The Promised One
When Amanda and I were engaged we were living in Knoxville, and her family in Cincinnati decided to have a wedding shower for us. We made the 4 hour trek up and I got to meet the family and had a great time. When the party was over we loaded up her 1988 Pontiac Sunbird and hit the road. A few minutes outside Cincinnati we decided to get gas, so I pulled over to fill up. As I sat there pumping gas, I noticed faint line smoke coming from the hood of the car. I went over, opened it and saw coolant spraying. I knew we were in trouble. We called Amanda’s dad and were trying to figure out what the problem was.
Just as fear started rolling in and we were wondering what side of the gas station we might have to sleep on, a souped up, two tone Transam came barreling in and out stepped a guy with a mean looking mullet and a Dale Earnhardt hat. He said, “What seems to be the problem?” and I took one look at him and thought we might be in business. He appeared to be just what we needed. He looked at the engine and in seconds found a faulty gasket and said all he needed to fix it was some cardboard. We had plenty of cardboard from the presents we had. He got a knife, made a gasket and in moments we were in business. God provides!
Every now and then you have a problem and you find the guy who seems to be a perfect fit for what you need. We are in week five of our Discovering Christianity series and today we look at Jesus. The past few weeks we have talked about the problems in the world and some of God’s promises. Today we see how Jesus is the one who is uniquely qualified to fix all the problems in the world.
Our problem is much bigger than a bad gasket. We need someone that can overcome evil, thwart Satan, live obediently to God, take away all of our pain, suffering, and death. We need someone that can restore our relationship to God.
Jesus Really Existed
Did Jesus Exist? No serious historian today questions the historical existence of Christ. The information we have about Jesus comes from two kinds of sources: Non-Christian writings and Christian writings.
Regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost twenty centuries… It is from his birth that most of the human race dates its calendars; it is by his name that millions curse and in his name that millions pray.”
Jaroslav Pelikan, professor of emeritus of history at Yale.
Flavius Josephus – Jewish historian, wrote ~ 80 AD. “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 men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst 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.”
Cornelius Tacitus – Regarded as ancient Rome’s greatest historian, wrote ~ 115 AD. “Christus, the founder of the name, was Put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign Of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time Broke out again, not only through Judea..., but through the city of Rome also, ....”
Just interesting that secular history states Jesus really lived, created a following that stirred cities, was known for doing glorious deeds so that some questioned the lawfulness of calling him a man, and was crucified by Pontius Pilat.
That’s history. Now let’s look at what the Bible tells us about Jesus.
The book of Matthew starts out with the genealogy of Jesus. It says,
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, (Matthew 1:1-3 ESV)
A few weeks ago we studied the fall of mankind, where they sinned and were removed from God’s blessed presence. We saw in the curse for sin God also promised that a seed of the woman would destroy the work of sin and Satan. The promise continued to Abraham, where God promises to bless a man and his barren wife with a child, and that they would father a nation, and this nation would be a blessing to all other nations. The Bible has many genealogies because it is interested in tracing out the promises of God. God acts in time and his promises are fulfilled in time.
Matthew connects Jesus to God’s promise in Abraham. He also connects Jesus to God’s promise to David. JK talked about DAvid some last week. David was a king whom God promised he would have a son who would be king over an eternal, unending, righteous kingdom. Matthew makes the point that Jesus is the one both of those promises find their fulfillment.
If a billionaire promised that all his money would be given to a future descendant, you can bet the bank people would concern themselves with the genealogy. That is what you have here, a tracing of God’s promise. Since you could benefit from it don’t you want to trace it out.
The promised one is also born uniquely.
Matt 1:18-25 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
His birth was foretold by a prophet, announced by an angel, and conceived by a miracle. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit (God) yet he was also born of a virgin woman. Therefore, Jesus is both God and man, divine and human. The depravity and corruption that have plagued mankind do not plague him.
-Adam unique beginning in creation, so also is Jesus.
Jesus’ Unique Baptism. Matt 3:13-17
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:13-17 ESV)”
Baptism was a way for one to express their repentance for sin and devotion to God. Jesus had no sin to repent of and yet he was baptized as an act of obedience to God. He was and is our example of following God. At his baptism God the Father demonstrated his pleasure and validated Jesus as the one and one Son of God.
After his baptism Jesus goes into the wilderness where he is tempted by Satan and he never gives in. He stands strong where the first man, and every other man fell. He is obedient.
Even at age 12 Jesus amazed the people of his day with his teaching (Luke 2:42-48). Many of our greatest life lessons and rules come from him. The golden rule, “Do to others as you would have them do to you’ (Luke 6:31). “Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?” (Mat 7:4 ESV)
Just as Moses was a prophet and great law giver so too Jesus comes to reveal God’s will so we know how to live rightly before God. We are far richer for his teaching.
