Who Was Jesus?

Scripture: Matthew 16:13-14, John 17:3
Date: 04/12/2008 
Lesson: 1
Though the name Jesus is known throughout most of the world today, the fundamental question "Who was Jesus?" remains.
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Good morning. Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us here at Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church for another "central study hour." I'd like to welcome those of you who are watching this morning live on the internet at saccentral.org, watching weeks delayed on the various networks, or listening on the radio. We're so glad that you are joining us this morning here at central church. We've had a few requests come in, actually quite a few.

But this one this morning comes from Pamela in South Western Cape, South Africa. And she would like us to sing her favorite. That's 85. And we'll do verses 1, 2, and 4. Number 85, "Eternal Father, Strong to Save." Thank you so much for that song request. And if those of you haven't written in, or if you have, it's okay. You can send in your favorite hymn request. And we will sing that for you on an upcoming Sabbath. Just go to saccentral.org and click on the music link. Before we sing our next song, I have a short announcement. Eric, my husband and i, have been very blessed. And we have been blessed so much that in October, we're going to add a new little chorister up here for the Kippel tribe. So I just thought I would let you know that.

So you'll see many changes in the coming weeks and months. That's all. And we just praise the Lord so much for blessing us with a baby. Amen. Our opening song this morning, you will find on 373, "Seeking the Lost." This comes from dale in Canada, Dave in Australia, Tiata in Papua New Guinea, Martin and Catherine in England, Alisha in France, Juliet in Jamaica, Leandra in Trinidad and Tobago, Pearla in Saudi Arabia, Bob in Wyoming, Penny in Hawaii, Joanne in New York, Alex in California, Edwin in California, Dale in Pennsylvania, Helen in Iowa, Irene in New York, Randy in Alabama, Rosalie in Georgia, and Garalynn in New Jersey. This is a favorite. And Dr. Newman is with us this week. And so this is a good song for the men.

So follow Dr. Newman as we sing 373... Father in Heaven, we thank you so much this morning for the beautiful Sabbath day that you have blessed us with. And father, we just ask that the words of this song would be real in our lives, that we would do everything we can to seek the lost and bring them to you. You are the way.

You are the truth. And you are the life. And father, this morning, we just ask that you would be in our hearts as we open up Your Word and we study together, that you would send your spirit to be with us, and you would just anoint our speaker this morning. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Morning. Wow, it's an exciting Sabbath today. And that was exciting news that debbie shared with everybody regarding church growth. So good to see doc newman back singing bass. And just everybody here.

It's also exciting because today we begin going through a new quarterly dealing with the most wonderful subject of all, talking about the wonder of Jesus. And following our local class here, if you don't have one of these lessons, I think we've got a few up front that we will distribute. But we are on lesson number one. I want to welcome our friends to family Sabbath school. And we're very glad that you are with us today.

We have a number of free offers that we make available when we do Sabbath school. And today is no exception. If you call the number that you see on your screen, -877-study-more. And they will send you that just simply for asking. And tell them you're listening to the Amazing Facts central church study hour.

And that you would like the free offer for today. We want to get into our lesson right away. We have a lot to cover. I also want to welcome our friends who are watching, not only on television, but the internet. We know people all over the world are watching on the internet, the program as it's broadcast live.

And for those who are watching on tv, we are recording this in advance. We edit the programs. And then we distribute it on a variety of networks. And we want to thank those networks for broadcasting this. The lesson today is dealing with, "who was Jesus?" And right away, just saying the word "was" makes me cringe a little bit.

And I understand that. We're thinking about Jesus who lived 2,000 years ago. But is Jesus a "was" or is he an "is"? Is. So really what we're saying is, "who is Jesus?" But we have to admit that there are those out there who say, "who was Jesus?" Because they think of him in the past tense terms. So we're going to explore that a little bit today.

You know I've got a song going through my head right now when I saw this study guide. How many of you know this song that children often sing in their Sabbath school departments? [Sings] wonderful, wonderful, isn't Jesus wonderful? We ought to make that our theme song for this quarter, huh? Just had that going in my head. I was singing it down here. No, I'm not gonna sing it for you. But we'll maybe include that part of our opening song service.

