JESUS, THE SON OF GOD
Good morning and welcome once again to the Seeking the Lost program. We're thankful that you have tuned in today and it is our prayer that each of us will benefit from our study together.
[Some introductory remarks have been omitted here]
Today it will be our purpose to study the lesson, Jesus, the Son of God. In Isaiah 7:14 the prophet Isaiah was inspired to write, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." In this amazing verse we have the inspired announcement of One who would be born of a virgin and who would be called Immanuel. When we look at this amazing prophecy which foretells that one would be born on this earth to a woman who had never known a man, it fills us with wonder, awe and curiosity. This, of course, would be impossible for man. But with God it is not at all impossible. This is something that had never happened before and has never happened since. So, the One Isaiah speaks of would be miraculously conceived.
Between 700 and 800 years later, a tax collector and disciple of Christ, named Matthew, wrote a book telling of a baby to be born to a woman named Mary. In Matthew 1:18-25 he tells of a man named Joseph who discovers that his espoused wife is expecting a child. Now Joseph knew that he was not the father of this child. He had not had pre-martial sex with Mary as many people in our loose society do. He had great respect for Mary, as well as great respect for God. He would never do such a thing. Yet, the Bible tells us in verse eighteen that Mary "was found with child of the Holy Spirit."
Mary did not conceive this child by committing fornication. She was not a sexually questionably woman as some have said. She was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Some how, some way, the conception of a child has taken place without a human father. A conception that was above the ordinary. A conception that involved the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.
We find out more about this when God sent an angel to reveal what was taking place to Joseph. In Matthew 1:20-23 the Bible records these words: "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Notice that the angel who appeared to Joseph said that this was in fulfillment of what Isaiah the prophet had said about 700 years before. This Son that was to be born to Mary was He who would save His people from their sins -- He was the promised Messiah that the Jews had been looking for so many years and that Isaiah had prophesied about. Isn't it amazing that Isaiah the prophet foretold these events 700 years before they actually took place? How could he have done that unless he was inspired by God? That is exactly how he was able to foretell these events.
Luke tells us in Luke 1:31-37, that an angel had appeared to Mary before Jesus was born and said, "...behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. Here Jesus is called the Son of the Highest, which refers to being the Son of God. The Bible teaches that Jesus was born in fulfillment of prophecy, was born of a virgin, and that He is the Son of God. This was all accomplished because with God nothing is impossible. Why should anyone doubt that a virgin could conceive? Why should anyone doubt that a prophet could foretell the event 700 years before it actually took place? Why should anyone doubt that God could come to this earth in the flesh as a human being? With God nothing is impossible.
THE BIRTH OF JESUS
In Isaiah 9:6, the inspired prophet speaks of the childhood of Jesus in these words: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Here the prophet foretells of the birth of this one we are talking about today. The apostle John was inspired by the Holy Spirit to comment on this great event in John 1:1-3. John wrote, "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. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." In verse 14 he wrote, "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." Imagine, if you can, the Word, God, becoming flesh, becoming human. It is beyond our comprehension. The apostle Paul also wrote about this in Galatians 4:4-5. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." My friends, Jesus was not some created being. He did not begin His existence when He was born on this earth in human form. He, like His Father, has always existed and will always exist.
He is referred to as the Word -- the eternal Word who was with God and is God -- He has all the attributes of deity. And this Word became flesh, He became a man, He came in the form of a man. And when God saw in His great wisdom and plan that it was the right time, He sent Him forth born of a woman born under the law.
THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS
But the prophet Isaiah also foresaw the childhood of this one who was born of a virgin. In Isaiah 11:1 and 2, he was inspired to write these words: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah." In Isaiah 53:2 he wrote, "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. The Bible teaches that Jesus spent His childhood days in the city of Nazareth. To show how lowly this city was we refer to the statement made by Nathanael when Philip came to him to show him Jesus in John 1:46 "And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see." There certainly was no form or comeliness no beauty as to where Jesus lived or how He looked.
Most people think of Jesus as being a very handsome man, one who stood straight and tall and was physically attractive. Isaiah says that is not so. He was not beautiful physically that people would desire to follow Him because of that.
To show this spirit of wisdom and understanding that rested upon Jesus even when He was young look at Luke 2:40. Luke writes, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." Even when Jesus was a child, He was filled with wisdom. The Bible speaks of Mary and Joseph going up to Jerusalem for the Passover when Jesus was 12 years old. They started on their way home but soon realized that Jesus was not with them. They returned to Jerusalem and the Bible says in Luke 2:46-49, "And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? know ye not that I must be about my Father's business? Luke then says in verse 52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Jesus grew like all of us ought to grow.
The prophets also foretold of one who would prepare the way for Jesus. In Malichi 3:1 the prophet Malachi wrote, "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith Jehovah of hosts." Isaiah wrote in chapter forty and verse three, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make straight in the desert a highway for our God."
These prophecies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus' cousin, John. In chapter three and verses one and two Matthew records, "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." John is called "the Baptist" because he baptized people. It was part of his work of preparing the way for Jesus. But people had some problems understanding who John was. Luke records in chapter three and verses fifteen and sixteen, "And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you in water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire..."
Who was John speaking of? That question is answered in John 1:29. "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John was witness to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.
In his preparatory work, John was given the blessed privilege of baptizing Jesus. In Matthew three, verses thirteen through seventeen we have these words: "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 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 fulfil 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." Jesus set the perfect example for all of His disciples to come by submitting to baptism. No, Jesus had no sin and thus was not baptized for the remission of sins. But He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He set the perfect example for all to come who would believe on Him. And, after His baptism the heavens opened and God said, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
And, no doubt, when people are scripturally baptized today, the Father also says the same thing, because at baptism we become the children of God as Paul taught in Galatians 3 and verses twenty-six and twenty-seven. "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Now we are not the only begotten Son of God as Jesus was, but we become God's adopted children. Paul wrote in Romans eight fifteen, "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." And he also wrote in Galatians four five, "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Then, in Ephesians one five he wrote, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will," Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, but all those who obey Him are God's adopted children.
