Who Is Jesus?

Scripture: Acts 10:38, Isaiah 7:14, John 1:29
Date: 11/17/2012 
Who is Jesus? Did God really come to Earth in the form of a man to save us?

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Who was Jesus? Was He a liar? Was He a lunatic? Or was He the Lord?

Our message this morning probably could be classified as important as anything I could talk about because I’m reminded, as every now and then I mingle with the people in our culture, that a lot of folks, while they may hear the name of Jesus from time to time, they really have no idea who Jesus is. And I thought it would be valuable and appropriate to talk a little bit - and sometimes we need reminding - about that subject: 'Who is Jesus?' I wasn't sure how to title the sermon because when you say 'Who is Jesus' it sounds like He's present tense and some people think you should title it 'Who was Jesus?' But either way you word it, people want to know 'Who is He? Where did He come from?'

Someone wrote this beautiful passage one time where they said, 'All the armies that have ever marched and all the navies that have ever sailed, all the parliaments that have ever sat and all the kings that have ever reigned put together have not affected life upon earth as powerfully as this one solitary life.' When you think about the way that Jesus was born - in comparative obscurity - and He never did all the typical things that usually denote greatness - He never led an army into battle or He never led a navy. It doesn't tell us that He ever wrote a book. He didn't do any of the things that you typically think of with greatness. We don't know what He looked like. There are a lot of artists renditions of what Jesus looked like but there's nothing contemporary from his day. And yet, He changed all of history.

While we're talking about history - you've got A.D. and B.C. - and they use new terms today, but we used to call that Before Christ and After Death or the year of our Lord. All of history is dated from His death so how can you doubt that He lived? If you look in the encyclopedia it doesn't cast any doubt on whether or not He lived. So we know He lived. The real question you've got to decide: Was He a liar? Was He a lunatic? Or was He the Lord? Who was Jesus? Did God come to our earth in the form of a man to save us?

Oh, I want to read something first by A.W. Tozier. He said, 'Christ is not one of many ways to approach God. He's not the best of several ways. He is the only way.' Anyone who comes to God must come through Christ. And while Buddha may have said a number of profound things and you might have some profound sayings from Krishna and Mohammad and the different religions of the world, nobody spoke like Jesus and none of them died as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. There's something very clearly different about Jesus. Jesus is the only redeemer with God. He's the only mediator with God.

Christ is the bridge between heaven and earth. Jesus said to Nathanael, 'Hereafter you'll see the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.' None of the other religious leaders of the world say, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life' to God. He didn't say, 'I’m one of the ways.' He said, 'I am the way.' He didn't say, 'I’m one of the truths. All rivers lead to the ocean. I’m just one of them.' He said, 'I am the truth. I am the life.'

So why did Jesus come? So where do we look to get the information for this? There are over 300 Old Testament prophecies that talk about what to expect when the Messiah comes. We're not going to look at all 300 but we're going to look at some basic categories to find out who is Jesus? Especially you'll find a lot in the Psalms. Over 300 Old Testament prophecies reference the Anointed. The first prophecy you're going to find in the Bible regarding the Messiah coming is actually in Genesis 3:15. We'll put that on the screen. Here it says, when God was speaking to Adam and Eve after the fall, He said, "And I will put enmity" - that's similar to the word 'enemy' - it means there's animosity - there's friction - there's an adversarial relationship - "between you and the woman," He was talking to the serpent - "between her seed and your seed." - the seed of the woman - talking about this promised seed that was going to come through humanity - was the Messiah - "He" - the seed of the woman - "shall bruise your head," - God says to the serpent or devil that the seed of the woman, Christ, would bruise your head - a mortal wound to the head - "and you shall bruise His heel." - you will impede His progress or slow His walk down.

So this first prophecy is found right there in Genesis chapter 3. They were looking for a savior - the seed of the woman that would come that would defeat the serpent that caused the fall of man and the loss of paradise. Through Christ paradise is restored. So let's look at some of those prophecies. For one thing, in john 1, verse 45, after Philip found Jesus he then goes and he tells Nathanael, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." He said Moses and the prophets and the law all talked about this man. It all pointed to this one individual.

Where did Jesus come from? Now we alluded to that there in John chapter 8 but let's look as some other verses. John 19, verse 8 - matter of fact, Pontius Pilate, during the trial of Jesus, he asked that very question: 'Where are you from? Where did you come from?' Jesus said, in John 6, verse 38, "For I have come down from heaven." Now, if I said that to you, you'd probably ask me to get some counseling. So are - there are people out there who would think I snuck away from Area 51 in Nevada - as an alien - but Jesus wasn't talking about being an extra terrestrial. He was saying He came from the Father. He made that very clear. We read just a moment ago, He said, 'I’m going back to the Father.'

