PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

The Second Coming of Jesus

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20091227_second_coming_of_jesus.mp3

12/27/09 – the second coming of Jesus

We’ve spent some time this season looking at Jesus; at who Jesus is. We saw that Jesus claimed to be the eternal all glorious pre-existent self existent one, sent from the Father, equal to and one with his Father and worthy of the same honor as the Father, in and of himself truly and fully God.

We saw that the response of the wise men to Jesus was the appropriate response – they came to worship him. They brought gifts and expended time and energy and made the sacrifices of a long journey and yet counted it all joy to have the privilege of welcoming this king born in Bethlehem.

We’ve seen in the good news of Christmas that God humbled himself and became a man, truly and fully man. In addition to being God, Jesus took on the nature of genuine humanity. God himself, the eternal self-existent uncreated creator of all things, the second person of the Trinity, entered history and became flesh. He was born into this world as a man in order to be our substitute and rescue us from sin and death and hell. He came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for rebellious sinners like you and me.

Another name for the time leading up to Christmas is Advent – from a Latin word that means arrival. We celebrate the arrival of Jesus. And his coming was inconspicuous and non-threatening. Philippians 2:7-8 tells us that he emptied himself and he humbled himself. In his coming he fully identified himself with us (Heb.4:15)

Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He made God known to us in a form that was comprehensible. Unpretentious. Touchable. Holdable. Real. Even adorable or cute in his apparent helplessness.

It was dangerous for God to reveal himself to us this way. There is a danger for us in seeing Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem. Many would feel uncomfortable visiting someone in a palace, but no-one feels intimidated to enter a barn. Some may refuse to enter a barn because they are offended at the smell or they don’t want to soil their shoes, but no-one feels that they are not good enough to enter a barn. There are people we dare not violate their personal space, and it can be awkward to look someone in the eye, but there is something about an infant that invites intimacy and touching. Perfect strangers make fools of themselves making faces and sounds that otherwise they would be embarrassed to make. “What’s his name? How old is he? Can I hold him?” Babies seem to break down social barriers. We don’t have to climb up to reach them, we have to stoop down to their level. It seems there is much more interest in celebrating Christmas than there is in celebrating Good Friday, even though Christmas was an essential first step toward the cross. There is something dangerously comfortable about thinking of Jesus as a babe in the hay. We might want to keep him there, where he is safe, harmless, non-threatening, un-intimidating, approachable, ordinary. I say dangerous because familiarity sometimes breeds contempt. Think of those from Jesus’ hometown. They were excited when their hometown boy made headline news. But when he returned home and taught in the synagogue he grew up in, the townsfolk who knew him took offense at him (Matt.13:53-58). “I remember when you were only this big. I used to babysit you. I changed your diapers. Who do you think you are?”

The commonness of Jesus, the humble circumstances of his birth, the approachability of a baby, the ordinariness of it all may cause us to miss or disbelieve who he is. Remember what the angel said to Mary:

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy––the Son of God.

Jesus was a real child born in the ordinary way, but Jesus is absolutely holy, totally set apart, unique and different. When Isaiah was in the presence of the one who was proclaimed by the seraphim to be ‘Holy, holy, holy’, he was undone and declared ‘woe to me’ (Is.6:3-5). We must see Jesus as the man who could legitimately stand in our place and bear the wrath of a holy God against the sins of mankind, but we must not allow our understanding of who he is to be limited to the manger.

Advent means arrival or coming. We have been looking at the advent of Messiah. But in scripture, there is a second advent, a second arrival, a second coming of the Messiah, Jesus. When Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after his resurrection the angels said:

Acts 1:11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Jesus himself promised his disciples:

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

But the second coming of Jesus will be much different than his first coming. Jesus prayed to his Father:

John 17:24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

In the first coming, Jesus emptied himself of his glory. He humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. But Jesus described his coming again as a coming in power and great glory:

Matthew 24:30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (cf. Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27)

John, one of the inner circle of three disciples who witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus, one of the three who were brought with him to the garden to pray, one who was there at the trial and crucifixion, who leaned against Jesus at the last supper, who described himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved, this John, when he was given a glimpse of Jesus in his glory had this response:

Revelation 1:17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.

