D17 - Jesus is the Word of God
John 1 begins,
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning’ (John 1:1-2).
Then, in John 1:14, the Apostle John clarified,
‘The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.’
In John 14:11, Jesus said,
‘Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.’
John effectively confirmed that Jesus is God and at the same time, He is the Word of God.
In the Old Testament in Gen 1:1-3, we could see the Triune God in operation –
”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. …… And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters ….. And God said, ‘Let there be light.’”
There was God, the Spirit of God, and then there was the Word – ‘God said’.
No doubt, it is a difficult concept to grasp.
D18 - Jesus is God
In Matt 16:16, when asked by Jesus, ‘Who do you say I am?’, Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.’ Jesus confirmed Peter’s observation in the next verse when He said, ‘For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father who is in heaven.’
In John 1:14, the Apostle John described as follows: ‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.’
So, we know that in John 1:1, John had established the Word was God. Effectively, John claimed that Jesus was God incarnate.
In John 4:26, when the Samaritan woman whom Jesus had given a word of knowledge, shared about the Messiah, Jesus was unabashed when he said,
‘I who speak to you am He.’
In other words, Jesus was confirming that he was the Messiah, the anointed one.
In John 10:30, when speaking to the Jews (the religious leaders of His days), he responded,
‘I and the Father are One.’
The Jews then picked up stones and threw them at Him. Jesus then said, ‘Even though you do not believe me, believe the works’ (John 10:38). Jesus could make that claim through the countless numbers of miracles that he did while he was on earth.
In John 14:11, Jesus reiterated,
‘Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, OR ELSE believe on account of the works themselves.’ The miracles that he performed testified what he claimed to be.’
See D55, Jesus’ supernatural actions in front of eye-witnesses established his uniqueness and credentials.
Jesus had consistently claimed to be the Son of God and a co-equal with God. He said it to his disciples. He announced it to the Pharisees. In John 8:58, Jesus told the religious leaders unequivocally, ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’
When He was approached by the disciples of John the Baptist with the question, ‘Are you the One who was to come?’, Jesus replied,
‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard; the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them’ (Luke 7:22).
Muslims do not accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God but believe that He was a prophet of Allah and a human being. Jesus, however, left no one in doubt about his claims to be a co-equal with God.
The late CS Lewis, a novelist and a scholar best known for his ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ series, summarized it best when he said:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [that is, Christ]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse…. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Please see D2, God is three in One, for more information.
D19 - Jesus was God's firstborn, the Son of God
Col 1:15 describes Jesus as the
‘firstborn of all creation’.
The Greek word is prototokos or first-born/ eldest. Meanwhile, in Heb 1:6, it says,
‘ …. When he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”’
The term used was ‘first-born’ and not ‘first created’. Firstborn is a matter of rank, that is, someone who possesses the inheritance and leadership. In fact, the firstborn receives a double portion of blessings (Deut 21:17).
We know that Christ is a co-equal of God. There is much that we do not know what this means; like, was Jesus a created being that was elevated to the status of God by God, the Father (although it was never mentioned that he was created)?
We do not know enough and we probably do not need to know.
We are aware, however, that he submitted himself to God, the Father. In his most difficult period just before his crucifixion, he prayed and yielded to the Father,
‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless not my will but yours be done’ (Luke 22:42).
In Matt 3:17, we hear a voice from heaven that declared,
‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’
And when queried by the chief priests and scribes as to whether he was the Son of God, Jesus replied, ‘You say that I am’ (Luke 22:70); in other words, he did not reject their statement.
In fact, Jesus was crucified because, as the Jewish leaders said,
‘He called himself the Son of God’ (John 19:7).
Please see D2, God is three in One, for more information.
D20 - Jesus is our great High Priest and sacrifice
Heb 2:17 –
‘So He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.’
Heb 4:14 –
‘Since then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.’
‘For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.’
Because of our sin, God had created a system whereby a priest could mediate on our behalf with God. The high priest was the chief religious leader and he came from the tribe of Levites, more specifically via Aaron’s bloodline that had been designated by God to do specific priestly duties (Num 3:12). Once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the High Priest would be cleansed and enter the Holy of Holies to make a sacrifice on behalf of the people.
Jesus had since taken over the role of the High Priest (Heb 4:14) as well as became our perfect sacrifice (Heb 10:14) when he gave up his life for us on the cross. Heb 7:11-17 says that Jesus followed the order of Melchizedek; we know through Scripture that Melchizedek was both King and Priest (Gen 14:18).
The most significant impact to have Jesus as our High Priest is that we can now –
‘with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Heb 4:16).
There is no more an earthly mediator but rather that we can pray directly to God through Jesus Christ. Let that sink in.
D21 - The Bible (Old Testament) testifies of Jesus
In John 5:30 (NLT), Jesus told his audience that
‘The Scriptures (Old Testament) point to me (Jesus)’.
He then went on and said that Moses wrote about him too.
There are many verses in the Old Testament that testify about Jesus’ first coming. Let us look at just a few within the Book of Isaiah, a book written about 700 years before the birth of Christ, with special emphasis on Isaiah 53. Here are the verses that point towards Jesus:
- Isa 7:14 – Jesus would be born of a virgin from the house of David (Luke 1:26-31 testifies to Jesus’ virgin birth),
- Isa 53:1 – He would be widely rejected (John 12:37-38 confirms that),
- Isa 53:4-5 – He would bear our sins and sorrows (Rom 4:25 speaks of it),
- Isa 53:5 – There would be our blood atonement (You can find that in John 19:34 and Rom 8:3),
- Isa 53:6 – He would be our substitute for that atonement (See Rom 5:6-8),
- Isa 53:7 – It would be a voluntary act (This is confirmed in Luke 23:9),
- Isa 53:9 – He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (See Matt 27:57-60),
- Isa 53:12 – He would die for our sins (See John 3:16),
- Isa 53:12 – He would be numbered with transgressors (This is confirmed in Matt 27:38),
Some Non-Christians may argue that the Old Testament is not a reliable document and parts of it could have been written AFTER the birth of Christ in order to make it more authentic.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls provides a clear explanation of why the Old Testament is an accurate document that has stood the test of time.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
South of Jerusalem lies the Dead Sea, It is 420m below sea level or 1,378 feet and is the lowest point on the earth in terms of land not covered by water. It is also the world’s richest source of natural salts. On the way to the Dead Sea from Jerusalem, we will pass by Qumran caves.
In 1947, just a year before Israel became a nation, a handful of young Bedouin shepherds discovered some ancient manuscripts in a cave at Qumran. These manuscripts eventually found their way to Dr John C Trever, of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) who confirmed the value and authenticity of the discovery.
Subsequently, more excavations were carried out and about 15,000 fragments representing the remains of 800 to 900 original manuscripts were documented.
Most of the manuscripts provide experts with insights into how the community at Qumran lived during that time, reflecting ancient Jewish belief and practice. But about a quarter of the texts are biblical manuscripts.
Some are in complete sets, including:
- Five copies of Genesis,
- Eight copies of Exodus,
- One copy of Leviticus,
- Fourteen copies of Deuteronomy,
- Two copies of Joshua,
- Three copies of Samuel,
- One copy of Proverbs
- Twelve copies of Isaiah,
- Four copies of Jeremiah,
- Three copies of Daniel, and
- Eight copies of the minor prophets,
Several different scientific methods of testing concluded that these manuscripts are from the period of between third century BC (300 BC) and the first century AD (100 AD). For more information, click HERE.
The Dead Sea Scrolls and Biblical Significance
Before the discovery, the oldest Hebrew-language manuscripts of the Bible (Old Testament) were dated around AD 1000. These manuscripts were prepared by Jewish scholars, known as the Masoretes, between AD 500 and AD 950. Hence, they were called Masoretic Text. For more information, click HERE. The Dead Sea Scrolls pushed the date back to 300 BC.
