The Majestic Person
From Discover Your Destiny
Four centuries of silence, and then—
Shepherds were keeping watch on a Judean hillside, preoccupied with their own thoughts. They had no idea but what this would be just another ordinary night in their lives. Certainly this would be no night in which there would be something new from God, for God had not spoken in four hundred years. Since the closing of the prophecy of Malachi, no prophet had appeared on the horizon of history; no word from God in any form had been voiced to the hearts of men.
The world of that day, in the Greco-Roman era, was influenced by the philosophy of Greece and by the politics of Rome. These were all that there were for the intellectual and physical needs of that era. Consequently, the hearts of people, unsatisfied by the mystery religions of Greece and the pagan vanity of Rome, were asking the questions, Whom can I trust? What is real? Mankind had been raveling across the desert of a revelationless world for many generations. Now, with a yearning beyond words, the world was looking for a message that would satisfy the soul. But the God of Israel apparently had ceased to represent Himself, and the gods of Rome were without a voice. So the questions remained, To whom shall we go? Who has the words of eternal life?
This was the world from which the shepherds looked up into the night sky on that first Christmas morning.
Then it happened!
Their senses were nearly overwhelmed at the scene which presented itself to them.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Gory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:8-14).
This was it! The day of days had come! “Unto you is born this day in the city of David—” Another prophet? No! A new political leader? No! Another judge, bringing condemnation? No! “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.” The moment of moments had come! Here was the one thing which could avail. God Himself had become a Man! The Creator of the universe had chosen to step into a rebellious and infected world. Now mankind had a new champion, another David to represent them before that fierce and imposing Goliath of sin.
Who is this person who that day interrupted the course of the world’s history? The destiny of mankind turns, not on an axis that reaches from the north to the south pole, but on the answer to this question, Who is Jesus Christ?
One of the men who knew Him best, who later devoted himself to live and die for His cause, gives us his answer to the question.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2).
In using the expression, “the Word,” the apostle John is speaking of ultimate reality. He continues to speak of this ultimate reality in saying,
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
John walked with Christ through all the days of His earthly ministry. He is called the disciple “whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23). After knowing Christ intimately through all the days of His human walk on earth, John wrote a book of twenty-one chapters about Him. He was so convinced of one central fact about Jesus Christ that he stated that the avowed purpose of his book was to show the stupendous fact of the deity of Christ.
But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name (John 20:31).
Because of the nature of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. He has become the Person before whom no one can remain neutral. Those who examine the facts of His life find themselves compelled by the logic of this magnificent life to move from their neutral position into that of acceptance or rejection. Who is this person who exerted such a force on the minds of men?
It needs to be remembered that there is only one possible answer to this question: Either Jesus Christ is the Son of God; or He was a liar and a blasphemer, perpetuating the most cruel farce in all of history. Religionists of our day have attempted to take a middle way and have suggested that Jesus Christ was a great teacher, a noble life, the best of men, a fine inspiration to mankind, but He was hardly the Son of God. But the question of the deity of Jesus Christ admits to no compromise. While perhaps amusing, these meditations are foolish and amount to no more than mere evasion.
The issue, of course, is that Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God, and either this claim is true or He lied about Himself. We must force ourselves to conclude, therefore, that either Jesus Christ is God as He said, or that He disqualified Himself to fulfill any role except that of history’s greatest charlatan, having deceived multitudes, sending millions to martyr’s graves.
An honest consideration of the claims of Jesus Christ concerning Himself will immediately lead one to agree that “never man spake like this man” (John 7:46).
How shall we consider this man?
Consider first the words of Christ.
Jesus Christ claimed that God the Father and He were one and the same person. “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). He and His Father were identical in purpose, in outlook, in essence. He expanded on this astonishing proposition when He said, “The Father is in me, and I in him” (John 10:38). Because of this He was able to promise His disciples, “He that seeth me seeth him that sent me” (John 12:45). In so saying, Jesus Christ claimed that all that the human mind could apprehend concerning God was fully revealed in His own person. Christ insisted on many occasions that the way to know God was not through examination of the beauties of nature or traveling the road of philosophy; but rather,
This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent (John 17:3).
