November 6, 2016
Our place in God’s Story begins when the reality of WHO JESUS IS and WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US penetrates our hearts and opens our eyes to the reality of this new life God wants to give us. It’s at this point where our eyes are opened to see the goodness and grace of our God, that we make a conscious choice to turn away from our empty way of life, and turn to Him who gave His life for us and so we place our trust fully in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. And now as His followers we want what He wants: And what He wants is for us to follow Him and learn how to help others become friends, family and followers of Jesus.
And if you were here last week, we shared how those first disciples did just that. They learned to share with others about the Hero of God’s story: Jesus. They told people who Jesus was, how Jesus lived, what Jesus taught and what Jesus did. And last week I shared with you, that we needed to do the same. We have a story to tell, we have good news to share. But too often, we don’t know where to start of what to share. So beginning today, we are going to spend the next few weeks looking at the Hero of our Story. To dig into who Jesus is, how Jesus lived, what Jesus taught and what Jesus did. And this morning we’re going to start by looking at who Jesus is, because when you get right down to it, from cover to cover in God’s Word, one thing is clear:
JESUS Is The Center of God’s Story In fact, Jesus himself says it better than anyone: “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” – Jesus John 5:39 (NLT)
Jesus is the central character of God’s story. Jesus is first introduced to us as the promised offspring of Eve that will crush the head of the serpent. He is next spoken of when God promises to bless Abram with land, seed and blessing. It was through Abram’s offspring that blessing would come to the nations. And Jesus is the One through whom every nation will be blessed.
We know that Abraham encountered the eternal Christ. Jesus told His detractors, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” They responded by noting that Jesus was not even fifty – “How could you have seen Abraham?” Jesus gave them this astounding response; “Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” John 8:58
Later, after the exodus out of Egypt, God led His people Israel by His glory in a cloud. Paul noted that the eternal Christ was the One who was guiding the people of God. He wrote, “They all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” 1 Corinthians 10:3-4
When the Prophets came along, they all spoke of a King who would come and reign over Israel. Perhaps the most well known prophecy came from Isaiah who declared: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7
And so Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. And with the arrival of Jesus came the arrival of the kingdom. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15 And so the four Gospels enfold the story of Jesus through His Words and Works all leading to His death on the cross.
Then following His resurrection, Jesus reveals His plan to change the world to His disciples and commands them to “Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all I have commanded you, and I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
So the book of Acts records the witness of the early church as they go and share the good news of Jesus. Soon Churches are planted throughout the area. Churches in what we call Turkey today: The Churches at Antioch, Ephesus, Colossea and Galatia. Churches in Greece and Italy: The Churches of Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth and Rome. And the New Testament writers begin writing letters to these Churches, and they are all about Jesus and the new life we have in Him. And what did these writers all have in common? They were all eyewitnesses of Jesus or got their information from eyewitnesses of Jesus.
As Peter said, For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 2 Peter 1:16-18
And Paul wrote, Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12
And John wrote nearly the same thing: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 1 John 1:1-4
Which makes such a compelling argument – that from cover to cover, Jesus is the central figure in God’s story. This is why we are a church about Jesus. This is why we proclaim that forgiveness of sins is found in Jesus, hope is found in Jesus, peace is found in Jesus, life is found in Jesus. Jesus is not just the Hero of Our Story. He is the Story! And like John wrote in his gospel: 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. John 21:25
So if Jesus is the center of God’s story, then it makes sense that if we are going to share His story, we not only must become a people of the book, we need to really begin to get a handle on who Jesus is. Now, we can’t possibly learn all about Jesus in one sitting, but we can at least begin where the gospel writers begin. And one of those writers makes it pretty clear who Jesus is. To him,
JESUS Is The Human Face of God In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1-2
Jesus is introduced to us by John as the Word. Jesus is the very expression of God. He was with God, which tells us that Jesus existed in an eternal relationship with God before time began. He has always been eternal. And the Word, Jesus, was God.
The writer of the book of Hebrews explains Jesus as the very expression of God this way: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:3 In other words, when you look at Jesus, you see exactly what God is like. He is the radiance of God’s glory. He is the flower in full bloom. He is the beauty of God’s goodness. He is the fountain of God’s wisdom. He is source of light and life and love. Everything of God emanates from Jesus. You don’t see 99% of what God is like, you see all who God is in Jesus. He is the very nature of God. So when you look at Jesus, you see the human face of God.
And so John goes on to write, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
So when you look upon Jesus; you get to observe the highest expression of God’s personhood. You get to see His glory. And the highest expression of God’s glory is a life full of grace and truth. That’s who Jesus is.
He is full of grace. He died for you when you wanted nothing to do with him. He loved you. When you put your faith in Him, His death washed away all your sins. He gave you everything that was His. He gave you His righteousness. He gave you His inheritance. He gave you His power. You are now have His eternal life dwelling in you. You now have His Spirit living in you. He gave His all for you to give you everything in Him.
So if this is true, if you know this Jesus, you can rest in His grace. You never have to fear judgment. And no matter what happens in this world, you have a hope that cannot be shaken. He is full of grace. This is who Jesus is.
He is full of truth. Whatever He speaks is true. Whatever He promises will come true. And because He is full of truth, He will be true for you. He will be faithful to you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. And because He is truth, we can trust Him. Because He is truth, we are free to live without fear, without anxiety, and experience true joy and contentment in following Him.
Jesus is the human face of God who came near to us so we could know Him. As Jesus himself said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:9 He is the grace that gives our soul’s rest. He is the truth that sets our hearts free. This is why Jesus is the Hero of Our Story. But not only is Jesus the human face of God, the Bible also tells us that…
JESUS Is The Creator of All Things The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17
Jesus is not just the image of the invisible God, He is the hand of God in creation. And His handiwork is everywhere. Everything seen and unseen is the result of His creative power: everything from radio waves to electricity; from protons to neutrons, from the warmth of the sun to the cool of the wind. If you can think of something that exists: asteroids or angels, kidneys or cucumbers, countries or crowns – anything and everything that is, is here because of Jesus.
This is our Creator. This is who Jesus is. He made everything we need for life. And He made us. Every single person who has ever drawn breath was made by Him. He made every breath we breath. He made our hearts that beat over 42 million times a year. He made our minds to think 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Have you ever asked the question: “Why am I here?” Why do I exist?” Here, in the truth of God’s Word, we have the answer. You were created, your children were created, the person next to you was created FOR JESUS! Every single person alive today, from the least to the greatest, was created for Jesus. Listen to how the Apostle Paul puts it: From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ Acts 17:26-28
This is who Jesus is. He is our Creator. He is the reason you and I draw breath. And at the heart of our existence we were created for Him: To know Him, to love Him and to bring Him the glory He deserves. This is why He came to make God known: so that we might know Him who created us for Himself. And this is why He died for us: so he could redeem us and make us His own, once again.
This is why Jesus is the Hero of Our Story… why we trust in Him; why we follow Him; and why we want the world to know Him. He is the human face of God. He is the One who created us to know Him. This is our Jesus. Do you know this Jesus?