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Christian Basics- Chapter 4, Jesus Christ
AUTHOR: Guenther, Herb and Debbie
PUBLISHED ON: May 5, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Bible Studies

                        Jesus Christ

        We believe Jesus Christ is true God and true Man, having been
    conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  He died on
    the cross a sacrifice for our sins, according to the scriptures.
    Further, He arose bodily from the dead and ascended into heaven, where
    at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and
    Advocate, and in the Person of the Holy Spirit, He indwells the
    believer. 1

        Christianity owes its life and character in every detail to
    Christ.  Its teachings are teachings about Him.  He was the origin and
    will be the fulfillment of its hopes.  He is the source of its ideas,
    which were born of what He said and did.  The strength of Christ’s
    church is the strength of His own Spirit, who is omnipotent. 2

        Jesus is mysterious and wonderful, we can all be on a life-long
    journey of discovery about Him.  The most wonderful aspect of all is
    that some day, perhaps soon, we will be together with Him.  Let’s learn
    some things about Him now.  After all, why wait?  The following poem
    makes my heart to yearn to be with Him soon.

                      Jesus, these eyes have never seen
                        That radiant form of Thine;
                      The veil of sense hangs dark between
                        Thy blessed face and mine.

                      I see Thee not, I hear Thee not,
                      Yet art Thou oft with me;
                      And earth hath ne’er so dear a spot
                      As where I meet with Thee.

                      Like some bright dream that comes unsought
                      When slumbers o’re me roll,
                      Thine image ever fills my thought,
                      And charms my ravished soul.

                      Yet, though I have not seen, and still
                      Must rest in faith alone,
                      I love Thee, dearest Lord, and will,
                      Unseen but not unknown.

                      When death these mortal eyes shall seal,
                      And still this throbbing heart,
                      The rending veil shall Thee reveal
                      All glorious as Thou art. 6

                      What does the Old Testament say

        The Old Testament tells us many things in many places about the
    coming of Christ.  For the sake of brevity we will look at the book of
    Isaiah. It has a rich store of prophecy regarding the appearance and
    ministry of the Christ or Messiah.

        What will the Messiah be like?  He will be kingly (Isa 9:6-7,
    32:1-3, 42:1-4).  He will have wisdom, understanding, power, and
    knowledge (Isa 11:2).  He will come to those who repent of their sins
    (Isa 59:20).

                                    (18)
        How will He appear on earth?  He will be preceded by a messenger
    (Isa 40:3).  He will be born as a child (Isa 9:6).  He will be divinely
    conceived and born of a virgin mother (Isa 7:14).  He will be adored by
    the Magi (Isa 60:3,6).  He will be linked to the family of Jesse (Isa
    11:1).  He will be a Galilean (Isa 9:1).

        He will perform miracles such as giving sight to the blind, speech
    to the dumb, and strength to the lame (Isa 35:5,6, 42:7).

        He will be rejected by His people (Isa 6:9-10, 8:14, 29:13) and by
    all nations and peoples (Isa 53:1,3, 65:2).

        He will be persecuted (Isa 49:7).  He will be insulted and beaten
    (Isa 50:6).  He will be silent when accused (Isa 53:7).  He will be
    crucified with sinners (Isa 53:12), and buried with the wealthy (Isa
    53:9).

        He will be God, or divine, (Isa 25:9, 40:10) 4

        Just this one book of the Bible, Isaiah, gives us a great deal of
    information about the Messiah.  As you can see there is a great deal of
    specific prophecy regarding the coming of Christ.  When Jesus was born
    the Scriptures had laid out the events of His life from birth to death.
    This is just one of the reasons we can be sure that Jesus was the
    Christ of God.

        The Old Testament shows the yearning of the chosen people of God
    for the Messiah.  Many waited day by day for His coming.  It is said
    that every woman of David’s line hoped to be the one to have the
    privilege of being mother to the Christ.  The Jewish people were united
    in the hope of the things to come.  They could look to the promises of
    God to their nation and see that they had been kept.  At the same time
    they were often a suffering people, they eagerly watched for God to
    intervene in their behalf.

