The Theology of Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Theology of Jesus

By Larry R. Lasiter

1999

2000 years ago God the Father sent a MESSAGE to the earth. This message is called the GOSPEL, which means "GOOD NEWS." The Messenger sent forth was God the Son whom we recognize as Jesus Christ. "Christ" being the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Messiah", meaning "Anointed One", -and "Jesus" being the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew "Yeshua" meaning "Salvation." Not only was the Messiah to be named "Salvation" but as the angel told Mary He would be called "EMMANUEL" which means "GOD WITH US." (Matthew 1:23)

(1) The GOSPEL is a MESSAGE of GOOD NEWS. It is both GOOD and NEW. It represents a covenant agreement far exceeding those made with Noah, Abraham and Moses although the promise was alluded to in the Abrahamic covenant in that the Father said that all nations would be saved by faith in the "promised Seed" which is Jesus Christ. (Gal.3:14) Notice Galatians 3:16, -"Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed. He does not say, "And to seeds, " as referring to many, but rather to ONE, "And to your SEED," that is, Christ."

(2) The Messenger would be called EMMANUEL. Jesus is God the Son, and is fully divine and was fully divine before He was born of Mary. He had no beginning of days but was and is the EVERLIVING ONE. Jesus is the Creator by which all things were spoken into existence. He is called the "WORD" of God because He has been authorized by the Father to act as the Spokesman of the God Family. Notice John 1:1-2, -"In the beginning was the WORD, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."

In Jesus, God became FLESH in order that through Him we may become SPIRIT. He emptied Himself of DIVINITY so that we may partake of His DIVINE NATURE. In sharp contrast to Satan who tried to exalt himself, Jesus humbled Himself in order to make a way for us to be forgiven and exalted. Notice Philippians 2:5-11, -"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He EXISTED in the FORM OF GOD, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (held on to) but EMPTIED Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." For 33 years, in Jesus, God walked among men in the flesh enduring pain, suffering, temptation, betrayal and an agonizing death on the cross. He was called EMMANUEL, -"God with us."

(3) Jesus alone is the ANOINTED One. Anointed first to deliver the "good news" message, -and Anointed second to take our sins, give us His righteousness and lay down His life for us. Notice Luke 4:18-19, -"The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He ANOINTED ME to preach the GOSPEL to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind. To set free those who are downtrodden. To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."

(4) The gospel is the good news of SALVATION for all sinners who will repent and confess their need of forgiveness. This message was first delivered by Yeshua (Jesus) whose name means "Salvation." The "I AM" that revealed Himself to Moses has always been the "WHATEVER WE NEED HIM TO BE." In Hebrew the root meaning of "I AM" is "I WILL BE." In the beginning of our existence He became our CREATOR. When Israel was oppressed in Egypt, He became their DELIVERER from bondage, -when they were hungry in the wilderness He became BREAD FROM HEAVEN, -when they thirsted He became WATER FROM A ROCK, -when we are sick He becomes our HEALER, when we mourn he becomes our COMFORTER -and when we confess our sins, repent of our sinful ways, -He becomes our SALVATION. Jesus is the great I AM, and He is WHATEVER WE NEED HIM TO BE. According to the gospel HE IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS! Notice 2 Corinthians 5:21, -"He made Him who knew no sin to BE SIN on OUR BEHALF, that WE MIGHT BECOME the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD in Him."

The gospel message also encompasses the coming Kingdom of God, which is the government of God soon to be established on the earth at the return of Jesus. The Millennial reign of Christ will usher in a time of peace and prosperity which is good news indeed. But it offers no assurance ofeternal salvation. The central focus of Jesus' teaching on the Kingdom was that He was the King of the Kingdom, and that in Him the Father was creating new creatures, born of spirit becoming a holy nation of priests. (1 Peter 2:9)

As Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3), it is not enough to be born of the seed of Abraham, but one must be born again of the spirit in order to enter into the Kingdom of God. The Israelites believed that because that were the physical descendants of Abraham that they were heirs of the Kingdom. But notice what Jesus said, -"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (vs 3) Notice also the admonition of John the Baptist to the Jewish religious leaders, -"And do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, "We have Abraham for our father;" for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham." (Matthew 3:9)

The ultimate message of the Kingdom is that God is expanding His family in us through Jesus Christ. In Christ, believers are heirs of an eternal kingdom with promises of glory. The weight of the gospel message is much greater than simply the earth being restored to its original beauty and man living a physical existence without the agony of war. Notice John 1:12-13, -"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Any way one might want to slice it the GOOD NEWS is about Jesus Christ. The primary message Jesus delivered was about Himself. 