We ought to do that all through the quarter, sing about Jesus being wonderful. We've got a number of verses we're considering today: Matthew 16:13, John 20:26-28, Corinthians 1:18-27, and 1 Corinthians 1--15:3-7. And we have a memory verse. Now I'm gonna say it to you the first time. And then you can repeat it with me, okay? And this is from Matthew 16:13, "when Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'who do people say The Son of man is?'" Alright, now you do this with me.

"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'who do people say The Son of man is?'" Now did Jesus ask this question because he was having an identity crisis and he didn't know who he was? Was he going to change who he was based on licking his finger and doing a Marketing, branding campaign to find out, "who do they say I am? And I'll try and be more like that." Or was he really trying to extract from the disciples who they thought he was? Was it going to be based on popular opinion or what they had seen and what they'd experienced? And so we're going to explore the big question today, "who was Jesus?" "Who is Jesus?" And a number of things that we're gonna look at in connection with this. If you were to go around the world today and ask different people from different religions, "who do you think Jesus was?" What kind of answers would you get? Of course, well, doesn't that depend on who you ask? Believe it or not, there are some out there that will say, "well, he was just a legend." Not too many say that, that he was a fable. He's made up. He never really lived. I've heard some say, "oh, Jesus was really sort of the coalescing of many great teachers and they made up the Bible, new testament, based on all these different rabbis.

And they put him all into one person or put all these different characters into one person." But most educated people recognize we have far more in history about Jesus Christ than alexander the great. Did you know that? There's a lot more written from contemporaries of Jesus than alexander the great, times more. But have you ever heard anybody question whether alexander the great really lived? No, because so much history is transformed from his conquests that it really would be absurd to do that. Well, who had a bigger impact on history: alexander the great or Jesus? Jesus. So it's really to say, you know, "he never lived--" history is dated from his birth.

All of the people that lived contemporaneous with Jesus commented on him. And there's so much impact on the politics and the religion of the day from the teachings of Jesus that nobody that lived back then questioned whether he really lived. So historically there's really no question about that. If you were to ask a jew-- and we need to talk about that, because the old testament the jews accept, but they've gotta do something with Jesus. It's like pontius pilate went out to the jews and he said to them during the trial, you know, "what should I do with Jesus?" And the jews need to have an opinion on this.

And as you know, I come from a Jewish family. And if you ask them, "who was Jesus?" Privately, some of my family would say a variety of things, you know, he was crazy, he deceived the people. But the more politically correct answer is--my grandfather, for instance, he believed Jesus was a great prophet. And I say, "so you believe that he told the truth?" "Yes, he was a prophet. And they killed him like they killed many of the prophets.

" Say, "well, do you believe he was the Messiah?" "No, he wasn't the Messiah." "So you believe he told the truth?" "Yes." "Well, he said he was the Messiah. So was he a good prophet except on that one point?" Alright, so but a lot of them say that. Interestingly enough, and I've read this here to our class before, from Josephus in his book, "the antiquities of the Jews," he makes this very interesting statement. It's the only statement he makes historically about Jesus, but it is profound when you think about it, because this is from a Jew, not a Christian. And listen to what his comment was on Jesus.

And this is antiquities 18:9, "now about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man." Now right away before I get any deeper into Josephus' comment, you can tell he wasn't too sure who Jesus was. He's calling him a man, he says, "boy, I don't even know if it's right to call him a man." What's the other option if you can't call someone a man? Or the divine, right, something supernatural. "Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such man as received the truth with pleasure." So he believed he taught the truth, that he was very wise. "He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the gentiles. He was the Christ.

" Now this is a Jew, Josephus, never does he profess being a Christian. The word, "Christ," Christos is the Greek. It means the anointed. He says, "he was the Christ," the anointed, the Messiah. "And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men among us had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold, these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.

And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct to this day." That is a staggering comment from a Jewish historian about Jesus. So he essentially says, "you know, I don't know if we can call him a man. He was the Christ and he rose and his tribe has grown to this day." And then he goes on with his commentary. That's all he says. You would think if he believed that, that everything would have taken a turn from there.