We’ve seen who Jesus claimed to be – that he claimed to be the omnipotent eternal uncreated creator of all things, the one who is self-existent and by whom all things exist. We’ve seen that Jesus is God manifested in the flesh and that he claimed to be equal to and one with the Father and worthy of the same honor as the Father. When we stand at the manger our response should not be ‘awwww’. Our response to Jesus should be worship, awe, the fear of the Lord. The wise men from the east got on their faces in the presence of the toddler Jesus. What was it that caused John to have this response? John saw the glory of Jesus. Let’s look at what he saw, and let’s be moved with him to awe:

Revelation 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two–edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

Jesus was moving among his lampstands the churches. He wore a long robe – a priestly robe, because as Hebrews teaches, he is our great high priest. He wore a golden sash around his chest because he is our king, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the King of king and Lord of lords, to whom every knee shall bow. His hair, a symbol of his wisdom, was white like wool, reminding us of Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days (Dan.7:9). His eyes are too pure to look on evil with favor, and penetrate to the hidden places of our hearts, and his feet remind us of the refiner’s fire and the righteous judgment of God who will one day crush all who oppose him. His voice will thunder and put a stop to all competing voices. He holds complete authority over all creation and over his churches in the palm of his hand. Jesus is the living Word of God and Jesus said:

John 12:48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

Jesus is the light of the world. The glory of Jesus was greater in intensity than the sun shining in full strength.

Later in Revelation, John again gets a glimpse of Jesus in the glory that he had with his Father before the world existed (Jn.17:5)

Revelation 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

This is a description of Jesus coming in power and great glory. This same Jesus who came in humility will come again in a display of strength and justice. When he attended the synagogue in Nazareth,

Luke 4:17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

The next line in Isaiah 61, that Jesus did not read, says this:

…and the day of vengeance of our God; (Isaiah 61:2)

That scripture will be fulfilled in Jesus at his second coming. Paul describes this righteous judgment of God in 2 Thessalonians:

2Thessalonians 1:5 … the righteous judgment of God …7 … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

This same Jesus, who came in weakness and helplessness as a baby, will come again in flaming fire inflicting vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Later in the book, Paul describes Jesus dealing with Antichrist in this way:

2Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

This is Jesus. Friend of sinners who run to him for salvation, extending forgiveness to all who come, merciful and compassionate, but to those who reject him, he destroys his enemies by the breath of his mouth. This is the picture we have in Revelation 6 of the Christ rejecting world:

Revelation 6:15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

When Jesus spoke of his coming in power and glory, he told us to ‘stay awake’ (Mt.24:42) and to ‘be ready’ (Mt.24:44) and to ‘watch’ (Mt.25:13). He says

Luke 21:34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Jesus tells us:

Luke 21:28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

For those who are prepared for and looking for his return, it is an occasion of great joy. John gives us some helpful instruction on how to prepare our hearts to receive the king:

1John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

In John 15, Jesus used the metaphor of a branch abiding in the vine and bearing much fruit. Run to Jesus to find forgiveness at the cross and abundant life. Stay continually plugged in to him, daily drawing strength from him, enjoying intimacy of fellowship with him. Know him, so that when he comes in power and glory we rejoice at the coming of our victorious king rather than shrinking from the wrath of our just judge.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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December 27, 2009 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fitting Response to Jesus – Worship

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20091220_worship_of_jesus.mp3

12/20/09 – the appropriate response to Jesus – worship

We’ve been looking for the past few weeks at Jesus; at who Jesus is. Jesus claimed to be the eternal all glorious pre-existent self existent one, sent from the Father, equal to and one with his Father and worthy of the same honor as the Father, in and of himself truly and fully God. But Jesus humbled himself and became a man, truly and fully man. In addition to being God, he took on the nature of genuine humanity, so that he was indistinguishable from any other Jewish man his age. He ate and drank and got tired and slept, he learned and laughed and wept and bled and died. God himself, the eternal self-existent uncreated creator of all things, the second person of the Trinity, entered history and became flesh – he was born into this world as a man in order to be our substitute and rescue us from sin and death and hell. He came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for rebellious sinners like you and me. In this he showed us what God is like, not by the way he looked, but by his actions and attitudes, by his joys and sorrows. He is the image of the invisible God. He makes God known to us.

