I Believe In Jesus Christ, God’s Only Son, Our Lord!
I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, GOD’S ONLY SON, OUR LORD
THE APOSTLES CREED
- I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
- I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
- I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic [universal] church, the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting.
WHO Is This Man? Who Do YOU SAY Jesus Is?
When you look at history and see people who have had a powerful impact that has lasted for centuries like – Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, George Washington – there is one person who raises more questions than anyone else. That person is Jesus Christ. The world is not asking too many questions about who is Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, or George Washington – the history books have fairly well answered the main questions. But – people all over the world are still asking “Who is Jesus Christ?”
Who is Jesus Christ? Judaism acknowledges that Jesus was a well-known Rabbi. Islam believes that Jesus was a great prophet, actually the greatest of all the prophets except Mohammed. Lots of people like to say well, Jesus was a great teacher, a wonderfully compassionate person. But the Bible says that none of those descriptions capture the full identity of Jesus – that Jesus is God become flesh, the only Savior of the whole world.
So we are going to dig in to the question this morning. Who is Jesus? Is Jesus a great teacher? Is Jesus a very compassionate and loving person? Or is Jesus Who He said He was – God in the Flesh, the Savior available for all humanity?
An objective examination of the facts leave only three options for answering the question of Who Jesus is. Jesus is either a Liar, a Lunatic, or Lord.
Liars can’t be great teachers. If Jesus knew that He was lying when He taught many times that He is the Savior of the world then he can’t be a great teacher.
Lunatics can be pitied – but they can’t be great leaders – who make this world a better place for all people.
This morning – we’re going to ask the question and examine the evidence to see if there are enough good reasons to believe that Jesus truly is Lord and Savior.
Matthew 16:13-15 (TLB) Jesus asked His disciples, “Who are the people saying I am?” “Well, some say… Then Jesus pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?
The Bible teaches us that answering this question is the most important decision that any person will ever make. It is more important than the Career you choose, the person you decide to Marry, or how you raise your Children. Deciding Who Jesus is – is more important than any other decision you will ever make – because your decision about Who Jesus really is – will determine the quality of your life and your eternal destiny.
So Who is this Man Jesus? The Apostles’ Creed says He is Jesus the Christ.
Jesus — The CHRIST
When you ask people who is Jesus Christ? Some people will think – Well, Jesus is His first name and Christ is His last name. Actually the words Jesus and Christ – are two very powerful symbols that summarize the mission that Jesus came to accomplish.
Let’s start with Jesus. What does the name Jesus mean? It comes from a Hebrew word Ye’Shua – it means Yahweh is my Savior, my Rescuer.
Look at the message the Angel Gabriel gave to Mary’s fiancé Joseph when he got upset because he found out that Mary was pregnant and he knew that he wasn’t the father.
Matthew 1:21 (NLT) Mary will have a Son, and you are to name Him Jesus,
for He will save His people from their sins.
The Angel Gabriel wanted Joseph and the world to know – this is not going to be an ordinary baby. Yahweh – the Creator of everything that exists in the Universe – God was taking on human flesh for the purpose of saving people from their sins.
Now, I don’t want to get too distracted, but I would like to take just a minute to consider what does that second part mean – saving people from their sins? The Greek word for sin is Hamartia. It means an archer who missed the bull’s eye of the target. There can be little misses and there can be big misses – but they are all still misses of the center of the target. Jesus came to forgive all the times we miss the target and guide us back to hitting the bull’s eye and making the most of our lives.
The first symbolic name to help us understand Who is this Man – is Jesus, Ye’Shua – Yahweh is my Savior. The second symbolic name to help reveal Who this man is – is Christ – the anointed one. The Hebrew word for Christ or Christos – is Messiah. They both have the same meaning – the King who was anointed by God.
Matthew 16:16 (TLB) Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
For almost 3,000 years the Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah, the Anointed One to come and lead them into God’s Kingdom.
Once again, it is easy to say Jesus is the Christ. Lots of people throughout history have claimed to be the Messiah. It is much more important to provide good reasons for believing that Jesus really is the King Who is above every other King.
* Fulfilled Over 300 Prophecies Virgin Birth. Born in Bethlehem. Sacrificial Lamb. Hung on a Cross.
* Performed 37 Miracles Turn water into wine. Feed over 10,000 people from five loaves of bread and two small fish. Restore sight to the blind. Stop a storm. Raise the dead to life.
* Lived a Sinless Life Jesus invited any of His opponents to step forward and even accuse Him of sin.
* Offered Greatest Love World Has Seen Ate with sinners. Showed prostitutes and thieves their lives could be restored. Every person is loved by God.
Good reasons for believing Jesus is our Savior and the King above every other king.
God’s Only BEGOTTEN SON
The next step in figuring out Who is this Man – is trying to understand what is meant when we say we believe that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son. It is confusing – because the Bible teaches that we are all children of God – so how can Jesus be God’s only begotten Son?
John 3:16 (NKJV) God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Bible wants to help people see that Jesus is different from every other person who has ever come into this planet. Out of all the billions of people ever born – only Jesus has the power to give people eternal life.
In John 1, the Bible teaches us that Jesus is fully God and existed at the beginning of time with God. Colossians shows us how Jesus is unique – because Jesus makes God visible.