        In the same way God reaches towards today’s hurting people through
    the now risen Christ.  He is still faithful to His promises, and like
    the Old Testament Jew, we can look back on the faithfulness of God.  At
    the same time we have the most marvelous promise of God to look back
    on, lets see how God gave us our Saviour and Lord.

                      What does the New Testament say?

        Obviously the focus of the entire New Testament is on who Jesus
    Christ is and how to follow Him.  The four gospels specifically deal
    with His life and ministry.  Many of the things told to us in the New
    Testament are done specifically to show us how the person of Jesus
    Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies.  The book of Luke
    teaches about Christ’s humanity.  Matthew focuses more on His
    kingliness.  The book of John concentrates on His spiritual or divine
    aspects.

        Who and what did Jesus say He was?  Jesus said that He was God, in
    John 10:30 He states “I and the Father are one” thus telling us that He
    is equal and the same as Jehovah.  Jesus not only told His followers
    this but when He was being judged by the high priest He said it as well
    (Matt 26:63,64).  This statement condemned Him to death on the cross.

        Jesus showed us that He was God through the power He displayed by
                                    (19)
    performing many miracles.  By performing the miracles, He showed that
    He had God’s attributes of power over nature (Mark 4:39), control over
    physical disease (Mark 3:10), and control over the spirit world (Luke
    4:35).  Most impressively He showed us His power over death (John
    11:43,44).

        Jesus is omniscient (all knowing) in that He knew what was in our
    mind before it was said (Mark 2:8, John 2:25).  He is also omnipresent
    in that He was with His followers then 2000 years ago, is now with us,
    and will be with us “to the the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20) 2

        Jesus is the creator of the universe (John 1:3)  Jesus was one of
    the “us’s” active at the time of creation (Gen 1:26).  However Christ
    didn’t just create the world and set it off spinning like a top,
    eventually to have is slow down and fall over.  No, He is active even
    today sustaining the world by His power (Heb 1:3, Col 1:16-29).  And He
    doesn’t just sustain the natural universe, or the physical world, but
    also us.

        Lets watch Jesus grow up.  Jesus being fully God is also fully
    man.  Just as we looked at His divine attributes, let us also look at
    His human ones.  Jesus, although conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born
    in a physical body in the usual way (Luke 2:6-7).  He had a normal body
    in that He was circumcised (Luke 2:21),  He grew up (Luke 2:52), got
    hungry and thirsty (Luke 4:2 John 19:28), and He got tired (John 4:6)
    and slept (Matt 8:24).  Lastly He bled and died (John 19:34).  We also
    know that Jesus was tempted and had the opportunity to sin, but
    didn’t.

        The following poem and favorite Christmas hymn expresses the
    thoughts of the author on the mystery of the dual nature of the baby
    Jesus.

    What Child is this who laid to rest
    On Mary’s lap is sleeping,
    Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
    While shepherds watch are keeping?
    This, this is Christ the King
    Whome shepherds guard and angels sing,
    Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
    The Babe, the Son of Mary.

    Why lies He in such mean estate
    Where ox and ass are feeding?
    Good Christian fear, for sinners here
    The silent word is pleading.
    Nails, spear shall pierce Him through.
    The cross He bore for me, for you.
    Hail, hail the Lord made flesh,
    The Babe, the Son of Mary.

    So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
    Come peasant, king to own Him.
    The King of kings salvation brings,
    Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
    Raise, raise the song on high,
    The virgin sings her lullaby,
    Joy, joy for Christ is born,
    The Babe, the Son of Mary. 7
                                    (20)
                          The earthly life of Christ

        Jesus was born of a virgin who was a descendent of David, as was
    promised in the Old Testament.  The virgin birth is hard for us to
    accept and understand.  Why would God want to do such a strange thing?
    Lets back up a bit and look at why Jesus had to be born at all, why
    could He have not just appeared and gone about His business?