Last time, we touched on the response of people to Jesus. We looked at John 1, where John introduces us to Jesus as the Word who was with God and who was God, the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory. And he says:

John 1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

The creatures didn’t know their creator. More than that, God had chosen a people – a people he wanted to bless and to reveal himself to and to rescue and to pour out his favor on. Those chosen people did not receive him when he came to visit them. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

But that is not the end of the story. There were some who did receive him. It describes those as the ones:

John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

God birthed people who would receive him, people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. These are a people not based on ethnic descent or moral effort or human will, but on God’s supernatural creation of life.

John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

That’s what I want to look at today. We’ve seen who Jesus claimed to be and he met with different responses. Some were hostile and wanted him dead. Some were apathetic and took no notice. Some had no room in their inns for the one to be born king of the Jews. Some allowed him to stay, but out back in the stable where he wouldn’t be seen, where he wouldn’t be an embarrassment to friends and family. But others received him. I want to look today at some of those who received him, those who believed in his name.

Let’s start in Matthew 2, probably a year or two after the birth of Christ, after the family had moved into a house in Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

If we pay attention, we can learn several things about these men who welcomed Jesus. They had some expectation of the Jewish Messiah. They must have had access to some of the Jewish scriptures that foretold the coming of the promised One. They took those scriptures seriously and watched expectantly for the fulfillment. This expectation and hope had been preserved and passed down from generation to generation. When they saw the indication they had been waiting for, they traveled hundreds of miles on a lengthy journey to pay homage to this king. But why would foreigners pay homage to a Jewish king? They were certainly out of his jurisdiction. They must have had some indication that this One to be born king of the Jews would be more than just a local king. The significance of this birth was not limited to one region or even one generation. It is interesting that this apparently was not a journey of ambassadors seeking peace with another nation. They went to the one currently in command – Herod, who was not Jewish, who had been appointed by the Romans to rule over Judea, and asked him about the one who had been born king of the Jews. That would not be a good political move. They didn’t come to bow down and present gifts and pay homage to Herod or to the Roman Emperor; they came to find one who was greater than Herod and greater than the Roman Empire. They had come to seek the King of kings. They had come to worship him. Let’s skip down and look at their act of worship.

Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Notice first that their pursuit of this Child was emotionally charged. They were not on a scholarly pursuit of information searching for answers to riddles. They were not grudging and complaining about the long journey. They did not come out of duty or obligation. They took personal pleasure in this privilege. They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

And imagine the scene: Mary in her humble home, cooking dinner or doing the dishes, the young Jesus underfoot, crawling, maybe using Mary’s apron to pull himself up to stand on wobbly legs. She may have had to dry her hands quickly and scoop Jesus up to see who was at the door.

And when these foreign dignitaries saw the child, they got on their faces before this toddler and worshiped him. Grown men bowing before a child. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts. They may not have fully understood the deep significance of the gifts they brought. Gold was a gift for royalty – this child was the King – he was God incarnate. Frankincense was a priestly gift. Frankincense was offered by the priests in the temple. Jesus is our great high priest. And Myrrh pointed to suffering and death. Myrrh was used to prepare a body for burial. Jesus was to be the suffering servant who would bear in his body the sins of the world.

These wise men from the East studied and discerned and hoped and expected and planned and went out of their way at great personal expense and humbled themselves before this Jesus. They received him. They worshiped him. They were not the only ones to worship Jesus.

Matthew 8:2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”

Matthew 9:18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.”

When Jesus walked on water during the night in the storm,

Matthew 14:33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

When a Canaanite woman with a demon-possessed daughter came to Jesus for healing,

Matthew 15:25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”

The demon possessed man from the region of the Gerasenses,

Mark 5:6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him.

When Jesus revealed his identity to the man he healed who had been born blind,

John 9:38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

When Jesus appeared to the women who came to the empty tomb after his resurrection,

Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

Then he appeared to his disciples,

Matthew 28:17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

Then he appeared again and invited Thomas to stop doubting and believe,

John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

As he ascended into heaven,

Luke 24:52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,

The word that we have been looking at, translated ‘worshiped’ or ‘knelt down’ or ‘fell before’ is a word that means to acknowledge the deity of someone by falling prostrate before them and kissing their feet the hem of their garment, or the ground. Early Christians refused to bow to the Roman Emperor not because they were unwilling to show proper respect for authority, but because bowing in this way indicated an acknowledgement that the person was in fact divine. Satan attempted to usurp the honor due only to God when he requested that Jesus bow to him,

Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”’

We are to worship no-one but God. When Cornelius fell down to worship Peter, Peter refused to allow that kind of reverence,

Acts 10:25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”

Twice in Revelation, John was overwhelmed by the presence of an angelic being and fell at his feet to worship. And twice the angel exclaimed ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you – Worship God.’ (Rev.19:10; 22:8-9). Yet Jesus repeatedly and unhesitatingly accepts worship from many individuals. In fact, God says of Jesus,

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Jesus is to be worshiped not only by men, but by all God’s angels. Then in Revelation, we see the scene in heaven,

Revelation 5:11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

The Lamb, Jesus, is worshiped equal to the Father. This is exactly what Jesus demanded when he said,

John 5:23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Jesus here tells us how we must respond to him. He is not looking for respect, admiration, honor as a great teacher or healer or guru. He is not asking for us to be impressed by his wisdom and compassion and grace. He is not inviting us to strive to imitate him. He is demanding that we honor him, that we worship him, that we bow to him in the exact same way as we worship the Father. And he ties this demand to eternal life. A few verses later, he makes this even more explicit,

John 5:40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

The Jewish leaders claimed to worship God and to love their bibles, but Jesus said that by refusing to worship Jesus they rejected eternal life. As we celebrate the birth of Christ we must ask ourselves how we receive him. He told the religious leaders,

John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

Jesus asked his disciples the most pivotal question “Who do you say that I am?” And when Peter answered correctly, Jesus said that he was blessed by God, because he didn’t come up with that on his own. John wrote his gospel with this purpose,

John 20:31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

How do we receive him? Do we have room for him in our busy lives? Do we put him out back as if we were embarrassed of him? Are we hostile or apathetic? Or do we fall at his feet and worship Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords, the I Am, equal to and one with the Father, God in the flesh come to rescue his rebellious creation? Come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

December 20, 2009 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wonder of the Incarnation

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20091213_incarnation_of_jesus.mp3

12/13/09 – the wonder of the incarnation

We’ve looked in the last few weeks at who Jesus claimed to be; Jesus claimed to be the eternal all glorious pre-existent self existent one, sent from the Father, equal to and one with his Father and worthy of the same honor as the Father, in and of himself truly and fully God.

We looked at Jesus the man, as the one whose beauty is not in his outward appearance, but a beauty defined by character – full of grace and truth. His kingdom is an upside-down kingdom – he is a king come not to be served but to serve, not to have his faithful subjects give their lives to protect him, but to give his own life a ransom for rebellious subjects. Jesus’ wisdom is upside-down; he reveals his wisdom to those who are acutely aware of their helplessness, dependance and need, and hides his wisdom from those who consider themselves wise and understanding. Jesus is the one who accurately portrays the Father to us, he is the one who is the image of the invisible God. He, by his actions and attitudes, by his joys and sorrows, by his very character and nature reveals to us what his Father is like.

Today I’d like to focus our attention on the wonder of the incarnation. Incarnation is a word that means taking on human nature and form. We use this word to refer to what happened at the birth of Christ, when God took on flesh. Matthew, citing Isaiah, says

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). [Isaiah 7:14]

Jesus is God. But this is not a God that is distant, aloof, far removed from our situation. Not a God looking down his nose at our despicable situation. This Jesus is no less than God – very God of very God, but he is God with us – God come along side us; God who gets his feet wet and hands dirty. John says ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ [Jn.1:14]. The word who was with God in the beginning, who was himself God, became flesh. God who is spirit became an embryo inside the womb of a young girl. God, who is infinite and eternal, entered history at a moment in time. God, who is self-existent and omnipotent, became dependent on the nourishment and care of his mother. The Word, who spoke stars into existence, had to learn to talk. This is the most staggering truth of Christianity, the truth that sets it apart from all other religions. God the Son, without ceasing to be God, became a human being. This morning we will look at some texts that help us to grapple with this most foundational truth about Jesus – God with us.

We’ll start with the conception of Jesus.

Luke 1:30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God.

Matthew 1:18 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. …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.

