A Jesus Story for Today
Having loved His own who were in the world… (John 13:1)
Our Western Gregorian calendar marks the year of this Man’s birth. He was conceived contrary to the ordinary laws governing natural life. His birthplace was a barn, He grew up in an obscure rural village, and His parents were plain-living peasants. Their ancestry was fully Jewish – known as God’s chosen people but globally held in contempt. They were a typical poor, young blue-collar couple, lacking formal education and possessing neither wealth nor influence.
Yet His arrival was announced by angels and caused panic in the heart of one king and jubilation in the hearts of three other kings. As a baby, He was prophesied over twice by strangers during His dedication at the temple. As a toddler, He was visited by a team of accomplished foreign scholars who traveled and searched for months to locate Him. Approaching his teen years, the wisdom He shared impressed, engaged, and surpassed religious professionals and highly placed lawyers. As a young man, He apprenticed quietly in his father’s carpentry shop until age thirty, after which He ministered for the next three years as a traveling preacher without a home, church building, or supporting congregation.
In the final years of His unnaturally short life, He belatedly demonstrated the fullness of His anointed nature by walking on water, commanding violent storms to cease, transforming water into fine wine, healing the sick, raising the dead, and multiplying a handful of fish and loaves sufficient for the satisfaction of thousands of hungry devotees.
He never held an elected office and never had a title, yet multitudes wanted to proclaim Him their king and were prepared to forsake all other appointed and inherited rulers in exchange for just this single Man. He never owned a house, never married nor had children, never attended college, and never gained any formal credentials or positions. As an adult, He never lived in a big city or traveled more than a hundred miles from the place where He was born. He had nothing in this world beyond the simple clothes He wore.
He never wrote a book, and yet the libraries of the world all contain books about Him. He never wrote a song, but hundreds of thousands of songs have been written about Him with more added daily. He never painted or sculpted, yet the greatest artists in the history of mankind have consistently sought to honor Him by selecting Him as the subject of their masterpieces. He never founded a college nor earned a degree, but all the schools in the world cannot claim as many students. He never commanded troops, drafted a soldier, planned a troop movement, won a war, or fired a gun; and yet no other leader has ever had more volunteers and followers – most of whom are prepared to die for Him.
He never practiced psychiatry nor studied pharmaceuticals, yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors of the world. He cured countless desperately afflicted multitudes without medicine or instruments – even raising several from the dead. He turned no one away while they were suffering, never acted inconvenienced, and never charged for His services. His only incentive was the benefits others received.
He was no film or rock star and played no professional sports. He never appeared on television, spoke on the radio, blogged or tweeted; yet His words are broadcast worldwide on a daily basis. He turned the world’s concept of greatness and fame upside down while demonstrating true servant leadership. Although He never did any of the things contemporary society considers an indication of greatness or importance, He was a true hero and His life remains worthy of imitation by every generation.
Despite all His good deeds, He was criticized for befriending society’s outcasts and for resisting popular influences and powerful personalities. His words and deeds were forcefully opposed by the ruling elites. His family doubted His motives, and at times thought Him to be unstable and misguided. The tide of world opinion turned against Him while He was still young. Many were jealous of Him and others hated Him. Friends deserted Him, one denied Him multiple times, and another bitterly betrayed Him to His enemies. He was arrested by His adversaries and suffered harassment, lies, false accusations, and a mock trial. Although wholly innocent, He was pronounced guilty, whipped, spat on, beaten, pierced, and sentenced to a criminal’s public death in a painful, bloody manner. He was nailed to wooden crossbeams, set high between thieves, speared, ridiculed, and cursed. As He was dying, the executioners wagered for His only remaining possession, a simple robe. His last words were those of forgiveness and love for the very men who were persecuting Him.
For His burial, He was laid in a borrowed tomb donated through the pity of a stranger. At the moment of His death, the earth shook violently and split open, the skies thundered, and the sun darkened. Graves yielded their dead who then walked the streets bearing witness to His innocence, His authority, and the promise of grander things to come. Although His enemies had tried, they couldn’t destroy Him because even the grave was proven unable to hold this distinctive man Who went by the name of Jesus.
Abraham Lincoln’s body was relocated seventeen times after his assassination. This was done to prevent it from being stolen and/or ransomed as had been attempted early after his burial. It was finally entombed in concrete and steel at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln was a great man but his life pales when compared to that of Jesus Christ, the greatest figure in history. Yet, Jesus has no guarded tomb because He arose from death and is forevermore alive and with us. His resurrection was not assisted by the intervention of any man or medical activity. This act of rebirth alone separates Him from anyone else who ever lived or founded a false religion; Buddha, Zoroaster, Mohammed, Abdu’l-Bahá, Sun Myung Moon, Confucius, Joseph Smith, and all the other apostates cannot make this single most crucial claim.
