|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
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In the Words of Jesus
By Tyndale House Publishers
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
All rights reserved.
THE PERSON OF JESUS
The Identity of Jesus
"I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven't believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father's will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day."
Jesus did not work independently of God the Father, but in union with Him. This should give us even more assurance of being welcomed into God's presence and being protected by Him. Jesus' purpose was to do the will of God, not to satisfy Jesus' human desires. When we follow Jesus, we should have the same purpose.
"I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."
Jesus was speaking in the treasury—the part of the Temple where the offerings were put and where candles burned to symbolize the pillar of fire that led the people of Israel through the wilderness. In this context, Jesus called Himself the Light of the World. The pillar of fire represented God's presence, protection, and guidance. Likewise, Jesus brings God's presence, protection, and guidance. Is He the Light of your world?
"I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark."
As a soldier follows his captain, so we should follow Christ, our Commander. As a slave follows his master, so we should follow Christ, our Lord. As we follow the advice of a trusted counselor, so we should follow Jesus' commands to us in Scripture. As we follow the laws of our nation, so we should follow the laws of the Kingdom of Heaven.
"I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures."
In the sheepfold, the shepherd functioned as a gate, letting the sheep in and protecting them. Jesus is the gate to God's salvation for us. He offers access to safety and security. Christ is our protector. Some people resent that Jesus is the gate, the only way of access to God. But Jesus is God's Son—why should we seek any other way or want to customize a different approach to God?
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don't belong to him and he isn't their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he's working only for the money and doesn't really care about the sheep.
"I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep."
A hired hand tends the sheep for money, while the shepherd does it out of love. The shepherd owns the sheep and is committed to them. Jesus is not merely doing a job; He is committed to love us and has laid down His life for us. False teachers and false prophets do not have this commitment.
"I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?"
Jesus has power over life and death as well as power to forgive sins. This is because He is the Creator of life. He who is life can surely restore life. Whoever believes in Christ has a spiritual life that death cannot conquer or diminish in any way. When we realize His power and how wonderful His offer to us really is, how can we not commit our lives to Him?
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!"
Jesus says He is the only way to God the Father. Some people may argue that this way is too narrow. In reality, it is wide enough for the whole world, if the world chooses to accept it. Instead of worrying about how limited it sounds to have only one way, we should be saying, "Thank You, God, for providing a sure way to get to You!"
"If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me."
We often wonder what God is like. How can we know the Creator when He doesn't make Himself visible? Jesus said plainly that those who see Him see God, because He is God. If you want to know what God is like, study the person and words of Jesus Christ.
"I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."
Christ is the vine, and God is the Gardener who cares for the branches to make them fruitful. The branches are all those who claim to be followers of Christ. The fruitful branches are true believers who by their living union with Christ produce much fruit. But those who don't bear fruit—those who turn back from following Christ after making a superficial commitment—will be separated from the vine. Unfruitful followers are as good as dead and will be cut off and tossed aside.
"Do you believe in the Son of Man? ... You have seen him, ... and he is speaking to you!"
The "Son of Man" is Jesus Himself. This title occurs many times in the New Testament in reference to Jesus as the Messiah.
"My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world."
In this verse, Jesus is responding to Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus a straightforward question, and Jesus answered clearly. There seems to have been no question in Pilate's mind that Jesus spoke the truth and was innocent of any crime. It also seems apparent that, while recognizing the truth, Pilate chose to reject it. It is a tragedy when we fail to recognize the truth. It is a greater tragedy when we recognize the truth but fail to heed it.
Jesus and the Father
"I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants."
Because of His unity with God, Jesus lived as God wanted Him to live. Because of our identification with Jesus, we must honor Him and live as He wants us to live. The question "What would Jesus do?" may help us make the right choices.
"Since you don't know who I am, you don't know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father."
Jesus and the Father are one.
"The Father and I are one."
This is the clearest statement of Jesus' divinity He ever made. Jesus and His Father are not the same person, but they are one in essence and nature. Thus, Jesus is not merely a good teacher—He is God. His claim to be God was unmistakable. The religious leaders wanted to kill Him because their laws said that anyone claiming to be God should die. Nothing could persuade them that Jesus' claim was true.
"I tell you the truth, anyone who welcomes my messenger is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming the Father who sent me."
When people welcome our proclamations of the Good News, they are also welcoming Jesus Christ and, through Him, the Father.
"Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do." John 14:9-11
Jesus is the visible, tangible image of the invisible God. He is the complete revelation of what God is like. Jesus explained to Philip, who wanted to see the Father, that to know Jesus is to know God. The search for God, for truth and reality, ends in Christ.
Excerpted from In the Words of Jesus by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2015 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsTo the Reader, ix,
One Solitary Life, xi,
The Person of Jesus,
The Identity of Jesus, 3,
Jesus and the Father, 15,
The Authority of Jesus, 21,
The Mission of Jesus, 27,
Jesus and the Children, 35,
The Body and Blood of Jesus, 41,
The Call to Follow Jesus, 49,
The Cost of Following Jesus, 53,
The Rewards of Following Jesus, 61,
The Authority of Jesus' Followers, 65,
The Mission of Jesus' Followers, 71,
Service and Leadership, 79,
Promises of Jesus,
Comfort, Peace, and Rest, 85,
The Hope of Heaven, 89,
The Holy Spirit, 91,
The Return of Jesus, 97,
God's Love, 107,
Loving God, 111,
Loving Others, 117,
God's Forgiveness, 127,
Forgiving Others, 135,
Learning to Pray, 141,
Persistence in Prayer, 147,
The Results of Prayer, 153,
The Importance of Faith, 157,
Prayers of Jesus, 161,
The Kingdom of God,
The Nature of the Kingdom, 173,
Entering the Kingdom, 179,
Other Teachings of Jesus,
Don't Criticize Others, 189,
Don't Worry, 193,
Eternal Life, 199,
Hearing and Obeying, 203,
Jesus and the Law, 209,
Marriage and Divorce, 219,
Money and Possessions, 225,
Overcoming Temptation, 237,
Restoring Relationships, 243,
Satan and Evil Spirits, 249,
The Power of Faith, 255,
The Way of Humility, 261,
True Happiness, 265,
True Riches, 271,
True Righteousness, 277,
True Worship, 285,
Warnings of Jesus,
Warnings about False Teachers, 289,
Warnings about Hypocrisy, 293,
Warnings of Persecution, 301,
Warnings of Coming Judgment, 307,
Signs of the End Times, 315,
Other Illustrations Jesus Used,
Jesus' Radical Message, 327,
Ready for the Kingdom, 331,
The Last Will Be First, 339,
The Rejection of Jesus, 343,
Wise Stewardship, 347,