There was nothing ordinary or normal about the conception of Jesus. Jesus was born to a virgin. He had no biological human father. It was an event surrounded by angelic communication; it took an angel to convince Joseph that Mary’s unbelievable story was true, and Mary was, in fact, a virgin. The embryo growing inside her was in fact the Son of God.

The conception of Jesus was utterly unique in all of history. But the birth of Jesus was strikingly unimpressive. He was born to parents that were not free. They were Jews under Roman occupation. They were told to report to their city of birth to register for purposes of taxation. There was no medical exemption. Mary had to go, so Jesus was born on the road, away from all that was familiar. They were not invited into the castle of Herod in Bethlehem, they were put up in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn. The animal’s feed box served as a makeshift crib. This is the red carpet we rolled out to welcome the Son of God.

But this was no accident, no unfortunate set of circumstances outside of God’s control. This was by design. The hand of God moved the Roman emperor to demand a census at just the right time to get Joseph to his city of birth so that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem as prophesied hundreds of years earlier [Micah 5:2]. And it was the hand of God that arranged for the inn to be full so that his Son would be born in a barn.

Let’s look at what Paul says about the incarnation:

Philippians 2:5-11 …6 who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross…

Jesus was in the form of God. He was equal with God, He was in fact, God. But in the incarnation, he didn’t cling to his status as God but took an additional form – the form of a servant. Jesus, who was God from all eternity, in addition to being really and truly God, became really and truly human. God was born in the likeness of men. Immanuel; God with us. The incarnation is the most profound mystery of the universe. God the creator became part of his creation. God, who is spirit, became touchable in the arms of a young girl.

As we have seen, Jesus made ridiculous claims, claims to be the pre-existent, self existent one with the power to forgive sins, power to control nature and power to command twelve legions of angels to do his bidding (Mt.26:53), equal to and one with his Father, and yet he was sleeping in the boat because he was tired. His young mother wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in the animal’s feed box. He learned to crawl and walk. He was the Alpha and Omega, and he had to be taught the alphabet.

It says he emptied himself, or he made himself nothing. Some have taught that Jesus emptied himself of some of the characteristics of deity, such as omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. But this does not fit the biblical data. Jesus claimed omnipresence when he said

John 1:48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Matthew 28:20 … And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus demonstrated his omniscience:

Mark 2:8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts?

John 2:24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

John 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)

John 16:30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”

Jesus displayed omnipotence:

Mark 4:39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “ Peace! Be still !” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

John 6:19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

If Jesus had temporarily given up some of his divine attributes, he would have become less than God. Jesus in becoming man did not set aside part of his deity. While Jesus was in the womb of Mary, he was still upholding the universe by the word of his power. When he was asleep in the manger, he was at that very moment everywhere present; heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you [1Ki.8:27].

What Paul means when he says that ‘he emptied himself’ or ‘made himself nothing’ is clear from the context. His innate equality with the Father was not something he clung to; rather he humbled himself. Being God and worthy of all worship, he took on a lowly status and position, allowing himself to be despised, rejected, mistreated; ultimately allowing himself to be crucified.

Paul puts it this way in:

2 Corinthians 8:9 for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

In Jesus, we see the second person of the trinity, possessing the divine nature from all eternity, taking on an additional nature – a human nature. The historic christian understanding of Jesus is that he is one person with two natures. Jesus possesses both a divine and human nature. He is fully God and fully man. These natures do not become confused or mixed to create some half God half man hybrid that is neither fully God nor truly man. His divine and human natures remain distinct, but are united in the one person of Jesus Christ.

For Jesus to be a mediator between God and man, he must be both fully God and fully man in order to represent both sides faithfully.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

For Jesus to be our substitute and redeem us, he had to be a man.

Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

For Jesus to make us righteous by his perfect obedience, that obedience had to be performed by a man.

Romans 5:19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

For Jesus to be able to experience death, conquer the devil and free the captives, he had to be flesh and blood:

Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

For Jesus death to be sufficient to cover the sins of all mankind, Jesus had to be fully God.