That's really amazing. What do buddhists say? You know there's major religions of the world about Jesus. Now buddha lived before Jesus, whereas mohammed lived after. And so there is a little different perspective from some of these. If you were to ask buddhists--several buddhist writers have tried to come to grips with the concept of Jesus.

Some have gone as far as describe him as bodhisattva* "a being committed to the redemption of all life." They're not too sure. Some say he was another incarnation of buddha. If you ask the hindus, another major world religion, "who was Jesus?" Well, some of them equate Jesus with another avatar or an incarnation of God on earth, along with rama, buddha, and krishna. So and I remember when I was going through eastern religions, that's what I once believed. They said, "yeah, Jesus was one of the incarnations of God, along with you know buddha and krishna.

" And we even threw in mohammed. And you know, those who know what these people teach know that their teachings are vastly different. So if they are incarnations of God, they all disagree with each other. And so that's not a very scholarly viewpoint in my opinion. If that's true, then God is--he's got a split personality, because he disagrees with himself in the various incarnations, contradicts himself.

So you've got all these different views about who Jesus is. Now we've got a Scripture that's gonna be the springboard for what we're studying now. And I think I've given some of those out. Did somebody have Matthew 14:1-2? "At the time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus and said to his servants, 'this is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.'" Now Herod was a little confused. When he hears about the wonderful things that Jesus is doing, he--of course, Herod has executed Jesus--i mean John the Baptist, at this point.

And he is overwhelmed I think with a sense of guilt. I think it drove him crazy before the end of his life, this guilt. 'Cause he knew John was a prophet. And he had him killed to protect himself in a drunken party, his reputation. And then he hears about the wonderful things that Jesus is doing.

And in his mind he's thinking the Spirit of John has somehow left and gone into Jesus. Now where did Herod get the idea that the Spirit of one individual could sort of transmigrate into another individual. Is there a story in the Bible that talks about that at all? Well, it does talk in the Bible--that's a good point. I hadn't thought of that--that it says that the Spirit of prophets went from the prophets to Saul when they were prophesying. It came upon him.

What about Elisha? When Elisha came back from Elijah going up to heaven, and Elisha parted the Jordan when he crossed back over. Didn't The Sons of the prophets say, "the Spirit of Elijah now rests upon Elisha?" And wasn't it true that some said that John the Baptist came in the Spirit and power of Elijah. So Herod thinking these things--he was wrong--but he's thinking this way. And he's thinking after John died, you know, maybe he's gone up to heaven and the Spirit of John the Baptist now rests upon this man named Jesus, because obviously they were alive at the same time. John was only about 6 months older than Jesus.

So it's not like John died and suddenly Jesus was born and reincarnated. They were alive at the same time. He was believing that somehow now the Spirit of John the Baptist had gone into Jesus, and Jesus is really John the Baptist's spirit. You see where he was getting that now? They had a little bit of twisted theology back then that was influenced by--keep in mind the Jews at the time of Christ had been occupied by Babylonians, Syrians, Greeks, and now Romans. And the various religions of all these Babylonish powers--you know Babylon spiritually is sort of the coalescing of all these world empires--they were tainting the theology of the Jews.

And you'll find out that that's even more true when we go on with our lesson. Matter of fact, this probably is a good place for us to move along to the second section in your study guide, "not Elijah, Jeremiah, or some other prophet." Alright, I've got a verse here that leads us into this. It's actually the same as our memory verse Matthew 16. But I want you to read 14 also, Matthew 16:13-14. Who has that? "When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, 'who do men say that i, The Son of man, am?' So they said, 'some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

'" Now that's interesting. We talked a little bit about John the Baptist. But they're saying, "some say that you are Elijah. Some saying that you're Jeremiah or one of the other prophets." Did they have this idea that people were reincarnated? They did. Matter of fact, you remember one time the religious leaders came to John the Baptist when he began his ministry.

And they were saying, "who are you?" Same thing they said to Jesus, "who are you? What are your credentials?" And they asked him, "are you Elijah?" They asked John the Baptist, "are you Elijah?" Who remembers what did John the Baptist say? "No." N-o. Now wait a second here. Jesus said, in Matthew 11, "if you are able to receive it, John the Baptist is Elijah who was to come." And then again before John is born, the angel says, "he will go in the Spirit and power of Elijah." Speaking of John the Baptist, Gabriel said to his father, "he will go in the Spirit and power of Elijah." So when the religious leaders asked John, "are you Elijah?" He says, "no." Why did he say no? They asked the wrong question. They were believing in reincarnation back then. They really did.

