Everyone was curious about Jesus. They had heard about the miracle worker who claimed God was his father, who spoke with authority, who healed the sick and raised the dead and took a whip to the moneychangers in the Temple. Everywhere he went the crowds flocked around him. If there had been Twitter, he was the top trending subject for three years straight at #IsHeTheMessiah?
The common question of the day was “Who do you say Jesus is?” Some thought he was Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. Others thought he was John the Baptist risen from the dead.
From King Herod in the palace down to the blind beggar at the gates, they all they all had an opinion about Jesus. No one was indifferent about him – either you loved him or hated him. He called the Pharisees a brood of vipers, but made friends with the tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners. At twelve years old his parents found him amazing the teachers in the Temple with his knowledge; at thirty years old those same teachers were condemning him of blasphemy.
He welcomed and encouraged everyone to follow him, but then demanded that they give up everything and be ready to die for him if they did.
Jesus was in Jerusalem for his final Passover. He was teaching in the Temple courtyard and people from everywhere were gathering around him wanting to see this one who had the city abuzz with anticipation. Among the thousands of Jews who had traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover were some Greek Gentiles – probably from Galilee or the Decapolis who had heard about Jesus, maybe even who had seen him perform a miracle. But they came to Jerusalem with a purpose, and they came to one of Jesus’ apostles, Philip and said, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”
I think they voiced a wish that all of us have – to see Jesus. Now I’m not talking about some physical manifestation, though I look forward to one day bowing before him in person and looking upon the face of my savior. But what is the purpose of the Bible, if not to reveal Jesus more clearly? Everything else we might read or study in the Bible only has meaning and relevance if we first find Jesus.
If you read the Bible regularly, and I hope you do, you will realize very quickly that Jesus is central to everything. The Bible is not a book of doctrine – it is a revelation of Jesus Christ. And that has been my intent and hope in this series of sermons on the names of Jesus – to help you see Jesus more clearly. Think back over the series with me for a moment:
We began with Jesus as the Word, who was not only with God in the beginning, but is God. He came as the perfect revelation of God – and not just because he spoke about him, but because he was him – “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.”
When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he told her that he would be called “Immanuel” which means “God with us.” It was not enough that God loved his creation, but in Jesus he came to be with us and to show us his love.
We looked at some of the I AM statements in the Gospel of John:
When Jesus went to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead, he told his sister Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies.”
Without the resurrection, Jesus’ death would have been a terrible tragedy – just another Jew who died at the hands of the Romans. But because Jesus was raised from the dead, because the tomb was empty – we have hope and we have eternal life.
Jesus told his followers, “I am the Bread of life that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
It is not enough to know about Jesus, we must have a deep and intimate relationship with him. We must be swallowed up in his life.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” In a world of darkness, we are lost and separated from God without Jesus. He is the one who illuminates the way, he is the one who helps us see ourselves for who we are and for whom God created us to be. His light not only exposes our sins, he purifies our lives.
We looked at Jesus through both sets of lenses, as we talked about Jesus as the Son of God and Jesus as the Son of Man. It is impossible for us to comprehend that Jesus could be both fully God and fully Man, but both are necessary. If Jesus was not God, then he had no power or authority to forgive our sins. If Jesus was just a good man but not God, then his claims about himself were false. Jesus not only claimed to be God, but demonstrated it in a powerful way through his miracles and ultimately his resurrection.
But it is important that we understand Jesus was fully human, just like us, tempted as we are, but without sin. In being born as a human, taking on flesh and living among us, he became our compassionate and perfect high priest. Son of Man was Jesus’ favorite description of himself – I think, because of his incredible love for and connection with us.
We spent a week talking about Jesus as our Lord. If we are truly followers of Jesus, we submit ourselves to him completely – our time, our talents, our energy, our possessions – they all belong to him. We were slaves of sin and Satan, but by his death on the cross Jesus broke the shackles and gave us true freedom – not a freedom to live however we want, but freedom to be everything that God created us to be in him.
And then finally, last week, we looked at Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the one God promised would come to be our perfect king, and redeemer, and revelation. He rules over our lives with tender compassion. He redeemed us back from sin to be his treasured possession. As the Messiah, he came to reveal God to us in a way that no one else ever could. And not only tell us but to show us God in all his glory and invite us into a relationship with him.
I said that in the Bible Jesus is the central figure – all of the OT looks forward to him, all of the NT reflects upon him. In the following piece, we see Jesus throughout the Bible:
Name Above All Names
In Genesis Jesus is the Ram at Abraham’s altar.
In Exodus he’s the Passover Lamb.
In Leviticus he’s the High Priest.
In Numbers he’s the Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night.
In Deuteronomy he’s the City of our Refuge.
In Joshua he’s the Scarlet Thread out Rahab’s window.
In Judges he is our Righteous Judge.
In Ruth he is our Kinsman Redeemer.
In 1 and 2 Samuel he is our trusted Prophet.
And in Kings and Chronicles he’s our Reigning King.
In Ezra he is our Faithful Scribe.
In Nehemiah he’s the Rebuilder of everything that is broken.
In Esther he is Mordecai sitting faithfully at the gate.
In Job he’s our Redeemer that ever lives.
In Psalms he is my Shepherd and I shall not want.
In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes he is our Wisdom.
And in Song of Solomon he’s the Beautiful Bridegroom.
In Isaiah he’s the Suffering Servant.
In Jeremiah and Lamentations it is Jesus that is the Weeping Prophet.
In Ezekiel he’s the One who Breathes Life into the valley of dry bones.
In Daniel he is the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace.
In Hosea he is my Love that is forever faithful.
In Joel he Baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.
In Amos he’s our Burden Bearer.
In Obadiah he’s our Savior.
In Jonah he is the great Missionary who takes the Word of God into all the world.
In Micah he is the Messenger with beautiful feet.
In Nahum he is the Avenger.
In Habakkuk he is the Watchman who is ever praying for revival.
In Zephaniah he is the Lord mighty to save us.
In Haggai he is the Restorer of our lost heritage.
In Zechariah he is our Fountain.
And in Malachi he is the Son of Righteousness with healing in his wings.
In Matthew he is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
In Mark he is the Miracle Worker.
In Luke he is the Son of Man.
In John he is the Door by which everyone of us must enter.
In Acts he is the Shining Light that appears to Saul on the road to Damascus.
In Romans he is our Justifier.
In 1 Corinthians he is our Resurrection.
In 2 Corinthians he is our Sin Bearer.
In Galatians he Redeems us from the law.
In Ephesians he is our Unsearchable Riches.
In Philippians he Supplies our every need.
In Colossians he’s the Fullness of the God Head bodily.
In 1 and 2 Thessalonians he is our Soon Coming King.
In 1 and 2 Timothy he is the Mediator between God and Man.
In Titus he is our Blessed Hope.
In Philemon he is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.
In Hebrews he’s the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant.
In James it is Jesus who Heals the sick.
In 1 and 2 Peter he is the Chief Shepherd.
In 1, 2 and 3 John it is Jesus who is God’s very definition of Love.
In Jude he is the Lord coming with ten thousand saints.
And in Revelation, lift up your eyes Church, for your redemption draws near, for he is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
If you do not have a relationship with Jesus you are missing the most important thing in life. I don’t know what else you might accomplish in life, but without Jesus it will be eternally meaningless. Jesus not only gives life – he is life and came that we might have life to the full.
Posted on Sun, March 8, 2015
by John Roberts