1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Fully God and fully man united in one person forever. John lays out the glory of the incarnation this way:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word, who was with God and who was God became flesh and dwelt among us. He pitched his tent among us. He became one of us. John could have said that the Word took a body or the Word became human. Instead he uses the term ‘flesh’, a blunt, almost crude way to refer to human nature. God the Son, second person of the trinity, became carnal. There was nothing artificial about the humanity of Jesus. The author of Hebrews says:

Hebrews 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Look back at John 1.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

That is the mystery of the incarnation. But there is another mystery here. Look up to verse 9

John 1:9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

This mystery is also great. True light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world. The word made flesh. God with us. The greatest violation of the laws of nature that ever was or ever will be. He was in the world, and the world was made through him. And here is the staggering part. ‘Yet the world did not know him.’ We did not recognize our creator. But it gets more specific than that: ‘He came to his own’ He came to the people that he had chosen, that he had worked with, that he had spoken to, that he had revealed himself to, and his own people did not receive him. This is deeper than not knowing him. They recognized him and rejected him.

That is the story of Christmas. God himself, the eternal self-existent uncreated creator of all things entered history and became flesh – was born into this world as a man in order to rescue us from sin and death and hell. And he is met with indifference. Apathy. A shrug of the shoulders. Too busy to take notice. More important things to attend to. His own people did not receive him. God in the flesh and we walk away unchanged. O let it not be so among us. Let us receive our King! Let us welcome him with white hot passionate worship! Stand in awe and wonder at the marvel of the incarnation! Stand stunned with Charles Wesley who sang:

Died He for me, who caused His pain— For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me? [And Can it Be? Charles Wesley, 1738]

Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, [Isaac Watts, 1719]

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

December 13, 2009 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Character and Personality of Jesus

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20091206_character-personality_of_jesus.mp3

12/6/09 – the character & personality of Jesus

Last week we looked at who Jesus claimed to be, who his apostles testified that he was, and who the Old Testament prophets predicted he would be. We saw that Jesus claimed to be the eternal all glorious pre-existent self existent one, sent from the Father, equal to and one with his Father yet distinct from the Father and worthy of the same honor as the Father; this dearly loved eternal companion of the Father was sent to be born, sent to live a perfect life in our place, sent to be beaten and bruised and abused, sent to die in our place so that we could be given the infinitely valuable gift of eternal life – life that consists in knowing this all glorious God, knowing this Jesus!

Today we will look at Jesus the man. If it is true as it says in…

Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, …

If it is true, as it says in…

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God… 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

If it is true that the good news is all about…

2Corinthians 4:4, 6 …seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. …6…to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Then the best way to get to know God better is to look closely at Jesus. This is what John gives us as the purpose of the incarnation:

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. …18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

So one of the main purposes of Jesus’ coming was to make God known. And Jesus himself tells us that eternal life consists in knowing God and knowing Jesus:

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

In our pursuit of knowing God better, we will look this morning at the character and personality of Jesus in the New Testament writings, as well as some pointers in the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus. We want to see Jesus for who he is and give him the worship that is his due. Jesus said…

John 5:22-23 The Father… has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

So we don’t want simply to learn more stuff about Jesus today. We want to honor the Father and the Son by seeing what Jesus is like and standing in awe of him; to have our hearts respond with joy and worship of him.

Before we dig into the gospels, lets go back to Moses’ request to see the glory of God.

Exodus 33:18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

It is interesting that Moses asks to be shown the glory of God, and God’s response is to display his goodness and proclaim his name. In the next chapter, we see the answer to Moses’ request:

Exodus 34: 5 The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

The answer does not come in a visual manifestation, but in words. The glory of the Lord is not sound and lights and special effects. The glory of the Lord is the reputation of his name and the glory of his character – merciful, gracious, slow to anger, overflowing in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving, yet absolutely just. The display of the glory of God is what Jesus came to do.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

And John sums up the glory of God that he saw in the face of Jesus Christ this way: ‘full of grace and truth’. We don’t get a description of what Jesus in his humanity looked like, and all the pictures that have been painted are wrong – because they can’t portray the fullness of grace and truth which is what we most need to see. In fact those that had seen him said in a passage dealing with:

2 Corinthians 5:12 …those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart… 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.

The Beauty of Jesus: The beauty of Jesus is not in outward appearance. Did you ever wonder how Jesus was able to disappear in a crowd and escape arrest so many times?

Luke 4:29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.