JESUS: "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may havelife." (John 5:39-40)

JESUS: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

JESUS: They said therefore to Him, "What shall we do that we may WORK the WORKS of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD, that you BELIEVE IN HIM whom He has sent." (John 6:28-29)

JESUS: "I AM the living bread that came down out of heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh." (John 6:51)

JESUS: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves." (John 6:53)

JESUS: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad." The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM." (John 8:56-58) Before He came as Jesus He was the I AM.

JESUS: "I AM the resurrection and the LIFE; he who believes in ME shall LIVE even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in ME shall never DIE. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26) 

JESUS: "Now My Soul has become troubled, and what shall I say, "Father, save Me from THIS HOUR?" But for THIS PURPOSE I CAME to this hour." (John 12:27)

JESUS: "I AM the WAY, and the TRUTH, and the LIFE; no one comes to the Father, butthrough Me." (John 14:6)

JESUS: "I AM the VINE, you are the BRANCHES; he who abides in ME, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from ME you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

PAUL: "So consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:11)

PAUL: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life IN CHRIST JESUS our Lord." (Romans6:23)

PAUL: "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!". . ."There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 7:24-25 / 8:1)

PAUL: "For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach CHRIST CRUCIFIED, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)

PAUL: "And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

PAUL: "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is JESUS CHRIST." (1 Corinthians 3:11)

PAUL: "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

PAUL: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-6)

PAUL: "Beware of the DOGS, beware of the evil workers, beware of the FALSE CIRCUMCISION; for we are the true circumcision, who WORSHIP IN THE SPIRIT of God andglory in CHRIST JESUS and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more; circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count ALL THINGS to beLOSS in view of the surpassing value of KNOWING CHRIST JESUS my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but RUBBISH in order that I may GAIN CHRIST, and may be FOUND IN HIM, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through FAITH IN CHRIST, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may KNOW HIM, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:2-11)

PAUL: "And He is BEFORE ALL THINGS, and IN HIM all things HOLD TOGETHER. HE IS also HEAD of the BODY, the CHURCH, and HE IS the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that HE Himself might come to have FIRST PLACE in everything." (Colossians 1:17-18)

PAUL: "Put on the NEW SELF who is being renewed to a TRUE KNOWLEDGE according to the image of the One who created him, -a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but CHRIST IS ALL, and IN ALL." (Colossians 3:10-11)

IN HEBREWS PAUL SAYS OF JESUS. . .That Jesus was the Creator of the world (1:2). . .That He isgreater than the angels, and in fact is worshiped by the angelic host (1:6-14). . .That He is the Author of our salvation (2:10). . .That He is our perfect High Priest who makes intercession for us before the Father (3:1). . .That He is greater than Moses (3:3). . .That He was Melchizedek who accepted tithes from Abraham, and that His Priesthood is superior to that of Levi's (Ch.7). . .That He is the Mediator of a better Covenant enacted on better promises (Ch.8/9). . .That His sacrifice on the cross was greater than the sacrifices of animals, and His offering of Himself was once and for all (Ch.10). . .That all the great men and women of FAITH had put their hope in the promise of His coming into the world though they lived before He was born of Mary (Ch.11). . .That they all are witnesses for us today(Ch.12). . .That through Him we come not to the mountain of Sinai but to the heavenly mountain of God, His very throne (Ch.12). . .And that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Ch.13).

From the very beginning of man's creation God intended for him to have a intimate, personal relationship with his God. Before the original sin it is easy to picture Adam and Eve running to meet God when they would hear Him walking in the garden of Eden, as evidenced by the fact that God knew something was wrong and different when His children did not come to meet Him but instead hid themselves from Him that fateful day.

Man's close relationship with God was broken and he was cursed, the animals were cursed and even the land itself was cursed. Very few people indeed had the opportunity to know their Creator after this time, only a small select few and later the single nation of Israel.

In the time of Noah God says that Noah alone was faithful. Hundreds of years go by until God makes himself known to the son of an idol maker in Ur named Abraham. Still more hundreds of years pass until God delivers Abraham's descendants out of bondage in Egypt. And over a thousand years before God sent His Son with the gospel message, -"good news" that He was the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIFE, the RESURRECTION, our SACRIFICE, our REDEMPTION and the SALVATION of ALL, Jew and Gentile alike who would believe in Him. Jesus brought "good news" of Himself, that in Him we are justified of our sins and brought back near to God, even to the very Throne of Grace, the Mercy Seat of God. Notice 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, -"Now all these things are from God, who RECONCILED US to Himself THROUGH CHRIST, and gave us the MINISTRY of RECONCILIATION, namely that God was in Christ RECONCILING THE WORLD to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the WORD OF RECONCILIATION. Therefore, we are AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you onbehalf of Christ, be RECONCILED TO GOD."

When the fulness of time had come, God sent His only Son to die for man so that the barrier of sin between us would be destroyed. Yes, my friends, God so loved you and I that He gave His Son for us. And Jesus so loved us that He willingly laid down His life to save us from eternal death. As Jesus said, "No greater LOVE is there but that one should lay down His life for His friends." God honors His own Laws, -Sin is the transgression of His Law (1 John 3:4) and the penalty for sin is eternal death. (Romans 6:23), -for sin there must be a death, so out of His deep love for us Jesus died in our place.

This reminds me of a religious TV spot I have seen which shows a man on death row counting down the hours, then minutes leading up to his execution. He sits in his cell with his head in his hands, then suddenly hears the footsteps of a guard coming to take him to the death chamber. He looks up as the footsteps stop and the two share eye contact. The next scene shows a man being strapped onto a table, receive a lethal injection and die, all without showing the man's face. Then as the camera pans to the guards who are beginning to exit the witness room, one man dressed as a guard remains standing, his eyes fixed on the man who just died in his place. Yes, it was the convicted man standing there and the guard who had died for him. In the background a song could be heard saying "What kind of Friend?" His name is Jesus.

THE EMPHASIS OF JESUS' TEACHINGS

Jesus' theology did not harmonize with that of the Jewish religious leaders of His day. He was continually finding Himself at odds with them. Why?

Their emphasis was on trusting themselves instead of putting their trust in God. They were about "doing things", -notice that the young rich ruler in Matthew 19 asked Jesus -"What good thing must I do that I may obtain eternal life?" Although Jesus told him that if he wished to enter into life he must keep the Commandments, Jesus knew that the man had not truly kept them as he had claimed, saying "All this I have done from my youth." In effect, the man was claiming to have kept the Commandments since his age of accountability. Jesus then told him that if he wished to becomplete before God, he should give his great wealth to the poor, take up his cross and follow Him. The man went away sorrowful because he was unwilling to trade his earthly possessions for a treasure in heaven. Jesus knew well that all have sinned and fall short of being worthy to claim the glory of God on their own merits.

Although Jesus clearly says in Matthew 5 that He did not come to destroy the Commandments, He here in Matthew 19 is not teaching that one can obtain salvation by keeping the Commandments. Notice Galatians 3:21-22, -"Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."

Although we cannot as Christians live outside the Commandments of God, it is not the Commandments that give us life, but Christ. The Commandments reveal to us the nature of sin, -they define sin and in fact, help us to understand that we are sinners and are in need of a Savior. Notice Romans 3:20, -"Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin."

FOR EXAMPLE: Many people today have allowed themselves into being deceived to believe that they are living a way of life that is acceptable to God. Premarital sex, unmarried couples living together, stealing from their workplace, dishonoring God's Commandments , lying, dishonoring their parents, coveting what belongs to another, and the list could go on and on. Because our decadent society no longer condemns such evil practices people are deceived into believing God does not condemn them. But tragically they are in error. God gave us His Commandments to show us what sin is and tells us that if we find ourselves practicing sin to repent and turn from our wicked way. All who practice such things will perish, not one will escape! God in His infinite love for us has done everything from defining sin through His Commandments to sending Jesus to die for the sins of all who will repent and commit to Him. But it is the Law that condemns and Jesus that forgives. There is no life in the Law but in Jesus. 

The Pharisees and Scribes were always claiming to be doing the WORK of God. Yet Jesus told them that they did not even know God! He said that they traversed sea and land in pursuit of converts and then made of them twice the son of hell as they were. (Matt.23) Jesus even told them that they were of their father, the Devil! (John 8:44) What made their teaching so evil? Certainly, they were teaching God's Laws and their Jewish traditions. God's Laws are not evil, nor are many Jewish traditions, so why was Jesus so strong in His condemnation? 

Perhaps the answer is that even from the beginning in the garden of Eden God has revealed that He would save man through the PROMISED SEED, which is Jesus. (Genesis 3:15 / Romans 16:20) The Scribes and Pharisees were not only unwilling to put their trust and confidence in the Messiah, but were active in preventing others.(Matthew 23:13) In emphasizing the WORKS of the LAW for salvation they were being revealed what sin was but were unwilling to accept the Lamb of God as their sacrifice, and instead deceived themselves into believing that they could produce their own righteousness.

