“Who is Jesus?”
Hello and welcome to "Key to the Kingdom." My name is Bret McCasland. There is one name spoken perhaps more than any other. There is one name that is more familiar than all the rest. It is the name Jesus. When we say that name, most of us think about the one and only son of God, the creator of heaven and earth. Yet, there are still millions of people throughout this world who have never heard the name of Jesus. They don't know anything about Him. There are also some people who do know about Jesus, but for some reason do not put their faith in Him, nor do they want anything to do with Him. In our lesson today, on "Key to the Kingdom," we will think about who Jesus is and why it is important to know Him. We will also study some things about Jesus that might even inspire us to ask if there is a need to know Him better or to have a deeper relationship with Him. This book called the Bible reveals many interesting things about Jesus. It is filled with prophecies and stories about God's son. And yet more than anything else, the Bible presents to us an opportunity to not only know about Him but to truly know Him, His purpose on the Earth, His love for each individual person, and His great gift of salvation. Hopefully you will stay tuned to this station for the next few minutes as we explore why knowing Jesus is so important. I invite you now to open your Bible to the book of Acts, found in the New Testament, as we begin to study together.
A friend of mine who is a Christian once told me that a coworker of his, who is not a Christian, asked him the following question; who is Jesus? And, my friend told me he did not know how to respond. He did not know how to answer the question “who is Jesus?” Now that concerns me on two different levels. First of all, my friend has been a Christian for a long period of time, and he is even considered to be a leader in his church. And then secondly, a person living in the United States of America did not know "who is Jesus?" Now, the Bible I hold in my hand answers that most important question: Who is Jesus? And for the next few minutes in our lesson today, I want us to look at some answers to that question that are found in this book, God's Word. According to the Bible we find that Jesus is the foundation upon which we are to build our lives. Many times in Scripture He is referred to as The Foundation, or The Rock, or The Cornerstone for people. The prophecies that are found in the Old Testament part of the Bible were fulfilled when Jesus came to this Earth and He lived among mankind. And then, the stories that are found in the New Testament part revolve around Jesus' life and ministry while He was here upon the Earth. They tell of His times when He taught people about how to have a good and better relationship with God and all of the miracles that He performed in order to bless the lives of so many. Well, obviously, there are many people who do not believe the Bible to be true. They do not believe in the one called Jesus. They do not believe that God the Father, in heaven, sent His Son to live here upon this Earth. They don't believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that He went about doing good things and ministering to people, or that He died upon a cross and then rose again from the grave. Some even say negative things about Jesus and try to prevent others from putting their faith in Jesus, as well. Well, I believe just the opposite. I believe that the Lord God Almighty, The Creator and The Sustainer of this world, sent His one and only son Jesus Christ into this world. He was born of a virgin. He did minister to people everywhere. He healed those who were sick, who could not see, and who could not walk. He even raised people from the dead. And yet, many people rejected Jesus. They did not believe He was God's son. They persecuted Him and they killed Him by hanging Him upon a cross. But, Jesus did not stay in the tomb very long, for on the third day God raised His Son from the dead. And after He appeared to many people, the Father brought Him back into heaven, where He is now seated at His Father's right hand. I also believe that through Jesus Christ, God's one and only Son, we can have eternal life and a home with God forever. Now, those are some things that I believe in regards to the question “who is Jesus?” There are also some other things that are found in one book in the New Testament, called Acts. In fact, Acts is written by a man named Luke, and it is part 2 of a book called Luke-Acts and Luke wrote both of those messages. I want us to spend some time in this book called Acts, found here in the New Testament, as it gives us many answers to the question "who is Jesus?" As we go through some of these passages, all of them found in Acts, perhaps we can be able to answer the question "who is Jesus?" First of all, we know that Jesus came from God. In chapter 2, Peter and a number of other followers of Jesus were in the city of Jerusalem and Peter stood up before thousands of people and he shared with them a very important message about Jesus. And this is the way he began his message, in chapter 2, verse 22. He states, <"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know."> Yes, Jesus came from God. Jesus was God's representative here upon this Earth. And wherever Jesus went, whatever He said, whatever He did, came directly from His Father in heaven. And Peter begins the message by stating, "You know these things. You have seen Jesus' life in action. You have seen the wonders and signs which He performed right before your eyes." Yes, He represents His Father. In fact, Jesus could be called God in the Flesh in His ministry here upon this Earth. And so, we find the first answer to the question "who is Jesus?" He is God's representative. He did come from His Father. But then something else we know about Jesus is that He did good things. This same Peter, later on in chapter 10 of Acts, is sharing the message of Jesus with a man named Cornelius and his family. And Cornelius is not a Jew. He is a non-Jew, or a Gentile. And throughout that message, Peter is sharing the story of Jesus with Cornelius and he states these words, in verse 38. <"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him."