An obituary for Jesus was, therefore, unnecessary; but had one been written at the time of His sacrificial earthly death, it would have read similar to this:
Jesus, the Christ, bar Joseph from the Royal Family of David, aged 33, died late Thursday afternoon in Jerusalem. Born in Bethlehem of Judea, He spent his childhood in Egypt and his youth in the northern Galilean village of Nazareth. He was sentenced to death by the state for alleged crimes against the Roman Empire and the Jewish religion. He was crucified along with two other criminals by order of Prefect Pontius Pilate with the approval of King Herod Agrippa. Causes of death were extreme exhaustion, severe torture, unrelenting pain, and profuse bleeding. The place of execution was Mount Calvary, also known as Golgotha the Place of the Skull. His entombment occurred just prior to the Sabbath in a nearby hillside cavern previously owned by family benefactor Joseph of Arimathea. He was the firstborn adopted son of the late Joseph Ben Jacob, a respected carpenter from the Tribe of Judah. He is survived by His mother, Mary, three brothers and two sisters, eleven apostles, and numerous disciples. He was self-educated and spent most of His adult life working first as a woodworker and then as a pastor, teacher, community organizer, physician, and social worker. No will was left or required as he lived an indigent life, virtually owning nothing of earthly value or significance. In lieu of flowers, the family requests honoring the deceased by embracing His instruction and the example of His life. Monetary donations will be forwarded in His name to local charities and mission organizations.
There was, however, no time or need for an obituary, because three days thereafter, He was resurrected and back even stronger – ministering, exhorting, and teaching His friends and family in full view of hundreds. Jesus departed soon thereafter on His terms and timing. Just prior to leaving, He promised an imminent future return while leaving His immortal Word and providing a great new Gift, intended to comfort us in the interim. Jesus lives and is the same yesterday, today, and always.
Soon the world discovered that every army that marched, every navy that sailed, every government established, every king who reigned, and every president who held office had not affected history as powerfully or as positively as this one Man. Although more than twenty-one centuries have come and gone since His brief time on earth, He’s continuously been the centerpiece of the human race as its greatest source of guidance and divine inspiration. Many times every week across the globe, countless multitudes gather to study His teachings and to show their respect for Him.
Modernity has difficulty understanding Him and schools have become reluctant to teach about Him or even mention His name. But yet, leaders can’t succeed if they ignore Him. Historical revisionists can’t erase Him. Scientists remain baffled by Him. Communism, Nazism, and atheism have failed to silence Him. New Agers, Hindus, and Muslims can’t replace Him. The proud can’t accept Him. Religion can’t sanitize or convolute Him. And none of the commercial commentators on TV or radio are able to explain His continuing prominence and influence.
Time itself recognizes His earthly presence by its division between that which came before and that which came after His birth. Today, His followers celebrate the date of His arrival on earth as both a holy day and a holiday. Without ceasing, His enemies dispute antagonistically against the mere mention of His name and are hostile to any display of the symbols relating to His humble birth and life. They harass public officials and school boards, they wear out the courts with endless mean-spirited petitions, and they disrupt the celebrations enjoyed by a majority of the population. His symbols are not their issue. It’s the Man Himself, complete with heavenly ancestry, incarnate birth, Jewish heritage, pure life, selfless death, church on earth, eternal and unchanging existence, renewing resurrection, claim of being God, universal authority, kingdom of saints, eternal judgment, second messianic coming, and His everlasting presence. These are the underlying issues they find unacceptable.
The names of the eminent statesmen and thinkers of ancient Greece and Rome have come and gone. The names of past scientists, philosophers, and theologians have also come and gone. But the name of this humble Jewish man multiplies more and more with every season that passes. His life, works, and words are continually studied in minute detail from every possible perspective: historically, educationally, doctrinally, practically, comparatively, medically, critically, devotionally, prophetically, and analytically; yet there is always enough to satisfy everyone while keeping them hungry for more. Even though in excess of two thousand years lie between our generation and His time on the earth, Jesus lives on in hearts, in truth, and in eternity.
The Bible – regardless of translation – offers in excess of two hundred names, titles, and character references for Jesus. These reflect His nature, His position in the triune Godhead, His earthly ministry on our behalf, and His relationship to us. The names given to those who appear throughout the Bible, both Old or New Testaments, have specific meanings and reveal life purpose; for example, Adam means “man” and Jacob means “deceiver.” This concept holds true for Jesus whose name means “God saves,” with “Christ” added and/or substituted later to mean “the anointed One.”
…from the word yasha comes the Hebrew word yeshua. Yeshua means salvation. …And when Yeshua was translated into Greek, it became Iesous. When Iesous was translated into English, it became Jesus. Jesus is Yeshua and Yeshua is Jesus. Yeshua is the real name of the One the world knows as Jesus. …It literally means God is my salvation. …Yeshua means God has become our rescue, our help, our freedom, our healing, our victory, and our salvation. God has become Yeshua to become the answer to every need.
~ “Yeshua” in The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn
If we want to know someone better, we need to first know their name followed by their background, lifestyle, goals, and character. When individuals change their names, they are telling the world that there is now something different about them. When God wants to directly change or magnify a person’s specific mission, He changes their name, as from Abram to Abraham and from Sarai to Sarah. Today, when Jews leave their countries for their true homeland, Israel, they change their names upon arrival, not just for compatibility with the new geographic location but to reveal and amplify their recently assumed or reinvigorated hopes, dreams, and goals. The old is shed and going-forward they are cloaked in the new.
To gain a closer relationship with Jesus, we need to know as many of His names, titles, and character attributes as possible. For there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we may be saved. (Acts 4:12) He has chosen to reveal much of His nature to us so that we may come to know Him better. Jesus is one member of a Triune God that also includes the Father and Holy Spirit; there are many additional names and attributes for the other two members of the Trinity that I have not included here because I have limited the story to Jesus, the Son. Knowing the names of the other two members of the Trinity will also shed further light on Jesus because there is overlap and commonality in the names, character, and nature of all three members of the Godhead. The following are examples of Jesus’ revealed nature found in my Bible – there are many others not listed here that will result from a diligent Word search.
Jesus is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, and the Alpha and Omega Who always was, is now, and evermore shall be. He is the Great I Am, Our Redeemer, Savior, Guide, Friend, the One Who is closer than a brother, Hope, Eternal King, Judge, Lawgiver, and Advocate. Fortress of Our Salvation and a Holy Sanctuary, forgiving and faithful, a glorious crown, Architect and Builder, Commander of the Lord’s Army, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Joy of Every Longing Heart, Resurrection and the life, and One New Man.
He was bruised by us and for us, yet He brings healing. He was killed by us and for us, yet He brings life and eternity. We enjoy peace, wisdom, and joy simply by being in His presence. In Him we have grace, favor, and mercy. He is the Way, Truth, and the Life, Father to the Fatherless, Defender of Widows and Orphans, a Refuge for the poor, needy, and oppressed; the Source of Our Strength, Ever-present Help, Our Rescuer and Retribution, Kindler of the Fire, Breacher of Walls, and Hope of the world.
Jesus is our Light, Lover, Liberty, Logos, Lord, and Life. He is Goodness, Kindness, and Gentleness. He is Holy, Righteous, Powerful, Merciful, and Pure. His ways are always right and He is with us always. His Word is eternal and true. His will is perfect and unchanging. His wisdom is beyond measure and far above that of all others. He is a Strong and Mighty Tower and a Pillar we can lean on.
…in these last days [God has] spoken to us by His Son,
whom He has appointed heir of all things,
through whom also He made the worlds;
who being the brightness of His glory
and the express image of His person,
and upholding all things by the word of His power,
when He had by Himself purged our sins,
sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
having become so much better than the angels,
as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Heb 1:1-4)
His eternal names written in the heavens are Adonai, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Majestic One, Messiah, Dayspring Who has Visited Us from on High, Immanuel, Dear Desire of Every Nation, Fairest of Ten Thousand, Lily of the Valley, Long-expected Savior, Child and Yet a King, Rose of Sharon, Only Mediator between God and Man, Ruler of All Nations and Ruler of All Nature, Propitiation of All Our Sins, and Most Faithful One.
Jesus provides the blood that cleanses whiter than snow, every blessing we need, answers to our prayers, living water so that we will never again thirst, bread for our spiritual hunger, healing balm of Gilead for our pain, and jewels for our crown of life.
He has revealed Himself to us as a Bridegroom, Brother in Time of Need, Branch to Abide In, Banner Over Us, Bright and Morning Star, Buckler and Shield, Builder of Our Soul, Bridge to Eternal Life, Our Blood Covenant, King of the Jews, Shepherd and Ruler. He chose to be born a Jew, He’s a Jew today, and He will be a Jew for all eternity. He’s Israel’s Strength and Consolation, the Holy One of the Nation and People of Israel, Zion’s Rock, and the Light of Israel.
Jesus is the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He’s God’s Son, the sinner’s Savior, and the centerpiece of civilization. He’s unique, unparalleled, and unprecedented. He is the loftiest idea in literature, the highest personality in philosophy, the unmatched beauty in poetry, and the supreme problem in higher criticism. He’s the Fountainhead of all true theology, doctrine, beliefs, and religion.
…Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God,
did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
but made Himself of no reputation,
taking the form of a bondservant,
and coming in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death,
even the death of the cross.
Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him
and given Him the name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those in heaven,
those on earth, and of those under the earth
that every tongue should confess Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2: 5-11)
He strengthens and sustains the weak, and provides victory for those who are tired, tempted, tested, and undergoing trials. He heals the afflicted, discharges debts, delivers captives, is a hedge of protection, a covering for widows and orphans, forgives sinners, and ministers to all who ask because that’s His divine pleasure and nature.
Jesus has given us the mind of Christ, a new spirit, eyes that truly see and ears that truly hear, a heart of flesh in exchange for one of stone, a humble neck that bends in recognition and worship, and an eternal home in glory. He has created us in His image, commissioned us with dominion over all the earth, made us nearly equal to the angels, given us new life filled with resurrection power, equipped us with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, set our feet on solid, high ground, defeated our satanic enemies, and given us the banner of victory over death, hell, sickness, and the grave.
He cannot be minimized, marginalized, or ignored. He is gentle and humble of heart. Jesus is the deciding factor in whether we live or die, prosper or perish. God the Father raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places far above all principalities, powers, might, dominion, and every name that is named – not only in this age but also in that to come. He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils as the risen Christ, Lord, and Savior.
Jesus will come again to judge the nations, establish equity and justice, and rule forever with unerring truth and righteousness. Jesus is the name given to Him by the Father before the beginning of time, the name above all names at which the mention of – whether in heaven or on the earth – every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord of All to the glory of His Father.
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For by Him, all things were created that are in heaven
and that are on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.
All things were created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things and in Him all things exist.
He is the head of the body, the church,
who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead
that in all things He may have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell
and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself
…whether things on earth or things in heaven,
having made peace through the blood of His cross. (Col 1:15-23)
Jesus is the True Light that gives light to every man who comes into the world – a great Light that shines in the darkness, the Only Begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father and has declared God, His name is called Jesus meaning “God Saves” for He saves His people from their sins, He is known as Immanuel meaning God with us. In Greek, He is the Christ; in English, the Anointed One; and in Hebrew, the Messiah. The Lord our Strength and Song Who has become our Salvation; and…
The very exactness and person of the Father, Creator and Possessor of the Heavens and the Earth, the One Whose likeness we bear having been made in His image and granted free will, our Shield and our Exceeding Great Reward, God Most High Who walks before us, Everlasting God and Maker of the Eternal Covenant, Angel of the Lord Who has redeemed us from all evil, the Almighty Who Blesses, I Am Who I Am, the very image and exactness of His Father Jehovah (aka Yahweh) Who Heals (Raphe), Whose Banner Over Us is Love and Victory (Nissi), Who Sanctifies (Makadesh), Who is There (Shammah), Who Provides (Yireh), Who is Peace (Shalom), Who is Shepherd (Rohi), Who is Most High (El Elyon), Who is Jealous (El Kanna), and Who Sees/Watches (Roi); and…
The Lord God merciful, gracious, mighty, long-suffering and abounding in goodness and truth; Who keeps mercy and forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin; Lord of Hosts Who sits between the Cherubim; a Tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, a Place of Refuge, a Shelter from the storm, a Hiding Place from the wind, and a Covert from the tempest; Rivers of water in a dry place, and a Shadow of a great rock in a weary land. He is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace; One Who Sits Upon the Throne from Everlasting to Everlasting, He Who opens and no man shuts, and He Who shuts and no man opens; and…
A Tried Stone, a Precious Cornerstone, a Sure Foundation, and a Stumbling Stone for the nations. Jesus is the Lord of the Harvest Who sends out laborers, the Coming One Who demonstrates His power when the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the captives are released, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them; the Lord of the Sabbath Who gives an invitation to those who labor to come into His rest, to take up His yoke for it is light, to learn from Him because He is gentle, meek, and lowly in heart; giving rest for our souls and release from our burdens; and…
The Resurrected One and the Temple to be raised in three days superior to any earthly temple, the One greater than Jonah, Elijah, Abraham, and Moses; He Who holds the keys to death, hell, and the grave and has taken captivity captive; the Father’s Beloved Son and Servant Whom He has chosen and in Whom He is well pleased and has placed the Holy Spirit so that He may declare justice to the nations and in Whose name they will trust.