Some of them believed in--now the Jews did not believe you came back as a tree or a squirrel or an alligator. But they believed you might come back as another person. They even believed that when you died you might become an angel that would guide other people. How many of you remember when I'm talking about the false teachings had come into the Jewish church? When Peter got out of prison and he's knocking on the door, and Rhoda says that Peter's at the door, they said, "you're mad." She said, "no, he's there knocking at the door." They said, "maybe it's his angel. He's probably been executed and his angel came.

" Where does that come from? I'm just trying to give you some insights that their theology wasn't all straight. And even in the Christian church today, do we have everything theologically square, or do you find that there's some strange deviant teachings that people still embrace. I mean you got people believe secret rapture and predestination, all kinds of things that have become prevalent in the church that are not in the Bible. So when they asked John, "are you Elijah?" He said no because they're asking, "are you Elijah reincarnated?" If they had said, "are you the fulfillment of--" matter of fact, I'm not gonna read that. Malachi 4:5 and 4.

Malachi, last book in the old testament, last chapter, I gave that to somebody. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of The Fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with the curse." Alright, were they expecting the fulfillment of this prophecy and Elijah to come back? One of the--did Elijah come back? Was his prophecy fulfilled? Yes, both ways, spiritually in John the Baptist. And did Peter, James, and John get to shake hands and get the autograph of Elijah on the mount of transfiguration? Elijah in person did appear to endorse that Jesus was the Messiah. And so this prophecy was very literally fulfilled.

But the message of Elijah was fulfilled in John the Baptist, not Jesus. John the Baptist and Elijah were revivalists sent to God's people to bring them back to the Lord, okay? The message of Jesus was really different. And so when they said, "are you Elijah?" No, he wasn't Elijah. He was what Elijah was pointing to. He was the one Elijah was preparing for.

Jesus was Jehovah incarnate. So it's really a downgrade to say, "well, were you Jeremiah? Were you Elijah?" It's not like the Spirit of Jeremiah and Elijah and John had gone into Jesus. Where did Jeremiah, Elijah, and John get their spirit? It was the Spirit of Jesus in them, right? 'Cause he's the creator. And so they're really asking the wrong questions. Why Jeremiah? Why did they wonder if he was Jeremiah? Were there some similarities between Jeremiah and the ministry of Jesus? Did Jeremiah denounce and have battles with the religious leaders of his day? Did Jesus rebuke the scribes and the Pharisees? Was Jeremiah persecuted for his speaking? Was Jesus persecuted? Did Jeremiah foretell the destruction of Jerusalem and a trial that would come on the people of Israel? Did Jesus say, "don't weep for me?" Did he weep over Jerusalem and say there wouldn't be one stone left upon another? So there were parallels, but Jesus was not Jeremiah.

Matter of fact you can read in Jeremiah 20:1-2. This is in the lesson, one example of the persecution he went through. Jeremiah 20:1-2, "now Pashhur The Son of Immer, the priest who was also a chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet," he hit him, "and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord." And finally he was released. He kept preaching.

Later Jeremiah was put in the prison. He was let down into a miry pit. And he came back out again. Christ went into the tomb and he came back out again. And so there are many parallels.

Jeremiah in some ways is a type of Christ. But no, he wasn't Christ. Oh, I want to read something to you here. In John 1:21, I'll read this to you. When they came to John the Baptist, I want you to notice one other option here, "they asked him, 'what then? Art thou Elias?' He said, 'no.

' 'Art thou that prophet?'" They're not talking about Elias now. There was a prophet they were looking for and they referred to him as the nameless prophet that would come called, "that prophet." Again, you can read in John 1:25, "and they asked him and said to him, 'why baptizest thou if thou be not that Christ, nor Elijah, neither that prophet?'" Who is the, "that prophet" that they're talking about. Does somebody have Deuteronomy 18:15? "the Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren like unto me. Unto him ye shall hearken." This was one of the great prophesies, great messianic prophecies in the old testament. Moses had said, closing sermon of Moses, this is Deuteronomy.