By having these various sets, experts were able to compare the older Dead Sea manuscripts with the ‘newer’ Masoretic Text. It was the moment of truth – the Dead Sea Scrolls would either affirm or repudiate the reliability of the Masoretic manuscripts.
What these experts discovered was the unusual accuracy of transmission. Despite the two sets being more than a thousand years apart, they are almost identical.
Our current Old Testament Bible was translated from the Masoretic text. As the Masoretic text are considered reliable copies of the original works, we can be assured that our current Bible bears the same value as well. For more information, click HERE and HERE.
Mathematically, here are the equations:
- Masoretic text (around AD 1000) = Our current Old Testament Bible,
- Dead Sea Scrolls (around 300 BC) = Masoretic text (Confirmation by scholars). Therefore,
- Dead Sea Scrolls = Our current Old Testament Bible.
Conclusion: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Isaiah
Twelve copies of Isaiah were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. They ratify that the Book of Isaiah that we have today is the same as that written during the period of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
D22 - Jesus, the Son, chose to become a man
When sin came into the earth through Adam, God had a plan. That plan involved His son coming down from heaven to earth in order to go to the cross.
Imagine, the richest man in the world, a man who lives in immeasurable opulence where everything is within his grasp. Yet, a man who decides to give up all in order to move to the streets of Calcutta and minister among lepers and the untouchables. How many of us would do that?
Now, consider what the Son of God did. Phil 2:5-8 says,
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
God could have chosen not to be on earth. After all, Jesus is co-equal with God. But Jesus, the Son, chose to become a man and that is part of the measure of salvation.
D23 - Jesus had a supernatural birth (a virgin birth)
In Luke 1:31, it reads,
‘And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus …’
It carries on in Luke 1:34 when Mary said to the angel,
‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’
Mary had conceived the baby without having sex with anyone; her egg was not fertilized by a sperm but rather through the ‘overshadowing’ of the Almighty (Luke 1:35). It was conceived supernaturally as God needed a conduit to allow himself to gain a passage into the world. It was not as if God had sex with Mary in order to create a baby.
Ultimately, God is God and he could have chosen a spacecraft to deliver a baby on earth just like Superman. Yet, God decided for Jesus to come into the world in the most natural way in order to gain the complete experience of being human.
Heb 4:15 called Jesus our ‘high priest’ who could understand our weaknesses and have been
‘tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.’
D24 - Jesus was God (and man)
‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?’
At the Mount of Transfiguration, a voice from heaven boomed,
‘This is my beloved Son; listen to Him’ (Mark 9:7).
Peter, his disciple, after spending time and observing Jesus for a period of time, called him the Messiah (Mark 8:29).
Jesus had always claimed that He was God’s Son. When the High Priest asked him in Matt 26:63-64 (NIV),
‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God,’
Jesus responded, ‘You have said so.’ Jesus, in the flesh, made the ultimate claim – that He was indeed the Messiah, the Son of God.
So, we know He was 100% the Son of God. He was the ‘image of the invisible God’ (Col 1:15).
Yet, He was 100% man – Col 2:9 says,
‘For in him, the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.’
See D25, Jesus was human which explains his humanity.
D25 - Jesus was human
How do we know that Jesus was human?
- He was hungry. Matt 21:18 says, ‘In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry.’
- He was wearied from his journey. John 4:6.
- He was thirsty. John 4:7 says, ‘Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”’
- He struggled emotionally just before going to the cross. Matt 26:39, ‘And going little farther and bowed with his face to the ground ….’
- He cried. John 11:35 has the shortest verse in the entire Bible. It simply reads, ‘Jesus wept.’
- He got angry with an unfruitful fig tree. Mark 11:14 said he cursed a fig tree that had leaves but not fruit.
Heb 4:15 says,
‘But one (Jesus) who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.’
Remember, Jesus was not exactly like one of the X-men or Superman. He was most ordinary in every way although there were sufficient demonstrations of his divinity.
D26 - Jesus was (is) the King of the Jews
Even before Jesus was born, magi (wise men) from the east came to Jerusalem seeking the ‘King of the Jews’ (Matt 2:2); they were looking for Jesus.
Again, just before Jesus was crucified and at his trial, Pilate asked Him whether he was indeed King of the Jews. In Mark 15:2, Jesus replied, ‘You have said it.’ In other words, he acknowledged the title. And it was for that reason that Pilate sentenced Jesus to death on the crucifix after much pressure from the leading priests (John 19:7).
Yes, despite the heavy objection raised by leading priests, Pilate placed a sign above the crucifix that read, ‘Jesus of Narazeth, the King of the Jews’ (Mark 15:26) in three languages – Aramaic, Latin, and Greek – so that many people could read it (John 19:20).
The Old Testament has many prophecies projecting the arrival of Mashiach (in Hebrew), or the Messiah. These verses included Dan 9:25 as well as Isa 32:1. The prophecies also dictated that the Messiah would come from the line of David (2 Sam 7:12-16) and he would arrive with power as King of the forever kingdom (Jer 23:5-6).
The Greek equivalent for the Hebrew term Mashiach is ‘Christ’ which basically means ‘anointed one’ or ‘chosen one.’ The Book of Matthew addresses Jesus as the Christ (the Messiah) even right from Matt 1:1 and the Apostle Peter declared in Matt 16:16 that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the Living God.
The Jews could never regard Jesus as Mashiach as they could not understand how a king would choose the path of the crucifix.
Jesus is first and foremost the king of the Jews. See also D300, Jesus returns to defeat Satan ….
D27 - Jesus came from the bloodline of King David
In Jer 33:15-26, 2 Sam 7:12, and Isa 11:1-3, these verses explain that the Messiah (or Mashiach, in Hebrew) would descend from the bloodline of David. In Jer 33:20, God made it clear that it was a covenant that cannot be broken.
Micah 5:2 explains that Bethlelem had been chosen as the place where the Messiah would come forth. That was how King Herod knew after enquiring from his wise men that the male child would be born there and passed an order to kill off all the baby boys in Bethlehem (Matt 2:16).
- Matt 1:6 shows the kingly route of Solomon while
- Luke 3:31 reports that Jesus came via Nathan, a less prominent son of King David.
Because the kingly route via Solomon was cursed; Jeconiah, a king and a descendant of Solomon, was cursed in Jer 22:30 with these words,
‘Let the record show that this man, Jeconiah, was childless. He is a failure for none of his children will succeed him on the throne of David to rule over Judah.’
Here is the hypothesis because Scripture is unclear; there are two genealogies – one from the line of Joseph and another from the line of Mary. Matt 1 represents the line of Joseph and Luke 3 is that from the line of Mary. And because Jesus was born of a virgin, Matt 1 is not significant but given a mention.
Whichever, both represent a promise kept by God from Jer 33:20.
NB: Mary was undoubtedly a most godly lady to be selected as the conduit of God’s son. While Mary was the earthly mother of Jesus and Jesus submitted to her when he was young, in recognition of the earthly family structure (Luke 2:51),
Mary could never be described as ‘the Mother of God’, and therefore someone who was a co-equal or even more powerful than the God of the Trinity. Nor does she warrant our worship (See D109 – Man is not to be worshiped, for more information).
D28 - Jesus never wanted to be an earthly king
‘Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself’ – John 6:15.
D27 says that Jesus is the King of the Jews. Yet, he never wanted to be an earthly king. Jesus said in John 18:36 that His ‘Kingdom is not of this world.’ At least not until when He returns to earth a second time. Please see D303 – Jesus will rule peacefully and with an iron-hand rule for 1,000 years after his return.