This is a message - and when you talk about the Father, we're not talking about a God of a certain solar system or a certain galaxy, biblically, when you're talking about the Father you're talking about the God of everything. Think about the immensity of space and how big God must be - how awesome God is. And when Jesus says, 'I made all that and I am the Son of God and I’ve come from God.' wow, that's a pretty bold claim. That's a pretty amazing claim that He came from God. Again, Jesus answered and said, "My kingdom is not of this world." He told Pilate, 'if my kingdom was of this world then would My citizens fight. But My kingdom is not now of this world.' Did Jesus claim to be God? Did He claim divinity? Is He just another man or was He the co-mingling of the divine and human? John 8, verse 58 - "Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'" You remember when Moses was talking to God at the burning bush and he said, 'So exactly which God are you? What's Your name? What shall I say to the people of Israel? Who are You that are sending me? Do You have a business card?' How did God introduce Himself to Moses? He said, 'I am that I am.' it's not that I once was or will be. The phrase 'I am' means 'I am everlasting to everlasting. I am the self-existent one. I am eternal.' Christ was claiming to be God and to be eternal.

It says there would be something unique about His birth. Now everybody alive was born at some point but Jesus was born in a very unique way and a prophecy told this was going to happen 500 years before the event. Isaiah 7:14, "The Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Now that doesn't happen very often, does it? Was Jesus born of a virgin? Doesn't it say that? You can read the next verse here in Matthew chapter 1, verse 18, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: after his mother Mary was betrothed to joseph, before they came together." This was not some laboratory insemination. It said that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her. Before Joseph and Mary came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. And God said that would happen. The Bible records that it did happen. The place of His birth is identified.

Now we're getting very specific because it is going to mention the town of Bethlehem and you can read this passage in Micah chapter 5, verse 2, He interrogated the scribes and He said, 'Where is the Messiah supposed to be born? And they said, 'We know exactly where He supposed to be born. He's supposed to be born in Bethlehem. And so there was no question about that. Now Bethlehem - there are actually two towns in Israel called 'Bethlehem'. I didn't know how many there are but I know there are scores of towns in North America called Farmington. You know what I’m talking about? There's a lot of - some towns that have very common names you can find all over North America. I think we've got a few Jamestowns and you've got a few towns called Paris - there's a Paris, Maine and there's a Paris, Texas. I don't know why you'd come to America and name anything Paris but anyway, they did.

Well in the promised land the word 'Bethlehem' means 'house of bread' and there were a couple of Bethlehems. But you notice it specifies the Bethlehem where Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin, which was Bethlehem Ephrathah, which is just outside Jerusalem. So this prophecy in Micah not only tells what town, it delineates specifically which Bethlehem Jesus was going to come from. Matter of fact, it was so clear that when King Herod saw the wise men coming he interrogated the scribes and said, 'Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?' And they said, 'We know exactly where he's supposed to be born. He's supposed to be born in Bethlehem.' And so there was no question about that.

Now there's a very interesting prophecy. This really could be a prophecy that also tells the time of his birth. In Matthew - I’m sorry, in Daniel chapter 9 - Daniel 9, verse 25 - there's a prophecy - it's the 490-year prophecy. Part of that prophecy is called the 483-year segment and that's where it says in verse 25, "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem" - which was given in 457 B.C. by King Ahasuerus - "until Messiah the prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks." So it's actually the decree of Artaxerxes - I was getting Esther mixed up with Nehemiah. King Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. gave that decree.

Seven weeks, in Jewish prophecy - a day equals a year. Now you'll see a few references for this - Ezekiel 4:6, 'I’ve appointed you each day for a year.' You can also read that principle in numbers 14:35. Even the words of Jesus, in a parable He tells, in Luke 13:32 He makes it clear that in a prophecy you use the principle of a day for a year. So when you go and you add up the time period here in Daniel, where he says seven weeks and sixty-two weeks - seven plus sixty-two is how much? Sixty-nine. Sixty-nine - a week has got how many days? A week has how many days? I gave you an easy one, come on. Help me. Seven days - so you add that up and you've got 483 years. 69 weeks - 483 days - a day is a year - 483 years. If you count from the start of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem - 457 B.C. - given by Artaxerxes - and then you go 483 prophetic years - or regular years - to A.D. 27, that's exactly when Jesus was baptized. And you can read about that in John 1.

