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The Son of the Living God

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

     It is good to be together again as we look in to the Word of God and pay homage to the Lord as we obey his word and share it with others. The title for the lesson is: “The Son of the Living God.”

And our main text is from the New Testament, Matthew chapter 16, verses 13 through 16.  Please listen to the Word of God:

     When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  “But what about you?”  He asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

     What a wonderful confession of faith that was given to him by God the Father.  As Simon Peter shared his confession of faith in the Lord Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God

     I don’t know about you but I’m burnt-out on all the bad news!  How about a message that’s really positive, uplifting, and great news!  Some of you may be thinking “Well it’s about time!”  But in scripture the gospel is good news in a bad news world.

     So, in the Bible what’s God’s greatest, most uplifting, good news revelation to mankind?  Two words: Jesus Christ!  Jesus Christ is without equal, God in a body, unparalleled amongst mankind, absolutely unique; the one and only Son of God.  Jesus Christ he is pure perfection – Savior to the world.  It doesn’t get any better then that!

     Listen to some of Christ’s own claims about himself.  In John 6:35 “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never by thirsty.””  People eat bread to satisfy physical hunger and to sustain physical life.  Jesus states we can satisfy spiritual hunger and sustain spiritual life by maintaining a right relationship with him!  But bread must be eaten.  And Jesus must be received and revered, that is obeyed.  Jesus is Savior, but he is also Lord and he must be our Lord.

     John 8”12 “…I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Jesus Christ is the creator of life.  His life brings light or truth to mankind.  What does it mean to follow Christ?  “Follow” conveys the idea of giving oneself completely to the person followed.  It’s about commitment, like a soldier follows his leader.

     John 11:25 “…I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”  Jesus has the power over life and death!  When people realize by genuine faith Jesus’ power and wonderful offer to us, we joyfully commit ourselves to him.

     People often speculate: are these tremendous claims by Christ really true?  Consider the obvious evidence.  After more than 20 centuries Jesus Christ is still preeminent to billions of professing Christians across all continents and cultures on earth.

     This in spite of some inconspicuous aspects of Christ’s background.  Jesus was born into a poor carpenter’s family, raised in a small obscure town in a conquered country, without a formal education.  Jesus didn’t personally write down his own teachings.  He didn’t travel beyond about a 200-mile radius.  He never owned much more than what he wore!  He only lived on earth about 33 years, was put to death as a criminal, and died with more enemies than followers, then was put in a borrowed tomb.

     Yet Jesus Christ’s words are recorded, recited, revered, memorized, taught and proclaimed, lived by, died for, by generation after generation for over 2000 years across planet earth, that’s amazing!  His name: Jesus has gone into every country, culture, ethnic group and language across the globe.  Billions pray in his name, worship Jesus, witness for Jesus, and wait for Jesus to return bodily to this earth!  Yet for all of Jesus Christ’s continued popularity, and for all of Jesus Christ’s personal claims that are self-advancing, He is also equally self-humbling.

     Jesus also said in Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  His is an open, free-will invitation to all.  Jesus can bring rest to the weary carrying the heavy burdens of their sins, rest from the weariness of searching for inner peace.

     Jesus also said in Matthew 20:28 “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus Christ is Creator, King, King of Kings and the Lion of Judah!

Jesus Christ is also: suffering Servant, Lamb of God.

     What a paradox! What a man, what a God!  Who is this Jesus?  We echo the words of Simon Peter in Matthew 16:16 “…You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  People should ask themselves who do they really believe Jesus Christ is?  A mere man?  A holy man?  Prophet?  Great moral teacher only?

     Listen to some of the great testimonies and tributes of past Christians, followers of Jesus Christ; a fourth century anonymous Christian writes these words that have been preserved “Never was there a king like you!  Instead of royal isolation, you made yourself available to everyone who needed you.  Instead of high security, you made yourself vulnerable to those who hated you.  It is we who need you, above anything, or anyone in the world.  You give yourself to us with such total generosity, that it might almost seem almost as you need us too.”  In the fifth century Saint Augustine stated, “Christ is not valued at all unless he is valued above all!”  In the sixteenth century William Shakespeare the great playwright wrote “I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing thru the merits of Jesus Christ, my Savior, to be made partaker of life everlasting.:  Shakespeare understood God’s great gift, his grace personified in Jesus Christ.

     One of the most striking testimonies regarding the true identity of Jesus Christ, if it was indeed a heartfelt genuine testimony, came from a most unlikely person as a most unlikely place and time.  Consider from Mark 15:39 “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard is cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”  Do you realize that every time a Roman centurion is revealed in the New Testament it is always in a positive light?  Officers of Imperial Rome.  And we believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, raised up – out from amongst the dead, proof he is the Lord over death.  We must believe Jesus Christ is alive.  The evidence is compelling.  It is a fact that Jesus’ apostles and early disciples, most of which did die as martyrs.  We should ask ourselves, would they have died, become martyrs, for just a dead rabbi, who in fact taught over and over again that he would rise from the dead? 

     It is a fact that the universal church of Christ is a reality today because Jesus Christ is a living Lord!  Ask yourself, would the early first century AD church have survived twenty centuries for just a dead moral teacher or prophet, who made so many bold claims about himself, including that he would be raised from the dead if he had not been resurrected?

     The apostle John, who ended his gospel after seeing Jesus’s resurrected, glorified body testifies in John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”  And there have been tens of thousands of books, maybe more that have been written about this unique, one and only Son of God.

     Jesus Christ was no mere man.  Do you believe that he is the Son of the Living God?  That in his essence he is both man and God.  How can that be?  Well, he is deity in bodily form.  May we worship him, witness for him, as we wait for his coming form those in his church.     

 

            David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.

 




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10