1. Who is Jesus?
Pastor Dan Betzer shared the following introduction with his congregation about a sermon series called “Who is Jesus?” It took 16 weeks to finish his sermon on this subject, but I will do it in just a few minutes! Aren’t you glad!
"It is generally accepted that Jesus actually existed. He lived for a short 33 years in Israel 2,000 years ago. That is not usually debatable. The famous historian H. G. Wells, who was not a Christian believer, remarked, "I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history." Well's observation about Jesus has general acceptance by many; the debate starts when Jesus' real identity is the subject: Who was He really? Was He a mere man? Was He a notable prophet? Was He an outstanding teacher? Was He a healer? Or was He much more than that? Was He divine? Was He "the only begotten Son of God?" And what meaning should His life have to anyone? Does He truly matter today? The proposed question, "Who is Jesus?" strongly suggests that He is still living, that He exists now in our own lifetimes, that His life still influences multiplied millions of people. Is that possible? Or is this proposal merely the hope of unintelligent, under-educated religionists? Does this question, "Who is Jesus?" have any relevance in today's society?
Looking at our scripture we can see that Jesus is the “pioneer or author of our faith.” What does that mean? Without Jesus you would have no faith in Him, which means He gives us the faith to believe in Him. He started our faith from the beginning. And then, the writer of Hebrews says that He is the “perfecter of our faith.” What does that mean? After you have faith in Christ, He is about making that faith real and growing in your life, through all kinds of experiences and trials that come our way. Remember the passage in Philippians 1:6, “...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Jesus is working in our lives to help us to continue to believe and trust God through all our life experience until the day the Lord returns to take us home. Paul says that it is the Lord Jesus who does this for us, He perfects us, brings us to maturity and makes us complete in the sight of God throughout our lives.
How great is that? We can rely on the power of God to help us grow in faith. But this is not all we can say in response to our question, “Who is Jesus?” We don’t have time, as I mentioned to cover all of the descriptions of who Jesus is; it took several sheets of legal pad to list just a few thoughts about who Jesus is each one coming directly from scripture.
Here are a few names for Jesus and if you are interested there are scripture for each one.He is:God’s Son, the radiance of God’s glory, He is our Great High Priest, He is Immanuel, He is man yet God, He is the Son of Mary of Nazareth, He is the Son of David, He is “The King of the Jews: (the sign over the cross), He is the Resurrection and The Life, He is called King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He is Faithful and True, and He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!
This very short description of who Jesus is, is important to us all. Just looking at two of these titles for a moment will help us for this day and time. (1) He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” from John 1:29 and the Revelation. In the Jewish culture and religion, the lamb was what Jews sacrificed to their God. When they left Egypt, the night before God told Moses that the people needed to get a pure spotless lamb and roast it and prepare for the exodus of the people. But before they could leave the death angel would pass through all of Egypt and kill the firstborn of all people. The Jews were told to take that lamb they were to eat and use the blood to paint the door post with it’s blood and the angel seeing it would “passover” that house. Jesus is seen as the Passover Lamb who would give His blood for all mankind and those who would be washed in the blood would never die. So we learn from this title that it is Jesus who will, on the cross, die and shed His blood, will take your sin and mine upon His shoulders that we will be free of our sin and can have the salvation God offers because of this sacrifice of His One and Only Son! It is the Lord’s Supper that is a reminder of this Passover Lamb.
(2) He is the Resurrection and the Life. Because Jesus not only died but was raised from the dead, Jesus is our eternal life and only in Him can we find salvation and redemption of our souls because of the cross and His resurrection. You will have life eternal when you receive Jesus into your heart by faith.
That is a good start on who Jesus is. Now why do we need to keep our eyes on Him like the writer of Hebrews says? For if we fail to continue to fix our eyes and our lives upon Him, we will get off course and fail to live as Jesus has shown us and told us to live. Fixing is a way to say keep in touch through loving God and others, constant reading of His word, faithful prayer, regular worship, seeking to share our faith and serving others like Jesus served.