Jesus Christ, Superstar?
|Philippians 2 (NKJV™)|
|5||Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,|
|6||who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,|
|7||but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.|
|8||And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.|
|9||Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,|
|10||that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,|
|11||and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
While Jesus is certainly the most extraordinary and influential figure in history, opinions about His identity vary widely. Culture and experience can influence our thoughts about who He is and why He came—but what does the Bible tell us about who He is? What will you do with the real Jesus?
Calvary Albuquerque is regularly host to special guest speakers. This series includes messages from many great Bible teachers including; Pancho Juarez, Mike Finizio, Don McClure, Bill Welch and others. These messages can be purchased as CDs from our online store, or by calling 1-800-922-1888.
Go ahead and turn your bibles to Philippians, Chapter 2. We're going be in Verses 5 through 11 this morning as we study the Word of God with the message entitled, "Jesus Christ Superstar." And with this message I decided to do this message, because as you know, we at Calvary have been studying Believe:879, a study through the book of John and to look at the Life of Christ.
And one thing we're doing in Renovate right now, on Thursday night study at the Lobo Theater downtown is we're doing a series called the Indoctrinated as we study the great doctrines of the Bible. What we as Christians believe. Why we believe it and why we hold it dear to our hearts. So, this is a message from that series on the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, who He is, why we believe in Him, what He has done, and why it's important to our relationship with Him.
So, I'm excited to be here with you guys and let's go ahead and open up right now with a word of prayer. Lord, we come before You right now and we're excited. We're expectant, we trust and we know that here in this moment You desire to speak to us, to touch our lives, to meet us wherever, we're at, whatever area of life we've come from. Whatever we're going through Lord, You desire to meet us here in this place right now and to change us. So, Lord I pray for each and every one of us that You would open our hearts and our minds that we would be receptive to your word that as we study this doctrine, the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, of how You came to this earth Lord. I pray that You would change us and we would leave here with a different sense of who You are and what You want for our lives. In Your name, we pray, Amen.
Who was the real Jesus Christ? Who was Jesus? When I ask you this question, you should have come to your mind a series of thoughts of what His attributes are, how He acted. What He looked like probably. You probably think in your mind you have an image of what you think Jesus looked like. Maybe Jim Caviezel is your Jesus. Maybe your Jesus is a long, flowing blonde hair, blue sash, white-robed Jesus. When I ask you who is Jesus, you should have a series of thoughts that come to your mind.
And that question might seem pretty easy to you. It might seem like a pretty obvious question. Well, Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He came to this earth. He died for my sins. He is who I serve. But this question is a question that the world today struggles with. For instance, if you ask a Jew, a Muslim, a Christian and an atheist who Jesus is you will get four very different responses. Each will have an opinion. Each will have an idea, but each will be different. What is it about this man, Jesus Christ that so fascinates and mystifies people? You know I've discovered that whether you're a Christian or not, everyone has an opinion about Jesus. Ask your co-worker, come Monday, "Hey, who's Jesus?" They'll have an answer for you. Ask a person on the street, "Hey who's Jesus?" They'll have an answer for you. Ask your unbelieving family member who doesn't why you go to church, who Jesus is and they will have an answer for you. It might not be the answer you want. But there will be an answer.
You today, have an opinion about Jesus. You have a thought form of who you think He is, why you think He is important. What you think He did. Well, Jesus Christ is undeniably the most extraordinary, influential individual to ever stride the human stage of human history. You know more songs have been sung to Him. More books have been written about Him. More artwork has been created of Him, more drama written than any other individual who has ever lived.
As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ looms so large over human history that we actually divide and measure time by Him. Our calendar is set and divided into years before and after His birth. That can't be said of anyone else Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Buddha, Muhammad. No, only Jesus Christ. Jesus is the most famous person who has ever lived. No army, no nation, no person has changed human history to the degree that the homeless man, Jesus, did.
So think what you will about Him. You have your opinion. You might not agree with Him. You might not like Him. You might think that He is just a really nice guy. Or you might think that He is God. But you have an opinion about Him. You have thoughts about Him. You know some of us would like to have Jesus conform to what we're comfortable with. When we come to Christ, we're called to conform to Him. Well, when a lot of us come to Christ, we want Him to conform to us, to our views, to our thoughts, to what we think about Him.