        If God was to appear on earth as a man in the person of Jesus
    Christ there were three ways it could have been done.  The first is
    that He could have appeared as a grown man, done His work, and left for
    parts above.  The second is that He could have been born in the normal
    way of two human parents. And thirdly, He could be born of the union of
    a human mother and the Holy Spirit.

        If God had merely appeared as a grown man or occupied a human body
    He would have been without a human origin.  What God had in mind
    required more than just the Spirit indwelling a person.  This had been
    done many times in the past (Sampson etc.).  The indwelling of a human
    body by the Spirit does not produce a perfect human, we as Christians
    are indwelt by the Spirit and are not perfect.  We could not continue
    to exist if Christ came into us and destroyed everything in us that was
    not holy.  At the same time God needed the “second Adam” to be perfect
    in order to be suitable as a fit sacrifice for our sins (Ro 5:14).

        In the same way if God had chosen two human parents to bear the
    baby Jesus a perfect child would not have resulted.  Also this child
    could not have been fully man and fully God.  Being born of a human
    father would not have identified His human body as the rightful
    property of His Deity.  The agency of the Holy Spirit and the mother
    Mary establish both His humanity and His Deity.  It is easy for us to
    identify with the baby Jesus in the manger in terms of our human
    experience.  The men and woman that Jesus met when ministering had no
    doubt that He was like us. He enjoyed their hospitality, and suffered
    their rejection.

        Jesus was born in a manger in a hotel stable in the town of
    Bethleham. They were away from home because of the census that the
    Romans were taking at the time.  When He was eight days old He was
    circumcised by the priest at the temple.  This was done as a sign of
    the continuing covenant between God and His people.

        When Jesus was 40 days old He was taken by His parents to be
    consecrated to the Lord at the temple.  This was done for all firstborn
    male Jewish children.  When at the temple a man named Simeon came and
    acknowledged the baby Jesus as “the Lord’s Christ” and the “salvation
    which you have prepared in the sight of your people” (Luke 2:22-35).

        When Jesus was 12 years old He was taken to Jerusalem to be
    confirmed in the Jewish faith.  When the family left to go home Jesus
    stayed at the temple.  There He amazed those who heard His questions
    and answers. When Mary and Joseph came looking for Him after noticing
    that he was missing, they scolded Him.  He responded by pointing out
    that He would naturally be found in His Fathers house, about His
    Father’s business but they did not understand.

        From this time to the time of His public ministry the Bible only
    states that He was obedient to His parents.  We must assume that he

                                    (21)
    worked with Joseph in his trade as a carpenter.  Jesus was part of a
    family and had brothers and sisters (Mark 6:3, Matt 12:46, 13:55-56).
    We can only guess that Jesus’ mother Mary was widowed because Joseph is
    not mentioned later in Jesus’ life and John provided for Mary in her
    later years (John 19:26,27).  (Luke 2:52 tells us that He grew in
    wisdom and stature and was well liked by those around Him as well as by
    God.  If only we could approach that goal!

        When Jesus was about 30 years old He was baptized by his cousin
    John.  John had been prepared and sent ahead of Jesus to prepare Israel
    to listen to Jesus.  When Jesus was baptized by John, John saw the Holy
    Spirit in the form of a dove descend from heaven and sit on Jesus.  A
    voice was heard coming from above, it said “This is my Son, whome I
    love; with him I am well pleased (Jn 1:32-34).  The baptism of Jesus
    marked a new phase in His life.  From this time forward Jesus went
    about His spiritual ministry.

        The concept of the dual existence and nature of Christ, both God
    and man is difficult to understand.  Perhaps because of this it is one
    of the most common heresies from the earliest times.  Even today many
    cults claim either that Jesus Christ was not God, such as the Jehovah’s
    Witnesses, or that He was not fully man, and therefore did not really
    die, but only appeared to.

        The orthodox doctrine of the nature of Christ was clearly stated
    at the council of Chalcedon in the year AD 451.  It said that “in one
    person, Jesus Christ, there are two natures, a human nature and a
    divine nature, each in it’s completeness and integrity, and that these
    two natures are organically and indissolubly united, yet so that no
    third nature is formed thereby.” 5

                            The Deity of Christ

        The deity of Christ is the real stumbling block for many in
    accepting Christianity as true.  It is here that Jews, Moslems,
    Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many others come to grief.  It is
    from misbelief or at least inadequate belief about the incarnation that
    difficulties at other points of the gospel story usually spring. 3

        Following Christ is more than just following in the footsteps of a
    great man.  To be a Christian means accepting the absolute uniqueness
    of His person.  Jesus is different from any other person who has ever
    lived.

                        The earthly ministry of Christ

        After Jesus had been baptized, He was directed by the Spirit to go
    and fast in the desert.  For 40 days He did not eat and was tempted by
    Satan.  When He had shown that he could not be tempted into sinning
    angels came and fed Him.

        He then left the desert and proclaimed in the temple publicly that
    He was to fulfill the Old Testament prophesies.  After this He went and
    called the first disciples.  The first to be called were Simon Peter,
    and his brother Andrew.  Then Jesus traveled in the area and both
    taught and healed the people which He encountered.  Many of the people
    were glad to receive both the healing and the teaching but the civic
    and religious leadership didn’t like what was happening.

                                    (22)
        Jesus did not side step issues in order to be a people pleaser.
    He was not a yes man, or even a very comfortable person to be around.
    He continually challenged both His friends and enemies.  One of the
    things that made many dislike Jesus was that they could not appropriate
    His power for their goals.

        Many people began to hear of Jesus’ power and wisdom.  As He
    traveled thousands of people would follow him into sometimes remote
    areas.  Two of His most famous miracles were His feeding of these
    crowds.  It is plain to see that Jesus cared a great deal for all those
    who were around Him.  Likewise, He cares for us now as well.

                              Miracles of Jesus

    The table below lists many of Jesus’ miricles found in the Gospels.

Nature Miracle                      | Matthew | Mark    | Luke    | John
—————————————————————————-
Turning water into wine              |        |        |        | 2:1-11
Feeding of five thousand            | 14:15-21| 6:35-44 | 9:12-17 | 6:5-15
Walking on the sea                  | 14:22-33| 6:45-52 |        | 6:16-21
Providing tax money in fish’s mouth  | 17:24-27|        |        |     
Feed of four thousand                | 15:32-39| 8:1-9  |        |     
Withering of fig tree                | 21:17-22| 11:12-14|        |     
First catch of fish                  |        | 5:1-11  |        |     
Second catch of fish                |        |        |        | 21:1-14
—————————————————————————-
Healing Miracle                      | Matthew | Mark    | Luke    | John 
Healing of nobleman’s son at Cana    |        |        |        | 4:46-54
Restoring sight of blind man at      |        |        |        |     
Bethsaida                            |        | 8:22-26 |        |     
Restoring sight of man born blind    |        |        |        | 9:1-41
Raising of Lazarus                  |        |        |        | 11:1-45
Curing of demon-possessed man (men)  | 8:28-34 | 5:1-20  | 8:26-39 |     
Raising of Jairus’s daughter        | 9:18-26 | 5:22-24,| 8:41-42,|     
                                    |        |  35-43 |  49-56 |     
Healing of invalid at Bethesda      |        |        |        | 5:1-18
Curing of woman with twelve-year    |        |        |        |     
  bleeding                          | 9:20-22 | 5:25-34 | 8:43-48 |     
Restoring of paralytic at Capernaum  | 9:1-8  | 2:1-12  | 5:17-26 |     
Curing of leper near Gennesaret      | 8:1-4  | 1:40-45 | 5:12-15 |     
Healing of Peter’s mother-in-law    | 8:14-17 | 1:29-31 | 4:38-39 |     
Restoring of withered hand          | 12:9-14 | 3:1-6  | 6:6-11  |     
Healing of child with demon          | 17:14-20| 9:14-29 | 9:37-43 |     
Restoring blind and dumb demoniac    | 12:22  |        | 11:14  |     
Giving sight to two blind men        | 9:27-31 |        |        |     
Healing of dumb demoniac            | 9:32-34 |        |        |     
Healing of deaf-mute                |        | 7:1-37  |        |     
Restoring sight to blind Bartimaeus  | 20:29-34| 10:46-52| 18:35-43|     
Healing Syro-Phoenician girl        | 15:21-28| 7:24-30 |        |     
Healing centurion’s servant          | 8:5-13  |        | 7:1-10  |     
Restoring demon-possessed man in    |        |        |        |     
  synagogue                        |        | 1:23-27 | 4:33-36 |     
Raising son of widow of Nain        |        |        | 7:11-16 |     
Restoring woman crippled for        |        |        |        |     
  eighteen years                    |        |        | 13:10-17|     
Healing a man with dropsy            |        |        | 14:1-6  |     
Healing ten men with leprosy        |        |        | 17:11-19|     
Restoring of Malchus’s ear          |        |        | 22:49-51|18:10-11
                                    (23)
        After about three years of public ministry Jesus went to Jerusalem
    to celebrate the Passover.  He was received by cheering crowds.  Many
    expected Him to form a new government and throw out the Romans.  When
    he told them that His kingdom was not of this world they became
    disillusioned.  At the same time those who had a vested interest in
    maintaining the status quo began to plot in earnest to kill Him.

                    The death and resurrection of Christ

        The event of Christ’s death is central to the Christian church and
    faith.  Jesus death on the cross is both the foundation of our
    salvation and a powerful example of obedience and love. The
    resurrection of Jesus after His death on the cross is the single most
    important event in history.  It proclaimed not just His victory over
    death, but ours also.  We will devote chapter 5 to the study of
    Christ’s death and resurrection.

                      The present activity of Christ.

        What do we know about the present activities of Christ?  First we
    know that all authority on heaven and earth has been given to Christ
    (Matt 28:18).  This means that Jesus is the active sustainer of the
    universe.  You can thank Him that everything doesn’t just fly into
    bits.  As the active force in creation, He willed the universe into
    existence.  Now the force of His will keeps the natural laws which we
    call physics, chemistry, and biology etc in effect.

        Secondly, Jesus is the head of His Church (Eph 1:22, Col 1:18).
    The Church is the body of Christ because all saved persons are saved
    into Christ.  In John 16:13 we are told that the Spirit teaches what He
    hears.  The Spirit is present in heaven before Christ to hear the many
    things Christ has yet to tell us (John 16:12-15).  Christ has the power
    to take us the many and form us into one body of many members, the
    Church.

        Thirdly, Jesus is the giver of Spiritual gifts through the
    ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Christ has both called and equipped us
    for the service of the Church and worship of Him.  While some gifts are
    universal in nature some are given only to certain people (Rom 12:3-8,
    I Cor 12:4-11).  Christ has a plan for each one of us according to His
    purpose (Phil 2:13, Eph 2:10, Jn 10:10).  We should not reject what God
    has given us the ability to do.  We need to recognize that often the
    reasons for the way He has equipped us us not apparent to us.

        Fourthly, Jesus intercedes for us, this He began to do before He
    left earth (John 17:1-26)  This means that Jesus is praying for you
    now, today.  Because He is all powerful He is able to turn His
    attention to all of us individually.  He will continue this ministry as
    long as any of His people are on earth (John 17:20).  This present
    ministry of Christ was given to us in the twenty-third Psalm by David.
    It is because He continually has us in His mind, that our salvation is
    secure if we are born again to Christ.