He said, "keep your eyes open," I'm paraphrasing, "'cause God is gonna send you a prophet." Not just any prophet. He says it with the emphasis of, "a prophet like unto me, one that will save you from slavery, a great prophet, a lawgiver." But he's nameless. He doesn't say like Abraham or like Noah or anyone else. He says just a prophet. And so that's why they're saying in the Gospel of John, "are you that prophet?" Meaning that prophet that Moses spoke of.

And it was such a common term, they didn't even say that Moses spoke of. They just called him, "that prophet." So they didn't ask Jesus that question, "are you that prophet?" They asked John the Baptist that question. If they had asked Jesus that question, "are you that prophet?" He would have said, "yes," because that's who he was. He was the prophet that Moses said would come like unto Moses, a Savior, a deliverer, a lawgiver, and then someone who would die and be raised and brought up to heaven like Moses. Did they try to stone Moses? Yeah.

Did Moses stretch out his hands when they were fighting and they got the victory? Do we look to Christ with his hands outstretched so that we get the victory? Was Moses born a slave, but he never served as a slave? Was Jesus born as a man, but he never sinned? Moses had one foot with the slaves and one foot in the palace. Jesus relates to the lost, but he's from the palace. I mean you could just go on and on the stories. Did Moses go up and say, "I'll be back," but didn't tell 'em exactly when he was coming back? But when he came the church wasn't ready. And did our Jesus say, "I'm going, but I'm coming back?" And we've gotta be ready.

That's why Christ said then, "if that wicked servant says in his heart, 'my Lord delays his coming.'" And it says there in Exodus when, "Moses delayed coming back down the mountain." I mean there's so many parallels between the life of Moses and Jesus. There's no question that Jesus was that prophet. But they never asked that question, "are you Jeremiah?" "Are you John the Baptist?" "Are you Elijah?" They should have said, "are you that prophet?" And the answer would have been, "yes." Bingo. It's interesting, they very rarely asked him, "are you the Messiah?" And it seems like Jesus was more free in revealing to gentiles that he was the Messiah than his own people. Did Christ reveal to the Samaritan woman who he was? She said, "I know when Messiah comes he will show us all things.

" And then what did Christ say to her? "I that speak to you am he." That's pretty plain, isn't it? But with his own people, he would tell the disciples and he'd say, "don't tell anything. Don't say anything. Keep that down." Why did Jesus do that? Why did he downplay among the Jews who he was? Well, I think it was because he wanted them to recognize him because of the fulfillment of the prophecies rather than his own declaration. Had there been some who had come before Christ saying, "I'm the Messiah. I'm the Messiah.

" Been several. And so it's real easy to say that. So instead of announcing himself, he said, "I'm gonna live the life of the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Messiah. And hopefully if you've been reading the word, you'll recognize me." Because his people were not steeped in the word when he came the first time, they did not recognize him. Is it possible that God's people will be deceived because--during the second coming--because we don't know the word the way we should? That's happening now, isn't it? So when Christ died on the cross and he said, "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Did he just make that up that day, or was he quoting a Scripture? He's quoting psalm 22.

And if you read on in that psalm, it says that they cast lots for my garments, pierced my hands and my feet. He was trying to help them recognize--and that was a messianic prophecy--he was trying to help them recognize who he was by his life, rather than his wearing a-- I saw a boxing match. And boxers are now tattooing themselves with advertisements. It'll have something dot-com on their back or on their front, so while they're boxing they're advertising. I was watching myself, I don't do this often, last night on Sabbath school, one of the networks.

We have it on at our house on Sabbath. And Sabbath school came on. And there I was teaching. And I noticed when I looked down to read the Scripture, I got quite a bit of advertising acreage up here I could use. And I thought I ought to go, amazingfacts.com, whenever I do that. Jesus did not have a big old tattoo that said, "I are the Messiah.com." Did he? He lived the life and hoped that people would recognize that his life was the fulfillment of the prophecies. And things he could not manipulate. But he asked the disciples also. And for instance, in Matthew chapter--did we already read this--Matthew 16:15-16, did I give that one out already? "He said to them, 'but who do you say that I am?' And Simon Peter answered and said, 'you are the Christ, The Son of the living God.