It certainly may have been supernatural, but is it possible that he looked so ordinary that he easily blended in with the crowds of Jewish men? Did you ever consider that Jesus might have been short? Remember, he was the promised Messiah, destined to sit on David’s throne – David, who was the youngest and shortest of his brothers – the runt of the litter (1 Samuel 16). Zacchaeus had to climb a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus because he was short – but do you know how difficult it is for a short guy to find another short guy in a crowd? Even John the Baptist claims that the Spirit had to point Jesus out to him:

John 1:33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

And did you ever wonder why Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss?

Matthew 26:48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.”

Wouldn’t it have been easier for Judas to say “He’s the tall one with the flowing blonde hair and piercing blue eyes – you know, the one with the glowing halo hovering over his head.” But it is the prophet Isaiah that removes all doubt about the unimpressive physical appearance of Jesus:

Isaiah 53:2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

The Humanness of Jesus

Part of what made it so difficult for the religious leaders to take Jesus’ claims seriously was that Jesus was unmistakably human. The conception of Jesus was miraculous, but his birth was marked not by the supernatural, but by poverty and disgrace. Yes, there was an angelic announcement, but it was made to the least respected, the least trustworthy members of society at that time – shepherds. He was born to an unwed mother away from home – in a stable. The Jews were aware of his questionable background

John 8:41 You are doing what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father–even God.”

John 6:41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Mark 2:6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

John 10:33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

There was no question about the genuineness of the humanity of Jesus to those who knew him. He became hungry and thirsty and weary and he ate and drank and slept. He experienced grief and anger and pain and frustration and joy. He stumbled and wept and sweat and bled and died. It is interesting that the first heresies did not deny the fact that Jesus was God; they denied the fact that Jesus was really human. That’s why John focused on the tangible nature of his eye witness account in his first letter:

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life– 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us– 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

John had leaned against Jesus’ breast and felt his heart beating. He had watched him being tortured and he watched him die. So he writes:

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

It was essential that Jesus be authentically human. If Jesus were not truly human, he could not substitute himself and stand in our place and die for our sins. In order to mediate between God and man, he must be the man Christ Jesus. [1 Timothy 2:5]

So what was it about Jesus that displayed the glory of God?

The Royalty of Jesus

Luke 1:32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,

Matthew 2:2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Jesus is indeed Messiah, king of the Jews, but his is an upside-down kingdom.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

Jesus displays that God is indeed King of kings and Lord of lord, but he rules as a servant king who needs nothing and rules by serving sacrificially for the good of his subjects.

The Wisdom of Jesus

Luke 2:46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 6:2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?

John 7:15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” …46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!”

The wisdom of Jesus astonished all who heard, but his wisdom was upside-down wisdom. It was not the wisdom of the academy and he was not seeking the approval of the religious establishment, in fact it was a wisdom that was hidden tot he wise:

Mark 4:10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

Luke 10:21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Jesus said some very hard things, offensive things that seem to be designed to turn people away, things like:

John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. …60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Paul in 1 Corinthians declares that the glory of God is seen in the upside-down nature of God’s wisdom

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

The glory of God is seen in The Authority of Jesus

Mark 4:39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

Luke 4:36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!”

Luke 7:49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”

John 19:10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above…

John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

And look how Jesus used his authority – he laid down his life for his sheep. [Jn10:15]. In his authority, he invites:

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 19:14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Mark 1:40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

He uses his authority to forgive sins with the woman caught in the act of adultery – he convicts her accusers of their sin and sends her away forgiven [John 8:3-11]. Isaiah puts it this way

Isaiah 42:3 a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.

And yet this is how he speaks to the proud self-righteous Pharisees:

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Matthew 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. …27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. … 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

The Passion of Jesus

John 2:14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

Jesus was passionate about truth and righteousness, and yet his passion found expression this way:

Luke 19:41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

As the soldiers crucified him, he extended forgiveness to them.

Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Jesus accurately and fully put the glory of God on display

Exodus 34:6 …“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

Through Jesus we come to know God better

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. … 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Thank you Jesus, for faithfully putting God on display. Thank you that you are full of grace and truth, and out of your fullness we receive. Thank you for pouring out grace upon grace upon grace – undeserved kindness. Thank you for extending kindness and forgiveness even to your enemies. And thank you that you are truth – absolute righteousness and unswerving holiness. Thank you that you did not sweep my sin under the carpet of eternity, but that you decisively dealt with in in your own human body on the tree.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

December 6, 2009 Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment