By Nancy Virden (c)2021
Jesus could not have been merely a good teacher, a nice guy with some interesting ideas. Even a cursory look at what he said and did discharges that concept. Jesus was straightforward and blunt. He taught that to live in any way comfortable with the world was to miss the mark. He called for sacrifice, even giving up one’s life, to follow him completely. He was merciful, kind, the substance of love, yet he did not play “nice” as Americans tend to see nicety. He was the most profound teacher whose ideas scrambled his culture and since. However, that is not all.
He could not have been only a prophet, though he was one. Warning people to repent and prepare for God’s Kingdom was part of his mission, not a sole description. To say Jesus was but a prophet is like saying the Attorney General is but a lawyer.
Jesus was a first century Jew. His ministry was among Jews; his audiences were Jewish. Although the Roman Empire controlled much of the known world at that time, Jesus did not gather Romans together to hear his message. His mission was to bring salvation to the Jews.
Insane or fraudulent?
Some people, ignorant of the Bible and the historical context in which Jesus lived, believe Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God. On the contrary, he made it clear all the time. In one example, Jesus stated God sent him, and that his voice is the Son of God’s voice.
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. John 5:24-26
His Jewish audience knew what He meant when he spoke in terms familiar to them, even though we may struggle to recognize nuances translated into English. Jesus spoke to some of the religious leaders saying, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” By their scriptures and teachings it was widely understood that Jesus was calling God his Father, and that God’s Son is equal to God. This threatened certain leaders, thus, his phrasing infuriated them.
Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man. Does this mean he was denying deity? A first meaning of “Son of Man” is a reference to the coming of the Messiah, a Jewish Savior whose kingdom would never end (Daniel 7:13-14). When Jesus used this phrase, his audience understood Jesus was proclaiming himself Messiah.
A second meaning of “Son of Man” is that Jesus was truly a human being. Jesus was fully God (John 1:1), but He was also human (John 1:14). The title, “Son of Man,” indicates that Jesus is the promised Messiah (thus the Son of God) and that he was also truly flesh and blood.
With the above in mind, could Jesus have been out of touch with reality? Or was he a fraud? Maybe he did what the Jewish scriptures said a Messiah would do and claimed to be something special. Depending on the scholarship, there are as many as 300 prophecies in the Old Testament foretelling the coming Messiah that Jesus fulfilled in his lifetime. If not 300, there are still many. Some stand out above others due to their specifics and the impossibility of a man accomplishing them by sheer will. The odds of getting only eight correct is in the billions to one.
Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1
Messiah would come from Abraham’s line. Genesis 22:18; Romans 9:5
Messiah would spend a season in Egypt. Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15 A massacre of children would happen at Messiah’s birthplace. Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18 A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah Isaiah 40:3-5; Luke 3:3-6
Messiah would be rejected by his own people. Isaiah 53:3; Mark 8:31
Messiah would speak in parables. Psalm 78:2-4; Matthew 13:34-35 Messiah would calm a storm Psalm 107:23-32; Matthew 8: 23-27
Messiah would be betrayed. Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:14-16
Messiah’s price money would be used to buy a potter’s field. Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 27:9-10
Messiah’s bones would not be broken. Psalm 34:20; John 19:33-36
Soldiers would pierce Messiah’s side. Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34
Messiah would be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60 Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin. Isaiah 53:5-12; Romans 5:6-8
Messiah would resurrect from the dead. Psalm 16:9-10; Matthew 28:2-7
Messiah would ascend to heaven. Psalm 24:9-10; Mark 16:19
Or is he LORD?
Jesus explained his Lordship- his Sovereignty- to a crowd including disbelieving religious leaders.
“Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved. ..The Father gave me these works (his teachings and miracles) to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. John 5: 34-36
Sure enough, Isaiah 35:4-6 and 61:1 could have been recognized by those who studied the prophets. He was asked sincerely, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus pointed out that the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor, just as Isaiah had foretold the Messiah would do.
He also dared announce he was the only option.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
St. Paul said much the same about Jesus
“…and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:4
His kingdom will never end.
Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, although many in his time hoped it would be. No, he did not save the Jews from the Roman Empire’s crushing presence. Disappointed at his crucifixion, some of those who followed him questioned what he had been about.
After he resurrected, the faith of many leapt forward. Suddenly, the promises he had made, his warnings, it all made sense. Now they knew without doubt who was their Messiah, Savior, King, and Lord. Since then, no conflict has dismembered the true church made up of people whose faith relies on Christ.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:32-34
Testimony of the saved
Not to be so easily dismissed, are the many Christians around the world who speak of a changed life and a relationship with Jesus. We do not refer to him as Teacher or prophet, we speak of him as friend. We do not worship a nice man; we acknowledge our Savior and God in everything we do.
Finally, watch for this prophecy to come true. It is drawing close.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
Today’s Helpful Word
This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Nancy’s latest FREE e-books! Click on the pictures for immediate access:
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
HOLY BIBLE, NEW LIVING TRANSLATION, COPYRIGHT © 1996, 2004, 2015 BY TYNDALE HOUSE FOUNDATION. USED BY PERMISSION OF TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC., CAROL STREAM, ILLINOIS 60188, PER BIBLE GATEWAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. RETRIEVED FROM HTTPS://WWW.BIBLEGATEWAY.COM/