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 were made through Him,
and without Him nothing was made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it…
That was the true Light which gives light
to every man coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him,
and the world did not know Him.
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right to become children of God,
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.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we beheld His glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,
full of grace and truth…
And of His fullness we have all received,
and grace for grace.
For the law was given through Moses,
but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has seen God at any time.
The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father,
He has declared Him. (John 1:1-18)
Jesus commands even the waves and the wind. He is the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Father in power and coming on the clouds of heaven surrounded by His saints and martyrs; whose death tore the veil of the temple from top to bottom, split rocks, caused the earth to open, the skies to darken, and the grave to give up its dead when they found new life and walked again in the streets of Jerusalem. He is the reason for our peace, joy, and hope. Jesus walked the Sea of Galilee and called us out of darkness to become fishers of men.
He taught with authority – as One knowing the Father – on hillsides, in synagogues, on streets, and from boats at sea; He commissioned us to share the Good News of the Son of Man in Whom all power and authority have been given and to baptize in His name; whom even the demons call Jesus the Son of the Most High God. He comforts us in all our tribulations that we might be able to comfort those who are in trouble. Jesus is the Son of God Who was preached among us; in Him was yes to all the promises of God and in Him amen to the glory of God.
Jesus established, anointed, and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a Seal, Witness, and Guarantee while suppling seed to the sower and increasing the fruit of righteousness. He calls those things which are not as though they were and they come into existence. He is the Image of the Invisible God, the Firstborn over all creation, and in Him all things exist. He is the Head of the body of believers and the universal Church.
He is the Beginning of All that is and is to be, the Preeminent One of All Creation, Christ in us the Hope of Glory, a Mystery Hidden from the Ages, the Root of Jesse and Offspring of David, a Bright and Morning Star, the Dayspring Who has Visited Us from on High, the Sun of Righteousness Who Rises with Healing in His Wings, the Firstborn of the Dead, Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and the End, First and the Last, Who was and is now and is to come world without end, and in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead.
He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief….
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely, He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes, we are healed….
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment….
He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people, He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief. (Isaiah 53:1-12)
Jesus has reconciled us to Himself and then shared with us the ministry of reconciliation, He Who knew no sin became sin for us and became our Passover and First Fruits, a Prophet dishonored in His country and among His people, Who says: “Be of good cheer, do not be afraid, only believe, go in peace, your sins are forgiven, be healed of all your afflictions for above all I desire that you prosper and be in good health for I am not willing that any should perish but that all shall be saved and enter into eternal life.”
In His parables, Jesus reveals Himself didactically and enigmatically as the Sower of the Seed, Pearl of Great Price, Good Samaritan, Father of the Prodigal, Hidden Treasure, Son of the Vineyard Owner, Servant’s Master, Vinedresser, Landowner, Caring Shepherd, New Wine, the Gateway, Watchman, Bridegroom, and Son of the King at the wedding feast. The four biographical Gospels record eyewitness details of His life and in doing so reveal that Jesus rarely fellowshipped with priests, lawyers, rulers, and the wealthy; rather He befriended prostitutes, lepers, beggars, liars, Samaritans and outsiders, sinners, foreigners, women and children, cripples and invalids, outcasts, prodigals, widows and orphans, laborers and servants, thieves, the homeless and dying, the indigent, and tax collectors – ordinary and common people of the earth. But rich or poor, first or last, He loved them all.
Historic, poetic, and prophetic Bible passages illustrate Jesus metaphorically in everyday types and symbols that help us relate to the mystery of His all-encompassing and eternal spiritual nature. Therein, we are presented with Him as a: Sabbath Rest and Rising Sun, Lamb and Lion, Promise and Covenant, Sacrifice and Offering, Manna in the Desert, Pearl and Coin, Truth and Light, Water and Well, Branch and Root, Scapegoat and a Serpent of Brass, True Vine and New Wine, Rock and Cornerstone, Holy Place and Temple, Altar and Consuming Fire, Scepter, Seed and Fish, Foundation and Covering.
…Jesus Christ, the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us
and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father,
to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever….
Behold, He is coming with clouds,
and every eye will see Him,
even they who pierced Him.
And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.
Even so, Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,”
says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” 1:5
…One like the Son of Man,
clothed with a garment down to the feet
and girded about the chest with a golden band.
His head and hair were white like wool,
as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;
His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace,
and His voice as the sound of many waters;
He had in His right hand seven stars,
out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword,
and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.
But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me,
“Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
I am He who lives, and was dead,
and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.
And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” 1:13
…He who is holy, He who is true,
He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts,
and shuts and no one opens.3:7
…Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come! 4:8
…You are worthy, O Lord,
to receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
and by Your will they exist and were created. 4:11
…You are worthy to take the scroll,
and to open its seals;
For You were slain,
and have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
to receive power and riches and wisdom,
and strength and honor and glory and blessing! 5:9
…Blessing and honor and glory and power
be to Him who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb, forever and ever! 5:13
…Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!
Who shall not fear You, O Lord,
and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy.15:3
(Excerpts from Revelation chapters 1, 4, 5 & 15)
He is known as the Passover Feast, Morning Star and Day Star, the Blood sprinkled on the doorposts, the spoken and written Word, and a Green Tree. Cover-to-cover throughout His Holy Bible, it is expressed that Jesus is personally available to us in His roles of Teacher and Counselor, Master and King, Rabbi and Priest, Deliverer and Protector, Healer and Physician, Advocate and Mediator, Exalted One, Only Wise God, One to be Feared, Potter, Majestic Glory, Spring, Great and Lasting Reward, Sustainer, and Husband.
Jesus is the Apostle, Apple of Our Eye, Fulfillment of Prophesy, Anchor of My Soul, Author of Life, Rock of Ages, the Atonement, Giver of Every Good and Perfect Gift, Nazarene, Bishop of My Soul, Our Blessing, Bundle of Myrrh, All in All, Branch of David, Altogether Lovely, Beautiful One, First-born of Many Brethren, Door, Chosen One of God, Clump of Camphor, Father of Lights, First Fruit of the Resurrection, Glory of the Father God, both fully God and Man, Head of the Church, Our Inheritance, Innocent One, the Lamb without spot or blemish Who was sacrificed before the foundations of the earth, Lifter of My Head, Logos and Rhema, Living Stone, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, Prince over the kings of the earth, Man of Many Sorrows, Minister of the Sanctuary and True Tabernacle, Prophet Mighty in Word and Deed, The Name, Potentate, Remission for Our Sins, Root of Jesse, Second Adam, Second Person the Trinity, Star of David, Strong Hand, True Joy Giver, Rock in Whom I take refuge, Lawgiver, Fourth Man in the fiery furnace, Armor of God, Restorer of Our Souls, Fragrant Offering, and Crown of Splendor.
Jesus was literally the Father’s “skin-in-the-game” because He ordained Him to take on human nature, live with us, and die for us. We may overwhelmingly conclude that God did not create man to live independently of a close relationship with Himself. All attempts to do so end in tragedy and are unnecessary as He has provided us with both Jesus and another Comforter in the Holy Spirit.
When nothing’s real in your life,
you’ve reached bottom, and
your marriage is sinking.
When you can’t hold on any longer,
your strength is all used up, and
you’re lonely and abandoned.
When you have no more resources,
you’ve run out of excuses, and
you need a fresh start.
When you feel you can’t be forgiven nor can even forgive yourself,
you are flat broke, and
no one is there to help you.
When you’re not certain why you are here,
you need a fix or a drink, and
your pain or shame seems more than you can bear.
When there are only questions without answers,
you don’t know what direction to turn, and
you feel like a failure.
When you want to quit or die,
your health is broken,
you need a lover, and
you’re ready to run away.
Then I Am Who I Am is the All-Sufficient One and He is freely offering Himself to you right now, just as you are. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you. (Psalm 50:15)
Jesus said, You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me (John 5:39); and to some of His disciples on the Emmaus road He said, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25, 27).
In His prophetic ministry, Jesus bridged the Old and the New Testaments by fulfilling all Messianic prophesies that preceded Him and then by contributing many non-Messianic future revelations. Scholars dissent about the number of Messianic prophesies He completed, with their interpreted range extending from a low of 191 to high of 456 – a convincing quantity at any benchmark within. Scholars also dissent about the nature of Jesus’ pre-incarnation appearances in the Old Testament, known as theophanies, and therefore disagree on the number of Old Testament miracles accredited to Him. The Bible unambiguously records many miracles performed by Jesus as witnessed and/or recorded by the four gospel writers in the New Testament. These were loving acts beyond natural means and explanation, and are given as evidence of who He is. Some illustrations are:
- Delivering the demon-possessed man in Capernaum
- Healing Peter’s mother-in-law
- Cleansing a Galilean leper
- Turning water into wine at Cana
- Commanding the paralytic to rise and walk
- Making whole the withered hand
- Healing a nobleman’s son and a centurion’s servant in Cana
- Delivering the widow’s son from death
- Calming the stormy sea
- Delivering the Gadarene demoniac
- Healing the paralytic at Bethesda
- Curing the woman afflicted with hemorrhaging for twelve years
- Raising Jairus’s daughter
- Restoring the sight of two blind men in Capernaum
- Healing a demon-possessed mute
- Feedings of the five thousand and the four thousand
- Walking on the Sea of Galilee
- Healing the Syro-Phoenician woman’s daughter
- Restoring the sight of the blind man of Bethsaida
- Healing the man born blind
- Straightening the woman stooped over
- Healing a man who had dropsy
- Cleansing the ten lepers
- Healing blind Bartimaeus
- Restoring the servant’s ear
- Raising Lazarus from the dead
On examining the miracles enumerated above, the reader will quickly note that many of them are miracles of healing. Some are healings of deformities due to accidents or birth defects, others may be due to disease or sinful behavior and habits. Nearly every book of the Bible provides us with scriptural promises and passages regarding the timeless availability of comprehensive healing of our body, mind, and spirit. The following is a brief sampling in no particular sequence; it is intended to verify Jesus’ healing nature and ministry.
He sent His Word and healed them. ~ Psalm 107:20
By His stripes we are healed ~ 1 Peter 2:24 and Isaiah 53:5
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds ~ Psalm 147:3
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved ~ Jeremiah 17:14
I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds ~ Jeremiah 30:17
The evangelist John wrote: There are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written (John 21:25). The greatest of God’s miracles performed through Jesus was His resurrection and ascension after defeating death, hell, the grave, and setting the captives free.
Who, then, is Jesus? In Bethsaida according to Matthew, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they answered, “Some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, 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’ question remains valid today. Many men presently say Jesus was a profound teacher and rabbi, a good example, a prophet, a wise philosopher, a faith healer, an itinerant storyteller, and an exorcist, or perhaps, just a really kind or charismatic guy.
Sometimes helpful and unusually clarion feedback comes from unexpected sources not presumed directly associated with Christian advocacy. I offer two conceived by well-known modern Jewish men of the arts. Leonard Cohen, singer and poet, shared:
I’m very fond of Jesus Christ. He may be the most beautiful guy who walked the face of this earth. Any guy who says “Blessed are the poor and blessed are the meek” has got to be a figure of unparalleled generosity and insight and madness.… A man who declared himself to stand among the thieves, the prostitutes and the homeless. His position cannot be comprehended. It is an inhuman generosity. A generosity that would overthrow the world if it was embraced because nothing would weather that compassion. I’m not trying to alter the Jewish view of Jesus Christ. But to me…the figure of the man has touched me.
Author, commentator, and scholar David Brooks shares the following from his life observations (taken from his book The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life).
Jesus is the classic scapegoat, the innocent outsider that all the groups could rally around in their bloodlust and dump their hatred on. The only thing that is different about the Jesus story – and it is a big difference – is that in this story Jesus came to earth precisely to be the scapegoat. He volunteered for this job, forgave those who executed him, and willingly carried the sins of the world on his shoulders. He came precisely to bow down, to suffer, and to redeem the world. He came not to be the awesome conquering Messiah that most of us would want, but to be the lamb, to submit, to love his enemies. He came not to be the victim of sin, but the solution. His strength was self-sacrificial, and his weapon love so that we might live.
Is Jesus fully and wholly what and who He said He is, as elaborately presented above? Is He the Son of Man and the Son of God, the Living and Incarnate Word, the Eternal God appearing in the Old Testament, a Miracle Worker, and our Savior and Lord? If one does not accept Him for all He said He is and all that He revealed about Himself to us, then one must reasonably conclude that He is a joker, or crazy, or a liar.
If one cannot believe all the wondrous things that Jesus’ apostles, evangelists, preachers, teachers, and disciples have spoken and written about Him, then do as Richard Wurmbrand (his story is included in Uncommon Character) sagely advised: Believe His powerful and worldly enemies. The Pharisees said, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do you care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.” Judas said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” Pilate said, “Behold the Man!”, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person,” and “Behold your King!” The captain of the Roman guard at Golgotha said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
If one demands to see proof that Jesus is God, as His enemies often did, one must be willing to sincerely ask Him in faith for it, and then be teachable and open to receive and to act on whatever Jesus chooses to reveal directly into one’s spirit and/or into one’s life. When presented with the truth, we are responsible for what we do with it. Jesus said He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). This unambiguous claim cannot simply be ignored; a decision must be made on who He is. The decision is a personal one, a mandatory one, and an eternal one. Having been informed, we are now responsible for what we’ve heard and can no longer claim ignorance. Jesus admonished us thus: “It is written, have you not heard? Have you not read?” We’re encouraged to choose well from what is set before us. Is He Savior and Lord? Who do you say Jesus is?
…He loved them to the end. (John 13:1)
- The Scripture and its paraphrasing presented above are based on the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible. I initially wrote most of this for my own use as a prayer aid; belatedly, I enhanced and incorporated it for the reader’s use, which I invite you to freely utilize without any requirement for source attribution or limitation on distribution. No one “owns” the Good News, least of all me – just another sinner saved by grace.
- To read the story of my personal testimony as to how I first experienced Jesus and subsequently developed a lasting Christian relationship, please reference the Appendix titled: “Relationship, not Religion”.
- The concept of an obituary for Jesus was found unattributed on the Internet; the version presented is mine. The general inspirational seeds for “Who Do You Say That I Am?” were “One Solitary Life,” a brief essay credited – among several others – to Dr. James Allan Francis (a few short paraphrases are incorporated from that essay) and Dr. S. M. Lockeridge’s celebrated 1976 sermon incisively titled “That’s My King, Do You Know Him?” The best tribute I can provide for the latter is to present it in full context immediately below.
My King was born a king.
The Bible says my King is a seven-way king.
He’s the King of the Jews, that’s a racial king.
He’s the King of Israel, that’s a national King.
He’s the King of Righteousness.
He’s the King of the Ages.
He’s the King of Heaven.
He’s the King of Glory.
He’s the King of Kings and He’s the Lord of Lords.
That’s my King.
Well, I wonder do you know Him?
My King is a sovereign King.
No means of measure can define His limitless love.
No far-seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shoreless supply.
No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings.
He’s enduringly strong.
He’s entirely sincere.
He’s eternally steadfast.
He’s immortally graceful.
He’s imperially powerful.
He’s impartially merciful.
Do you know Him?
He’s the greatest phenomenon that ever crossed the horizon of this world.
He’s God’s Son.
He’s a sinner’s Savior.
He’s the centerpiece of civilization.
He stands in the solitude of Himself.
He’s the loftiest idea in literature.
He’s the highest personality in philosophy.
He’s the supreme problem in higher criticism.
He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology.
He’s the cardinal necessity of spiritual religion.
He’s the miracle of the age.
He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose to call Him.
He’s the only one qualified to be an all-sufficient Savior
I wonder if you know Him today?
He supplies strength for the weak.
He’s available for the tempted and the tried.
He sympathizes and He saves.
He strengthens and sustains.
He guards and He guides.
He heals the sick.
He cleanses lepers.
He forgives sinners.
He discharges debtors.
He delivers captives.
He defends the feeble.
He blesses the young.
He serves the unfortunate.
He regards the aged.
He rewards the diligent.
And He beautifies the meek.
I wonder if you know Him?
Well, my King is the King.
He’s the key to knowledge.
He’s the wellspring to wisdom.
He’s the doorway of deliverance.
He’s the pathway of peace.
He’s the roadway of righteousness.
He’s the highway of holiness.
He’s the gateway of glory
Do you know Him?
His office is manifold.
His promise is sure.
His light is matchless.
His goodness is limitless.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never changes.
His Word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous.
And His yoke is easy and his burden is light.
I wish I could describe Him to you, but
Well, you can’t get Him out of your mind.
You can’t get Him off of your hand.
You can’t outlive Him,
And you can’t live without Him.
The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him.
Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him.
The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree.
Herod couldn’t kill Him.
Death couldn’t handle Him,
And the grave couldn’t hold Him.
Yeah, that’s my King, that’s my King.
Dr. Lockeridge’s enthusiastic and inspired sermon provided insights that are obvious throughout the fabric of my story, which is a reflection of his magnificent original. I recommend watching any of the various YouTube videos associated with this work. I’ve noticed that all the available print versions of his sermon vary slightly; perhaps due to having delivered it, presumably, on multiple occasions. My story and Dr. Lockeridge’s sermon both ask questions in their titles, which are similar in nature and intent. It’s our mutual hope that anyone exposed to them will be able to answer them in the affirmative.
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