Jesus came to become a king within our hearts and minds. Luke 17:21 says,
‘The kingdom of God is in the midst of you.’
The Greek word for ‘in the midst of you’ is entos and may also mean within or inside. And it cannot be detected by visible or observable signs (v20).
When we repent and become born-again, we move into his kingdom. Col 1:13 reads,
‘He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son.’
Jesus wants to be king in our lives. It is currently a spiritual one but eventually it will also be a physical kingdom.
D29 - Jesus was sinless
‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.’
Why is it so important that Jesus was sinless?
This is a critical Christian doctrine.
In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices had to be made in order for men to be reconciled to a holy and perfect God. God had laid down certain rules that it was not just any ordinary animal.
This animal then had to be killed and the blood used to sprinkle on the front of the mercy seat (Lev 16:14). It was a serious, bloody, and solemn affair.
It was the sinless blood of Christ alone that reconciled us back to God (Col 1:20).
D30 - Jesus became our perfect passover lamb
And 1 Peter 1:18-19 –
‘a lamb unblemished, and spotless, the blood of Christ.’
What is the Passover Lamb?
The Passover Lamb is an animal sacrifice instituted by God to the Jewish people to perform once a year on the evening of the Passover. It originated on the night of the Exodus from Egypt and is symbolical to demonstrate the need for a sacrifice in view of the condition of our hearts..
Exodus 12 has a complete description of the Passover Lamb. On the eve of the Passover, a lamb or goat was selected for sacrifice. There were specific criteria – that it should be a male, one year old, and without blemish. Each family would select an animal. The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel would slaughter these animals at twilight. Once done, they were to smear some of the blood on the two side posts and tops of the door frames of the houses.
On that night, the angel of death would pass through the land of Egypt striking and killing every firstborn male whose households did not have the blood on their doorposts.
D29 shows that Jesus was indeed sinless. D30 completes the picture how Jesus became our perfect Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7).
D31 - Jesus is the ONLY way to God
“Jesus must be selfish. Does he think he is God to make such a claim?”
Jesus had always said that He was the Messiah; that He was God, and that He was the only way to the Father (God).
In John 10:9, Jesus said,
‘I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.’
John 14:6 reads,
‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,’
and in Matt 11:27, Jesus reiterated,
‘No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son.’
He said in John 10:38,
‘Even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’
He said that the miracles he did, testified of himself.
Jesus always said that he was God.
In fact, he is the only historical religious leader who claimed to be God (or the Son of God, a co-equal with God).
Not even the founder of Islam, Mohammad dared to lay such a claim. Quran 46:9 says, ‘I am not something original among the messengers; nor do I know what will be done with me, or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner.’ Neither did Buddha.
CS Lewis, the great philosopher, lecturer, and author of the Narnia series, said,
‘I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.’
D32 - Jesus is the truth
Of all religious leaders, Jesus was the only one who unapologetically proclaimed himself to be ‘the Truth’. In John 14:6, he said,
‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through me.’
In John 8:31-32, he equated his word as ‘truth’ and said that his word will make a person free.
The Greek word for ‘truth’ is aletheia or truth/ truth of idea, reality, sincerity/ truth in the moral sphere/ divine truth revealed to man.
In John 18:37, Jesus said to Pilate,
‘I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’
To which Pilate, like many of us replied sarcastically, ‘What is truth?’ Jesus never deviated from his daring claim.
Here is what we know:
- Jesus called himself ‘the Truth’ (John 14:6),
- He was full of truth’ (John 1:14),
- Jesus spoke the truth (John 8:40-46); he kept/ keeps promises. That is why Christians are taught to keep promises . For more information, please read B262 – Make a promise, keep a promise,
- He taught about truth (John 8:31-32), and
- He ‘bear witness to the truth’ (John 18:37).
For every genuine Rolex watch, there exists alongside it fake ones.
Similarly, if there is truth, then there will be false, fake, untruth and deception (which is a major form of untruth);
NB: Deception is far more dangerous since a lie may be hidden within the truth.
Christians stand for (absolute) truth and do not celebrate shades of truths. It is unsurprising that Christians are mocked for standing up to absolute truth; please note that Christians are also ‘love’. See B117, Love our neighbor as ourselves.
‘I have given them your word and the world has hated them; for they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world’ (John 17:14).
See D224 – Jesus is Grace and Truth.
D33 - Jesus is the life
Jesus is the life and the opposite of death.
John 1:4 explains that
‘in him was life’ (Note: Not death). And not just life, ‘but to have it abundantly’ (John 10:10).
Jesus wanted us to have lots of life, or lively.
In John 5:24, he reiterated that those who believe in
‘him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life (at that very moment).’
In John 11:25, Jesus said to Martha,
‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.’
Jesus continues to give life.
He was unequivocal; he promised life after death.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life – John 14:6.
The Greek word for ‘life’ is zoe or life – both physical (present) and spiritual (particularly future) existence. He impacts our present life and he had promised us our future existence to be with him.
When a believer faces a death/ life situation, a believer must not forget that Jesus holds the keys to our lives (both present and future).
Indeed, Jesus lives so that we can be assured we will live forever – 1 Cor 15:12-20.
D34 - Jesus' purpose on earth was to reveal to us God, the Father
Jesus said, in Matt 11:27,
‘All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
Only Jesus knows the Father and it is He who can reveal the Father to us.
Again, in John 1:18, Jesus said,
‘No one has ever seen God: the only God, who is at the Father’s side, He (Jesus) has made Him (Father) known.’
And if we know Jesus, we would know the Father because he said in John 8:19,
‘If you knew me, you would know my Father also’’
It is also seen in John 10:30,
‘I and the Father are one.’
Finally, in John 17:26, Jesus explained,
‘I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known …’
The purpose of Jesus’ becoming a human is to make known to us who God, the Father, truly is. When we know Jesus, we know the Father.
Jesus’ compassion and love for sinners had been shown repeatedly. Like the Samaritan woman at the well who had five husbands (John 4:18) or the thief who died next to him on the crucifix (Luke 23:43). He healed because he was compassionate (Matt 14:14). His advice remains the same, ‘Go, and from now on, sin no more.’
If Jesus was compassion, then compassion would also be an important part of God’s character.
His preserved word, the Bible, revealed who He was (and is). The Holy Spirit brings us into a relationship with Him.
If we have encountered Jesus, we would have met God.
D35 - Jesus never imposed
After freeing a demon-possessed man from his torment by releasing the demons into a large herd of 2,000 pigs, the pigs then rushed down a steep slope into the lake and drowned. Instead of celebrating with this once-despised man, the villagers came out and begged Jesus to leave them alone (Mark 5:17).
Again, in Mark 6:47, it said that while the disciples were having trouble controlling their boat because of ‘the wind and waves’, Jesus came toward them walking on the water and ‘he intended to go past them’ (Mark 6:48). He only stopped and climbed into the boat when they cried out in terror.
One thing that we know, neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit, will ever impose on us. He may gently remind us who He is. But if we ignore him, He will allow us to continue our path.
See also D78, The Holy Spirit never imposes
D36 - Jesus is more powerful than Satan (and his demons)
There is no doubt that Satan is powerful. In Matt 24:24, Jesus said that these false messiahs (workers of Satan) will
‘appear and perform great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect (Christians).’
But Jesus is more powerful than Satan. Demons had to obey his voice and leave (Mark 5:8). In addition, in Matt 8:31, when Jesus was casting demons out of a man, they also had to seek permission from Jesus before entering into a large herd of pigs. Jesus could also prevent the demons from speaking (Mark 1:34, Luke 4:41). And under the voice of Jesus, they had to answer his queries (Mark 5:9).
Only with the permission of Jesus could Satan act. We see that in Luke 22:31 when Jesus said,
‘Simon, Simon, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.’