> Yes, God was with His son Jesus Christ. And through the power of the Holy Spirit, God enabled His Son to do good things to bless other people. He ministered to those who were overlooked and neglected by society. He ministered to those who were helpless and had no hope for their lives. Yes, He healed those who were sick, He comforted those who were at a loss, He fed those who were hungry, and He shared His teaching that came from His Father. Oh, Jesus did many good things in His ministry here upon this Earth, and those good things blessed many people. We notice also in Peter's message, in chapter 2, that Jesus died upon a tree, or a cross that was fashioned out of that tree. Let's go back to chapter 2 and notice what Peter said about that. In just the third verse of his message, we notice these words, in verse 24, that Jesus was killed by people hanging Him on a cross. And the same thing is repeated again in chapter 5 and verse 30, that Peter and the other apostles were arrested and put into prison because they were proclaiming that message. But, the message they proclaimed over and over again is that you are guilty of crucifying the Son of God. <"You are guilty of hanging Him on a tree."> Yes, there is great debate as to who killed Jesus. Some say that His own fellow Jews killed Him because they did not believe in Him. Some blamed the Roman soldiers, the ones who drove those spikes into His hands and in His feet. Some even say that we ourselves killed Jesus, because of the sin in our life. And no doubt, all of those statements are true. But the fact remains that Jesus was killed. Jesus was put upon a cross and He died a very painful and humiliating death. But Jesus did that for a reason. He did that so that we could be set free from the sin in our life. Well, we continue on with the question and the answers to "who is Jesus?" We go back again to chapter 2 and we notice these words in verse 24 of Peter's message: He was raised to life. Yes, <"God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him."> After parts of three days, God rolled away the stone and Jesus came forth alive. He appeared to many people as proof of His resurrection. And yet again, many people debate whether or not Jesus did rise from the dead. Some say that Jesus was never really dead to begin with, He was only in a deep sleep and after a period of time He walked out of that tomb. Others suggest Jesus' own followers came and stole away the body, and nobody noticed, and they took it, and it was never seen again. But yet we see time and time again throughout Scripture that Jesus appeared to people after His resurrection, hundreds of people, just prior to His ascension to His Father's right hand in heaven. And so those are just a few of the answers that we find here in the book of Acts concerning the question "who is Jesus?" He was God's representative on this Earth and He went about doing good things. He was killed by being nailed to a cross fashioned out of a tree. And then, He rose up from the dead. But as we think about those things, we then ask another question. Why are they so important? What is the significance of those things for my life today? Well first of all, we recognize that Jesus is the only way to come to God. Jesus is the only way through whom we can have a relationship with our Father in heaven. We stay here in the book of Acts, in chapter 2, and part of Peter's message includes these words, in verses 32 and 33. <"God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear."> Jesus, as God's representative upon the Earth, is the only way that we can come into fellowship with God the Father. And, He is seated there at His Father's right hand. He sees you, He hears you, He knows what is going on in your life, and He represents you before His Father. And, as you confess Him and acknowledge Him as the Lord of your life and as your Savior then Jesus acknowledges you before our Father in heaven. Yes, we don't come to our Father in heaven through any other means, except Jesus Christ. There are no other gods, there are no other idols or images in this world through whom we can have a relationship with The Creator and The Sustainer of this world. But that leads us into something else, in regards to the significance of Jesus. We know that He is the one who offers salvation. Notice these words from the apostle Peter in chapter 4 and verse 12. <"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."> Oh, the name of Jesus Christ saves people. We are not saved by any other name. We are not saved by any other means. It is only through Jesus Christ that we receive His salvation. And that salvation is simply being saved from sin, it is being saved from spiritual and eternal death, and it is being saved for a brand-new life in Jesus as we represent Him here upon this Earth and as we bring glory and honor to His name and the name of our Father in heaven. Here's something else that's important. We know that Jesus is our judge. In chapter 10 and verse 42, in Peter's message to Cornelius and his family, he states these words: <"He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead."> Oh, often times we find ourselves as judges of other people, don't we? And, it's easy to do that. We try to place judgment upon people, and it's not our place to do so. But, we judge whether they are right or wrong. We judge whether or not they have a good relationship with God or if they don't. We judge who is out and who is in. And yet, our judgment really doesn't matter, according to this passage, because it is Jesus Christ, the one whom God raised from the dead, who will be our ultimate judge; and, He will judge us all as we stand before that Judgment Seat of the Lord. He will judge both the living and the dead, and we will receive our judgment from Him. We think about answers to the question "who is Jesus?" We think about why those things are so important. But then the question then comes, what is my response to Jesus Christ, the Son of God? How does He want me to respond to Him? Well, in several places in the book of Acts, we find people making a response to Jesus once they understand who He is. One of those places is found in chapter 4, where people put their faith in Him. Peter and some of the other apostles were sharing the good news story of Jesus. As a result of that, they were thrown into prison and they were persecuted. But still, that did not prevent people from believing in Jesus Christ. We read these words in chapter 4, verses 2 through 4: <They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and, because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message believed; and the number of men grew to about five thousand.