It was immediately after Jesus' baptism that Satan came to Jesus to tempt Him to sin. This is recorded in Matthew chapter four and Luke chapter four. His temptations prepared Him for His mission, just as temptations today can help strengthen us if we meet them like He did. In meeting the temptations of Satan, Jesus again set the perfect example for us. This is why the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews four fifteen, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Jesus overcame temptation by appealing to and depending upon the inspired Word of God. And that is exactly how we overcome today. Jesus was uniquely qualified to be our Advocate and Savior because He faced the same things that we face. He knows what it means to live as a human being on this earth.
THE MIRACLES OF JESUS
The prophets also foretold of Jesus' miracles. Isaiah wrote in Isaiah thirty-five verses five and six, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." Jesus' first miracle was turning the water into wine as recorded in John 2:11-13. This showed His power over nature and proved that He is the Son of God.
Jesus healed the Nobleman's son, and this was done so that people would believe on Him. John wrote in chapter four and verses forty-six through fifty-three: "So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house." This amazing miracle is followed by others and still others. Jesus healed the man who had an infirmity for 38 years. He healed Peter's mother-in-law. He healed the woman with the issue of blood. And on and on we could go listing miracle after miracle that Jesus performed, all of which was designed to prove that He is the Son of God.
It is as Nicodemus said to Jesus as recorded in John 3:2. "...Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." This is why the apostle John was inspired to write in John 20:30-31, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 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 didn't record all the miracles of Jesus. And I believe we can safely say that the other gospel writers didn't either. Jesus performed many other miracles that we have no record of. But John says these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life through His name. This is the reason that Jesus performed miracles.
That's not true of so-called miracle workers today. They perform their devious feats for money. They get the crowd worked up, have a few people who have suspected illnesses, those that don't show themselves outwardly, those that cannot be confirmed, and get them so worked up emotionally that they think they are healed. Some have even been discovered planting people in their audiences who would claim to be healed but who needed no healing. No doubt this kind of deception still takes place. But they pass the hat, the collection plate, and profit from it. I have often wondered why these so-called "miracle workers," if they are genuine, don't go into the hospitals and nursing homes across America and the world and heal all those people -- what could produce more faith than that? But they do their so-called "miracles" in very controlled circumstances and without confirmation of the healing.
Contrary to that, Jesus performed His miracles in the open. Usually among huge crowds. They were so convincing that even His enemies could not deny that the miracles had taken place. And they were not done for money, but to produce faith.
Let one so-called miracle worker go up to the hospital in Murray or anywhere else, and heal just one person who is near death, or raise one person from the dead, where no one can deny the miracle took place, and we will believe he can work miracles, but until then, we do not and cannot accept their claims. Jesus didn't hide in auditoriums and church buildings when He performed His miracles, and no one who witnessed the miracles doubted they had taken place.
THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS
The prophets tell us more of this man Jesus. They foretell of His death, burial and resurrection from the dead. In Isaiah 53:7 Isaiah wrote, "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." Jesus' purpose in coming to this earth was to die. On one occasion as recorded in Matthew 20:17-19, Jesus was going up to Jerusalem with His disciples. He took the twelve apart from the rest and said, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again." Jesus did not come to establish an earthly kingdom and rule for a thousand years, just to have the Jews thwart His plan and cause Him to establish the church in the place of the kingdom. Jesus came to establish His kingdom which is the same institution as His church (Mt. 16:18-19), and He accomplished that. He did not come for the purpose of setting up an earthly kingdom so that He could reign in the city of Jerusalem. He came to die on the cross for the sins of mankind -- 700 years before the event took place Isaiah foretold it.
And Jesus died on the cross. He was
buried in a tomb. But that was not the end. In that great sermon on the
first Pentecost day following the crucifixion of Christ, Peter said,
"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a
man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did
by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by
the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked
hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains
of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it. For
David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he
is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart
rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hades, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy
One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt
make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely
speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that
God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to
the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this
before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hades,
neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up,
whereof we all are witnesses." It was Jesus whom the prophets
foresaw dying for our sins, being buried in a tomb, and then rising form that
tomb in final victory. So Paul wrote in Romans 1:4 that Jesus is
"declared to be the Son of God with power, according to
the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead."
Paul wrote in Romans 5:6-11, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."
Jesus' death for you and me is in fulfillment of prophecy. He died for you, what have you done for Him? Have you obeyed His will in becoming a Christian? Do you believe the great facts we have read from God's word today showing how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of the promised Messiah who would come to save His people from their sins? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? If so, you are on the first step that brings salvation. Not only must we believe the great fact that Jesus is the Son of God, we must also act upon that belief. We must be willing to confess what we believe before men. We must be willing to change our lives to conform to His will. We must be willing to die to sin in the likeness of His death; to be buried in the water of baptism in the likeness of His burial; and then be raised from those waters in the likeness of His resurrection. It is only then that we can claim the benefits of the blood that He shed in His death. The salvation that He has brought to mankind.
As a Christian have you denied Him by the way you live? Have you rebelled against Him? Have you crucified Him afresh because of your sins? If so, then you need to humbly confess your sins, repent of them and humbly pray for forgiveness.
[Some concluding remarks are omitted here]
Thank you for listening to the program today. We pray that each has benefited from our study together, and until next time it is our prayer that God will bless you as you seek to do His will.