It is as if God is the owner of the property and Satan is the occupier with a specific tenancy period. While Satan can do many things within the property, he does not have permission over everything; for instance, he still requires God’s clearance before he can act like the case for Job and Peter.
See also D92, Satan is the prince of this world.
D37 - Jesus came to save the lost
In Matt 18:11, Jesus declared in the parable of the lost sheep – that the
‘Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.’
What was ‘lost’?
We were once spiritually lost without knowing God personally. Our sins separated us from God. But God wanted to fellowship with us and that was only possible through a blood sacrifice.
Jesus became that permanent blood sacrifice through his death on the cross. See D30, Jesus became our perfect Passover Lamb.
Through his death and resurrection, we were reconciled to God; we were found and saved by Jesus Christ.
See also D34, Jesus’ purpose on earth was to reveal to us God, the Father.
D38 - Jesus chose humility and the cross
Phil 2:6-8 (NLT) says,
‘Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he (chose to) gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.’
Jesus chose to humble Himself to go to the cross. It was not exactly a situation that Jesus wanted to be in when he said in Mark 14:36,
‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will but what you will.’
Why did Jesus pray that prayer? Because dying on the cross was a most cruel death. On top of that, Jesus, the Son of God, was subject to additional punishment and demeaning insults before he finally died:
- He was scourged (severely bitten with a multi-lashed whip consisting of embedded pieces of bone and metal) (Matt 27:26, Mark 15:15),
- He was forced to wear a twisted crown of thorns on his head (Matt 27:29),
- He was struck on his head with a reed and spat at by soldiers guarding him (Mark 15:19),
- He was stripped of his robe (Matt 27:31),
- He carried his own cross until when he could not manage anymore. Then, Simon of Cyrene was compelled by the Roman soldiers to take over (Matt 27:32),
- He was nailed to the cross (John 19:23, Luke 24:39)
- He was mocked by the chief priests, the scribes and elders as well as the watching public (Matt 27:41-43).
Yet, Jesus chose to obey the will and the eternal plan of God.
In John 10:18, Jesus explained,
‘No one can take my life from me, but I sacrifice it voluntarily.’
It was an act of Jesus’ will – his own choice and decision.
D39 - Jesus rose from the dead on the third day
This is by far, the most significant Christian doctrine that differentiates Jesus from all other religions – the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Of all religious leaders, Jesus is the only one who was dead but is now alive; His tomb is the only empty one. None can compare to him.
Prove that Jesus is dead and the fundamental basis of Christianity collapses.
Many people had attempted to do that. Among them, were prominent Christian authors like Frank Morrison, Lee Strobel, and Josh McDowell; both Strobel and McDowell are still ministering in our current times.
Here is the secret –
They were not Christians when they started on the journey; they wanted to disprove the resurrection in order to become famous. But they were genuine about the objectivity of the challenge. All ended up becoming born-again, passion-filled Christians and writing books on why they believed the resurrection to be true.
Strobel is exceptional because he is trained both as a lawyer and a journalist. McDowell’s challenge resulted in him writing an evergreen bestselling book acknowledging the resurrection of Jesus Christ – ‘Evidence that demands a verdict.’
Amazingly, both McDowell’s and Strobel’s children are continuing their legacies – McDowell’s son, Sean McDowell is an Assistant Professor on Historical Theology, and Strobel’s son, Kyle, is an Assistant Professor of Scripture and Theology.
1 Cor 15:4 says,
‘That He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.’ Paul then went on to reiterate, ‘If Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.’
Basically, it means that if the resurrection did not take place, all believers would have been doomed because we had believed in a lie; there would be no light at the end of the tunnel.
Paul then said in v18,
‘If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.’ How true and how miserable will we be?
But then, the fact that if the resurrection is true means that it provides us with hope, encouragement and even the willingness to lay down our lives for the cause of Jesus Christ. It pushes men to do incredible and incredulous things.
Jesus was not a myth. His resurrection motivated his twelve disciples to die for him. In fact, Jesus prophesied the death of the Apostle Peter in John 21:18 –
‘Truly, truly I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself and walked where you wanted; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’
The early church fathers were unanimous in claiming that Peter died in Rome, by crucifixion, during the persecution of Nero in AD 64. Some said that he was crucified upside down. The early church fathers also acknowledged that all the apostles were martyred except for John.
Why would all his disciples lay down their lives if Jesus was not God? What motivated them to do so? After all, they knew him intimately.
In addition, how did Christianity spread when it first started?
The Book of Acts provided us with examples – It was through preaching, healing, as well as signs and wonders. It was also through the willingness of his disciples to give up their own lives for the cause of Jesus; for example, James, the brother of John, became the first martyr of Christ (Acts 12:2).
How did the other religions spread their teaching when they first started?
Most, like Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, came from the endorsement of emperors of those days.
Islam’s early evangelism strategy involved conquests, negotiation, and the sword. And anyone who is born into a Muslim family is automatically a Muslim. Renunciation of the faith is considered an apostasy justifiable with ostracization as well as potentially the death penalty.
The resurrection of Jesus is the foremost foundation of Christianity. Destroy it and Christianity will be nothing but a myth.
D40 - Jesus rose from the dead in a physical body
Jesus came back in a resurrected body; it was not a spirit.
Luke 24:39 says,
‘See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’
Readers might like to note that it is not ‘flesh and blood’ but ‘flesh and bones’.
Then, in Luke 24:41-42, Jesus ate a broiled fish in front of them.
In John 20:14-17, it showed that people could touch and feel Jesus. Jesus’ resurrected body was a physical one.
D41 - Jesus' resurrection was witnessed by many, including his disciples
Jesus’ resurrection was not a secret. Acts 1:3 says, ‘He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.’ Amazingly, He ministered with a resurrected body for more than a month and even ate with them (Acts 1:4).
In Acts 1:9 explains that he was then taken up to heaven watched by many of his disciples.
In 2 Peter 1:16, the Apostle Peter made it clear that they were ‘eyewitnesses of his majesty.’
The Apostle John wrote quite a similar line when he concluded in the Book of John (John 21:24) –
‘This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we KNOW that his testimony is true.’
Finally, in selecting a disciple to replace Judas Ischariot, the eleven disciples were so precise that they had to select ‘one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us’ (Acts 1:21).
His disciples were not disillusioned nor did they gain financially from being associated with Jesus. The truth is, these were men were prepared to die for Jesus and many did.
More than that, 1 Cor 15:5 made it clear that Jesus
‘appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now (were still alive when the letter was written by Paul).’
Imagine – ‘appearing to them (disciples) during forty days’ (length of time) and ‘appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time’ (the number) – and these eye-witnesses were always ready to die for Jesus.
D42 - Jesus' death on the cross fulfilled the Law
‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.’
Rom 10:4 –
‘Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.’
And Gal 3:13 explains how Christ fulfilled the law –
‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.’
Jesus completes the redemption picture. Please see D29 and D30 to explain why Jesus became our Passover Lamb. The Old Testament provides us a picture of who we are – We are but sinners. It laid down the requirements that only a perfect blood sacrifice could help to reconcile us to God and during the old days such an offering had to be carried out on a regular basis.
But Jesus Christ became our perfect sacrifice (being sinless – D29) and his death on the cross thus fulfill the law once and for all (Heb 10:9-10). Hence, we are now no more under the law of Moses but under the law of Christ (Gal 3:23-25) which is grace.
Gal 3:23-25 (NLT) –
‘Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.’
Imagine if a person has committed a crime, for example, bank robbery. Now consider the fact that the criminal has to go before a judge. The judge pronounces the criminal as guilty; the criminal must be punished because the law requires it. There is no way that the criminal can make restitution. But what if the judge decides to come to the rescue of the criminal? What if the judge steps down from the stand and takes the punishment on behalf of the defendant?
