers before the great tribulation, many others believe that Jesus will not return until after the tribulation and the wrath of God has been poured out upon the world. Both views cannot be true, either one or the other is right or maybe both are wrong. We sincerely study the word of God to learn His truth and yet some of us are wrong.

 

This is identical to what occurred during Jesus' earthly ministry. The Messiah was expected. Specific prophecies had been made to reassure the nation of Israel that He would come and to allow them to know Him when He did come. These were completely fulfilled in Jesus yet no one believed Him, not even His disciples completely, because of the preconceptions each of them held. The prophecies had been reinterpreted according to the desires and expectations of an oppressed people. How would we respond if Jesus came today instead of two thousand years ago? Would we accept Him and be willing to be taught by Him or would we reject Him and His teaching as doctrinally questionable? Some would no doubt believe Him, others would not, just as in Jesus' day some were honest seekers of truth and welcomed Jesus as the Messiah when He revealed to them the correct interpretation of the prophecies:

 

Luke 24:13-32 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. 17 And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" 18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?" 19 And He said to them, "What things?" So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 "and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 "Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 "When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 "And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see." 25 Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. 28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And He went in to stay with them. 30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?"

 

Others were deceived by the enemy and would not believe regardless of the facts.

 

John 10:22-39 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." 25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 "I and My Father are one." 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" 33 The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God." 34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, "You are gods"‘? 35 "If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 "do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 "but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." 39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.

 

Aspects of Jesus' Ministry

 

Jesus' ministry as it relates to man has various forms depending on whether His ministry is pre-incarnate, incarnate, or post-incarnate. In His pre-incarnate ministry, prior to the creation of the world He existed as God and it is through Him that all that is created has been created. Yet even here, before the creation of man, He is ordained as our Saviour. Subsequent to the creation of the world and prior to His birth in human form He occasionally appeared as the Angel of the Lord. In His incarnate ministry, from His birth in human form to His ascension into Heaven, He lived among man as a man, interacting directly with His created beings. In His post-incarnate ministry, subsequent to His ascension into Heaven, He is at the right hand of the Father and acting as our ultimate High Priest, the one to whom the Old Testament sacrificial system was pointing. From there He will return at the end of time to take us home to live with Him and He will reign as our King forever.

 

Jesus' Pre-incarnate Ministry

 

Jesus' pre-incarnate ministry has two aspects as it relates to mankind:

 

First, His activity prior to and during the creation. John, in the passage quoted earlier and here again, proclaims that creation exists because of the work of Jesus:

 

John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

 

Peter not only asserts that Jesus was "planned" since before creation:

 

1 Peter 1:18-20 Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world…

 

But goes on to say that when we place our faith in Jesus we place our faith in God Himself:

 

1 Peter 1:20-21 …but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

 

Second, His activity after creation and before His incarnation. Fifty-two times in the Old Testament (NKJV) reference is made to "the Angel of the Lord." Many commentators agree that the Angel of the Lord is a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ for the Angel appears to have power and authority beyond what is normally ascribed to the messengers of God. Some examples of this authority are:

 

1) The Angel of the Lord allows Himself to be worshipped when all other instances of man worshipping angels is emphatically discouraged

 

Judges 13:17-22 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, "What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?" 18 And the Angel of the LORD said to him, "Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?" 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the LORD. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on— 20 it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar—the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 When the Angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the LORD. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, because we have seen God!"

 

Revelation 22:6-9 Then he said to me, "These words are faithful and true." And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. 7 "Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." 8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 Then he said to me, "See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."

 

2) The Angel of the Lord forgave sins

 

Exodus 23:20-21 "Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 "Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him."

 

3) The Angel of the Lord acted as an independent agent having authority both bestowed upon Him by God and also inherent within Himself

 

Genesis 21:17-19 And God heard the voice of the lad. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, "What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 "Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation." 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.

 

Genesis 22:9-18 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me." 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided." 15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son — 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

 

Jesus' Earthly Ministry

 

Jesus told His disciples that the kingdom of Heaven was upon them, that those who had seen Him had seen the Father as well, that He had come to seek and to save the lost, and that whoever put his faith in Him would not die but have everlasting life.