Colossians 1:15-17 (NLT) Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. Jesus existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.
Who is this Man? Jesus gives us good reasons for believing that He is the Savior of the World, the King Who is greater than any other king, The Son of God Who is different from every other person. And Jesus is unique because once again, out of all the babies ever born – Jesus is the only person Who was ever born of a virgin.
BORN of the VIRGIN Mary
People have wrestled with the Virgin Birth – ever since Mary asked Gabriel how a virgin could have a baby, or Joseph looked at Mary and asked are you telling me the truth? Are you really a virgin who is about to have a baby? Or am I just a fool?
Luke 1:26-35 (TLB) “Don’t be frightened, Mary,” the angel Gabriel told her… You will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name Him ‘Jesus.’ …Mary asked the angel, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of God shall overshadow you; so the baby born to you will be utterly holy—the Son of God.
Ever since Gabriel told Mary she was going to have a baby without having sex – the world has joined her in asking “How is that possible? Virgins can’t have babies.”
It seems impossible for Virgins to have babies – and yet scientists have shown us that they have the power to clone mammals without sex – based on the power of genetics. So, why can we accept the power of scientists to bring forth a new life without sex – but doubt the power of the Creator of the entire universe to do the same thing?
We will never fully stop the debates over how God accomplished the Virgin Birth of Jesus. I think it might be even more valuable to ask Why instead of How? Why did God choose the route of a Virgin birth to come into our world?
First, God wanted to show the world that Jesus is completely unique – He is different than anyone else Who ever set foot on this planet. To appreciate the mystery of how could God become fully human and fully God at the same time. And to give thanks for the amazing love of God to become human to enter in to all of our joys and sorrows, to understand all of our temptations, and to make the ultimate sacrifice of His life to rescue all of us.
The last piece of the puzzle we will focus on to help us better understand Who is this Man Jesus – is to ask Why did Jesus have to suffer under Pontius Pilate?
SUFFERED Under Pontius Pilate
In many ways the Cross does not seem like the best way to solve the problem of sin and death. The Cross feels more like divine child abuse. How is it possible for God the heavenly Father to send His only Begotten Son to suffer one of the worst deaths imaginable – slow and torturous suffocation on the Cross to satisfy God’s need to punish sin? One father put it the way a lot of us feel – When my kids make a mistake, I get angry. But I don’t think that punishing someone is the way to solve the problem.
So, why did Jesus have to suffer under Pontius Pilate?
John 19:16-18 (NLT) Pilate turned Jesus over to the Jewish leaders to be crucified. Carrying the cross Jesus went to the place called Place of the Skull. There they nailed Jesus to the cross.
The Bible presents us with a tough mystery. Right from the very beginning of the nation of Israel in the book of Leviticus, God declared there is only one way to get rid of the evil and death that sin brings into our world. The only way to get rid of the damage of sin – is through the sacrifice of a life. Hebrews 9:22 carries that lesson from the Old Testament into the New Testament – Without the shedding of blood, sins cannot be forgiven.
The reasons why Jesus had to suffer and die have been debated non-stop for over 2,000 years and I know we’re not going to answer all the questions here this morning. What we can do – is to contemplate why Jesus said that He had come to be our Passover Lamb – Who would give His life in order to rescue our lives.
Jesus identifies with our suffering. He didn’t avoid our problems. In the Cross – Jesus was willing to go through the worst of the suffering we go through. Look at how people come to the Cross to find help in their suffering. Adam Hamilton shared the power of a couple going through extreme pain after the husband committed adultery – How they were able to find strength and hope in the Cross. The husband touched the Cross – and acknowledged – I blew it. I caused my wife and my family incredible pain. I can’t go back and undo the damage I have caused. When he touched the Cross – he focused on Jesus’ willingness to enter in to our brokenness to help heal us and make us whole again. The wife touched the Cross – and she found strength to overcome the worst betrayal of her life. She connected with Jesus’ willingness to go through betrayal by His closest friends to understand how badly we can hurt – and to lead us through our suffering to new beginnings.
The Cross gets our attention by helping us understand how serious and destructive sin really is. We like to try to minimize sin. Oh, we all make mistakes. God shows us in the Cross – sin destroys lives.
Last of all – the Cross helps us to see how valuable God considers each one of us to be. Lots of people may give us different messages about how valuable they think our lives are. God gives us one clear message – if you want to know how much I think you are worth – just look at the Cross and see how much I love YOU!
Who is this Man Jesus? We will never get all of the answers – but we do have enough information to make a well informed decision. Jesus is Ye’Shua – God my Savior. The Christ – the King Who is greater than any other King. Jesus is God’s Only Begotten Son. Jesus is human like us – yet He is also fully divine. Jesus connects us to God in a way that no other person ever has. Jesus is the only person to be born of a Virgin – to help us to marvel at God entering our world through a peasant girl to become one of us in order to rescue us. Jesus was willing to suffer and die – to pay the full penalty for every act of evil that has ever been done in this world.
As we prepare to come to God’s Table to celebrate the sacrifice Jesus made for us – that God became human in Jesus Christ to rescue us and give us real and eternal life.
Read with me: John 20:30-31 (MSG) The disciples saw Jesus do many more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Jesus you will have real and eternal life!