'" Did the disciples know who he was? Did Jesus say, "no, I'm not the Messiah? What did he say to Peter when Peter said that? "Simon, flesh and blood has not revealed that unto you, but my father which is in heaven." This is truth. It is divinely revealed truth, and it's not being revealed by a prophet, it's being revealed by God The Father himself, that "you recognize that I am the Messiah." When Jesus began teaching--were there old testament prophecies that told about when the Messiah, the anointed, would come, that told about when he would be anointed with the Holy Spirit, his baptism? And when Christ began preaching, he said, "the time is at hand. The time is fulfilled." He was letting them know, "I am the Messiah." But they needed to know what the prophecy was that to anoint the most holy. So there's a lot of evidence about who he was going to be. And I just read that to you in Matthew 16:17, "Jesus answered and said, 'blessed are you, Simon bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven.

'" So here's the big question: who is Jesus? Exodus 33:19, Moses said, "Lord, I want to know you." And so God said in Exodus 33:19, "I will make all of my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you." Then you jump down to Exodus 34:6, God said, "no man can look on my face and live." This is the story where he says, "but I'll put you in the cleft of the rock and I'll pass by and I'll take away my hand and I'll let you see just the back of my glory." And what does Moses report about who God is? By the way, who did Moses see, God The Father or God The Son? God The Son. Does it say in the Gospel of John, "no man hath seen The Father?" But were there Bible characters who saw God? Did Jacob wrestle with God? Did Manoah say, "we've seen God; now we're gonna die?" And he said, "don't be afraid." There were several old tested--did Abraham see the Lord and talk to him? So who did they see? They saw God The Son, who is the vehicle to communicate. In heaven we'll see him face-to-face. I think we're gonna see God. God himself will be with us.

Isn't that what the Bible says? Meaning God The Father. So this is God The Son now that passes by. You read, we're gonna find out who Jesus is here. Exodus 34:6, "and the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, 'the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of The Fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and fourth generation.' So Moses made haste and he bowed his head towards the earth, and he worshipped." And all he saw was the back of the Lord as he went by. And just from the glory of the Lord--does he say he was 30 feet tall, his hair was golden brown? He doesn't talk at all about his appearance, does he? What does he talk about? His character.

So who is Jesus? Do we know really what Jesus looked like? No, matter of fact, Jesus looked like just one of the common people of the day. He was able to disappear in a crowd. That's why they needed Judas to identify him. There was no outward form or comeliness that we should desire him. He looked like a man among men.

He looked like a carpenter. But he could disappear in a crowd. What made Jesus stand out was his character of who he was. So when we say, "who was Jesus?" You know it's interesting; in past generations we taught our children what to be as far as character. Be honest.

Be brave. Be courageous. Have integrity. Be faithful. Be industrious.

And there was a striving. It wasn't universal, but there was more of an emphasis on who you are on the inside that was taught. That's what really the value was. Have character. Have a good reputation.

It was your inner worth. Today the young people are being bombarded with messages about who you're gonna be on the outside. You know, what your friends are gonna see. What you're gonna look like, all the trappings. Which movie star are you gonna model after.

It's all external. It's shallow. It's very sad. Where with God, who you are is the characteristics on the inside. So when we ask the question, "who was Jesus?" How should we describe him? By his characteristics.

Yeah, he was a man if it be fair to call him a man. Let's look at some other descriptions that we find about Christ. For instance, psalm 138:2, when we say, "who is Jesus?" You know there's a big debate in the church today about the name of the Lord and what name should we use to identify the Lord. And there are whole Bibles that are retranslated now. And everywhere in the Bible where it says, "Jehovah," they translated, "Yahweh.

" Or the places where it says "Lord," they translated "Yahweh." Or Jesus is "Yeshua." Because they say, "you know, we shouldn't use the more Greek form of the pronunciation of Jesus. It should be a more Hebrew form. And they're trying to reeducate the world to use a more Hebrew pronunciation than a Greek pronunciation. And or Spanish pronunciation. And they make a big deal about this.