Jesus tells us just what the real WORK of God truly is, notice John 6:28-29, -"They said therefore to Him, "What shall we DO, that we may WORK the WORK of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "THIS IS THE WORK of God, that you BELIEVE IN HIM whom He has sent." It's important to understand that the word "believe" here is translated from the Greek"pisteuo" which means "to adhere to" or "rely on." The WORK of God then is to adhere to and rely onJesus for our salvation. It is His precious blood that the Father has provided for our redemption. And it is His righteousness that Christians are clothed with enabling them to come before the Throne of God.

Jesus sent out His Apostles with the instructions to make disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, the name of Jesus and the holy spirit, and teach them to adhere to and rely on Jesus for their salvation. He is our righteousness and the "Author" of our salvation. (Hebrews 2:10)

The Jewish religious leaders had come to worship the Law rather than the Lawgiver. Jesus taught that the Law of Commandments were good but that it was made for man and not man for it. For example, the Pharisees and Scribes had made a burden of the Sabbath Day. Jesus reminded them that the Sabbath was made to serve man and not man made to serve the Sabbath. They had added sixty-five specific do's and don't regulating Sabbath observance.

The gospel message of Jesus was not anti-commandments, but it magnified the purpose and intent behind them. As we read in the book of Galatians the entire Book of the Covenant consisting of 613 ordinances were added to the Children of Israel because of transgressions. Divorce was permitted by Moses because of hardness of heart, but Jesus said God never intended it to be this way from the beginning.

I am a father of five children ranging in age from 10 to 24. Although all my children have been relatively faithful to be obedient to family rules and guidelines, some have proven to be a little more faithful than others. There may be one which I will not need to carefully define what I desire of them and another which I do need to spell out exactly what they can and can't do. Sometimes I am surprised to learn that one did something I felt like they should know I would not want them doing, though I never specifically told them not to. In these cases I have had to do what God did at Sinai after He saw that the Ten Commandments were not going to be enough for such a stubborn people, -add additional ordinances (613) because of transgressions. These are designed to plug loopholes for those seeking a way around the intent of the Commandments. Moses knew that salvation would not be in our ability to perfectly fulfill the requirements of the Law also but wrote of Jesus. Notice John 5:45-47, -"Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father, the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for HE WROTE OF ME. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"

Unlike the Pharisees and Scribes who taught a religion that emphasized the ceremonial aspects of Law observance, Jesus put in easy, practical terms what pleases God. Things like forgiving those who wrong you,. . . giving to the poor,. . . having genuine compassion for those who suffer or mourn,. . .doing good on the Sabbath,. . .being humble rather than self-righteous,. . .relying on Him whom God sent rather than relying on one's own ability to produce righteousness,. . .love even your enemies, . . .honor your parents,. . .sexual lust is adultery, . . .hatred is murder in the heart,. . .keep the Commandments not in the letter only but by their spiritual intent.

The Pharisees and Scribes prided themselves in how much they knew of the Scriptures. They believed they could study their way into eternal life, but Jesus taught that in Him the Father had provided the only way to life. Notice, John 5:39-40, -"You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life."

Some of these men had actually memorized the entire Old Testament, yet Jesus said to them, -"You do not know the Scriptures!" (Mark 12:24) As Paul wrote, they were ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Tim.3:7) Jesus IS the TRUTH.

These men were always debating points of the Law without ever coming to see the purpose for which God gave it to them. They were continually tempting Jesus in this manner, desperately trying to entangle Him into a transgression of the Law. When Jesus healed the sick on the Sabbath they were quick to accuse Him of sin. They were so blinded that they actually believed that God would find it offensive if Jesus healed on the holy day. But Jesus answered that He could do nothing outside of the will of God the Father. If it hadn't been God's will that the sick be healed on the Sabbath then God would not have honored Jesus' words.

In their zeal to please God with their works by strict adherence to the letter of the Law, they had neglected the weightier matters of the Law, Judgment, Mercy and Faithfulness. In straining gnats they were ignorantly swallowing camels. (Matt.23) They showed no compassion for those suffering else they would have been joyful at their healing. They failed to see that it was indeed God's pleasure to heal even on the Sabbath.

The real reason behind their reasoning was that they did not want Jesus validated as the Messiah. They were in Moses' seat, and Moses' seat was fading. The shadow was being replaced by the substance. (Colossians 2:17)Righteousness, Redemption and Salvation would come in Christ not the works of the Law. Their present Jerusalem was being replaced by the Jerusalem above. (Gal.4:25-26) And God was creating a new Holy Nation, -called Christians.

 

 

 

Points of Truth Ministries