< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: “When Jesus decided He was Messiah”

Saturday, May 05, 2007

“When Jesus decided He was Messiah”

I was asked to do a lesson on a comment made in a film from the Discovery Channel about Jesus where the narrator apparently said, “then Jesus decided He was Messiah.”

It bothered a lot of people, me included.

And I think the only way to answer that is to go to (John 1:1)(When a Bible verse is in parenthesis you should look it up and read it yourself.)

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who existed from the ages of eternity, created all things and became flesh in order to reveal the person of God to us.

The Greek translation of the word Word, in the way it was used here, is Logos. It was used in Greek philosophy to indicate the “First Cause.” The great unknown intelligent reason, will and power behind the universe, which the pagan philosophies of that day called “God.”

John purposely chose this word and gave it to Jesus in the beginning of his gospel. The beginning of John is a lot like the beginning of Genesis. Genesis starts with the creation of the world. John places Jesus right there as it happened and even before.

In the beginning WAS the Word. Not IS – WAS. Before the world was created or time began, Jesus Christ, the Word was there already. Jesus Himself made similar statements concerning His eternal pre-existence. (John 8:58)

The Word was WITH God. In the Greek text even more than the English text, the word “with” suggests a dynamic co-relationship and communion of 2 distinct personalities: Jesus the Son and God the Father. (Gen.1:26) (Ps.110:1) (Matthew 22:41-45)

“And the Word was God” Christ has the same nature as God Himself. All the attributes of God are also attributes of Christ. (Hebrews 1:3) The very stamp – the exact replication of God.

The deity of Christ is absolutely basic to Christian faith. He is not just our Savior. He is our Lord and “Lord” in Biblical usage implies deity. In most cases when used in the New Testament it is the Greek substitute for the Hebrew Old Testament word Yahweh or Jehovah – the name of God.

John the Baptist’s purpose was to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah. And he was very effective. Because of his preaching Jews were being baptized for their sins. In John 1:31 he stated, “I myself did not know him” – This probably meant that he didn’t know until then Jesus was the Messiah. They were cousins, so he would have at least known whom Jesus the man was. But, it wasn’t until then that God revealed the Messiah to John with the sign of the spirit coming down on him. (John 1:32-33)

When that happened Jesus would be publicly proclaimed as Messiah, the Lamb of God and the Son of God. And His ministery would begin.

I read in a study of Matthew that when Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came down upon Him in the form of a dove and God’s voice said, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” That it was not only the dividing line between Jesus’ private and public life, but until that point Jesus had been living a “human” life without supernatural powers – but, He had still managed to live sin-free – giving us an example of how to do it. Then the Holy Spirit coming down was a kind of an anointing of Him from God for His work as our High Priest.

Now He could use His power for the miracles we see in the New Testament. Now He could show His deity. Jesus studied the Old Testament His whole life. He would have read the prophecies about Himself – especially: (Isaiah 2:11) (Isaiah 53) and (Isaiah 55). But, He only did what God told Him to and when God told Him to, which is why He waited until He was 30 and baptized by John the Baptist. That was God’s timing for His ministry to start.

Faith is a gift from God. It comes through an internal working of the Holy Spirit. The natural person “does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for the are foolishness to him.” That’s from 1 Cor.2:14.

But, 1 Cor. 2:12 says “We have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”

When Jesus asked Peter who He was and Peter said, “You are Christ the Son of the Living God” what was Jesus answer? (Matthew 16:17)

Romans 10:17 also tells us that faith comes by hearing and reading God’s Word. Faith is also a choice. We either choose to believe Scripture or we choose to believe the doubters.

The Jews missed out on Salvation because although they had been given the Old Testament and knew it, they believed what they chose to believe – that their Messiah would be an earthly king who would get them out of Roman control.

Satan just needs a tiny crack to get into our minds.

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