That is the story of how Jesus’ death on the cross fulfilled the law. That is the love of God on all humanity.
D43 - Jesus death on the cross put Satan on the way to defeat
Interestingly, Scripture never says that Jesus defeated Satan completely on the cross although it is a quite a popular view among many churches. By dying on the cross, Jesus managed to ‘destroy the one who has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (in other words, no more fear of death)’ (Heb 2:14-15).
Satan is the prince of this world. Jesus said so in John 16:11, calling Satan –
‘the ruler/ prince of this world is judged.’
The Greek word is archon or ruler/ governor/ leading man.
In 1 John 5:19, it says that
‘the (whole) world around us is under the control of the evil one.’
The Greek word for ‘world’ is cosmos, or the world/ universe/ inhabitants of the world.
Satan is definitely not powerless but he is far from being all powerful (See D36, Jesus is more powerful than Satan).
For example, we are greater than Satan – ‘For he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4). The seventy-two followers of Jesus could testify, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name’ (Luke 10:17).
Rom 16:20 says,
‘The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.’
Satan is not yet completely crushed. That day will arrive with the second coming of Christ, the day of the Lord.
Please see D300, Jesus returns to defeat Satan, and D301, Satan will be bound during Christ’s millennium rule.
Please also See D89 to D102 about Satan for a better understanding.
D44 - Jesus defeated death
‘Death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’
Jesus said, in John 14:19,
‘Because I live, you also will live.’
Jesus also said in John 11:25-26 (NLT),
‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.’
His resurrection, D39, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, is everything. It means Jesus had defeated death and we can be assured that we will rise with Him too.
In Ecclesiastes 9:5, the Preacher lamented,
‘For the living know that they will die but the dead know nothing, and they have no reward for the memory of them is forgotten.’
It is a situation of hopelessness.
- For people who believe in reincarnation like Buddhism or Hinduism, death is the end of everything.
- For Muslims who do not know where they are going at death. It is a sense of hopelessness and meaninglessness because death carries a certain dread of a big unknown.
The good news is, Jesus defeated death although death has not yet been abolished (1 Cor 15:26).
Hence, Christians can be encouraged by the words in Rev 12:11, ‘ …. For they loved not their lives even unto death.’ There is no fear in the face of death.
See D47, Jesus will destroy death at the end to complete the picture.
D45 - Jesus will deliver the kingdom to God at the end
1 Cor 15:24 reads,
‘Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.’
The kingdom of God currently resides in the hearts of his believers. See D28, Jesus never wanted to be an earthly king.
When Jesus returns, he will defeat Satan and establish a physical kingdom (See D300, Jesus returns to defeat Satan). It will be the start of the forever kingdom of our Lord Jesus (Rev 11:15).
D46 - Jesus will reign supreme at the end
1 Cor 15:24 reads, ‘Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.’
Phil 2:9-11 says –
‘Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name (because of that one defining moment – when Jesus chose obedience to go to the cross), so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth (universal ruler), and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’
At the end, Jesus will reign supreme as the eternal king of our universe. It is almost like a perfect movie. God wins, and Satan is forever defeated and banished to hell.
See D300, Jesus returns to defeat Satan.
D47 - Jesus will defeat death at the end
The Bible lays down the sequence of events chronologically when it says in 1 Cor 15:25-26, ‘For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet (which implies that his enemies are still existing now).
The last enemy to be destroyed is death (in D44, Jesus defeated death, we know that death has not been defeated just yet).
That day will come at the very end of times when ‘Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire’ (Rev 20:14) – NB: Death is personified.
To understand where is Hades, please see this link.
Believers know we can all live again because Jesus has become the ‘first fruit’ of resurrection (1 Cor 15:23); that is, Jesus’ resurrection proved that believers will all be resurrected eventually.
D48 - Faith in Jesus Christ makes us righteous before God
We are made righteous by our faith in Jesus. Rom 4:13 declares –
‘For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith (in Jesus).’
See also D30, Jesus became our perfect Passover Lamb and D37, Jesus came to save that which was lost.
D49 - Jesus reconciled us to God through the cross (Peacemaker)
2 Cor 5:17-19 says –
‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.’
Quite simply, Jesus reconciled us to God through the cross. See D30, Jesus became our perfect passover lamb, and D31, Jesus is the ONLY way to God, the Father.
D50 - Jesus intercedes on our behalf to God
Rom 8:34 says,
‘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.’
Hebrews 7:25 says,
‘Therefore, He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them.’
The Greek word for intercession is entugchano or call upon, make a petition, or supplication.
In Luke 22:32, Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. Apparently, Satan was also making his request to the Father to
‘sift each of you like wheat’ (Luke 22:31).
But now, here lies the difference, we have Jesus interceding on our behalf. 1 Tim 2:5 says,
‘There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.’
It is beyond our understanding of how intercession works but we can learn that it is powerful and that Jesus is interceding on our behalf to God just like He had interceded for Peter; Jesus is neutralizing the effects of Satan.
D51 - Believing in Jesus grants us eternal life
The ever popular John 3:16 assures us that
‘Everyone who believes in him (Jesus) will not perish but have eternal life.’
‘(Jesus may) give eternal life to all whom you (God the Father) have given him (Jesus). And this is eternal life, that they know you (God the Father), the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’
The Greek word for ‘believes’ is pisteuo or believe/ have faith in/ trust in. It is more than a superficial belief but one that requires us to put our money where our mouth is. Jesus demands that we trust him totally and walk according to his instructions.
But by putting our faith (Yes, our trust) in Him, Jesus promised us eternal life (with the Father).
The flipside of not trusting in God is that
‘whoever does not believe (in Jesus) is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God’ (John 3:18).
What condemns us?
John 12:48 says that our rejection of the words spoken of by Jesus will be that which condemn us on the day of judgment.
D52 - Jesus can speak to non-believers directly
In Acts 9:5, Jesus came and spoke directly to a persecuting zealot of Christians – the Pharisee Saul. When Saul asked the ‘voice’ who he was, the ‘voice’ said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’ Jesus was speaking directly to someone who tortured Christians.
And Saul, unlike Cornelius in Acts 10, was not even praying to God.
Why does God speak to some people and not others? Why does God use some ‘ungodly men’ for his purpose?
We will never know, but God can and have spoken to non-believers directly. In recent times, we hear that God is speaking more and more to Muslims.
We cannot and should never limit what God can do and who he uses. Otherwise, He is not God.
D53 - Jesus forgives our sins
Jesus was about to heal a paralyzed man but before He did, He told the man, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven’ (Matt 9:2).
Again, in Luke 7:48, a woman came into the house with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume which she poured on his head. She carried on by wiping his feet with her hair with her tears. Jesus turned to her and said, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’
There were two things that Jesus was interested in doing –
- He always sought to forgive someone of his/ her sins, and then
- He would advise the person not to sin anymore.
Why did He do that?
In the case of the paralyzed man, it showed that he was indeed God because after he had uttered words of forgiveness, he carried on and healed the man.
Forgiveness released the burden of the guilty; sins can and do weigh us down.
Jesus forgives us our sins when we come to seek him, just like the woman with the alabaster box of perfume whom the Lord uttered those words of forgiveness.
Only God can forgive our sins, something which Jesus demonstrated again and again that he was capable of doing so.
Jesus also intimated that every time we return to him, he would forgive us as much as ‘seventy times seven’ (Matt 18:22).
In the Old Testament, Lam 3:22-23 reads,
‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.’
O, how beautiful it is that ‘his (God’s) steadfast love and mercies are new every morning.’
D54 - Jesus is the healer
Jesus healed. Throughout the New Testament, you see that all the time. People came to him to hear His words but many sought healing from Him.