You know some people say some pretty crazy things about Jesus, like, well you know, He is not a God of judgment. That Jesus just wants you to be happy, that you can live your life however you want and you can go to heaven. Some people say, "Well you know, Jesus was just a good person. He was a good leader, but He never claimed to be God." And it's obvious that these people have never really read the Bible. They want Jesus to conform to them.
As a matter of fact, in a movie, and by the way, I don't endorse this movie but in a movie called Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby, the main character Ricky Bobby a race-car driver, say this, "I like the Christmas Jesus best. And I'm saying grace. When you say grace, you can say it to grown up Jesus, or teenage Jesus or bearded Jesus or whatever Jesus you want, but I like the Christmas version best."
You know, that's just about right for many people. They like the Christmas version. They like the baby version, the cute, unassuming, non-threatening, cuddly Jesus. But the second that Jesus grows up, gets out of His crib and says things like, "I am the Way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father but through me." Oh hold a second baby Jesus. I don't want to hear that. That's an insensitive Jesus, that's an uncaring Jesus, that's an unloving Jesus. He doesn't accept me the way that I am.
See, people like the miracle Jesus. They like the Jesus that gives sight to the blind that makes the lame walk. They like the Jesus that pulls money out of fish and gives it to people for tax season. They like that Jesus. They don't like the Jesus that comes into the temple with the whip of cords and beats people. Oh yeah He did that. They don't like that Jesus. They believe in a Jesus that has a creepy smile that has a somewhat limp handshake and talks like He's trying to calm a toddler who is having a tantrum. They like the Christmas Jesus.
People today in our world have never been more confused about who Jesus is than any time in history. And at the same time, ironically, there's never been a time in history where more people claimed to know Him. And yet not really knowing who He is and why He came. On TV, Jesus often appears on the shows The Simpson and South Park often times, battling Santa Claus or other religious leaders. Jesus is portrayed in the comedic sketches of Carlos Mencia where he talks about what if Jesus were married all the way to, what if Jesus were in a royal religious ramble with other religious leaders, which I would actually really enjoy seeing. I would pay-per-view that.
On the show, Dog the Bounty Hunter. Dog prays to Jesus on nearly every episode with his chain-smoking, may-shooting and criminal pursuing, mullet-wearing posse. In the world of fashion, Jesus is very alive and well with shirts like Jesus is my home boy, worn by Ashton Kutcher, Madonna, Brad Pitt and yes, Pamela Anderson. There have been over one hundred films made about Jesus. Not just including the popular ones like, The Passion of the Christ or Jesus Christ Superstar, but also the more underground movies such as The Canadian Kung Fu Horror, musical comedy, Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. I would like to see Edward Cullen meet him.
Musically, everyone from Kanye West, the Killers, Greenday, Carrie Underwood and U2, are singing about Jesus. Even homosexuals have their own spin on Jesus, where He is portrayed as a gay man in the book, Jesus Acted Up, and in the play, Corpus Christi.
Who is Jesus Christ? Pilate was faced with the same question that we still face today. Nearly 2,000 years ago, the question was asked, "What shall I do with Jesus, who is called Christ?" What will you do with Jesus who is Jesus, who is called the Christ? Is He a good person? Is He a nice guy? Or is He God? Who is the real Jesus? Is He some distant figure in stained glass that can't be touched or known? Was He simply a radical revolutionary that came to change the world? Was He one of many gurus or sons of gods to come and leave as an example to follow? Was He a prophet, a great teacher, or was He God Himself? Did Jesus Christ come to be a superstar or a servant?
People often ask and it's a good question, "Who is Jesus to you personally? Who is He personally to you?" Well, today we're not going to ask who is Jesus personally, we're going to ask the question, who was Jesus actually? What does the Bible actually say about Him? What is He intended to be within our lives? Where did He come from? Why did He come? How did He come? Is He God, fully, is he man fully? Why is the Virgin Birth so important?
C.S. Lewis wrote, "You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God or else a madman, or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool. You can spit at Him and kill Him for a demon. Or you can fall at His feet. Call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He has not intended to. See, you have two options today. Either Jesus is God Himself, who He claimed to be or Jesus is a madman, not worthy of honor, not worthy of respect, but worthy of prison. So, who is the real Jesus"?