> Even though Peter and John and others were in prison, they continue to proclaim the Good News. And even though they were in prison, that did not prevent people from believing in Jesus Christ and coming to faith in Him. And just two chapters after that great message in chapter 2, we find that the number of believers had grown to some 5000 men. Yes, people were believing in Jesus Christ. They were putting their faith in God's one and only Son. Not only that, they were also repenting, or turning away from the sin in their life. They had a change of heart and a change of life once they understood who Jesus is. In chapter 17, the apostle Paul points out the importance of repenting or changing even our lives, still today. Notice these words from chapter 17 verses 30 and 31. <"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.”> Yes, at one time God overlooked the sin in people's lives. He recognized that they were ignorant of what was going on. That has all changed now and we are called upon to repent or turn away from the sin in our life and to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ because of His resurrection from the dead. And now, we become His followers. We become His disciples, and we walk with Him each and every day. But then there's another response that the people had in the book of Acts, once they understood who Jesus is. And that is, they were baptized into Jesus. At the end of Peter's message in the second chapter, after he had shared with them the story of Jesus and how that He was the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures, the people asked a simple question. They said, "What must we do?" In other words, where do we go from here and how do we respond to Jesus Christ? And Peter told them this, in verses 38 and 39: <“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.”> The people heard the message. Peter told them to repent, or change their life, and then to be baptized, or immersed, into Jesus, for the forgiveness of their sin. And we read just a few verses later and notice that some 3000 people did that very thing on that very day. They were baptized into the name of Jesus Christ, not into some church or some religious group or denomination, but they were baptized into Jesus, because they recognized that He was the source of their salvation. Oh, in the first century, thousands of people heard about this man named Jesus. And yet, many of them doubted. Many of them questioned His teaching and the claim that He made, that He had come from God the Father, even to the point they persecuted Him and put Him to death on a cross. And yet on the other hand, we know that many had a much different response. They were amazed by His life. They were touched by His ministry. They were changed in the way they lived. And, they recognized, indeed, that Jesus was the Son of God; that He did die upon a cross, but His Father raised Him from the dead. And, they responded to what Jesus had done for them by believing in Him, and becoming His follower, and then being baptized into Him. Nothing has changed about Jesus Christ today. He is the same today as He was 2000 years ago, the same that He was yesterday and the same that He will be tomorrow. And, we have choices to make, just like those people did in the first century. What will we do with Jesus? Will we reject the Son of God, the one who died on the cross, or will we respond to Him as so many did throughout the book of Acts? Yes, as we think about the question "who is Jesus?" we now have some answers and we have a way to respond. As we think about those things, join with me in a word prayer. <<Dear Father in heaven, we thank You so very much for the stories that You have shared with us through the book called Acts. We are thankful, God, that You sent Your son Jesus to be Your representative here upon this Earth. We are thankful that He died upon the cross to save us from our sin and for a better life with You. God, may it be that the people in the sound of my voice today recognize who Jesus is, and they make the response as the people did in the book the Acts. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.>> If someone asks you the question, like they asked my friend not long ago, "who is Jesus?" I trust you know some answers to give them in regards to that most important question. Or, perhaps you have tuned in to this program today seeking answers for yourself in regards to "who is Jesus?" Perhaps now you have some good information to go on from God's Word, from the book of Acts, and you know how He would want you to respond to Jesus Christ and what He has done for you.
Thank you for watching this program. I trust the message about Jesus, the Son of God, allowed you the opportunity to think about who He is and what He has done for you. If this message was of benefit, perhaps you might be interested in others. I invite you to visit our website, keytothekingdom.com, and there you will find previous lessons which can be easily accessed. It will not cost you anything to listen to or view them, and there is certainly no obligation attached to it. While on the website, you might find of interest the "Key Moments" section. These are short 2 to 3 minute video clips that present biblical messages in easy to understand formats. Other things are also available that are designed to help one in their study of the Bible and also in their walk with the Lord. And remember, everything offered, even the Bible study, is absolutely free. If you prefer, you can still call the number on the screen and leave your request for that free Bible study to be sent to you by mail. There is no obligation for it, either, as you can enjoy studying God's word in your own home and on your own time schedule. There is a free app which you can download onto your Apple or Android phone. It will take you directly to our website. And finally, a free channel on Roku television is something new that was recently added. Hopefully, you will want to take advantage of all of these opportunities. I want you to know it has been my pleasure to share this message about Jesus with you today. Thank you again for being our guest. I also invite you to join us next time, as we continue to study the Bible on "Key to the Kingdom."