I have the honor of meeting with our elementary aged kids this week during our AWANA program at Southern Calvert Baptist Church. The kids have been learning about Jesus over this past quarter. Tonight will be a review where we put several passages together and get a clear view of who Jesus is. Many people in the Western world grow up hearing something about Jesus. Some of what they hear comes from the Bible while other aspects come from popular culture. I have ministered to a tribe in Myanmar where the majority of the people had never heard the name Jesus. Sometimes, it’s easier to work with people who have no preconceived ideas about Jesus than with people who have a view of Jesus from popular culture, rather than what is written about Him in the Bible. The kids with whom I am studying these Scriptures tonight are familiar with Jesus. We are going to dig through the cultural idea of Jesus and take a look at how is described in the Word of God.
I. Jesus described in the Bible
As I mentioned earlier, we need to develop our understanding of Jesus based on how He is described in the Bible instead of what popular culture tells us about Jesus.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
In the beginning was the Word of God. The Word of God is the blueprint of who God is. That Word became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God.
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the Word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:3)
Jesus is the glory of God. The word “glory“, in the Greek language, means to give an exact and correct opinion of God. When you study the character of Jesus, as written in the Word of God, you are learning about God. As we examine Jesus’ character in the Bible, we discover the character of God. Jesus’ attitude, actions, and words reveal who God is. All of this is laid out clearly in the Word of God. Jesus is full of grace and truth and He reveals that grace and truth throughout the Bible. If you want to know God’s character, look at Jesus. If you want to know the character of Jesus, open up the Holy Scriptures. All three are intertwined. It is impossible to know God without knowing Jesus. It is impossible to know Jesus without knowing the Word of God. Does your view of Jesus come from the Word of God or popular culture? The best thing to do is to go to the source and study the Scriptures if you want to know who Jesus is.
and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (I Peter 2:24)
Jesus is described in this passage as our Savior. Because of our inherited sin nature, we need to be rescued from ourselves. The word “Savior” literally means “Rescuer“. The reason that we need a Rescuer is because we cannot rescue ourselves. The Bible teaches us that we are born enslaved to our sin nature and we cannot break free on our own. We need someone to set us free. Jesus answered the call and came to this earth to live a perfect life, free of sin, and then willing went to the cross to pay the price for our sins. Since you and I have sinned, there is a penalty that comes along with that sin. Either we pay the penalty ourselves, separated from God for all eternity or, someone can offer to stand in our place and pay the price. That is what Jesus did on the cross. We can be healed by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.
20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. (I Corinthians 15:19-20)
Jesus died on the cross in our place and He was placed in the grave. He did not stay there though. Three days after His crucifixion, Jesus conquered our second greatest enemy, death. Death is part of the penalty for our sin. Jesus paid the eternal consequence for our sin. We all still face physical death because we have sinned. The fact that we all die is proof that we are sinners. Jesus would never have died if He had not been crucified because He never sinned. He died in our place so that we would not have to spend eternity separated from God. When Jesus was resurrected, He proved that He has power over physical death and if we surrender to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will conquer death as well. This does not mean that we will not face physical death. This means that even when we die, we will be resurrected the same way that Jesus was. Humans are eternal beings, created that way by God. We will either spend eternity separated from God or with God, depending on how we respond to Jesus. If we do not surrender to Him as Lord and Savior, we will spend eternity separated from God. If we do surrender to Jesus as Lord and Savior, then we will spend eternity in the presence of God in paradise. The ball is in our court. The choice is ours. How have you responded to Jesus Christ? Have you surrendered to Him or not? The location of eternity hangs in the balance. The choice is yours.
II. Manifestation of knowing Jesus
When we respond to Jesus Christ in faith, surrendering to Him as Lord and Savior, not only is our eternity transformed, our daily lives are transformed as well.
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
As followers of Jesus Christ, we become imitators of God. That means that our character becomes like the character of God. Our attitude, actions, and words become like the attitude, actions, and words of God. In order to imitate God, we have to know who He is and how He responds to every situation with the right attitude, actions, and words. This is why we desperately need to study the Bible.
I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways. (Psalm 119:15)
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Joshua 1:8)
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:2)
97 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
98 Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, For they are ever mine.
99 I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. (Psalm 119)
Meditate in the original Hebrew, means to study, to ponder, and to talk about. We meditate on the Word of God by reading the Scriptures. We meditate by thinking about what we read. We meditate by talking about what we have read and pondered. Are you a diligent student of the Word of God?
In Ephesians, we discover that as we follow Christ we walk in love the way that Jesus loved us. How did He demonstrate His love to us? Jesus loved us sacrificially. He served us by meeting needs that we could not meet ourselves. As we walk in love, we live sacrificially. We seek to meet the needs of the people around us the way that Jesus met our needs. As we serve the people around us, it opens a large door to share the Word of God with them so that they can either surrender to Him as Lord and Savior or reject His love. That puts the ball in their court. Are you walking in love? Do you live sacrificially? Do you live to serve the people around you on a daily basis or, do you simply live for your own pleasures and desires?
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, (I Corinthians 1:3-4)
A person who has surrendered to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who is an imitator of God, walking in love, is a person who has an attitude of gratitude. Are you a grateful person? Do you thank God daily? Are you thankful to the people in your life? Do you share your gratitude openly with them?
May the Lord help us learn from these passages to surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. May He help us be imitators of Christ in our attitude, actions, and words!