April 9, 2010

To Live is Christ — in awe of God’s revelation

If a man turned water into wine, healed all those who were sick, drove demons out of the possessed, walked on water, gave sight to the blind, made deaf ears hear, and raised the dead, you’d think that person would be recognized as no mere man. Yet when Jesus offered these proofs of His identity, the idea that He might be God dwelling in their midst didn’t seem to cross their minds.
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13–17)
Normally, a person trying to prove their identity would offer the necessary paperwork and perhaps tell of situations or circumstances that only they could know. This would convince whoever needed convincing and that would be enough. A revelation from God would not be necessary. This is not the case regarding Jesus.

I just scanned a document that uses the teachings of the major religions and cults to show their beliefs. I was looking for their teaching regarding the identity of Jesus Christ. In every religion aside from Christianity, Jesus is given some other designation than God the Son. He is a perfect man, or an avatar, or an angel who became a man, or a prophet, or even a being inhabited by an alien. No one recognizes Him as fully man, fully God. No other religion declares that He is the revelation of God to man, a revelation that involves an incarnation and a virgin birth.

I’m also reading a book called The Glory of Christ by John Owen. He uses Scripture to point out that no one can see the glory of God (meaning the qualities and attributes that are true of God) except by seeing them in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the express image of God. He hints at God’s glory in creation and in His Old Testament dealings with men, but God’s full revelation of who He is can only be seen in the Son.

However, when Jesus walked the earth they missed it. To most of them, “He had no form or splendor . . .  no appearance that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2). He was “despised and rejected by men” and they crucified Him because they thought He blasphemed God by claiming to be more than a mere man.

Peter knew who He was — only because the Father revealed it to him. The disciples understood, more than 500 of them because it had been revealed to them. Since then, millions have had the amazing experience of God revealing to them the reality of His coming as a babe in a manger who grew “in wisdom and stature” and who died on a cross, not because He lied about His identity, but because He was the only one who could bear the wrath of God and the punishment of our sin.

1 comment:

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