Who is Jesus?

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Colossians 1:15-20 John 14:5-9
2nd Sunday of Lent
SMAS 10.30am Morning Worship
(04.03.2012)

Today we’re going to look at the question: Who is Jesus?
Note though that I’m going to look at who He is, not what He did. Which is as difficult talking to you about Barak Obama without telling you he’s the US president!

Whenever I delve into the Bible I’m always struck by a great sense of excitement, what am I going to discover? I hope you might feel the same? As we think about Who is Jesus? You might think ‘Oh no, I know this! Switch off mode. Don’t ! This is the reason John wrote His gospel – people were beginning to think they knew ALL about this Jesus. But they had begun to think their own thoughts and were getting it wrong!

Who do most people say Jesus is? Son of God most usual answer from people with some knowledge of Christian faith and ‘don’t know’ is an increasingly common answer today.
A brief scan of who Jesus says He is might not be very helpful. He said He was the:

Looking more deeply at those sayings reveals a clue: not in the, bread, water light etc. But in the two words ‘I AM’. Can think of where else you might have heard those words. Here’s some clues: Old Testament; Moses; burning bush!

Don’t forget that Jesus was a Jew. He came to, and for, the Jews, and for the Jews ‘I AM’ was an important phrase. From the burning bush God told Moses to go and communicate what he was seeing and hearing to the people. Understandably baffled Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "

‘I AM’ signifies God.
Jesus was standing beside the massive temple lamps representing the glory of God leading His people out of Egypt by a pillar of fire when He said ‘I am the light of the world’ He’s saying He is God’s very presence in the darkness of this world. Similarly He fed thousands from a few loaves of bread to show he is the true manna, the bread from heaven. He also says ‘if anyone is thirsty come to me’ because he is the rock which gave then water in the desert. 

Jesus is saying that He is God standing amongst them. The word ‘incarnation’ means the embodiment of a deity or spirit in some earthly form. Jesus isn’t just the Son of God – He is God and He says so Himself.

I AM also means I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE. He is our constant companion throughout our lives. Christ promised His disciples He would “never leave them or forsake them”, and He is true to His word. No matter how alone you may feel today, no matter how many people have let you down, no matter where you turn, no matter what emptiness you feel, when you are in pain and misery, when you are in unutterable joy, when you are lost; when you move through life ordinarily and plainly without much excitement or much to say, when you are silent in prayer Christ is there right by your side. And finally when you die Jesus will be there and you will know forever what it means when he says “I am”.

He’s our guide and protector. He’s King of kings, Lord of lords and He controls the entire universe. But He also gave up all of those rights in order to become a vulnerable baby - one of us! Just like a candle flame, fragile and vulnerable. He empathise with us and speaks the same language.
There are other clues about His divinity: one I gave you last week. When’s Jesus first mentioned in Bible? Genesis chapter 1. Who’s there creating? ‘We’! Not just God but the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are other mentions in Bible of Jesus being there before creation. Genesis 1 is His first mention and His last is at very end - Alpha and Omega, the A-Z, beginning and end.

Some other Bible references which show us that Christ is God:
Ezekiel 34, speaking of Israel as a flock of sheep, God declares that He himself is going to come and search for the lost and the strayed.
John 10:30 Jesus says "I and the Father are one."

Anyone has begun preparing for Christmas yet? God started preparing for the first Christmas even before he created the universe. We spend weeks / months preparing for Christmas. According to 1 John 1:1-4 God’s Christmas began in eternity.

Jesus was from the beginning, there’s nothing before the beginning AND v2 says He is eternal. Outside time and space. He’s been waiting in the wings, ready to make his entrance at the right time. Christmas began in eternity and the cue came from God.

John is writing this to counteract some in the early Church who were beginning to say that Jesus was just an ordinary man, a good man from God but just human. So John begins talking of Jesus in much the same way that he does in the Gospel he’d written about 10 years earlier.  The "eternal life" v2 speaks of is talking about the duration of the life that Jesus has, and gives. But it’s also talking about a quality of life. Abundant life that comes from our having a right relationship with God through Jesus.

Having established Jesus is God John also tells us that Jesus entered our physical world as a human being. He declares having seen, touched, heard ‘that which was with the Father and has appeared to us.” John wants all to know that Jesus was God and took on real manhood. He came in the flesh. He made a real entry into world of men and women.

John’s credentials and authority come from the fact that he is a witness speaking from actual experience. He heard the very words spoken by Jesus. He saw everything and says not just seen but had LOOKED AT Jesus. He uses a word which means to gaze at someone or something until one grasps the significance of it. John says that he has TOUCHED Christ Jesus. Jesus was no mere phantom but real, physical, flesh and blood.

John makes it seem so real and exciting! The Christmas present we all want!
So, two, seemingly contradictory statements: Jesus is God; Jesus is human flesh and blood. And, amazingly, they are both true! Coming as man: someone we can understand and relate to. Not born to royalty in the warmth and security of a palace and removed from everyday life by a privileged position. Born in a stable, growing up in a normal family, learning a trade from his father. An everyday life in many ways. Except that He is also God and therefore His divine glory and power could be seen too.

The disciples heard Him, saw Him, touched Him, laughed with Him, wept with Him, stood in awe of Him, were taught by Him, prayed with Him, worshipped with Him. They saw the power of God work through Him; the miracles, walking on water, turning water into wine, and a picnic lunch into a banquet. Touching the tongue and ears of the deaf mute, putting mud on the eyes of the blind man, touching those who had leprosy.

When they looked into His face they looked into the face of God, and they worshipped Him. They heard speaking in a way that no man has spoken before or since. Teaching with authority. Speaking words of compassion to the sick, words about the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.

A student asked the great German theologian Karl Barth "Sir, don't you think that God has revealed himself in other religions and not only in Christianity?" "No”, Barth thundered God has not revealed himself in any religion, including Christianity. He has revealed himself in his Son."

Our Gospel reading today Jesus says He is the way. The way to meet God. Through Him we have access to the Father. And no fears about our not being good enough. Jesus  said (Mark 2:17) that He came: not for the good; most certainly not for the religious: but for the bad people who need His help. Oh boy, am I glad about that.
Who is Jesus?
He is the man who IS God
He created everything and holds it all together.
He will return at the very end of time.
He was encountered by people thousand of years ago.
He is present with us today.
He is the ONLY way to the Father.
Amen.