Today, I would like to look at that with you. We're going to ask those questions that I set up before as well as we'll deal some other questions in this message. This is message is from a series as I said before that I'm doing in Renovate called the Indoctrinated, which is a series on Thursday nights at the Lobo Theater at 7:30 where we're studying the great doctrines of the Bible. I've realized that one of the biggest questions I received, are simple doctrinal questions, about the Holy Spirit, God the Father, Jesus, angels, demons, things that we as Christians are supposed to understand, that we're supposed to give an answer to. And yet many people don't realize why they believe what they believe. So, that's an excerpt from this series as we study Jesus Christ
Let's go ahead and read Philippians Chapter 2, Verse 5 through 11 as we get started. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. But He made Himself of no reputation taking the form of a bond servant and coming in the likeness of man. And 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 and of those on earth and of those under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."
Here we see our first point, and that is that Jesus is eternally divine. Look at Verse 6 with me. It says that He was equal with God, not considering it robbery to be equal with God. This is to point out that Jesus never became God. Jesus was and Jesus is God. He was God before He was born and He remained God after He became man. It wasn't a situation where He came to this earth and over a period of time of ascension, He became God. He didn't come to this earth, lived a good life, die and then He became God. He didn't put aside His Deity for a time. His Deity was pre-human, pre-earthly, pre-Bethlehem, and pre-Mary. He was always God even in His mother's womb.
Remember what John 1 says as we're studying John currently at Calvary. "In the beginning was the Word." The Word as we know refers to Jesus. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God. And the Word was God." The Word was God. Jesus was God from the beginning of time. Question, "In the incarnation, did Jesus lay aside His Deity as the He came to this world?" No. Not for one moment did Jesus ever lay aside His Deity. Christ veiled His Deity. He did not void it. Just as the old Christmas hymn, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" says, "Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail Incarnate Deity. Pleased with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel."
Jesus had the glory of God, veiled in flesh. In a sense this glory was revealed in the transfiguration. You remember the story. Jesus was on a mountain top. And Elijah and Moses came down and met Him. And it says that Jesus shined like the sun. You know the miracle there isn't that He shined for a moment. The miracle is that He didn't shine every single day. The miracle is that that glory wasn't revealed constantly, blinding people, but that it was veiled within His flesh.
Charles Spurgeon wrote this and he beautifully sums it up, "Infinite and an infant. Eternal, and yet born of a woman, almighty and yet hanging on a woman's breast, supporting a universe, and yet needing to be supported in a mother's arms, king of angels, and yet the reputed Son of Joseph. Heir of all things and yet the poor carpenter's Son." This is the duality of Christ, the dual nature. Paul sums it up in 2 Corinthians 8:9 where he says, "Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that through His poverty you might be rich."
Why did Jesus come to the earth? To make us poor people rich in Christ to take the dual nature, the glory of God and impart that in some form into our hearts. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Jesus Christ came from the throne of Heaven to a feeding trough. He went from the presence of angels to the presence of animals. He who was larger than the universe became an embryo. He, who sustains the world with but a word, chose to become dependent on a young girl. God as a fetus, think about it. The Divine Son became a man, the Almighty appeared on earth as the helpless human baby unable to do more than stare, wiggle around, and make noises.
He needed to be fed and changed and taught, like any other child. That's right he had to get taught things. He didn't come out of His mother's womb and say, "Hey, Mary thanks for pushing me out of there. Let's get to work, we'll save some people." No, He had to learn to speak. He had to learn to communicate. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. "Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail Incarnate Deity."
Now this brings up another essential. That is that the Virgin Birth of Jesus is not an optional belief. It's not an optional belief. It's not an optional idea. Just as the Deity of Christ, the fact that God is Deity, that He is God, Jesus is God, that's not an optional belief. That's something that we Christians have to believe if we are to be true Christians. You can't say you're a Christian and not believe in the Deity of Christ because if Jesus was not God, then Jesus could not wash away your sins when He hang on that cross, which means that if Jesus was not God, you're going to hell. If Jesus was not God, I'm going to hell. There's nothing I can do about it. There's nothing you can do about it. We can not get ourselves to heaven, only the God-man, Jesus can.
Number two, it's not optional to believe in the Virgin Birth. This is something that we as Christians hold to. It's a bed rock truth to our relationship with God and our belief in His Word. And I'm going to explain why. Why is the Virgin Birth so important? Why does it matter to our relationship with God? Well, first of all, and most importantly, we should note that this is the way that God chose to come to this earth. So, it must be a pretty good idea.
