Who Is Jesus?March 13, 2023 ● 16 min
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He alone had to produce a great people, elect, holy and chosen, lead them, feed them, bring them into the place of rest and holiness, make them holy for God, make them the temple of God, reconcile them to God, save them from God’s anger, redeem them from the bondage of sin which visibly reigns in man, give laws to his people, write these laws in their hearts, offer himself to God for them, sacrifice himself for them, be a spotless sacrifice, and himself the sacrificer, having himself to offer up his body and blood, and yet offer up bread and wine to God (608/766). Blaise Pascal, Pensées.
I. Controversy over Jesus
A. Christ the controversialist (John Stott)
B. Who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:13-16)
II. New Testament Record
A. Most reliable reports
B. Good to read the stories, but we will select certain aspects of his life and teaching.
III. Master Teacher and Philosopher
A. Taught all manner of people in different situations. Was creative and responsive.
B. Used philosophy, parables, prophecy, questions, condemnation
IV. Jesus’ Worldview (see also Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus)
A. God and his Kingdom: “Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17)
1. Created (Matthew 19:4-6)
2. Fallen (Mark 7:20-23)
C. Ethics: Greatest commandment: Love God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39)
Extraordinary ethics of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)
1. Don’t sin in your heart with anger (murder) or lust (adultery)
2. Love your enemies
3. Pray for those who hurt you
4. Go the second mile
5. Turn the other cheek
D. Salvation found in him (Matthew 11:27-28; John 6:28-29; 14:6; Acts 4:12)
V. Miracle Worker
A. Over nature: calmed storm, walked on water, cursed the fig tree
B. Over sickness: blindness, insanity, leprosy, crippling diseases, flow of blood
C. Over death itself: raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11)
D. Purpose: Demonstrate the Kingdom of God has come with new power and urgency (Matthew 12:28)
VI. Exorcist: Demon Duster
A. More demonic activity seen in Gospels than any other books of Bible
B. Jesus exposed the demonic realm; they feared him, talked to him, and he overcame them with a word (Matthew 12:28-29).
VII. Man of Compassion
A. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots (Luke 23)
B. Touched lepers, ate with the down and out “sinners” and up and out (Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10)
VIII. Jesus’ Authority
A. Never admitted fault, but was not arrogant or a bully
B. Judge of history (Matthew 7; 25:31-46)
C. Had all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18-20)
A. The meaning of the title: the uniquely anointed one
B. Not a state of consciousness (New Age idea) or a proper name, but a title fit only for Jesus
X. Uniqueness and Supremacy
A. Jesus’ unique knowledge of God (Matthew 11:27)
B. Mediator (John 14:6; 1 Tim 2:15)
C. Jesus was God himself (Mark 2; John 8:58); the Incarnation.
XI. Other Testimony about Jesus Christ
A. Paul: the divine servant (Philippians 2:5-11)
B. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:1-5; see also 14, 18).
XII. Jesus and Other Religious Leaders.
See Ken Samples, God Among Sages: Why Jesus is not Just Another Religious Leader (Baker, 2017)
A. Sages: Buddha, Lao Tze, Mahavira, Confucius. Jesus was a sage, but more than a sage.
B. Avatars: Hinduism. Jesus was nothing like an Avatar, but an historical figure.
C. True biblical prophets: Isaiah, Malachi, etc. Jesus was a prophet, but also the divine Messiah.
D. Other prophets: Zoroaster, Mohammad, Joseph Smith. Jesus was a true prophet and divine Messiah.
E. Contemporary gurus: these are imposters. Jesus was who he said he was and stands alone as Lord.
1. Douglas Groothuis, On Jesus (Wadsworth, 2003).
2. Douglas Groothuis, Jesus in an Age of Controversy (Harvest House, 1996).
3. Douglas Groothuis, Christian Ap
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