 

1) Jesus taught at length on the Kingdom of God and how it was because of his coming that man could enter into it.

 

Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.

 

Mark 1:14-15 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

 

The Kingdom of God, used interchangeably with the Kingdom of Heaven, is portrayed as a kingdom that is both present and expected. The Kingdom of God is present in that through Jesus man has been saved from sin and God now makes His home within in him.

 

Luke 17:20-21 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 "nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."

 

The Kingdom of God is expected in that the consummation of the Kingdom of God is set for that time in the future when Jesus Christ will return. As Jesus has said:

 

Luke 18:17 "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."

 

And as Paul writes:

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-27 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For "He has put all things under His feet."

 

2) Jesus spoke also of many of the aspects of His ministry

 

a) He spoke of division between those who followed Him and those who did not

 

Matthew 10:35 "For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’."

 

b) He said that He had come to look for, find and reclaim that which had been alienated from God

 

Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

 

c) He came to bring God's message of salvation to mankind

 

Mark 1:38 But He said to them, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth."

 

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

 

John 12:46 "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness."

 

d) He attracted people of all walks of life and seemed to enjoy being with them. One cannot think of thousands following Him into the wilderness if He were not an enjoyable person to be with.

 

Matthew 14:13-14 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

 

Luke 7:34 "The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’"

 

Luke 18:15-16 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God."

 

e) Through Jesus the Father was revealed to mankind

 

John 5:43 "I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive."

 

John 14:9-11 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

 

f) Jesus came to give us life, both in this world:

 

John 10:10 "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

 

And in the next:

 

John 3:16-21 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 "But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."

 

g) Jesus forgave sins, both those committed against His person (indicative of His grace) and those committed against other men (indicative of His divinity)

 

Matthew 9:1-8 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!" 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." 7 And the man got up and went home. 8 When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

 

Luke 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

 

Jesus' Heavenly Ministry

 

1) Through Jesus' death and resurrection Satan has been defeated and cast down to the earth: Jesus is victorious over the devil and has cause the destruction of his power over mankind through His death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven. Jesus' victory is both realized and promised.

 

Jesus' victory is realized, is something of which we can speak as having already happened because of Jesus' sacrifice. Prior to His earthly ministry the devil appears to have had direct access to God:

 

Job 1:6-7…12 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it"….So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

 

Zechariah 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.

 

Subsequent to it, however, there is no reference to the devil performing any type of this activity. It appears that he no longer has the privilege of direct access to God and is therefore no longer able to accuse man before God. Jesus seems to speak of this toward the time of His crucifixion.

 

John 12:30-32 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."

 

Because He bore our punishment God's wrath no longer remains upon us and the devil's ability to accuse us before God has been removed.

 

Revelation 12:1-10 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. 2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. 3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."

 

The victory is promised, is something for which we look in hope because the devil has not yet been finally defeated. Peter writes that:

 

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

 

Showing that the devil is a power of which to be wary, who is alive in the world and who, while his time remains is actively opposed to the followers of Christ. That his time is short is a fact of which he is aware and of which we need to be reassured:

 

Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.

 

Satan is currently held back by God's power for the time being. He will be released before Jesus' return only to be destroyed forever following a sequence of failed rebellions:

 

2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

 

2) It is certain that Jesus is at the right hand of God:

 

Acts 7:55-56 But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

 

That He currently acts as our high priest:

 

Hebrews 5:4-10 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You." 6 As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek"; 7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek,"

 

That He will return to take us home

 

Acts 1:8-11 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." 9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

 

That He will receive authority over all the kingdoms of the earth:

 

Luke 19:11-12 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.

 

which He will then hand over to the Father:

 

1 Corinthians 15:20-27 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For "He has put all things under His feet."

 

And that He will be given authority and receive honour for all eternity for being the means through Whom mankind may be saved:

 

Revelation 5:6-13 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." 11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" 14 The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.

 

What Does all that Jesus is Mean to Us?

 

Because He is God we can rest assured that He is utterly trustworthy in all that He said and did. Because He is man we can rest assured that He knows what life as a person is like, with all of its joys, trials and temptations. Because He is from eternity to eternity we can rest assured that He is able to hold us past our death and even past the destruction of this world. Because He lived in time as we do we can rest assured that this earthly life is worthwhile. Because He died we can rest assured that our sins have been forgiven. Because He has risen from the dead we can rest assured that our debt has been fully paid. Because He has ascended into Heaven and is at the right hand of the Father we can rest assured that no other sacrifice is required, Jesus' sacrifice is sufficient. Because He said that He would come to take us to be with Him we can rest assured that death is not for us the end, our lives will continue past the grave on into eternity in the new Heaven and Earth in the presence of God without shame or fear.

 

Wherever He was and whatever He did Jesus showed love. He showed love to the men, women and children who took up all of His personal time. He showed love to His followers who all too often just did not understand the point and tried to fit Him into their own agendas. He showed love to Zacchaeus in the tree. He showed love to the thief on the cross. He showed love to the outcast. He showed love to those who were putting Him to death. And He showed, and is showing love to you and me. Now, if Jesus is this kind of person, what kind of person ought we to be? Jesus showed love. Jesus came to us as an emissary of the Father, showing in human form the Father's perfect character and His willingness to go to any length to save His lost creation. Among Jesus' final words to His disciples were these:

 

John 20:19-22 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21  So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22  And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23  "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

 

In the preceding study we have undertook to examine in some small way the manner in which the Father sent Jesus to us.  Our essential mandate is therefore not to judge nor condemn:

 

John 3:17-18For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

It is not to spend time only with those who have been saved:

 

Mark 2:13-17 Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. 14  As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him. 15  Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. 16  And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, "How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?" 17  When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."

 

When John the Baptist requested assurance that Jesus is the Messiah Jesus confirmed Himself to John in the following words:

 

Matthew 11:2-6 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3  and said to Him, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" 4  Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5  "The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6  "And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me."

 

Elsewhere we see that Jesus acted as an encourager, one who would lift up the broken in spirit:

 

Isaiah 42:1-5 Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. 2  He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. 3  A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. 4  He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.

 

Too often we, as Christians, adopt a code of behaviour that we expect everyone to follow. Yet how can we expect those who have not been saved to live any differently than they are? Christian behaviour cannot be legislated or mandated (though we do well to work to ensure that the laws of our land serve as a barrier between the individual and sin). Christian behaviour is possible only as the result of an inward change of heart. We tend to avoid, ostracize and even condemn those who do not meet our expectations for how they should act (how many of us have unjustly boycotted Proctor and Gamble over the years for fear of supporting Satanism rather than working to find out the truth and working to change hearts if the truth were as we suspected). Jesus did not act in this way. Had He done so there would be no hope for any of us for none of us, no matter how perfectly we have lived our lives, none of us could ever hope to have a chance of meeting God's standard. Paul wrote to the Roman church:

 

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 

and thereby shows that every human has fallen short of God's expectation for him. Paul goes on, however, to show how it is the grace of God that saves us:

 

Romans 3:24-28 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25  whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26  to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

 

Jesus accepted those we would never consider. He hung out with people we would never think to associate with: Traitors, prostitutes, adulterers, demon possessed and conquerors among them. His mission was to redeem the lost.

 

He also was remarkable among men in that He forgave. Anyone. Anytime. Anything. Those caught in the act of sin found mercy before Him:

 

John 8:10-11 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" 11  She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

 

Those justly punished for their crimes He welcomed into Paradise:

 

Luke 23:39-43 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." 40  But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41  "And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42  Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43  And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

 

Those who nailed His hands to rugged wood He forgave even as they crucified Him:

 

Luke 23:32-37 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33  And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34  Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35  And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God." 36  The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37  and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."

 

He cared more that man was alienated from God than He cared for His own rights. He was as Paul encourages all Christians to be:

 

1 Corinthians 6:1-8 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2  Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3  Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 4  If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5  I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6  But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! 7  Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? 8  No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!.