Secondly, when you really stop and think about it in comparison with the Scripture, there is no other way that God could have accomplished His goals but through the Virgin Birth. And I'll frame it up for you. First of all, it would have been possible for God to send Jesus to this earth as a fully, sinless human being without human parents. God could have done that one.
Once again, we are talking about the God in Genesis 1 created the heavens and the earth, the God who created man out of dust and created woman out of man's rib. So, God could have created Jesus, sent Him down, boom! He is there. He is perfect. He is sinless. He is all man, He is all God, but He didn't because it would have been very hard for us as human beings to see Jesus as being fully human as we are, yet without having real parents, without being a part of the human race as descended from Adam. Now, this is where it gets tricky. Romans 5, tells us that through one man, sin entered the world and through sin, death, and death spread to all men. But then it also tells us that through one man, grace abounds much more. That is Jesus Christ.
See it's crucial that a man, a human being as we are will live a perfect sinless life and die in our place. It's crucial. The duality of Christ, the dual nature of Christ is essential to out belief and our doctrine of salvation. Jesus couldn't die in man's place, if He was not a man himself, if He did not have the dual nature of Christ. It's because Jesus was the God-man that enables him to cover our sin.
Now on the other hand, let's take it to the other extreme, what if Jesus had two parents? What if it was Joseph and Mary that conceived Jesus? Well that would be impossible for God to have Jesus coming to the world through two human parents, a father and a mother, because He wouldn't then have the nature of God, once again, the duality. He would have transmitted in his DNA by birth the sin nature. Once again, we believe we're all born into sin. You know, you don't need to teach a little kid how to be selfish, how to sin, how to do bad stuff. Trust me I know I'm a dad now. It's crazy. They just want to do bad things.
He wants to throw himself in the fire. I don't know why. He wants to throw his toys at the dog. I don't know why. He wants to hit us when we tell him no. I don't know why. It's built inside of him. It's his nature. We are all sinners. So, how did Jesus get around being born into sin? Romans 5 once again, "Just this through one man, sin enter the world," one man, "and through sin death and death spread to all men."
It would appear from Romans that the sin nature of human beings is transmitted and passed down through men. Now, women are all in here saying, "Ah, duh! I could've told you that a long time ago." But the sin nature is transmitted and then passed down from our Father. So, God being infinite and having full wisdom, realizing that Jesus both had to be man to stand in our place and God, sinless, perfect to wash our sins away bypass the male lineage and created the perfect God-man who came to this earth.
See, it would've been very hard for us to believe that Jesus was indeed God, if his origin was like ours in every way. Imagine if you were to stand up and say, "Hey, I'm God." Really, what credentials do you have? Where were you born? "I was born at Saint Joseph's Hospital." It's not really that extraordinary. I was born at Saint Joseph's Hospital. There's nothing special about that. That doesn't make you God. What sets you apart? What makes you different?
The way that God did it was the right way, the logical way and it was the way that made a complete sense. When you think about who Jesus had to be, the Virgin Birth is the only way that our sins could be washed away. Now, for those who say, "Nate, the Virgin Birth is impossible." You don't see virgins popping out babies. It doesn't happen. That's the point of being a virgin. For those that would say that that's not possible. That couldn't happen. That God can't do miracles. We're essentially denying what the Bible says, that God can do what He wants to do, when and where He chooses. Once again, if you can get passed the first chapter of the Bible, it's all cake from there.
If God can create humans out of dust and out of ribs, then why can't God make one of them make another one? Why can't God do what He wants to do with the creation that He has made? If He created the human race, I'm pretty sure He can take care of the rest. You know, so many people say they believe that God is almighty, that He's all powerful and then they read the Bible and say, "Like that can happen. That's not possible. No, no, no, when He walked on the Red Sea, it was actually the Sea of Reeds, it was really small." They make up these crazy excuses of why God can't do this.
Well, when God created the heavens and the earth what he really did is he started into motion the process by which the earth was created. Okay, if God is almighty and all powerful, why don't we let Him be almighty and all powerful? Why don't we give Him the title that we so affectionately call Him in our time of need? See, if you don't believe in the Virgin Birth, you don't believe in creation. If you don't believe in creation, you don't believe in the Bible. And if you don't' believe in the Bible, you cannot call yourself a Christian.