They say, "you gotta say--God's not gonna hear your prayers, because when you say, 'in Jesus' Name,' you're using the wrong pronunciation. And he's not gonna answer your prayers. You need to say, 'in the name of Yeshua.'" How many of you have run into this before? You've either heard it, you've seen it. If you haven't, you will. It's out there.

And it's true. His name in Hebrew would be pronounced more precisely, "Yeshua." But we're not even sure of that, because every language changes--there's a point. Stay with me--every language changes every generation a little bit. And after 40 generations or generations, there's usually significant changes in pronunciation. Example in point: I can travel all over North America and hear different people.

Just this last week, I was in Tennessee and Georgia. And I've lived in Florida and New York, Maine, Texas. Stephen has been going to school in Canada. He's home this week. When you're up in Canada, they speak English, especially in western Canada.

But it's different. They got a little different nuances, different words, different inflection. We say, "resources." They say, "rezources." Just little things that are different. Now how long has America existed? I can go around the country and hear people speak, all speaking english, but they pronounce some things differ'nt in differ'nt parts of the country. And in Texas they speak different.

And in main they don't say someone is short. They say, "shot." It's really confusing when they say, "Abraham Lincoln was not shot." What they mean is he wasn't short. He was shot. And so, but they're all-- look at the difference in pronunciation in just a couple of generations in the American history, 200 years. And I mean all over the country people pronounce different.

So for us to make a religion on how we're supposed to say the name of Jesus 2,000 years ago, that's really not safe to do. God expects us to speak to him in our current dialect. Isn't that right? So the reason I'm saying that, what is more important: how we pronounce his name, or that we have the character that he had? When God talks about the importance of his name in the Bible, is he talking about pronunciation or personality? Let's listen to what the Bible says, psalm 138:2, "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth; thou hast magnified thy word above thy name." What is more important than even the name of the Lord? Magnified what? His Word has been magnified above his holy name. So how important is His Word? Having said that, when I say, "who is Jesus?" Where do we go to find out who Jesus is? It's gonna be described in the word. When you look at the word, what descriptions do we find out about who is Jesus? For instance, Romans 7:12, "therefore the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good.

" When it says, "the law," there it's speaking about not only the Ten Commandments, but more broadly the Word of God. Is the Word of God holy? Is it just? Is it good? Now let's insert the name Jesus there. Instead of saying the word, the name, let's put Jesus' Name in there. Is Jesus just? Is Jesus holy? Is Jesus good? You know as you go through the Bible, you're gonna find that just about everything it says about the word defines Jesus. That's why John says, "the word became flesh and dwelled among us.

" Tell you what, I've got an assignment for you if you really want to get a blessing. What's the longest chapter in the Bible? Psalm 119. Who can tell me, what is the central feature in psalm 119? What is the central theme of that whole chapter? The Word of God, the law of God, the testimony of God, right. Go through that psalm. Everywhere you find the word, "precept," "testimony," "commandment," "law," "word," insert the name, "Jesus.

" Watch what happens. You're gonna find that it's really describing Christ. It'll blow you away. Christ really is the word incarnate, because the characteristics of the word are Jesus. Let me give you another one.

John 4:8--matter of fact, I'll start it and you finish it. "For God is--" "love." "God is--" "love." So who is Jesus? He is love. And again you find that many--it says it twice in the Bible, word for word. John 4:16, "for we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

" Who is Jesus? Well one thing, he's love. Philippians 4:8, I think I gave that one out to someone. Ray has that. "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things." Alright, now I'm gonna ask you. When we're discussing who was Jesus, was Jesus true? He is truth.

He said, "I am the truth." Was Jesus noble? Let's see, was he? I mean is, okay? Is he just? Is he pure? Is he lovely? "Fairest of ten thousand." Is he good? Does he have virtue? Is he praiseworthy? So what is Paul really telling us when he said, "meditate on these things?" Are you and I to try and think, "I'm gonna just meditate on the word, 'pure,' I'm gonna meditate on the word, 'praise,' or I'm gonna meditate on the word, 'truth?'" When he tells you to think on these things, what is Paul really telling you to think about? Think about Jesus. And you'll be thinking about that which is true and noble and good and just and virtuous and lovely and pure. You know it's a big assignment in one lesson to talk to you about, "who is Jesus?" Because there's quite a few examples in the Bible of who Jesus is. It's absurd to say that we can only use one name when addressing Jesus. It's okay to call Him Yeshua.

