Identifying Jesus from His Work
I Peter 1:11, Heb. 9:26, 2: 14-16
In the last lesson we identified who Jesus is. It’s the purpose of this lesson to identify Him by what He has done, is doing and will do. In other words, identify Jesus by His works. In lesson one it was pointed out that Jesus occupies three major positions of authority – Prophet, Priest and King. It’s the ably fulfilling the responsibilities of these positions that covers His three principal areas of work. As Prophet, He speaks for God to humanity. He properly represents the interests of God. As Priest He represents the interests of man and He speaks for man to God as Mediator. As King He provides order and government for humanity and provides authority and power over all enemies. He represents the interests of both God and man.
At Jesus’ first coming it is important to point out that the office of Prophet and Priest was His primary objective. He spent 3 1/2 years of His ministry delivering the greatest message that has every fallen from human lips, John 3: 16. The Gospel; The love of God, the sacrifice of Christ, man’s faith in the work of Christ for him, and the promise of eternal life. Jesus was the living Word delivering what would be the written Word, that would result in eternal life for all who would believe, (John 1: 1-4, 12, 14-18).
Then once His Prophet ministry was completed, His Priestly ministry began; He was required to offer the final sacrifice for sin once and for all. For centuries thousands of animals died and their blood shed for payment of sin, Lev. 17:11. But the fix was only temporary. The sin was only covered, never taken away, Heb. 10:3, Heb. 10: 4. Then there would have to be another and another, it was continued, there was no end. Except in the case of Jesus, (Heb. 9: 26), it found it’s end, (Heb. 10: 5-13). Not only was Jesus the High Priest, but He also was the sacrifice to be offered, (John 1:29, “the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”). You see, Jesus didn’t come to amaze and dazzle people with His oratory ability. He didn’t come to save the world and be its King. He came to be Priest, and to make a sacrifice. He came to suffer, sacrifice His all, offers Himself as a blood sacrifice, as the Lamb of God to pay for the sins of the world. Which payment would not, would not, guarantee salvation for everyman, it would only open the door of Salvation for every man. For Salvation would be and must be “a whosoever will salvation.” (John 3: 16, Rom. 10: 13, Rev. 22: 17) It’s God that requires each individual human being to repent and then believe. (Rom. 10: 9, Acts 20: 21)
That day on Mt. Calvary was something far greater than a terrible miscarriage of justice. It was the fulfilment of the plan of God from before the foundation of the world from the “Determinate Counsel” of Acts 2: 23. It wasn’t just man’s worst hour, or just a great man’s sacrifice of himself, this was the Spectacle of the ages. The entire universe was there. Not just Jews and Romans, but all humanity. Not only all humanity, but God and humanity. Not only God and humanity, but all angels, all devils, all beings. What the devil destroyed in the Garden of Eden some 4,000 years earlier, Jesus is providing the remedy by His High Priestly work. Once Jesus cries out on Calvary, “It is finished”, all the souls in Paradise’s prison house shout out the victory with a roar and applause that reaches all the way to heaven where the angels of God likewise shout it back. This event was no small thing on a small hill outside of Jerusalem, in the small county of Israel at an insignificant time. No, not at all, this event is the event of the ages and connects itself with every other event in time. Jerusalem connects itself with every other place on earth, and the people of Jerusalem with all other people of the earth. None of us can even begin to grasp its significance.
There are three things that Jesus accomplished in His life and death that are a vital and absolutely needed by every human being; Righteousness, Redemption and Reconciliation. Without any one of those three, Salvation from sin, death and hell are impossible. Hundreds of times Jesus promised eternal life to those that would believe in Him, (John 3: 16, 37, 5: 24, 10: 27-30). To make His promise good, Jesus had to successfully work out these three things; Righteousness, Redemption and Reconciliation.
As early as Genesis 15: 6, God had promised righteousness to all who would believe Him, but for four thousand years, there was no human supply of righteousness from which God could access. No one had lived a perfect life, “for all have sinned”, (Rom. 3: 23). When Jesus came, He not only was scheduled to die for man’s sins, He first had to qualify to die. He had to live a perfect life. For thirty-three years Jesus was tested, tempted, tried and proven to be 100% holy and righteous, ( Heb. 4: 15, I Peter 1: 22, I Tim. 3: 16). Jesus’ life was as much vicarious as was His death. When I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, then His life, His righteousness is transferred over to my record book in heaven. Not only am I not guilty of my sins, I’m just as righteous as Jesus is, (II Cor. 5: 21, I Cor. 1: 30, Rom. 4: 3-5, Rom. 3: 21-22, Rom. 5: 10).
The second area of absolute need is Redemption. This is a term every Christian must become familiar. Its basic meaning is; to secure ones freedom by payment of a just price. The idea is we are in debt to God because of sin. Rom. 6: 23, “the wages of sin is death.” We owe God a price so great that we are unable to pay it. Jesus knew from eternity past, that He alone would be the one to qualify to pay the debt in our place. It required a perfect, sinless, vicarious sacrifice. As God he qualified being perfect, but He had to be man as well, for He needed a human body,( Heb. 10: 5) also to qualify. The incarnation provided that body, then he also had to be High Priest, to qualify to offer the sacrifice. Mt. Calvary became the altar and our great High Priest offered up Himself and shed His own blood. The price was paid, (I Peter 1: 18, 19, Eph. 1: 7, Col. 1: 14) and Jesus’ blood was powerful enough to take all the sin away. Now our God, the judge of the whole universe, is able to declare the believing sinner to be “not guilty,” and just as righteous as God is, justified.
Then the third area is Reconciliation. The problem that existed was man’s sin made him an enemy of God. There was no peace. Jesus, as priest, mediated the problem by taking care of the offense and taking the sin out of the way. Sin no longer is an issue, for Jesus has entirely resolved the matter. God has been reconciled, a new agreement has been bargained, God has signed his name, and a peace treaty has been struck. The problem of enmity still exists, but it’s only on the part of man. God has been reconciled is the message of Scripture, and it contains God’s invitation to humanity, “Come unto me and be ye saved” or be reconciled, (II Cor. 5: 18-20).
There is far more accomplished in the life and death of Christ. These three truths are given the focus because they are key to understanding hundreds of Scriptural passages. They are like keys that unlock the many scrolls of Devine truth so that it unfolds before our very eyes revealing golden nuggets of God’s treasure chest. How valuable is sacred truth? What’s God have to say about it?
1. Psalm 19: 10, 11 – Gold and great reward
2. Job 23: 12 – More than my necessary food
3. Psalm 12: 6 – as silver tried in fire seven times
4. Psalm 119: 72 – better than thousands of gold and silver
5. Psalm 119: 130 – giveth light
6. Psalm 119: 103 – sweeter than honey
7. Hebrews 4: 12 – life giving and life sustaining
8. I Peter 1: 23 – Incorruptible seed
1. What common mistake in judgment does the world make in evaluating the cross?
2. How can it be possible that every believer receives the righteousness of Christ? And how does he receive it?
3. It is true; God and man are on opposite pages. Usually in reconciliation compromises are made. What did God compromise and what does man?