Matt 8:16-17 says,
‘That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”’
But Jesus’ purpose on earth was not about healing although we are not denying that healing was important. When people were looking for him in Capernaum because ‘he healed many who were sick’ (Mark 1:34), he chose to leave for other towns that ‘I (Jesus) may preach there also, for that is why I came out’ (Mark 1:38).
His primary goal was to seek that which was lost (D37, Jesus came to save that which was lost).
His miracles, including healing, offered indisputable evidence that He was/ is indeed the Son of God.
John 10:25 says,
‘I told you and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me.’
D55 - Jesus’ supernatural actions before eye-witnesses established his credentials
Mark 1:21-28, 32, 45; Mark 2:3-12; Mark 5:11-12; Mark 7:37; Matt 8:26-27; Matt 9:25-26; Mark 4:39-41; Mark 6:48-52; Mark 11:14; Luke 4:36-37; Luke 5:9; Luke 7:12, 17; Luke 7:22; Luke 8:24-25; Luke 9:16; Luke 9:28-32; Luke 9:37-42; John 2:6-8; John 5:36; John 6:2; John 6:14; John 10:32-38, John 11:42-45; John 12:9-18; John 14:10-11
The books in the Gospel are full of the miracles of Jesus (his works). More importantly, these miracles were done in the presence of eye-witnesses; the most critical of which was that of the resurrection (D42, Jesus’ resurrection was witnessed by many, including his disciples).
These miracles were not carried out in a room but done openly for everyone to see. They included:
- Casting out of unclean spirit(s) – Mark 1:26-28, Mark 5:11-12, Luke 4:36-37, Luke 9:37-43,
- Healing the sick – Mark 1:30-34, Mark 2:3-12, John 6:2,
- Restoring the deaf to hear and the mute to speak – Mark 7:37,
- Calming a raging sea – Matt 8:26-27, Mark 4:39, Luke 8:24,
- Resurrecting a dead person – Matt 9:25-26, Luke 7:12, John 11:43,
- Walking on water – Mark 6:48,
- Cursing an unproductive tree to wither – Mark 11:14,
- Identifying where to catch the most fish – Luke 5:9,
- Multiplying the amount of food from limited resources – Luke 9:16-17, John 2:6-8, John 6:14,
- Meeting with Elijah and Moses – Luke 9:28-32,
- Giving a word of knowledge – John 4:18, John 1:48-50,
- Finding tax money in a fish’s mouth (Matt 17:24-27), and
- Resurrecting His own body (D42, Jesus’ resurrection was witnessed by many).
His miracles enhanced his fame across the region.
His miracles testified of who He was; that He was the Son of God (John 5:36). Nicodemus came to him because he saw the ‘works’ (John 3:2). A large crowd went to ‘see Lazarus whom He raised from the dead’ (John 12:9).
It was His miracles that condemned Him to death because the religious elites felt threatened that the ‘world has gone after Him’ – John 12:19.
It was also the same miracles that caused his disciples to believe in him so much so that they were all prepared to die for him, with James, the brother of John, being the first martyr (Acts 12:2). That event energized John instead of disheartening him.
There was no money to be gained in following Christ but none of his disciples went back to their regular way of life; they gave that all up to follow Jesus. They could not deny him; they were eye-witnesses of these events.
The Apostle Peter echoed these words best when He said in John 6:68:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.“
D56 - Jesus did not waste
During the feeding of the multitude, whether there were four or five thousand, he would, without fail, ask his disciples to pick up the leftovers. In Luke 9:17, his disciples collected twelve basketfuls of broken pieces. In Mark 8:8, after feeding four thousand people, it was seven basketfuls.
In John 6:12, Jesus explained the rationale –
‘that nothing will be wasted.’
Jesus hated waste. He was always careful about gathering every bit that remained.
What does it say about God? What does it say about ourselves?
D57 - Jesus believed in order
Matt 21:1-3; Matt 26:18; Matt 26:54; Mark 1:14-15; Mark 14:13-16; Luke 9:14; Luke 19:25-34; Luke 22:10-13; John 6:10; John 13:1-3; John 17:12; John 18:4; John 19:28; John 20:7; 1 Cor 11:3; 1 Cor 14:40
Jesus was an organizer. Everything followed a plan and was never out of order:
- Jesus started his ministry after the arrest of John the Baptist. Only then did he said that ‘the time is fulfilled’ (Mark 1:14).
- He arranged for people to be seated in groups of fifty when it came to feeding the multitude (Luke 9:14),
- Every disciple that was to be saved were saved (John 17:12),
- To celebrate the Passover feast almost at his ‘appointed time’, he had somehow miraculously arranged for a guest room for the occasion (Matt 26:18; Luke 22:10-13),
- When he was going into Jerusalem on the actual Palm Sunday, he had already prepared a donkey to bring him into the city (Matt 21;1-3, Luke 19:25-34),
- He knew that he would have to go to the cross. Hence, he did not activate the angels to rescue him. Everything had to happen the way that was written into the Scripture (Matt 26:53),
- He also knew when he had to die – when ‘everything had now been finished’ (John 19:28),
- When he finally was resurrected, he even folded up the cloth that covered his head (John 20:7),
There is always order in the kingdom of God – like the fact that the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor 11:3). Hence, 1 Cor 14:40 says, ‘But everything must be done in a proper and orderly manner.’
The God of the Bible is a God of order.
D58 - Jesus had everything under his control
God is in control. Jesus is in control. After all, even the waves and water had to obey him.
In Matt 14:28, Jesus invited Peter to come and walk with him on water. The water held firm even as Peter walked on it; until that was when Peter looked around and got worried.
When Jesus was asked to pay tax, he simply asked his disciples to go and catch a fish of which a large silver coin was already inside it (Matt 17:27).
And when Peter claimed that he would never deny the Lord, Jesus said, ‘this very night before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times’ (Matt 26:34). So, it was to be. Jesus knew everything.
Jesus not only had everything in order, he also had everything under his control. There was no rush, just in accordance to what is written in the Scripture.
Hence, his second coming will be just like what he told us in the Scripture. Nothing should therefore take us by surprise.
See D60, Jesus did not want to surprise his disciples.
D59 - Jesus had been given authority over all flesh by God, the Father
John 17:2 says,
‘Since you (the Father) have given him (Jesus) authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.’
God, the Father, had handed the authorization to Jesus. Jesus is the authority in terms of who he grants to have eternal life.
His criteria is found in John 3:16 –
‘That whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.’
NB: ‘Believe’ being the Greek word, pisteuo, or have faith in/ I am entrusted with …
D60 - Jesus did not want to surprise his disciples
Matt 16:21-23; Matt 17:9; Matt 17:22-23; Matt 20:17-19; Matt 24:25; Matt 26:1-2, 32; Mark 4:11; Mark 8:31-32; Mark 9:9; Mark 9:31-32; Mark 10:32-34; Mark 13:23; Mark 14:18-20; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 9:21-22; Luke 9:44; Luke 18:31-34; Luke 22:21-22; John 11:14; John 13:21; John 14:29; John 16:4-5, 25-32; Rev 1:1
Repeatedly, during his first coming, Jesus told his disciples how he would eventually be killed. He said that
- he would ‘suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law,
- he would be killed and that on the third day, he would be raised again (Matt 16:21), He said it again in Matt 17:9, followed by Matt 17:22.
In Matt 20:17-19, he was even more specific, explaining that he would be ‘delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they would condemn him to death, and would hand him over to the Gentiles to (be) mocked and scourged, and crucified, and on the third day, he would be raised up.’
Yet, in Matt 26:1-2, he repeated it with words like,
‘After two days, the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man (Jesus) is to be handed over for crucifixion.’