When Jesus came to the Jordan River He knew His time had come and right at His 30th birthday He was baptized. John the Baptist said - he saw Jesus coming - "Behold! The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" Jesus was that lamb that they had been looking for. Abraham said to Isaac when Isaac said, 'Father, we've got the wood. We've got the fire. But where is the sacrifice?' Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide Himself a lamb.' Finally. They're all looking for the Lamb of God - the Anointed - the Messiah. John says, 'There He is. This is the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. This is the Seed of the woman. This is the one we've been looking for all this time.' And he identified Him several times and that's why Philip and Peter and Nathanael all began to follow Him then because He had been flagged by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God.

Now, I told you, you could actually figure from Daniel's prophecy, when Jesus was born. By the way, there were a couple that were looking for His birth - maybe because of Daniel's prophecy - because they knew that it was going to be 483 years from the command to rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah was anointed and began His ministry. They could understand that a priest could not begin to teach until he was 30. King David did not begin to reign until he was 30. Joseph went out to administrate over Egypt when he was thirty. So all they had to do was count back 30 years from A.D. 27 and find the birth of Christ around 4 B.C. so even from that same prophecy you could have calculated about the time of His birth.

>> Don't go anywhere friends, in just a moment will return for the rest of today's presentation. What if you had an extraordinary friend, always dependable, consistently inspiring you to noble actions, bringing out your best character traits and loving you no matter what, someone who would be with you throughout your entire life. Well, according to the Bible, you can find that friend in Jesus. We have a beautiful full color resource we'd like to give you that will help you get to know Jesus like never before. Thousands have become acquainted with Him through this powerful life changing book and have found in Him a best friend forever. To get your free copy, call the phone number on your screen and ask for offer number 800 or visit the web address on the screen. And after you read this incredible resource, make sure and share it with a friend. Well, let's get back now to today's presentation and learn some more amazing facts about the word of God.

>>You can read there in Acts chapter 10, verse 38 how "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him." When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit came down and He was anointed with the Holy Spirit. He was the Anointed. You don't hear about the miracles of Jesus unless you're reading something apocryphal. You don't read about the miracles of Jesus before He was 30. For the first 30 years of His life He lived as a man among men, just as you and I do. And then He was anointed at His baptism. He began His public ministry, turned the world upside down in three and a half years and then that would be part of that 490-year prophecy.

And then it tells the nature of His ministry. Matter of fact, Jesus quotes these very words in Nazareth when He began His very ministry. Isaiah 61, verse 1 - Christ stood up in the synagogue of Nazareth. His hometown church, in Galilee and He said, 'The spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me" - He is the anointed - "to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."

Furthermore, it tells us that He would speak and teach in parables. King David said, in Psalm 78, "I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us." Regarding Christ, it said that He spoke and He taught them in parables. Without a parable He didn't say anything. He often taught in allegories and illustrations and those that heard him talk said, 'Never, ever did a man speak like this man.' There's no man that could teach like Jesus. People who went to arrest Him came back and said, 'Wow, nobody speaks like this Man.'

It goes on and it tells us about His betrayal. For instance, Psalm 41, verse 9, "Even My own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate My bread, has lifted up his heel against Me." Did Jesus eat a meal with bread with Judas? And Judas walked right out that door and went to the priests and then led them to Christ. It gives us even more detail about the betrayal of Jesus. Zechariah 11, verses 12 and 13, "Then I said to them, 'If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.' So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver." Not only tells that He was sold for the price of a slave, it tells what kind of metal. It could have been copper, it could have been gold, it could have been bronze or silver. It says it was silver. It tells how many pieces of silver. "And the Lord said to me, 'Throw it to the potter' - that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the House of the Lord for the potter."

Now I don't have time to read it all but all the verses in Matthew 27, verses 3 to 7 - you can look that up - Matthew 27:3-7. It tells how, during the trial of Christ, Judas, overwhelmed with a sense of guilt - you know, once the devil had used him he didn't need Judas anymore and Judas, finally realizing what he had done, came to his senses. He betrayed the Son of God and they were preparing to crucify him. He just was crushed by a sense of his guilt. He went into the outskirts of the temple where He was being tried. The Sanhedrin was meeting. He said, 'I’ve betrayed innocent blood.' He threw down the thirty pieces of silver. They didn't want to take it because it was blood money, they called it, so they bought a 'potter's field' to bury strangers in with the money. That's all in the New Testament.