Remember Jesus said, "Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins," which is to say that if we indeed believe that he is the great I am, Jehovah-jireh, Yahweh, God in human form then we must accept the process that He choice to come among us.
Again, belief in the Virgin Birth is essential for us to be true believers. Now, let's go to another question about the Deity of Christ. Some people say, well Jesus never claimed to be God. Jesus never said, "I am God." People just got really confused, they misunderstood what He was saying and that's why we're in the place that we are today. First of all, if someone says that that is a sure sign that that group is cultic. It's a sure sign that they are not true followers of Christ. Also, this is what we said an unessential to the Christian faith. This is something worth division.
You know we talked about nonessentials, that there's things that aren't worth dividing on that we can love each other through. This is not one of those things. If someone you know does not believe in the Deity of Christ, they claim to be a Christian, this is worth dividing fellowship on the Deity of Christ. And to suggest that Jesus never claimed to be God is completely and absolutely ludicrous. For instance we know that Jesus accepted worship on many occasions, something that is reserved for God alone. Remember Jesus said to Satan, "Worship the Lord God only and Him only serve." And yet, Jesus accepted worship on many occasions. Thomas felt that be the Lord and said, "My Lord and my God." And Jesus didn't say, "Thomas, I'm just a good person."
No, he didn't argue with Thomas and not only did he accept worship as God, he also forgave sins. Once again, something reserved for God alone. Remember Luke 5, when a crippled man was lowered through the roof before Jesus, Jesus said, "Your sins are forgiven you." And upon seeing that, the scribes and the Pharisees rightly asserted, "Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" Once again, they got no argument from Jesus. He didn't say, "Hold on a second. Guys, I don't want to give you the wrong idea, I'm just a really good person. Come on just come in for a hug. Every one loves each other."
No. No argument from Jesus. He didn't claim to be a good person. He didn't claim to be a prophet. Instead, Jesus said in response which is easier to say, "Your sins be forgiven or rise and walk, but so that you may know the Son of men has the power to forgive sins, arise take up your bed and walk." I already mentioned John 8:24 where He said, "Unless you believe I am, you will die in your sins." Once again, this is the Hebrew word that we see in Exodus where God comes to Moses and said, "I am that I am," referring to God Almighty, Jehovah-jireh.
But just before that, Jesus said in John 8:18, "I am one who bears witness of myself and the Father who sent me bears witness of me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also." John 5:17 tell us that the Pharisees sought to kill Him, because He said God was His father continually making himself equal with God. And then, we see in John 5:21-23 what I believe is the most important verse where Jesus claims his Deity and his Godhead. In John 5:21, it says, "For as the Father that is God raises the dead and gives life to them even so the Son gives life to whom he will." Now mark this, the Father judges no one. The Father judges no one, but has committed all the judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.
Now, there are two interesting things that we're told here. Number one, it says the Father judges no one, but He has committed all the judgment to the Son. Now, we're told throughout the Bible that who judges God, that only God judges. He reserves the right to cast judgment. 1 Chronicle 16:31-33 says, "The Lord reigns. Let the sea roars and all its fullness. Let the field rejoice and all that is in it, then trees of the wood shall rejoice before the Lord for He is coming to judge the earth." Isaiah 66 tells us, "For, behold, the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots for by fire and by His sword the Lord will judge." So if only God judges and Jesus conducts all the judgment, then that means that Jesus is God.
Now, this is something fun. This also means that within the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Jesus is the member of Trinity that enacts judgment.
That means when you look at the Old Testament, you can see a clear picture of Jesus Christ. Anytime the nation of Israel is judged for their sin, it is Jesus Christ judging them. Anytime an outside nation afflicts Israel and it is judged by God it is Jesus Christ who judges that nation.
Now, this certainly flies in the face of the popular belief that the God of the Old Testament is a God of raft and judgment and the God of the New Testament, Jesus is all about love and mercy. Now, they're one and the same. Jesus Christ, the judgment bringer is the one who came to this earth to judge sin. Jesus Christ, the one who judges sin is the one who came to this earth and died for it. See on the cross, Jesus judged sin. He judged it. He took the penalty upon himself. He judged it with his own death.
