Who is this Jesus? (part 2)
Greetings precious people, I hope all is well with you. In today’s article I would like for us to continue looking at who Jesus is. In last week’s article we considered the various views and ideas people and religions have of who Jesus is. We also looked at what the Bible, God’s Word, has to say about who Jesus is. It is obvious that the opinions of the world and its religions differ from who the Bible tells us who Jesus is. The Bible proclaims Him to be God, where the world’s religions make Him less than that. If you would like a copy of last week’s article simply make your request and it will be sent to you free of charge.
In today’s article we will make further examination concerning who Jesus is by looking at what the Bible has to say. Before we do this, let me emphasis the importance of your coming to a correct understanding of who Jesus is. If He is simply a "man", "prophet", "good teacher", or "a god" as some religions tell us, then His life and Words have little importance to your life and eternal state. But if He is God Almighty as the Bible claims Him to be, then His life and Words will have a great impact on your life now and for all eternity. It would do you a world of good to humble yourself before Him and get to know Him and His Word.
I have found that there are many ways to get to know a person. One way is to listen to the person’s friends and hear what they have to say about them. Another way is to listen to their enemies and hear what they have to say about them. Oddly enough, Jesus had a number of enemies while He was here on this earth. They were not the ones you would think they would be.
One might think that His enemies would consist of murders, thieves, liars, and other criminal types. But amazingly those that hated Him the most were the "religious" types who interestingly enough turned out to be liars, thieves, and murderers. They were not telling the truth to the people, about who God was, instead they were telling the people their own ideas and opinions. Jesus exposed their lying and murderous plot, which did not sit well with them.
In John 8:37-45, Jesus was speaking to a group of religious leader when He said the following: "I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father." They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father." Then they said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father--God." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me."
In order to not appear evil in the sight of the masses, the religious leaders began to say all kinds of things about Jesus. Some were true and some not. Look at the following from Matthew 11:16-19, "But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying: 'We played the flute for you, And you did not dance; We mourned to you, and you did not lament.' "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'
The lies that they were telling about Him were that He was a drunkard, a madman, a blasphemer, and a sinner. But they also spoke the truth about Jesus, which was unbeknownst to them. They said that Jesus was a "friend of tax collectors and sinners." I for one am so glad that Jesus is a friend to sinners, for you see I am a sinner. Jesus did not act like the "religious" toward sinners. The religious would shun the sinners, look down upon them, snub their noses at them, despise and reject them as being filthy no good scum. As they would walk through the market places they would pull their robe in tight against themselves so as not to touch one of the common sinners and thus become defiled.
Jesus had no problem at all with reaching out and touching those whose lives had been ruined by the ravages of sin. He had no problem sitting down to dine with a group of prostitutes, thieves, and taxgathers. He would reach out and touch those that had the horrible disease of leprosy. He would not only touch those that were considered untouchable, but He would also let them touch Him.
Consider an encounter that Jesus had with a man by the name of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. Needless to say, he was not well liked among the Jewish people because the tax collectors worked for the Roman Government and would often charge extra to make themselves rich and live a life of a reprobate.
In Luke 19:1-10, "Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house." So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, "He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner." Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
The Book of Proverbs lends this description of a friend, Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times." And Proverbs 18:24, "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
There is a wonderful old hymn entitled "What a Friend We Have in Jesus". It contains many marvelous truths. Look at a few lines from this song. "What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry, Everything to God in prayer. O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer. Have we trails and temptations, is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful? Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer."
To all that will come to Him humbly, confessing and repenting of sin, trusting Him by faith and accepting Him as Lord and Savior, this is what He has to say. In John 15:13-15, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."
Who is Jesus to you? Is He Friend or foe? Do you know Him in the way that the above verses describe Him? If not, you are missing out on having the best friend a person could ever have. Place your trust in Him today.
Next time we will continue to look at what the Bible has to say concerning who Jesus is. Until then, may the Lord richly bless you my beloved.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine