Throughout the Old Testament there are references to the Promised One. He is promised in Genesis chapter three where everything seems to have gone wrong. The enemy will be crushed by the Promised One. We can trace prophetic shadows and words that point towards the appearance of a Man who would be more than Israel’s King. So, Abraham and Isaac prefigured the coming One. Joseph’s life provided a kind of parallel to what the Coming One would experience. King David brought a shadow of what the Promised One would achieve. Moses and Elijah were shadows of the kind of spiritual leader he would be, accompanied by signs and wonders, a Saviour of the people. These instances are just a few of the many that could be mentioned.
The New Testament was written after Pentecost. In John 14.26, Jesus tells his apostles: the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. The different authors of the Gospels and the letters affirm that Jesus is the Promised One. They use the word MESSIAH – or its equivalent in Greek, CHRIST. They, with all the leaders and apostles had understood by revelation and faith that Jesus was none other than God’s Son, the Promised One.
Now, we ought not to think that they understood this straight away! Careful reading of the Gospels will show that, at best, understanding of who Jesus was, they saw that he was the Messiah. This would have been acceptance that Jesus was the rightful King of Israel and that he was a great prophet, the greatest, in the line of Moses and Elijah. They addressed him as “Lord”. This was the term of respect reserved for kings and dignitaries. We need to remember that Jesus looked like an ordinary man. He ate and drank, laughed and cried among them. He could become weary, he needed sleep, he could feel pain and sorrow. They may have noticed that he never refused worship [as when people fell at his feet].
The thing is that many accepted that Jesus was their Messiah. It seems that it was down to the religious leaders to realise that things Jesus said made him “equal with God”. The very idea that a human being was also God the Creator must have been a very difficult concept. But Mark writes, at the beginning of his Gospel: The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The most recent NIV has: The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. This says so much in a few words. It affirms the unique, sinless nature of Jesus and recognises his unique origin – born of a virgin.
After Pentecost they understood properly who Jesus IS! Similarly, a real Christian can read the Gospels, and the rest of the New Testament and understand who Jesus is. We may not understand the complexities, the mystery, of God manifest in flesh, but we believe it is true. This comes through the work of the Holy Spirit in those who seek after God. As with the apostle Paul, the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed to us and we repent and worship him. We come to see that God is our Father and that we have been included in God’s family as sons, in Christ the Son. This is what Peter explains in his first letter. Paul writes more and makes it very plain that the Lord Jesus, raised from the dead, is none other than the “Lord from heaven”.
2Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [KJV]
2Corinthians 5:16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. [NIV]
This verse is a little complicated but means, simply, that knowing Jesus as Christ in a human way, knowing him as a human being (as did the apostles) is limiting and not how we know him through the Holy Spirit. As we read in Hebrews:
2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
7:26 Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
And Paul writes:
Colossians 1:13-16 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
Ephesians 1.20-23 he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
DVC- May – 2016