The one who judges you is the one who died for you. Jesus Christ is the righteous judge. He stands at the Court House at the Sea and he enacts the stiffest penalty that he possibly can on the crime that we have committed. And then he comes down from his Court seat and he stands in our place and he takes the penalty upon himself. He is a righteous judge. Know this, your sin will be judged by Jesus Christ. You have two options, either your sin will be judged by Jesus Christ at the cross through his death or your sin will be judged by Jesus Christ at his throne when you die.
Number two, we see here in John. It says that all should honor the Son as they honor the Father. So how do you honor the Father as God? So, how should you honor Jesus as God? And finally, Jesus said in John 10:28-30, "I give them eternal life and they will never perish, neither will anyone snatch them out of my hand. My father who has given them to me is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of my father's hand and here it is. I and my father are one." So without a doubt, Jesus claimed to be and was God. So the next time you have someone come to your door and tell you that Jesus never claim to be God, you have some verses that you can use there.
So one, Jesus is eternally divine. Number two, Jesus was humbly confined. That's our second point. Look at Verse 7 once again of Philippians Chapter 2, it says, "But he made himself of no reputation taking the form of a bond servant and coming in the likeness of men." He says, "He made himself of no reputation." Literally, he emptied himself. Although he was God and he accepted all the attributes of God, he also accepted the limitations of humanity. That is he was tired. He was hungry. He felt lonely.
When he went to Samaria ultimately to meet the woman at the well where told that he was weary, went on the cross, no doubt extremely dehydrated. He cried out, "I thirst". He knew physical hunger after fasting for 40 days in the wilderness. We read that he was hungry. He felt weakness. Went on the road to Calvary, he carried the cross and he fell under the weight of the cross. And Jesus died just like we do in the sense that his body ceased to function just us ours do.
Jesus also had a human mind. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Since Jesus was God, did he have the full knowledge of God as a little baby in the manger of Bethlehem? When he is sitting in his crib and like, speak to Mary, telepathically, "Hey, better change my diaper. I'm feeling a little rash here, not feeling good. I'll hold this against you on judgment day. That's right, put some baby powder on it. That feels nice." And what happened there? Did he possess those attributes in the manger? Or did his knowledge come to him over a period of time? Let's submit to you, Luke Chapter 2 Verse 40, 52, and 46. I'll read it to you.
It says, "And the child grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men and they found him in the temple sitting in the midst of doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions." Luke 5:2 says that he increased in wisdom. Now this would appear to be saying that Jesus went through a learning process just like anyone else does. At the same time, did not have the limitations that sin brings into one's life. And it would seem, but we can't know this for sure that Jesus, though God still experience the limitations that accompany physical and mental growth such as needing to learn, to read, write and so on and so forth.
Yet as Charles Virgin pointed out, we already read it. He was infinite and an infant, eternal and born of a woman, Almighty yet hanging on a woman's breast, the dual nature of Christ. So how does this work? Well first of all, this is one of those divine mysteries. No matter how we try to explain it, it will never make sense. Just as no matter how you try to explain the Trinity with an egg or with water or with an apple, it never fully makes sense. But consider this, just because Jesus possessed those divine attributes such as omnipotence and omniscience does not mean that he couldn't have a normal human development. And here is what I submit. Could Jesus have possessed those attributes and yet not have used them until his time had come? Remember, when Satan tempted Jesus to use his powers outside of God's will, Jesus restrained himself for his time had not yet come. He waited to use it to glorify the Father.
Verse 7 once again says, "He made himself of no reputation." It's incredible to think that although possessing these divine attributes, he would have held them in subjection. He said, the Holy Spirit might have his part to play in the human and divine life. Jesus also experienced the motions. At the grave of Lazarus, we read that he wept. We read that Jesus experienced extreme weariness. His heart was troubled in the garden. We read that after his triumphant entry in Jerusalem as the crowds were whipped into a frenzy and everybody was happy, Jesus once again wept. And this time, the Greek word is used that signifies a bitter anguish as the one mourned the dead. That is to say, it was audible. He whaled. He cried.
The disciples watched in amazement as God openly wept, chattering the stereotypes of an angry distant God, disinterested in the affairs of men and quick to judge. Why did Jesus whip? Because his ministry was almost over. Time was short. And yet by in large, he was rejected. He had healed their sick, he had raised their dead, he had cleansed their lepers, fed their hungry and forgiven their sins but he still remained alone and rejected.