Finally, just before being arrested by the soldiers, Jesus said,
‘You will all fall away because of me this night; for it is written, I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered. But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee’ (Matt 26:31-32).
He said it openly,
‘One of you will betray me’ (John 13:21).
Again, just before he was betrayed, he organized a farewell meal in the form of the Passover celebration. Jesus was exceptional in terms of instructions as seen in Mark 14:13-15:
- Go into the city,
- Meet a man carrying a pitcher of water,
- Follow him,
- Tell the master of that house that the Teacher needs a room for the Passover,
- Check the room that you will be shown by the master of the house.
There were no surprises.
In talking about his second coming, Jesus wanted his followers to be aware regarding what would happen prior to his return. Hence, he shared his thoughts openly in the gospels. In Matt 24:25, Jesus explained,
‘See, I have told you in advance.’
Just like the first coming, Jesus treasured his church to know what events would precede his return.
The reason why we have the privilege of knowing this is because, as in Mark 4:11,
‘the secret of the Kingdom of God has been given to us while to those on the outside, everything is expressed in parables.’
Jesus always cherished his followers to know. It is the devil who muddied the waters by getting theologians to confuse believers. It is the devil who comes to ‘steal and kill and destroy’ (John 10:10).
And it is us who fail to listen. Despite Jesus repeatedly telling his disciples in regard to his impending journey to the cross, his disciples only realized the full message after his resurrection –
‘Then, they remembered his words’ (Luke 24:8).
If we read the words of Jesus (NB: Not the Pauline’s epistles as a start), it would provide us with sufficient illumination to know his second advent. Jesus spoke plainly, chronologically, and without parables. He never intended to surprise us.
In John 11:14, Jesus told his disciples ‘plainly’ that Lazarus was dead.
When questioned by the high priest just before his crucifixion in regard to his teaching, Jesus replied –
‘I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said NOTHING IN SECRET.’ (John 18:20)
Even the chief priests and Pharisees were aware of his resurrection claims. A day after Jesus’ death, they went to Pilate and said (Matt 27:63),
“Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’”
Of the three persons in the Trinity, Jesus shared as one in humanity. He was the most upfront, candid, and detailed.
If we want to study about his second coming, we must begin with the words of Jesus.
D61 - Jesus commissioned his disciples to be his ambassadors
In 2 Cor 5:20, Paul reminded believers that ‘we are ambassadors for Christ’. The Greek word is presbeuo and it stands for an elder or an ambassador.
An ambassador is defined as ‘a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another, usually for a specific length of time.’
According to the Congress of Vienna, 1815 – an ambassador has the full authority to represent the government.
In John 20:23, Jesus told his disciples,
‘If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.’
In Mark 6:7-13, the Lord summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He also instructed them to go to various places to preach the gospel of repentance. They were also to cast out demons and anoint the sick with oil for healing. That is still the same authority given to all believers by our Lord Jesus.
D62 - Jesus had great compassion
If there is one thing that we learn from reading the gospels, it is that Jesus who walked the earth two thousand years ago, was a totally compassionate person.
In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy’ (Matt 5:7). In Matt 23:23, Jesus told the Pharisees that the Lord considered justice, mercy, and faithfulness as being more important than tithes.
Jesus had great compassion.
- Jesus healed a leper because he was compassionate (Mark 1:41),
- When he saw the crowds, he was moved with compassion, seeing that they were like ‘sheep without a shepherd’ (Matt 9:36),
- When he realized that a crowd of four thousand had been following him for three days and had hardly eaten, he multiplied food for them because ‘I have compassion on the crowd’ (Matt 15:32),
- When he met a widow whose son had died and was about to be buried, Jesus raised him from the dead because ‘he had compassion on her’ (Luke 7:13),
- When a woman caught in the act of adultery was handed over to Jesus, instead of condemning her like those suggested by the religious people, Jesus chose to encourage her not to sin anymore going forward (John 8:11). Jesus was guided by mercy rather than judgment,
- Even when he rose from the dead, he chose to comfort the women who were there to honor his burial even though he had ‘not yet ascended to the Father’ (John 20:17).
James said it well in James 2:13,
‘Mercy triumphs over judgment.’
As believers, we ought to learn from Jesus to show compassion before judgment although, at the end, God will still apply judgment (Rev 20:15).
D63 - Jesus demonstrated a range of emotions (He was the most personable)
To begin, Jesus showed great compassion (See D62, Jesus had great compassion). Compassion is an emotion. Jesus also demonstrated other emotions.
- Jesus was stressed. Jesus went away to rest because ‘so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat’ (Mark 6:31). In John 12:27, he cried out to God the Father to ‘save him from this hour’ (regarding facing the cross).
- Jesus suffered from physical exhaustion; he was no superman. Like when he met the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John 4:6.
- Jesus showed anger especially to the religious people who were more interested in religion than the truth. The religious people were guided by a form of God and were lost within their own religious system so much so that God cannot speak to them anymore. He called out the Pharisees as ‘brood of vipers’ (not exactly a complimentary term) in Matt 23:33.
- Jesus was opened with his emotions. In John 11:35, we have the shortest verse in the Bible. It simply reads, ‘Jesus wept’. He cried because his good friend, Lazarus, had died and was buried.
- Other times, Jesus was frustrated at the inability of his disciples to discern the teaching. He called them ‘dull’ (Mark 7:18). Other times, Jesus marveled at their lack of faith (Mark 4:40).
- Finally, just before Jesus went to the cross, he exhibited his full emotions to the point of sweating blood (Luke 22:44) even as he asked God ‘to let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will but as you will’ (Matt 26:39).
His emotions showed that he was no superman but that he was 100 percent human.
Heb 4:15 describes him best as someone who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses as he had been tempted in every respect just as we are.
Hence, of all the three persons in the Godhead, Jesus was the most personable; he came and walked with us …. He became and was one of us ….
See also B301 – Learn to take rest
D64 - Jesus multiplied what was given to him on his request
In feeding of the multitudes, Jesus multiplied the food resources that were given to him on his request.
In feeding the four thousand, Jesus turned a few small fish into seven large baskets full of leftovers while in the feeding of the five thousand, he took five loaves and two fish and collected twelve basketfuls of broken pieces at the end.
As a principle, Jesus demonstrated that he could multiply that which we give to him on his request and we could still end up with plenty of leftovers.
D65 - Jesus was, without doubt, a man of prayer
Jesus taught his believers how to pray, the most basic of which was the Lord’s Prayer. But he also modeled prayer.
Despite the busyness of his schedule, he would consistently set aside time to pray. In Mark 6:46, it explained that after dismissing the crowd,
‘he went up on the mountain to pray.’
Jesus would spend the entire night praying to God (Luke 6:12). He also prayed with his disciples around him (Luke 9:18 and he declared to all that the temple (or we might say, our church) will be a house of prayer (Luke 19:46).
See also D50, Jesus intercedes on our behalf to God.
D66 - Jesus had to stay focus to do the will of God
Most of us are distracted even if we are doing the will of God. Jesus showed us the efforts he took to stay focus.
He prayed and agonized but insisted on following God’s will.
‘Not as I will but as you will’ (Matt 26:39).
He did not flinch but was resolute in going to the cross (Luke 9:51).
He struggled internally but would submit himself to his destiny –
‘Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour’ (John 12:27).
If we find the will of God and do it, will we show the same tenacity and determination to stay on course even if it was difficult and possibly deadly?
D67 - Jesus' first advent was missed by everyone with a just few exceptions
Everyone of those Jewish religious people ‘did not know the time of your (first) visitation’ (Luke 19:44) despite them studying the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).
‘You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me’ (John 5:39).