You can call Him Jehovah. There's a lot of words in the Bible--matter of fact, hold up your hand. I'll repeat what you say. You all get one chance and let's just try this here. I like to have a little more interaction in the class than we normally have.

What are some of the titles or names for Jesus in the Bible? Go ahead and hold up your hand if you can think of one. You get one a piece. Kwamboka? Gotta raise your hand. Jehovah. He is Jehovah.

Okay. The branch. He is the branch. Good one. The living bread.

The living bread. The counselor. He is the counselor. Wonderful. He is wonderful.

Dell? Prince of peace. Prince of peace. "I am the way, the truth and the life." Oh, you took three. The way, the truth, and the life. That's--you're right.

Yes? Rose of Sharon. He's the rose of Sharon. The Son of God. The Son of God. And behind you? Bright morning star.

The bright and morning star. Living water. He's--good one-- living water. The rock. The rock.

Oh, we got a lot left. Go to Revelation. You'll find all kinds of 'em. Love. He is love.

The light. He is the light. In the back? The vine. He's the vine. Cornerstone.

That's your second one. That's okay. Cornerstone. Resurrection. Huh? "I am the resurrection.

" He is the resurrection. Good shepherd. Good shepherd. Oh these are good ones. We're getting some great ones here.

We haven't--huh? Alpha and omega. Alpha and omega. The groom. The groom. Lamb.

Oh, you're not raising your hands. But you're getting the idea. So when you say, "who is Jesus?" Each one of these beautiful descriptions, so full of meaning, they're like facets on a jewel that reflect with different dimensions of who he is. And every time you turn it just a little bit, this diamond with a thousand facets, you see the light refracting a little bit differently. And Jesus is saying, "look, I can teach you about who I am through bread.

I can teach you about who I am through light. I can teach you about who I am through truth, through a vine, through water." I mean, you know, I've done whole sermons on shepherds. And you can learn about Jesus through all of these different things. So when we say, "who was Jesus?" It's a very broad truth regarding who he is. Now finally we get to--i want to go to Hebrews 1:1, "the fascination continues part 2," "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to The Fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his son.

" Now I want you to notice something. When they were saying, "who was Jesus, they began to say, "are you one of the prophets?" Are you Elijah? Are you Jeremiah? One of the other prophets?" Paul here in Hebrews is saying, "he spoke to us through the prophets, but now he's done something beyond prophets." He spoke to our "fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, through whom he made the worlds," not just our world. So here we're talking about the creator. There's another title for Jesus. "Who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person," if you want to know who Jesus is, by the way, one of the names for Jesus is, "The Father.

" That's right. Jesus is called, "his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the everlasting God--" oh man, I've sung it a hundred times. Now my mind just went blank. Help me. "Wonderful, counselor, mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace.

" There we go. So even father is one of the facets of his. He created all things. "He's the express image of his person, and upholding of all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high." So and we're gonna learn more about Jesus. God The Father and God The Son must be two individuals, 'cause God The Son is sitting down on the right hand of something.

Must be God The Father, right? So it's very clear that Jesus is God incarnate. Who is Jesus? Tell you what, let me read this. You've seen this before. I've read it before. It's a beautiful statement.

And I believe it's written by James Allen Francis called, "one solitary life." "He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then for 3 years he was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office.

He never had a family or owned a home. He didn't go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled more than miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness.

He had no credentials but himself. He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Twenty centuries have come and gone and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the Mark when I say that all the armies that ever Marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the Kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life.

" I always get a little chills when I read that. It's a beautiful epitaph of the life of Christ that, I mean, he's an enigma. He was--no one else in history that was considered great can compare to who Jesus was and what he did with all the disadvantages he apparently had from his beginning. We're out of time. But I think we learned something today about who Jesus is.

Amen? Don't forget we're continuing next week. We'll be in lesson 2. And you can request the free offer that you see on your screen. Dial the number there. We'll be happy to send it to you.

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