Isaiah 53 says, "Despise and rejected among men, we did not receive him." John tells us, he came unto his own and his own, received him not. So what does this mean to us as Christians today? He is eternally divine. He was humbly confined. Finally we see, he wants our minds to be aligned. Look at Verse 5 once again. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." What mind? Well the mind that although he was equal with God, he humbled himself even to the point of death.
Let this mind to be in you or have this attitude. It's not some mystical unreachable goal; instead it's profoundly practical and applicable. It's simply to say, have this mind. Seek God above everything else. Look at Verse 3 and 4 we see a contrast here. Verse 3 Paul tells us, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind let each esteem, others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also the interest of others."
Let us compare and contrast really quick Satan and Jesus to get the idea here. Satan or Lucifer was not satisfied to simply worship God. He wanted to be on the throne. Lucifer said, "I will." Jesus said, "Thy will". Lucifer was not satisfied to be a creature. He wanted to be the creator. Jesus was the creator and he willingly became the creation. Too many people today are like Lucifer. "My will". "What I want?" "What can I achieve?" "What can I get?" Instead we must be like Jesus, "Thy will." We cannot let our enemy, our friend, or our family keep us from God's will in our lives. If we want this mind in us, we have to empty ourselves. Lay aside our ambition and our personal glory, or thrones of comfort, power, or even success and follow God's formula for true happiness to do what God says.
I was watching Fear Factor the other night, and on Fear Factor they make you do some crazy things. One of the things that they had a group do was to eat insects. It was disgusting.
Well this lady who was primped and proper, and you could tell she spent her life in the salon said this, "No, no, I don't do bugs." That was what she said. "I don't do bugs" and she didn't. She refused to do the challenge.
I'm thankful Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane didn't say, "I don't do crosses. I don't do pain or humility." The world is a better place because Michelangelo didn't say, "I don't do ceilings." It's a better place because the German monk named Martin Luther didn't say, "I don't do doors." It's a better place because Moses didn't say, "No, no, I don't deal with pharaohs." It's a better place because Noah didn't say, "I don't do arks. I don't clean animal poop." It's a world -- it's a better place because Ruth didn't say, "I don't deal with mother-in-laws." It's better because Mary didn't say, "I don't do virgin births." It's better because Mary Magdalene didn't say, "I don't do feet." And it's certainly better because Jesus Christ never said, "I don't do crosses." He humbled himself even to the point of death, the death on the cross.
I'm thankful that Jesus Christ did crosses. But it is important to know that the cross was not the end for Jesus. Close now with Verse 9 through 11. "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 and of those on Earth. And of those under the Earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God, the Father. It's because of his death that Jesus is now glorified. The cross was just the beginning for Jesus and it's just the beginning for you.
You see, because Jesus died for you, you have to now die to yourself. You eventually in your life will worship Jesus whether you want to or not. The question is, will you worship him here on Earth with the knowledge that you're going to go to heaven? Or will you wait and will you worship him at his throne on judgment day when there's nothing left to do? Jesus is God. And when you begin to view and worship him as such, your life will change.
Let's pray. Lord, we thank you for your word. We thank you that you fulfilled your purpose. That you came to this Earth as the God man and that you died for our sins. And Lord, that through that dead, we can be made whole. We can be made righteous. As we're praying right now, I want to give you an opportunity. If you do not have a relationship with Christ, if you've come here today and you realized that you had the wrong view of Jesus maybe you've been walking with him for years or maybe this is your first time to church. Either way, Jesus Christ stands at the door, ready to save you. The question is, will you let him?
I don't know where you've come from or what you've done. Maybe you're here your today and you've gone through a divorce. Maybe you committed adultery. Maybe you had an abortion. Maybe you had a child out of wedlock. Maybe you're stuck in some addiction of drugs or alcohol or pornography. I don't know what is going on in your life but I know that Jesus Christ can forgive you, if you let him. So right now, in this moment if you need Jesus Christ in your life, if you need to either to give yourself to him for the first time or rededicate, I want you to raise up your hand so I can see it. Amen. I see a couple of you here in the front to the right, in the back to the left, anyone else, over here to my right and the front.
Lord, I thank you for these hands. I thank you for the heart that is behind them. And I pray that you will help them to stand for you. In your name, we pray. Amen.