Jesus didn’t think of himself as just a great prophet or religious leader or a good and moral man? He claimed much more.
Jesus claimed to be able to forgive sins (Luke 5:17-26). This is outrageous to think about. Imagine that someone broke into your apartment and stole your computer. Then imagine someone else came along and unilaterally pronounced your robber forgiven. You would rightly dismiss the person as deluded and irrelevant to the theft you experienced. Yet this is exactly what Jesus claimed he could do. Since we can only forgive sins that are against us, Jesus’ premise is that all sins are against him, and therefore that he is God whose laws are broken and whose love is offended in every violation.
Jesus claimed that he alone could give eternal life (John 6:39,40), Jesus claimed to have a power that could actually eliminate death, and he claimed not just to have or bring a power to raise the dead, but to be the Power that can destroy death. "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, (John 11:25 ESV)
Jesus claimed to be the light of the world. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). Consider what light does for the world. Jesus says he is that light!
Jesus claimed to be the way, the truth and the life. 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Jesus claimed to have the truth as no one else ever has. All prophets said, “thus saith the Lord” but Jesus teaches with “but I say unto you” out of his own authority (Mark 1:22; Luke 4:32) And more than that, he claims not just to have or bring truth, but to be the Truth itself, the source and locus of all truth (John 14:6).
Jesus also says that at the end of the age, he will be the one sitting on a throne judging all of humanity, welcoming some into heaven and sending some to hell (Matt 25:31-46)
Trans… these are great boasts, but where are your actions. I like to play sports, and I will often talk a little trash, about how I am going to dominate my opponent. I tell my brother in law he is getting old and slow. But I do my best talking before the game begins because once it starts it gets ugly for me. I ve got nothing to back up my words. Jesus is different!
Jesus’ authority over nature (vv. 22-25).
Luke 8:22-25: 22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marvelled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
At least 4 of these guys were experienced fishermen. They weren’t afraid of the water. The water was their livelihood. This was a real storm representing real danger (“wind”, “raging waves”). Jesus doesn’t predict the weather like a meteorologist; he controls it like…God
After all was said and done, they were more afraid of him than the storm.
Jesus’ authority over evil (vv. 26-39) Luke 8:26-39. Jesus is met by a man out of his mind, naked, living in tombs, and possessed by real life demons. At the sight of Jesus the demons say, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” Jesus rebukes the demon with a word. And afterward the people who knew the man stand in fear of Jesus and what they witnessed. They feared Jesus because of his power over evil.
Jesus’ authority over sickness (vv. 40-48)
As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
He’s not like doctors. Our best doctors can rightly diagnose illness and prescribe a remedy that will cure it in time. Jesus does it in a single act and with a single word. He alone can heal us.
Jesus’ authority over death. In Luke 8:49-56 Jesus raises a girl from the dead, saying she is simply sleeping. With a word he gave her life again. Jesus not only has authority over sickness; he has authority over death itself. It obeys his command.
What’s the point? These things are meant to show that Jesus is utterly unique.
Tim Keller said, “In all the world’s major religions, only Buddha and Jesus so impressed their contemporaries that they were not just asked “who are you?” but “what are you?” Yet, Buddha’s and Jesus’ answer to this question could not have been more different. Buddha denied that he was divine, but Jesus repeatedly and continually claimed to be the God and Creator of the universe.”
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… 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…
When you consider his unique claims, unique character, and unique authority, we must conclude that Jesus is God’s unique Son bearing God’s authority. He’s the Promised One, the offspring of the woman who will crush the serpent’s head, make Abraham’s descendants a numerous as the stars, and the one who will be a blessing to all the earth. He is the one we should look to for all of our problems, for all of our direction.
Our Unique allegiance for Jesus.
He called for an allegiance that no one else had ever called for. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men." 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:17-18 ESV). They do what Abraham did at God’s calling.
Where are you at? Have you heeding Jesus’ call? When that guy in a transam showed up to work on my car I had to make a decision of whether or not i would trust him. Would I believe he really knew what he was doing? Would I really let him work on my car?
Jesus makes claims to be the greatest teacher and to have power over nature, power over sickness, death, storms, evil. Will you trust him? Will you follow him. Jesus disciples were confronted with that question when they first met Christ. And they were confronted with it every day of their lives.
Think of Peter leaving everything he has to follow Jesus. And that was just the beginning. Peter would have to trust Jesus as he stepped out onto the water, as he watched his friend crucified, as he was called to love gentiles (Acts 10), to intervene in church disputes (acts 15). Trusting in Jesus instead of all the world throws at us is not a one time event. It is a constant act of trusting Jesus’ teaching is sufficient to instruct, his power is present to deliver, and his work is secure to hope in, all while being constantly battered by storms, evils, threats, hollow philosophies, and contrary teaching. All these obstacles are opportunities to show how much he means to us.