        Fifthly, Jesus is our advocate before the judgment throne of God.
    If it were not for the advocacy of Christ in heaven our sins as
    Christians would destroy the fellowship we have with God.  What is
    necessary on our part is to be sorry for and confess our sin to Him (1
    John 1:9).  Jesus pleads our cause before God, and the sufficiency of

                                    (24)
    His death to pay for the penalty that is rightfully ours.

        Sixthly, Christ is building.  He has gone ahead of us into heaven
    and is preparing a place for us to reside (John 14:1-3).  Jesus has
    taken personal interest in our future abode!

        Seventhly, Jesus is expecting to return for us.  He is preparing
    to return at a time known only the Father (Mark 13:32).  We do not know
    when this time will occur, but there will be enough time to gather the
    harvest. 8

        The following poem talks about our present relationship with
    Christ as Christians.

    No distant Lord have I,            Ascended now to God
    Loving far to be.                  My witness there to be
    Made flesh for me He cannot rest  His witness here I am because
    Until He rests in me.              His Spirit dwells in me.

    I need not journey far              O glorious Son of God,
    This dearest friend to see.        Incarnate Deity,
    Companionship is always mine      I shall ever be with Thee
    He makes His home with me.        Because Thou art with me. 9

    I envy not the twelve.
    Nearer to me is He
    The life He once lived here on earth
    He lives again in me.

                      The Future Activities of Christ

        To go into depth about the second advent of Christ is beyond the
    scope of this text.  However we know that Christ will return to earth
    as a physical presence to do several things.  He will come for His
    redeemed to take us to be with Him in heaven.  He will come to form an
    earthly kingdom which will last one thousand years.  For this reason it
    is often called the millenial kingdom because a millennium is one
    thousand years.  Jesus will also cast Satan and his legions as well as
    those who are not saved in Christ into the pit of Hell where they will
    be tormented for all eternity.

        Let me just say that knowing some things about Jesus is not the
    same as Knowing Jesus.  If you feel that you don’t know him, ask
    someone to help you.  Christ may have equipped them to share Christ
    with you.  If you know someone who wants to know about Jesus, but does
    not know Him personally, perhaps Jesus has put you in their life to
    share what a faith in Christ is.  If you don’t know what to do, pray,
    and lead them to someone who can help them.  Then allow Christ to equip
    you to do a part in his body, the Christian church.

 

 

 

 

 
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                  Discussion Questions

 

    1. Why do you suppose Christ is mentioned by the Old Testament
    Prophets?

 

    2. Why was Christ born of a woman?

 

    3. Why was Christ born of the Spirit?

 

    4. How do we know that Jesus was born of the Spirit?  See Ro 1:3-4

 

    5. List some of the central themes of Jesus’ ministry on earth.

 

    6. What is Jesus doing now that has an impact on your life today?

 

    7. How did Jesus’ life on earth show his humanity?  His deity?

 

    8. Who do you think Jesus is?

 

 

 

    1 Statement of Faith from the Elmbrook Church Constitution.
    2 Know What You Believe  by Paul E. Little  c 1970, 1985, 1987 by SP
      Publications
    3 Knowing God  by J I Packer  c 1973  published by Intervarsity Press
    4 This list of Isaiah prophecy verses was compiled by Jeff Scheibe on
      the Today’s Issues- Religion conference on the Exec-PC computer
      bulletin board in Milwaukee WI Sept 15, 1990
    5 A H Strong, Systematic Theology  c 1907 Judson Press pp676
    6 Ray Palmer 1808-1887
    7 W. C. Dix, 1837-1898
    8 The section on the present ministry of Christ was gathered from
      Systematic Theology  c 1948 by L C Chafer  vol V Christology
      pp273-278
    9 Maltbie D. Babcock, 1858-1901
    10 Table of Jesus’ miracles from Salvation Online Network  Christian
      BBS

 
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