The surest fact about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ was His assertion of personal deity; He claimed to be equal with God. On several occasions the Jews attempted to kill Christ because of this astonishing claim. This was no ordinary prophet representing the words of a distant God; here was a person speaking in His own name and in His Father’s name, claiming that His were the very words of God.
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18).
Imagine the hateful reaction of those proud Pharisees who thought of themselves as being authorities of God, instructors of the foolish, teachers of babes, and a guide to those in darkness. These men who considered theirs the last word about God and the Bible, now listened to a Man who, in defiance to their views, said
That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him (John 5:23).
Christ spoke, no doubt, with sorrow in His heart; for He knew that these words were a matter of eternal life or death to His hearers. He also knew that they would refuse to believe.
But to those who would be willing to consider His claim to equality with God, Jesus Christ, consistent with the laws of evidence, asserted the fact that there were at least two other witnesses that would certify His claim to deity-His miraculous works and His Father’s word.
But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father Himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me (John 5:36-37).
Consider then the works of Christ.
One need only to walk with Jesus Christ through the pages of the gospels to realize that this Man was more than man.
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which by interpretation is, Sent). He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing (John 9:1-7).
Here was a blind man, one of the many who were sightless and deaf and leprous, and came to Jesus Christ during His lifetime. By the touch of His hands these were made whole. The miracles of Christ by which He wrought physical healing in the lives of seeking people are presented by the writers of Scripture as an indication that indeed this Man is the Son of God.
Knowing that His detractors and their successors in history would depreciate the value of His miracles of healing, Jesus Christ, beyond merely repairing life, also proved that He was capable of renewing life.
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed on him (John 11:43-45).
Standing before the tomb of the man who had been dead for four days, Jesus Christ called that man by name and commanded him to step back into the land of the living. This was not simply healing. The eyes of Lazarus were more than blind; His ears were more than deaf; his heart, more than weak, was cold and dead. Hearing the call of the Author of life, that heart began to beat once more, and every cell in that body flickered into renewed life. Lazarus stepped out of that tomb and presented himself to his friends. They recognized him as the same who had died. Here was a powerful certification that the Man who called him from the tomb was indeed the Son of God. The Creator of the universe had demonstrated His mastery over His creation.
Consider as well the testimony of His Father.
The occasion was on a festive day when thousands came out from the city of Jerusalem to hear the preaching of a most unusual man, John the Baptist. This man, rugged in appearance and rude in speech, preached as if there were a strange fire burning in his soul. He knew that he was the last great prophet standing in the same line with Isaiah, Ezekiel and Malachi, who would announce the personal coming of God the Creator into the world of His creation. John was the announcer, the forerunner, the harbinger of the great day of divine intervention in the lives of men. He said,
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:11-12).
This mighty message from the prophet was succeeded by a most electrifying announcement. This was the announcement that answered the question that had been asked for thousands of years, namely How can a man be right with God? With a sweep of the hand into the crowd John pointed out a young man and said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). This young man of thirty years had stepped down to the water’s edge and insisted that He be baptized by John the Baptist. The account of high respect and tender love of John toward Jesus is recorded by Matthew,
But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:14-17).
God had spoken!
The crowd listened and heard a voice as of thunder announce with transcendent volume and clarity that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. So the voice of the Father is lifted in certifying the deity of the Son.
A similar identification between the Father and Son took place on a mountain where Christ took Peter, James, and John. He was transfigured before them as His face began to shine and His clothing became white as light itself. The impetuous reaction of the disciples was quickly stilled by what they saw and heard.
While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him (Matthew 17:5).
Once again the certifying voice from heaven says “yes” to the claim that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The eyewitness account of these events lends powerful evidence to the seeker and strengthening confirmation to the believer that Jesus Christ is surely the Son of God.
Every writer of the New Testament made a similar claim to the deity of Christ and nearly every one of them sealed the truth of their testimony with their life. So it was that the apostle Paul, after showing that Christ was equal with God, says,
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).
Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God by His words, and then He demonstrated the truth of this claim by His works. This claim to equality of God was further certified by the testimony of God Himself. Surely, upon considering the words and the works of Jesus Christ, one will realize that this Man stands unique in all of history, and will perceive that He is Immanual, “God with us.” True consideration of Christ will soon result in a believing heart. This is the heart that fully accepts the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This is the first step along the road to heaven.
And that is just the beginning!
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