Lesson 3 For
April 21st 2015.
WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
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First Quatter 2015
Who Is Jesus Christ?
Read for This Week's
He said to them,
But who do you say that I am?
Peter answered and said,
The Christ of God
Who is Jesus Christ?
The question is not a philosophical or a sociological gimmick. It
gets to the heart of who humans are and, even more important, what
eternity will hold for them.
People can admire the works of Jesus, honor His words, extol His
patience, advocate His nonviolence, acclaim His decisiveness, praise His
selflessness, and stand speechless at the cruel end of His life. Many
may even be ready to accept Jesus as a good man who tried to set things
right-to infuse fairness where there was injustice, to offer healing
where there was sickness, and to bring comfort where there was only
Yes, Jesus could well earn the name of the best teacher, a
revolutionary, a leader par excellence, and a psychologist who can probe
into the depths of one's soul. He was all these and so much more.
None of these things, however, comes near to answering the
all-important question that Jesus Himself raised:
Who do you say that
I am? (Luke
It is a question that demands an answer, and on that answer the
destiny of humanity hinges.
Study this week's lesson to prepare for Sabbath, April
Reactions to Jesus
Read the Gospels; read the New Testament. All through these books
incredible claims are made about not only what Jesus did but, even more
important, about who Jesus was. (Of course, what Jesus did powerfully
attested to who He was.) These claims-that He is God, that He is our
Redeemer, that He alone is the way to eternal life-demand our attention
because they are full of implications that have eternal consequences for
every human being.
Luke 4:16-30. What caused the people to react as they did? See also
His hometown audience was at first thrilled to see Jesus, who, after
performing many miracles and wonders, returned to Nazareth, and they
marveled at the gracious words He spoke (Luke
4:22, NKJV). But their reaction to His rebuke showed what
spirit truly animated them.
Luke 7:17-22. What was John's question about Jesus, and why would he
have asked it?
Even John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus and the one who
announced Jesus as
the Lamb of God, had doubts creeping into the
depths of his soul. He wanted to know:
Are You the Coming One, or do
we look for another? (Luke
Notice, too, that Jesus does not answer John's question directly;
instead, He points to acts that cry out in witness:
the lame walk,
the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor
have the gospel preached to them (Luke
7:22, NKJV). One could argue that Jesus didn't need to answer
John's question directly; His deeds and actions gave ample testimony of
who He was.
In a sense, the answer that Jesus gave might
have caused John even a bit more consternation. After all, if Jesus has
the power to do all these incredible things, why am I languishing here
in jail? Who hasn't, amid their own personal tragedies, wondered
something similar: if God has all this power, why is this happening to
me? Why is the Cross, and all it represents and promises, our only
Son of God
Son of Man and
Son of God are two names used in the
Gospels to describe who Jesus is. The first indicates God incarnate; the
second points to His divinity as the second Person of the Godhead.
Together, the two phrases invite us to ponder the miracle of Jesus
Christ: God who is both divine and human. It's a hard concept to grasp,
but that difficulty does not in any way take away from this amazing
truth and the great hope that it offers us.
2:11. What do these verses tell us about who Jesus really is?
Luke 1:31-32, the angel links the name
Jesus with the
of the Highest to whom the
Lord God will give the throne of
David (NKJV). Jesus is the Son of God. He is also the Christ, the
Messiah, who shall restore David's throne, not as an earthly deliverer
but in the eschatological sense in that He will ultimately defeat
Satan's attempt to usurp the throne of God Himself. To the shepherds the
angel announced that the babe in the manger is the
Savior, who is
Christ the Lord (Luke
At the same time, the title
Son of God not only affirms
Christ's position in the Godhead, but also reveals the close and
intimate relationship that Jesus had with God the Father while Jesus was
Yet, the relationship between the Father and the Son is not the same
as the relationship that we have with God. While our relationship is a
result of the work of Christ both as Creator and Redeemer, His
relationship to the Father as the Son is as of one of three equal,
eternal partners. Through His divinity Jesus maintained the closest
possible ties to the Father.
Jesus says, -Ellen G. White,
The Desire of Ages, p. 442.
My Father which is in heaven, as
reminding His disciples that while by His humanity He is linked with
them, a sharer in their trials, and sympathizing with them in their
sufferings, by His divinity He is connected with the throne of the
What does it mean to us that Jesus was, in the
fullest sense, God? Though this truth is filled with many implications,
one of the most amazing is that, though God, Jesus condescended to not
only take upon Himself our humanity but to offer Himself as a sacrifice
in that humanity for us. We are talking about God here! What wonderful
hope does this truth have for us because of what it tells us about what
God is really like?
Son of Man
Although Jesus was fully conscious that He was both the Son of Man
and the Son of God (Luke
Son of Man was our Savior's favorite way of
self-designation. The only other instances that the title appears are in
Daniel 7:13, in Stephen's speech (Acts
7:56) and in
Revelation 1:13 and
14:14. The term appears more than 80 times in the Gospels and 25 in
Luke. Luke's usage shows the author's deep interest in the humanity of
Jesus as the universal man who was sent by God to proclaim the good news
The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the
golden chain that binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God.
This is to be our study. Christ was a real man; He gave proof of His
humility in becoming a man. Yet He was God in the flesh.-Ellen G.
Selected Messages, book 1, p. 244.
The use of
Son of Man in Luke provides various insights into
the nature, mission, and destiny of the Incarnate Jesus.
First, the title identifies Him as a human (Luke
7:34), with no worldly address or security (Luke
Second, Luke uses the title to assert Christ's divine nature and
status: for the
Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath
6:5, NKJV). Therefore, He is also the Creator, with the power
to forgive sins (Luke
Third, to accomplish this redemptive mission ordained by the Godhead
before the foundations of the world (Eph.
1:3-5), the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost
But redemption itself cannot be completed until
the Son of Man must
suffer many things, and be rejected . . . and be killed, and be raised
the third day (Luke
9:22, NKJV). This self-awareness of the Son of Man about the
path He had to trod, and the price He had to pay for the Redemption of
humankind from sin, reveals not only the divine origin of the plan of
Redemption but also Christ's submission in His humanity to that plan.
Fourth, note how complete a picture of the suffering Messiah Luke
portrays in the following passages: His foreknowledge of the Cross
18:31-33), betrayal (Luke
9:44), His death as a fulfillment of prophecy (Luke
22:22), His Crucifixion and Resurrection (Luke
24:7; compare with
Luke 11:30), and His role as the Mediator before the Father
Fifth, Luke sees the Son of Man in last-day terms as the One who
returns to earth to reward His saints and to wrap up the great
In short, the title
Son of Man incorporates the multifaceted
aspect not only of who Christ was but of what He came to do and what He
has accomplished and will accomplish for us in the plan of salvation.
Wednesday April 15
The Christ of God
Luke 9:18-27. Why would Jesus have asked the disciples a question
whose answer He already knew? What lesson was He seeking to teach them
not only about Himself but about what it means to follow Him?
Who do you say that I am? (Luke
9:20, NKJV). The question that Jesus asked 2,000 years ago
still haunts history. People have given many different answers. A great
teacher. A profound ethicist. An embodiment of truth. An edifice of
self-sacrifice. A fearless prophet. A social reformer. A great model of
everything a human being should be. But no answer short of the
confession that the original question drew from the lips of Peter will
After revealing His authority over nature (Luke
8:22-25), His power over demons (Luke
8:26-35), His might over diseases (Luke
His ability to feed the 5,000 out of almost nothing (Luke
9:13-17), His power over death itself (Luke
8:51-56)-Jesus confronts His disciples with, really, two
questions: first, what others thought of Him; next, what the disciples
themselves thought. He didn't ask in order to learn something that He
didn't already know. Rather, He asked in order to help them understand
that who He was would, in fact, demand from them a commitment that would
Our knowledge of Jesus must never be at second hand. We might know
every verdict ever passed on Jesus; we might know every Christology that
human minds have ever thought out; we might be able to give a competent
summary of the teaching about Jesus of every great thinker and
theologian-and still not be Christians. Christianity never consists in
knowing about Jesus; it always consists in knowing Jesus. Jesus Christ
demands a personal verdict. He did not ask only Peter, he asks every one
of us: -William
Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, (Bangalore: Theological Publications in
India, 2009), vol. 2, p. 161.
You-what do you think of me?
Our response to the question Jesus asked cannot be anything short of
Peter's confession: Jesus is
the Christ of God
9:20, NKJV). Christ means the
Anointed One, the
Messiah, whose mission is not that of a political liberator but the
Savior who will free humanity from the grip of Satan and sin and
inaugurate the kingdom of righteousness.
It's not enough simply knowing who Jesus was.
Rather, we need to know Him for ourselves. If, then, you claim to know
Jesus-what, in fact, do you know about Him? That is, what has your own
personal knowledge of Jesus taught you about Him and about what He is
Read all three Gospel
accounts of the Transfiguration (Luke
Mark 9:2-8). (Read also Peter's firsthand account of the
incident, and note the truth the apostle establishes from his eyewitness
2 Peter 1:16-18). What additional information does Luke provide, and
why is it important?
Luke begins the narrative with a detail that Matthew and Mark do not
mention: Jesus took Peter, John, and James up the mountain to pray.
Jesus set His eyes and mind toward Jerusalem and predicted the path of
suffering that lay before Him. Jesus wanted to be certain that what He
was doing was what God wanted Him to do. At such moments, prayer is the
only way for finding certainty and assurance. The process of prayer
instantly poured out divine glory on the person of Jesus:
was altered, and His robe became white and glistening
The transfigured Jesus was in conversation with Moses and Elijah
His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem
9:31, NKJV). The word decease can be understood in two ways:
His upcoming death in Jerusalem, although the Greek used here, exodus,
is not often used for death; hence,
decease can also mean the
exodus Jesus was about to accomplish in Jerusalem, the
mighty redemptive exodus that would bring about deliverance from sin.
The conference of the three concluded with a voice of approval from
This is My beloved Son. Hear Him! (Luke
9:35, NKJV). The Transfiguration anoints Jesus with glory,
assures His Sonship once again, and announces that Redemption will cost
the Son's life. Therefore, the heavenly command to the disciples: listen
to Him. Without obedience and exclusive loyalty to Him, there is no
Ellen G. White wrote that these men, meaning
Moses and Elijah, who had been
chosen above every angel around the
throne, had come to commune with Jesus concerning the scenes of His
suffering, and to comfort Him with the assurance of the sympathy of
heaven. The hope of the world, the salvation of every human being, was
the burden of their interview.-The
Desire of Ages, p. 425. Thus, even Jesus Himself, who had
comforted so many others, sought solace and comfort for Himself. What
should that tell us about how even the strongest spiritually among us,
even our leaders, teachers, and guides, can at times need solace,
encouragement, and help from others? In fact, whom do you know right now
who could use solace, comfort, and encouragement?
Avoid every question
in relation to the humanity of Christ which is liable to be
misunderstood. Truth lies close to the track of presumption. In treating
upon the humanity of Christ, you need to guard strenuously every
assertion, lest your words be taken to mean more than they imply, and
thus you lose or dim the clear perceptions of His humanity as combined
with divinity. His birth was a miracle of God. . . . Never, in any way,
leave the slightest impression upon human minds that a taint of, or
inclination to, corruption rested upon Christ, or that He in any way
yielded to corruption. He was tempted in all points like as man is
tempted, yet He is called -Ellen G.
The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp.
that holy thing. It is a
mystery that is left unexplained to mortals that Christ could be tempted
in all points like as we are, and yet be without sin. The incarnation of
Christ has ever been, and will ever remain, a mystery.
- Read the Ellen G. White statement above about the human
nature of Christ. We must face the fact that Jesus' human
nature, as with His divine nature, is a great truth that for now
we will never fully fathom. As she wrote:
The incarnation of
Christ has ever been, and will ever remain, a mystery. Why,
then, must we be very careful about making harsh judgments on
those who don't necessarily understand this
same way that we do?
- Think about what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration.
This amazing event in salvation history was about to happen, and
what were the chosen disciples who came with Him on the mountain
doing at first? Sleeping! In what ways could this be a metaphor
for ourselves, as individual believers, or for us as a church
who live right before another great event in salvation history:
the second coming of Jesus?
- Read some of the things that Jesus had said about Himself.
Why, then, is the idea that Jesus was merely a great man, a
great prophet, or a great spiritual leader, logically flawed?
Why must we either accept that He is what He said He is, or that
He was a lunatic and someone who was greatly deceived about
Himself? Why is there no other option for us in regard to the
identity of Jesus?
NSD China Pastor
During the time of China’s cultural revolution, it was very
dangerous to own a Bible. Someone we knew, however, was able to
obtain one. Since it was such a rare and precious book, he wanted to
share it with as many people as possible, so he carefully took the
Bible apart and gave one or two books to various Seventh-day
Adventist families. Our family received the books of 1 and 2 Samuel
and we read them over and over again, treasuring every word. As I
child, I enjoyed the many exciting stories co
ntained in those two books! My older brother could write, so he
copied the books by hand to share with others.
A few years later another Adventist found a very small Bible that
had been put in a plastic bag and buried in the ground. Because of
poor eyesight, the man wasn’t able to read the small print, so he
gave the Bible to me when I was 18. I was so excited! Here was a
complete Bible that I was holding in my hands for the very first
under-the-ground Bible became very precious to me,
and I read it from the first chapter to the last more than ten
times. I spent a lot of time with it, marking important passages,
and writing down some of my thoughts. I remembered when I was very
young my great-grandmother telling me about Noah, but here I was at
18, reading about the flood for the first time.
As I read the Bible, I started to understand what this book is
about. I learned more about Jesus and His teachings. I discovered
the truth in the Bible that can help us to have a better life. The
more I read, the more interested I became.
When I was 20, I visited an area where most people knew nothing
about the Bible. I was invited to speak to groups in various homes.
I showed them my little Bible and shared what I had learned from it.
As word spread, I was invited to speak in many other homes as well.
While sharing, I noticed that the young people-those in their
mid-teens-were especially interested. They were so eager to learn
that I wrote out 1,000 Bible texts and gave them to the young
people, who memorized the texts. I found this was an excellent way
for them to learn the Bible!
Pastor Wang Weo shares more from China in the next Inside Story.