Who Is Jesus? ~ 20090628 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

Who is Jesus? I want to ask the question this morning because the answer to this question is absolutely central and has eternal implications. The identity of Jesus is not peripheral. What we think of Jesus will determine whether we admire him and delight in his presence for all eternity or whether we suffer under his wrath for all eternity. Jesus himself said:

John 8:23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am [he] you will die in your sins.”.

Everyone has an opinion about Jesus. Some think he was just a good man, a great moral teacher, or a prophet. Some think he was crazy, his life was a failure and his death was a tragedy. Some think he was a blasphemer and the worst of criminals, deserving the punishment he received. Some even think he was demon possessed. Some think wasn't really human, but only appeared to be human. Some think he was an angel. Some think he was one of God's many spirit children. Jesus claims that what you think about his identity will impact your eternal destiny. Today we will focus not on the opinions of men but on the testimony of God concerning Jesus, on Jesus' own testimony about himself, on the testimonies of those who walked with him and knew him. Jesus said 'I am from above... I am not of this world ...unless you believe that I AM you will die in your sins'. A few verses later he says:

John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We must know the truth about him. Jesus warned his followers:

Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (cf. Mark 13:22)

Paul expressed the same concern this way:

2Corinthians 11:2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Today we're going to take a birds eye view of the biblical Jesus. We'll move quickly over what should be most familiar; we'll linger on those aspects that may be less familiar to us. We'll see Jesus as God the eternal Son; the humble servant; the sinless substitute; our present mediator; the promised messiah; the conquering king and wrathful avenger of the righteous honor of God's holy name. Any one facet of who he is without the whole picture is less than who he really is.

The goal of this sermon is not to fill your head with information, although that can be good and helpful. The goal is to fill our hearts with worship and admiration of Jesus in all the complexity and beauty of his nature and character. Seeing Jesus for who he is and savoring the beauty of his characteristics will be our pleasure for all eternity. Now we have only a short hour, so think of this as a table of contents or a rough outline pointing the direction of who we will enjoy for all eternity.

We'll start with Jesus as God the eternal Son, equal with the Father. The Gospel of John starts by saying:

John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

John affirms that the Word was with God in the beginning. He is eternal. And he identifies the Word as God – the Word was God. He identifies the Word as the Creator – everything was made through him. And he identifies the Word as the self-existent one or YHWH; the one who is, the one who has life in himself. Then, in verse 14, he makes it expressly clear who he is referring to:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the Word, the self-existent creator God YHWH, the all-glorious only Son from the Father. Look at John 8; Jesus said:

John 8:56-59 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

Jesus claimed to be a contemporary of Abraham – in fact to predate Abraham. But he changes the normal grammar – he doesn’t say ‘I was before Abraham; he says ‘I am’ – and the Jews understood what he was claiming – he was claiming to be the God of Abraham – the one who spoke to Moses from the burning bush in Exodus 3:14 –tell the people ‘I AM’ has sent you – the self-existent one. Then in John 10 Jesus said:

John 10:30 “I and the Father are one”

The Jews take great pains to make sure we get our theology straight. If Jesus’ words weren’t clear enough on their own, the Jews reaction shows exactly how Jesus was to be understood.

.John 10:31-33 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

They accused him of blasphemy because he was claiming to be God. Now look at Jesus prayer in John 17:

John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Jesus in his prayer to the Father is claiming that he was with the Father before the world existed, and he is claiming that he possessed God’s glory – the magnificent display of the divine nature and character was his. Let’s look at Isaiah 42:8 so we don’t miss the significance of what Jesus is saying:

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.

YHWH is a jealous God who does not share his glory with another. Jesus is asking the Father to again put his nature and character as God on display so that he will be honored and worshiped as God. This is an audacious request unless his statement that he is one with the Father is also true.

Paul says:

Philippians 2:5-6 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

He says that Jesus existed in the form of God. Jesus’ being is the very being of God. Equality with God would be something any created being could only unsuccessfully grasp at, but Jesus possessed it by nature and by right.

So Jesus is the self-existent YHWH, the all-glorious Creator-God who breathed the universe into existence, equal to and one with the Father. Paul goes on; he:

Philippians 2:6 ...did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus, as God's eternal Son, also became the humble servant. The creator of the universe entered into his creation as a helpless baby. God without ceasing to be God for a moment, took on an additional nature – he took upon himself a human nature. God who is spirit, took on a mortal body of flesh. Jesus made himself nothing!

And as the humble servant, he became our sinless substitute.

Philippians 2:8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

...12 ...because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

1Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, ...

1Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

2Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Not only is he the sinless substitute, but he is our present mediator.

1Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Jesus is the one who goes between God and man to work reconciliation. The author of Hebrews points to his better priesthood:

Hebrews 7:24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

In John 17, Jesus prayed for us:

John 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,...

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Jesus prayed for us then, but the bible tells us he is still praying for us now. 'he always lives to make intercession for them.'

Romans 8:34...Christ Jesus is the one who died––more than that, who was raised––who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Think of that – Jesus, right now is seated at the right hand of the Father and is constantly interceding for us, praying for us, mediating for us. At the cross, the work of redemption was finished, but Jesus continually applies his finished work to us in the presence of the Father. Jude 24-25 says:

Jude 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Jesus can keep us from stumbling because he is right now talking to the Father on our behalf.
Jesus is the promised Messiah, the coming King. The wise men from the east came:

Matthew 2:2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well:

John 4:25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

In Acts, Apollos:

Acts 18:28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

After the his resurrection, his disciples asked him:

Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Jesus answered that it was not for them to know the times or seasons

that the Father has fixed by his own authority. So Jesus is the coming King, but what will he be like when he comes again? Jesus is the wrathful avenger of the righteous honor of God's holy name.

We tend to have this Sunday school flannel graph image of Jesus, meek and mild. Long blond hair and blue eyes with fair complexion, slight build, wearing a long white dress and turning the other cheek. If that's what we think of Jesus, we will be shocked when we read the gospels.

John 2:14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money–changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money–changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”

We will be even more shocked when we see him as John saw him in his revelation; John hears a loud voice like a trumpet behind him:

Revelation 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two–edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Later in Revelation he is described again:

Revelation 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

This is who Isaiah is talking about when he says

Isaiah 63:3 “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. 4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come.

Jesus is who the unbelievers fear when they say:

Revelation 6:16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

The wrath of the Lamb; this is Jesus:

2 Thessalonians 1:7 ... when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

This is Jesus; God the eternal Son; the humble servant; our sinless substitute; our present mediator; the promised messiah; the conquering king and wrathful avenger of the righteous honor of God's holy name. And the appropriate response is worship. We get a glimpse of the white hot holy affection for the Lord Jesus Christ in the heavenlies in:

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.