Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P40 (01-25-21)
When you think of all the prophecies that were said regarding Christ Jesus, as spoken by the prophets, and that all was fulfilled that was written concerning Him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms, and then, if you were one of His disciples on earth, you hear what Jesus said in regard to His soon resurrection, what do you suppose your response would be? Jesus said to them, “I will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock me, insult me and spit on me; I will be flogged and then killed. On the third day, I will rise again.”
Like all of us, we hear, but do not understand, and fail to believe. Why is it that we are so slow and hard of heart to believe all that Jesus has done and said? Can you not believe based on the miracles themselves? And the greatest miracles of all is the resurrection. Historians and archaeologists and various researchers have studied the resurrection and the empty tomb. There is no doubt the resurrection occurred. Not only that, we read in 1 Corinthians that he appeared to over five hundred people, who saw him after his resurrection and who then walked on the earth for a period of forty days, before he went back again to His Father, where He is now sitting at the right hand of God.
Jesus often spoke in physical terms, that went right in one ear and out the other, of those who heard his words. We just do not grasp the real meaning of his words, that they are truth and they are life, that they have a meaning beyond the physical realm we live in. He wants us to see, not with our physical eyes, but with our heart. God speaks into the heart of men that they may see their great need, that they are dead to God and need to be made alive in Christ, which can only happen if Jesus first dies and then is raised from the dead. That was done for us, as prophesied and foretold it had to be that way, for our sakes.
But, just like the disciples, who could not understand, we could not understand either, until the day the Holy Spirit came to live in us and illuminate the real meaning and understanding of His words. Until a man is born again, with the Spirit of God living in him, none of us can really understand. Instead, the words of Jesus sound like foolishness to us, so great is the darkness within us. So ponder over the fact that it was not until after he was raised from the dead, that his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
So what is the condition of your heart today? Is it like that of the Pharisees, so convinced they were the teachers of the law, who had corner on the market of truth, exalting themselves as the Magisterium, the one true church, and are threatened when someone comes along like Jesus, confronting their understanding of truth and explaining to them that He is the way, the truth and the life. What was their response?
What kind of attitude did Jesus have to the woman caught in adultery? Did he condemn her? Did Jesus come to condemn? No! We were all, Jew and Gentile alike, all bound up in sin, dead already, and in need of a Savior. Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save us all. So what did He say to her accusers? The one without sin, cast the first stone. They all walked away, dropping their stone, the older ones first, then the younger. Then what did Jesus say to her? Neither do I condemn you. Your sins have been forgiven. Go and sin no more. Jesus came full of grace and truth, full of love and mercy and kindness to us. He spoke truth to the hearts of men, in all he said and did. What is the attitude of your heart and how will you respond to His words to you?
So, in reality, all of us, Jews and Gentiles alike, are responsible for the death of Christ. All of us deserve to go to hell, and do not get what we deserve. When we come to Him for life, we escape death by receiving new life. For it in His resurrected life, we have the forgiveness of sin, and we have new life by His Spirit placed in us, His love poured into our heart, and who will never leave us or forsake us. God has placed in every man the thought of eternity, which explains the emptiness we feel, that we may long for what is real, the life of God, that if we knew who He is, we would want Him.
1 Corinthians 15:23-28
23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”[Psalm 8:6] Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
Many times, people look at that passage and confuse that, but all that it is dealing with is the Trinity. When all of this is done, Christ Himself, God will then be perceived as who He is. He is already God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but now instead of the delineation being there. In other words, Christ became man, so instead he will go back to natural state, still be three in one, but it will just be God. That is what you will be looking at, God.
1 Corinthians 15:29
29 Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?
That is another confusing passage. It is because there are people baptizing for the dead. That is not what is being talked about. We talked about the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, yet they baptized for the dead. That is the hypocrisy of religion. I do not believe in the resurrection but I am baptizing for the dead. If there is no resurrection, then why are you baptizing for the dead? That is what he is asking here. It is being sarcastic in the argument but it is forcing people to ask those questions and answer those questions.
1 Corinthians 15:30-31
30 And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? 31 I face death every day – yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Then it goes on in verse 35.
1 Corinthians 15:35-36
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
Recall what Jesus said.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
1 Corinthians 15:37-49
37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[Genesis 2:7]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
That takes place at the time of the rapture of the saints, when the dead in Christ, where their spirits have already joined Christ, their bodies will be joined to them at that time. That is why the last will be first. They will be the ones whose bodies go to meet the Lord in the air. Then we who are left, will also meet Him in the air. Our bodies too will be transformed at that particular point and we will all get new bodies. For that I am very grateful.
1 Corinthians 15:50
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God
People are trying to clean up flesh, but it will not inherit the kingdom of God no matter how much you try to clean it up.
1 Corinthians 15:50
nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Our bodies are not going to heaven. We are going to get a new body.
1 Corinthians 15:51
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed
1 Corinthians 15:52
52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable
In other words, the bodies that are dead will be raised imperishable.
1 Corinthians 15:53-58
and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality [everlasting life], then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[Isaiah 25:8]
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[Hosea 13:14]
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ has come under the most scrutiny of men from the New Testament times to this present day. You have legal minds who have studied the evidence. You have historians who have studied facts and the testimonies of those who recorded the event. Then numerous people have recorded the relevance of the resurrection. Historians, for example, are men who are trained in the laws of evidence. Others as well have affirmed the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a totally established historical fact. Those who know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, the resurrection, as talked about earlier, is the vital cornerstone to the validity and assurance of our salvation.
One of the things we look at, was his death, burial and resurrection. That was not something that came upon the scene, but was something that was already in the mind and knowledge of God before the foundation of the world. So did Christ know that was going to occur?
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
There were four things that Jesus told his disciples. First of all, He had to go to Jerusalem. That was the holy place. He was going to suffer at the hands of all religious leaders. The same is true today. Anyone who is going to be a proclaimer of what Christ came to represent, mercy, love, kindness, the man who had every right in the world to judge us, yet refused to do so, saying “neither do I condemn you. Get up and sin no more” (John 8:1-11), the one who said “I did not come to judge the world but that the world might be saved through me” (John 12:47), the one who told us that to judge one another is foolish, saying “Who are you to judge another man’s master?” (Romans 14:1-4). We do not belong to each other. We belong to Him as far as judgment is concerned. The person who looked down at the cross, after the people beat him half to death, spit in His face, plucked His beard, nailed Him to a cross, He, Jesus, looked down and said “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). The one who answered Peter, who asked, “How many times do you forgive your brother who sins against you? Seven times?” Jesus replied, “No, seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-35). Seven means completeness. The one through the Holy Spirit said through the apostle Paul, “Forgive one another as Christ Jesus forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13). The one who came not to promote religion but to let people know what love was all about. Jesus who left us with these words, ”The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6). The one who said, “There is only one command I leave you with. Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) Paul picked up on that in Romans.
10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love your neighbor as yourself because love is the fulfillment of the law.
To the religious world, those are foreign words. Those are words that they do not understand. Because religion and what Christ came to represent are two different things. Religion sets the standards of rules and regulations and says, “You follow these and you will be holy” and “Do these things and you will be holy”, whereby Christianity is where Christ came and said “There is no way for you to be holy”. Religion says “Yes there is. You just watch my smoke.” Jesus says, “No there isn’t. I have already seen your smoke.” So, you are finding that there is a terrific difference between religion and Christ.
You will have people who will set themselves up as the standard of truth. That is exactly what the Pharisees did. They were saying, “We have the standard of truth.” Jesus came on their scene. He violated their standards of truth. And He exposed their hypocrisy.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. sup>3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
In other words, Jesus was saying, “Why take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye when there is a log in your own. If you are without sin, you cast the first stone at somebody. But if not without sin, you better drop your stones and go home.”
That is what it means to follow Jesus. It does not mean that when you are talking about being in Christ, that you are holier than thou. He never told us to set up standards for ourselves. He never told us to set up a new religious system to follow. He never told us to start a new organization so that somebody could judge you by what you are doing or not doing. He told us that is His business. He told us that when He returns, He is not coming to deal with sins but to bring salvation to those waiting for Him.
28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
The reason He is not coming to deal with sin is because He has already dealt with it.
22 without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
So when any man enters into the exchanged life with Christ, realizing that truth, that not only my sins are dealt with and so are yours. So if your sins are already dealt with by God and God says, “I forgive you” then who am I to do less, unless I think that I am God?
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
There are many people walking around today with that attitude of God. There are many people walking around today thinking somebody is getting away with something, thinking that it is my job to go out and to tear someone down in order to make myself look better, because somebody is getting away with something.
My friends, we have to realize something, that from God’s vantage point, there is not a person on the face of this earth that is not getting away with something. If we got what we deserved from God, every one of us would go to hell. So, in essence, all of us are getting away with something just by the mere fact that we are being alive.
So, it is all those kinds of attitudes that are Pharisaical attitudes. They are the attitudes of the people who do not come to give life, but who come to kill. Here were the top religious leaders, the self righteous people, who stumbled over the stumbling stone of Jesus Christ, not accepting the righteousness that comes from God, but attempting to establish their own.
16 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[Isaiah 8:14; 28:16]
They were the leaders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. What did they do? They killed the truth. The living Word did not agree with their interpretation of the written word, so they nailed Him to a cross. That same thing is taking place today by self righteous writers, self righteous Christians, self righteous elders and the chief priests and teachers of the law, who were setting themselves up as some kind of an example. If Jesus was here today, He would say, “You are nothing but white-washed sepulchres.”, as we read about the seven woes spoken by Jesus to the Pharisees
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like white-washed sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
God looks upon man’s heart, not his outward actions. You can train a monkey to act and you can train a parrot to talk but you do not have a born again human being with either one of those two. So God looks on our hearts and He looks at what is going on underneath the skin. When He sees what is going on underneath the skin, then it enables us to see what is going on underneath the skin. The only thing we can say to God is “Thank you for your love, your mercy, grace and kindness.”
It is an interesting thing. You can take people who do not know Christ as their Lord and Savior. They have been told to give their life over to a higher power. So what kind of higher power would you like to have? One who is merciful, who accepts me the way I am, one who loves me the way I am, the one who is not through with me yet, one who is patient to me and kind to me. That is their own imagination of what that higher power is all about that people talk about. But I tell you, you do not have to sit around in wonderment over the higher power that you make up. God is exactly who you are looking for.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man. Therefore, everyone is looking for a God that is real, not one of your own imagination, but God who is real. God has the need to have mercy and kindness extended to man. Man has a need to receive forgiveness and to be loved just the way we are. That is built inside of us. And because it is there, we are longing to know a creator like that.
The problem is the religious world, as did the elders and chief priests and teachers of the law, who presented another kind of God, a God like they are. They are unbending, unmerciful. That is why Jesus said to them, “I do not want your sacrifices. I want mercy.”
6 I tell you that something greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[Hosea 6:6] you would not have condemned the innocent.
Is this not how man thinks, that because that is the way I am, then I just have to assume that is the way God is. “He certainly could not be any different than me, especially when I am the center of the universe.” So we set ourselves up as gods ourselves.
Where God looks down and says, “Father, forgive them”, with a love that keeps no record of wrongs, yet we as little gods, not only keep records of wrongs, but we love to let everybody know about other people’s wrongs. We call that Christianity. There is not anything of a slight resemblance of that to Christianity. That is Pharisaism that is motivated by Satan himself.
Now before we get to Luke 18, Jesus prophesied the fact that he was going to be handed over, and he was going to suffer many things at the hands of the elders and teachers of the law. That was totally the Jews. Now, in Luke, he is going to talk about being handed over also to the Gentiles. In Romans, you will also see from the beginning of the book to the end of the book, the contrast between Jew and Gentile, that even though from God’;s vantage point, Jew and Gentile, in Christ we have all become one (Romans 3:9, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:28). That veil has been split in two (Mathew 27:51) so that now all can enter into the holy of holies (Hebrews 10:19-21), calling Him, “Abba Father” (Galatians 4:6), which has never been done before.
31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; 33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
So you have the elders and chief priests and teachers of the law who did their dirty work behind his back, initiated a trial and arrested people. They became the trial lawyers, the judge and the executioners. Then they turned him over to the Gentiles to beat him, insult him, flog him and kill him. So who killed Jesus? Jew and Gentile alike. All of mankind was involved in the death of Jesus.
If Christ prophesied then, how could we ever say his death was accidental? If Christ clearly stated he was going to rise from the dead, and failed to do so, what would you have to conclude about him? You certainly could not conclude that he was God, because God would certainly know what he was talking about. So you would have to say that he was nothing more than a martyr.
Now, in John 2, we read here that Jesus is referring to the destruction to the temple. So we have to ask, “What was he referring to?”
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
So many times, Jesus spoke using physical things, where in essence he had a spiritual meaning to it. People did not figure that out until after the event, and hardly ever before the event. Many times that is true in regard to the bible that we hear something and we are always putting it in a physical realm, not realizing there is a spiritual realm that God is dealing with. So you ask yourself the question, “Did his disciples understand, at that time, what he was talking about?” No, they didn’t. When did they understand that? It says after he was raised from the dead. What was the result of understanding? They believed the scripture and the words Jesus had spoken.
If these statements that Jesus made about himself that he was going to be raised from the dead and be handed over to the Jews and Gentiles and to be raised in three days, what are you going to have to conclude about the other statements Jesus made? How can you say he was so accurate in those but so inaccurate in something else? So every one of these statements of prophecy that Jesus made was just another nail in order to verify the fact that what Jesus said was true in his claims to be Deity.
Now in Matthew 28, we are going to read the resurrection account and look at what took place there.
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.
Take a look at that. The first two to discover the tomb was empty in the first place were Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who went to the tomb. What events had occurred prior to their arrival? There was a violent earthquake, an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and went to the tomb, rolled the stone back and sat on it, and the appearance of an angel, who looked like lightning and whose clothes were as was white as snow. The guards were so afraid of Him that they shook and became like dead men. That does not surprise me they would do that. Who were these women looking for? They were looking for Christ. “Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, the one who was crucified.” Then he went on to explain he wasn ’t there. “Come see the place where the body had been. After you do that, go and tell the disciples that this Jesus has been raised from the dead.”
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