You know, I don't know if I’m - let me just say something here at the outset, just to give you an idea. Alright, here we've got - I’ve got the book of Matthew - here's the New Testament, this is the Old Testament. Old Testament, of course, starts with Moses. New Testament doesn't begin until the birth of Jesus. These prophecies I’m reading to you about the Messiah, they come from the Old Testament. Not only do they come from the Old Testament, even though there's no page here, there ought to be a page in your Bible that says, '400 years' - one page that just says '400 years of silence.' there are 400 years between all these prophecies and when Jesus finally comes. That prophecy I just read to you from Zechariah - they couldn't have concocted and made that up - 400 years went by. We know from the Dead Sea scrolls that these things were written before Jesus was born. How can you fabricate - how can you counterfeit - how could you manufacture that that prophecy would be fulfilled - that Jesus would be betrayed by a friend, who ate bread with him, for thirty pieces of silver who would then throw it to the potter's field and the house of the Lord? I mean, that's just one of thousands.

Oh, actually 300 - I got carried away - prophecies - there might be more but someone counted 300 and I believe it. It tells about the manner of His death. This is an incredible prophecy. You read in Psalm 22, "The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots." This was prophesied nearly 800 years before Jesus was born. How could you know that? And that's all in that one Psalm. And there are many Psalms. Psalm 34, "He guards all His bones; not one of them is broken." They broke the bones of the thief on the right and the left of Jesus - because Jesus was the Passover Lamb and they were never to break the bones of the Passover Lamb - they didn't break any of His bones. Just as the prophecy had said, He guards My bones.

Jesus also claimed to be the Son of God - not in the sense that we are all sons of God, but in the unique sense that He is the only begotten Son of God and He claimed to have the prerogatives or the powers of the divine. He claimed to be God.

Now those are some pretty bold claims. What are you going to do with what Jesus says about Himself? C.S. Lewis puts it this way, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said wouldn't be a great moral teacher, he'd be a lunatic on the level of a man who says he's a poached egg or else he'd be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God or else he's a madman or something worse." Someone else put it this way, "Christ was either a conscious deceiver, deluded, or divine. He is either lunatic, liar, or Lord. There is no escaping one of these three options." You know there's three principal reasons Jesus came - first, He came to be our example. He says in john 13:5 - sorry, John 13:15, "For I have given you an example, that you should to as I have done." Part of the reason Jesus lived for thirty-three and a half years among men is He said, 'I want to show you how to live - how to love each other - how to forgive. I’m not just going to tell you to turn the other cheek, I’m going to show you how it's done.' And He did, didn't He? When He went through His trial? 'I’m going to show you how to love and forgive each other' - the way He forgave.

He came - point #2 - to reveal the Father. This world is very confused about who God is. You know, I don't know why it is that as I intermingle with people I hear Jesus' name being used in profanity so frequently. I’ve never heard people get mad and hit their finger with a hammer and say, 'Oh Buddha!' I don't hear them cite Mohammad's name or Allah or Krishna. Why is it there's this diabolical focus to especially scorn the name of Jesus? That in and of itself ought to tell you there's a spiritual battle out there. The world doesn't know who the Father is. Jesus came to show us what the Father is like. He said, "Have I been with you so long and you don't know Me, Philip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father." by the way, that's John 14:9.

And then, most importantly, Jesus came to trade places with us. We are all under a death sentence because of our sin and our selfishness. And Christ does not want to lose us. He loves us and He said, 'I will come. I will take the penalty for your sin and not only take it, I will give you My strength and power. I am going to be your substitute. I will trade places with you.' He said, 'I will give you My goodness and I will take your badness. I will give you My strength and i'll take your weakness. I will give you My life and I will take your death. I will give you My peace and I will take your sufferings and your misery.'

He's offering that all as a gift that we receive by faith. But you need to believe that He is who He said He is. Do you know Him, friends? Have you accepted Him? You can right now. "His example" - Martin Luther said, in His life "is showing us how to live. In his death He is a sacrifice satisfying for our sins. In His resurrection He is a conqueror. In His ascension He is a king. In His intercession He is a priest. He is everything that we need." In the volume of the book it is written of Him. When we see Abraham going up the hill with Isaac we see Jesus. When we see Moses leading a nation from slavery, we see Jesus. When we see Joseph forgiving his brothers for mistreating him we see Jesus. We see Jesus in Sampson when He stretches out his arms to defeat the enemies of God's people. We see Jesus in Gideon defeating the enemy with this small group.

All through the Bible I see Jesus everywhere. This is all about Him. He wants you to know who He is. God became a man and His name was Jesus. Do you know Him?

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Doug: Hello friends, Pastor Doug Batchelor here with Amazing Facts. When Susan's and Michael's whirlwind relationship led to a wedding, they had no idea how hard married life could be. Before they knew it they were on the stormy path towards divorce, but that's when God led them to an Amazing Facts broadcast. And there they saw the biblical view of marriage as presented in knowing Jesus. Finally, they understood what it meant to love sacrificially like Christ and today, Susan and Michael are joyfully married sharing what they learned with others.

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