After Jesus had walked the earth, only then did Christian theologians go about reconciling the Old Testament verses and concluding how Jesus matched precisely those prophecies that heralded his first arrival. Hindsight, as they say, is always 20-20.
Who were those in a small group who were made aware of his first coming?
- There was a group of shepherds who were supernaturally shown the occasion. They did not study the word but simply had the privilege of knowing (Luke 2:8),
- There was an old prophetess and widow, Anna who never left the temple and was always fasting and praying (Luke 2:37),
- There was ‘righteous and devout’ Simeon who ‘had been revealed by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ’ (Luke 2:26), and finally
- There were the wise men from the east who studied astrology and paid attention to a special star and who journeyed to Jerusalem to worship him (Matt 2:1-12).
Despite all their theological training, while the chief priests and scribes were aware of the important verses, especially Bethlehem being the birthplace of Christ (Matt 2:4-6), they did not believe them enough in the truth of his birth to go there to worship him.
Were they caught up in their own theology so much so that they have failed to accept the observations of those wise men from the east? The nation of Israel and their wise men had all failed to ‘recognize the time of your visitation from God’ (Luke 19:44).
In other words, less than ten people knew or were given knowledge of the first arrival of Jesus.
If so many religious leaders could miss Jesus’ first arrival, is it possible that the same could happen for Jesus’ second coming despite the availability of more Scripture?
D68 - Jesus hated religion and the Jewish religious leaders of his days
When we talk about Jesus, we talk about his love and compassion. However, there was one group that he particularly hated and those were the religious leaders of his days, the elites of the Jewish society.
Why did he abhor them? Here are some reasons:
- They were supposed to teach the people what right living was. Yet, Jesus told the crowd to ‘observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do’ (Matt 23:3). They were not walking the talk.
- They created extra rules and regulations over and beyond those in the Hebrew Bible and were more interested as to whether people were following them (Matt 23:4, John 9:22),
- They wanted to be seen as religious leaders through their external appearance – their ‘broad phylacteries and long fringes’ (Matt 23:5),
- They were proud and arrogant, loving ‘the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the marketplace and being called rabbi by others’ (Matt 23:6-7),
- They loved to be addressed with titles such as ‘Father’ or equivalent (Matt 23:9),
- They interpreted the commandments to fit their own lifestyle (Matt 23:16-22),
- They did not practice justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matt 23:23),
- They were hypocrites (Matt 23:28),
- They killed (despised) real men of God (Matt 23:29),
- They were lovers of money (Luke 16:14),
- They justified themselves in the sight of men (without carefully reflecting on their own behaviors) – Luke 16:14
- They ‘loved the praise of men more than the praise of God’ (John 12:43).
Jesus hated religion, religiosity, and religious leaders who failed to walk-the-talk.
D69 - Jesus did the works of the Father
Jesus did the works of the Father. In John 10:37, Jesus said,
‘If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe me but if I do them, though you do not believe me, believe the works.’
He fulfilled that which was prophesied in the Old Testament. And miracles were happening in their sight.
He could answer the disciples of John the Baptist with these words,
‘Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor’ (Luke 7:22).
Jesus was indicating that he fulfilled the prophecies found in Isa 61:1 –
‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor ….’
He was also meeting the words of Isa 35:5-6 –
‘Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.’
Yet, despite his good works carried out with ‘many signs before them, they did not believe in him’ (John 12:37).
D70 - Jesus was killed for political reasons
Jesus’ words had always been strong and they irked the Pharisees. In Matt 15:12, the disciples came and told him,
‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying (Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees).’
But according to the Gospel of John, it took on added significance when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. That event sent shivers down the spine of the chief priests and Pharisees (the elites of those days).
John 11:47-48 echoed the words of these elites –
‘What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’
Jesus’ death had to happen in accordance to God’s redemptive plan (see D37, Jesus came to save that which was lost). It was even predicted by High Priest Caiphas who said in John 11:50-52,
‘Do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.’ Now, he did not say this on his own initiative but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation and not for the nation only but in order that he might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.’
However, on a non-spiritual level, the motivation to kill Jesus was political – the fear of the elites that people might gather around Jesus to make him a Jewish political champion (although Jesus never intended for that. Please see D28, Jesus never wanted to be an earthly king) and the Romans might come and remove their privileges and to impose more restrictions on Israel. Hence, from then onward, the elites conspired to destroy Jesus (Matt 26:3-4).
In his judgment, Pilate ‘knew it was out of envy that they (the Jewish elites) had delivered him (Jesus) up’ (Matt 27:18). Nevertheless, he chose to be swerved by the elites and the mob and took the easy route out by washing his hands before the crowd (Matt 27:24) while delivering Jesus to be crucified.
NB: Many things revolve around politics and the judiciary as the judiciary is responsible for issuing judgment. Judges are powerful and it is difficult for them to remain impartial. Paul’s trial (Acts 23-25; Acts 24:27; Acts 25:9) is another case in point.
How can a Christian judge stay impartial when reviewing a politically sensitive case while staying impartial?
D71 - Jesus (and his name) will be hated more and more by everyone
If there is one promise that the Lord has given us, it is that we ‘will be hated by all for my name’s sake (that is, for being Christians)’ (Matt 10:22) and we are instructed to ‘endure to the end’.
We are beginning to see it more and more now and it is becoming a global phenomenon.This hatred of anyone associated with the name of Jesus will grown into an unexplainable frenzy.
Jesus said in John 15:25,
‘But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: “They hated me without a cause.”’
Jesus said that ‘whoever hates me (Jesus) hates my Father also’ (John 15:23); the hatred is primarily borne out of a hatred for God the Father.
Hence, it should not surprise Christians at all. Christians must be ready to ‘endure to the end.’
D72 - Jesus had to leave so that the Holy Spirit can come
We will never fully grasp why Jesus’ first coming was only for a designated short time span. But he had not left us alone.
In John 16:7, Jesus said,
‘Unless I (Jesus) go away, the Advocate (Helper/Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.’
Then, in John 20:22, he breathed on them and said,
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’
One argument suggested Jesus had to leave so that the Holy Spirit can indwell in believers and allow them to do greater things through him. It is empowering believers to carry out his mandate as ‘ambassadors for Christ’ not limited by the physical presence of a person in one particular spot (See D61, Jesus commissioned his followers to be his ambassadors).
Of course we could argue that Jesus could remain on earth to do the same but Jesus is now at the right hand of God advocating on our behalf (Acts 7:55).
See also D50, Jesus intercedes on our behalf to God.
We will never fully understand the rationale of God’s plan.
D73 - Jesus showed us the power of spending time in discipling
Jesus was not so much into church planting as he was into disciple making; if we make disciples, we will naturally plant churches but the opposite may not be true.
Jesus coached his disciples by allowing them to walk alongside him. They asked him questions and saw his behavior at close quarters.
In the parable of the sower, his disciples wanted to know what it meant. And Jesus explained to them the meaning (Matt 13:36). Of course, there were times when even Jesus got frustrated with them like when he explained that ‘it is not what goes into our body that defiles us; we are defiled by what comes from our heart’ (Mark 7:14).
Jesus even exclaimed in Mark 7:18 and called out the disciples with the Greek word, asunetos, or unintelligent/ unwise/ undiscerning – quite heavy words really. Is it the same as calling out someone as being dumb?
Jesus showed them how to do a tough deliverance. And later his disciples wanted to learn. So, Jesus explained to them in Matt 17:19 the importance of having faith. Jesus had ‘been there and done that.’
Then, Jesus got them to practice what they have learned from him. In Mark 6:7, he sent them out ‘two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.’
Even after his resurrection, Jesus continued to disciple, this time using Scriptures to illuminate his purpose (Luke 24:27).
Jesus showed us the art of discipling while he was on earth.