Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons

The Unique Jesus


The Unique Jesus




“Some years ago I received a letter from a young man I knew slightly.  ‘I have just made a great discovery’, he wrote.  ‘Almighty God had two sons.  Jesus Christ was the first; I am the second.’  I glanced at the address at the top of his letter.  He was writing from a well-known mental hospital.  There have of course been many pretenders of greatness and to divinity” (Basic Christianity, John  R.W. Stott, p. 35).  There have always been false prophets and beyond that, false Messiahs (Matthew 24:24).  But even the world views “Jesus” in a different category.  One writer noted, “Instinctively we do not class Him with others.  Jesus is not one of the group of the world’s great.  Talk about Alexander the Great and Napoleon the Great if you will.  Jesus is apart.  He is not the Great; He is the Only.  He is simply Jesus.  Nothing could add to that.  There is a saying of Charles Lamb that ‘if Shakespeare was to come into this room we should all rise up to meet him, but if that Person was to come into it, we should all fall down and try to kiss the hem of His garment’” (p. 36). 


He Claimed to Be Sinless


“Why do you call Me good?” He asked the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-18).  Jesus then noted, “No one is good except God alone”.  “Exactly”, we should have replied.  “It is not that you are better than other men, nor even that you are the best of men, but that you are good—good with the absolute goodness of God” (p. 36). 


“Which one of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46). “Who of you can prove me guilty of sin” (Wms); “Which of you can prove me in the wrong’ (NEB).  Barclay notes, “Is there anyone here who can point the finger at any evil in My life?”  Then there must have followed a silence during which the eyes of Jesus ranged round the crowd waiting for anyone to accept the extra-ordinary challenge that He had thrown down” (p. 35).  Morris notes, “It betokens a clear and serene conscience.  Only one who was in the closest and most intimate communion with the Father could have spoken such words.  In the light of their inability to point to any sin at all in Him their continuing failure to believe in Him is shown for the sham it was.  If there was no sin, then He was indeed speaking the truth, and if He was speaking the truth then they should have believed” (p. 465).


“For I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29).  “When He invited them to accuse Him, He could stay and bear their scrutiny.  They were sinners; He was without sin.  He lived a life of perfect obedience to His Father’s will.  ‘I always do’, He said, ‘what is pleasing to Him”.  There was nothing boastful about those words.  He spoke naturally, with neither fuss nor pretension” (Stott p. 37). 

Bernard Ramm commented, “There He stands, sinless.  Whatever men may claim for being great, this is one thing they cannot. They may be brilliant or strong, fast or clever, creative or inspired, but not sinless.  Sinless perfection and perfect sinlessness is what we would expect of God incarnate (John 1:14).  The hypothesis and the facts concur” (Protestant Christian Evidences, p. 169). 


In A Moral Category By Himself


By the very nature of His teaching, He placed Himself in a category as distinct from all other men.  Jesus condemned pride and arrogance (Luke 18:9), yet He did constantly speak of Himself.  “All other men were lost sheep; He had come as the Good Shepherd to seek and save them (John 10:14; Luke 19:10).  All other men were sick with the disease of sin; He was the doctor who had come to heal them (Matthew 9:12).  All other men were plunged the in darkness of sin and ignorance; He was the light of the world (John 8:12).  All other men were sinners; He was born to be their Savior and would shed His blood in death for the forgiveness of their sins (Matthew 26:28).  All other men were hungry; He was the bread of life” (Stott p. 37).  “It is not surprising, therefore, that although we are told of the temptations of Jesus (Matthew 4), we hear nothing of His sins.  He never confesses His sins or asks for forgiveness, although He tells His disciples to do so (Matthew 6:12).  He shows no consciousness of moral failure.  He appears to have no feelings of guilt and no sense of estrangement from God” (p. 38). 



He Is The Center Of His Teaching



Jesus could condemn selfishness and the self-centered lifestyle (Matthew 16:24-25), yet He continually talked about Himself. Such teaching immediately sets Jesus apart from the other professed “great” religious teachers of the world.  “They were self-effacing.  He was self-advancing.  They pointed men away from themselves, saying, ‘That is the truth, so far as I perceive it; follow that’.  Jesus said, ‘I am the truth; follow Me’” (Stott p. 23).  Consider the following passages:


“I am the bread of life” (John 6:35)

“I am the light of the world” (John 8:12)

“I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)

“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-29).

“And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27)



He Is The Object Of Man’s Faith



Jesus offered Himself to His contemporaries as the proper object of their faith and love.  It is for man to believe in God; yet Jesus appealed to men to believe in Himself:  “He who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35); “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He has sent” (John 6:29); “He who believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36); “That you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).  In fact, Jesus noted that the world will be condemned because they did not believe in Him (John 16:8-9)


He Is The Object Of Man’s Love


The first and great commandment is to love God with all the heart and soul and mind.  Yet Jesus claimed to be the proper object of man’s love.  Anyone who loved father, mother, son, or daughter more than Him was not worthy of Him (Luke 14:26; Matthew 10:37).  “The most remarkable feature of all this teaching is that it was uttered by one who insisted on humility in others.  He rebuked His disciples for their self-seeking and was wearied by their desire to be great.  Did He not practice what He preached?”(Stott p. 25). Yet, we know that He practiced what He preached (John 13:34-35).  


Amazing Attitudes Of Jesus



He was completely devoid of worldly ambition:  When they tried to make Him a worldly king, He refused (John 6:15).  When a rich ruler came to Him, who could have helped Him advance His cause, He sent him away by imposing upon him a condition that the rich man could not accept (Mark 10:17-22). 


He never expressed a doubt on any subject:  He did not admit ignorance of anything; to Him there were no mysteries.  He spoke as One who possessed all truth (Matthew 7:29).  He never appealed to human philosophy or human authority in an attempt to strengthen His arguments.  He never apologized for anything He taught and neither He did ever retract any of His statements.  The Jewish religious and political parties of the time tested Him with the most complicated questions they could imagine and He answered all such questions with uncomplicated teaching (Matthew 19,22). 


He was entirely free of prejudice or hatred:  While surrounded by prevailing prejudices against the Gentiles (John 4:9), He treated all kindly and in the religion He established, made Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, equal (Mark 16:15-16).




The Amazing Claims Of Jesus



He claimed to be able to forgive sins:  (Mark 2:1-12; Luke 7:36-50).  On both occasions bystanders raised their eyebrows and asked, ‘Who is this?  What blasphemy is this?  Who can forgive sins but God only?  Their questions were correctly worded.  We may forgive the injuries which others do to us; but the sins we commit against God only God Himself can forgive. 


He claimed to be able to bestow spiritual life:  He described Himself as “the bread of life”, “the resurrection and the life”.  He likened His follower’s dependence on Him to the sustenance derived from the vine by its branches (John 15).  “And I give eternal life to them” (John 10:28).


He claimed to be the Judge at the last day:  “He will Himself arouse the dead (John 5:28-29), and all the nations will be gathered before Him (Matthew 25:31).  He will sit on the throne of His glory, and the judgment will be committed to Him by the Father (John 5:22).  He will separate men from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from his goats.  Not only will Jesus be the Judge, but the criterion of the judgment will be men’s attitude to Him as shown in their treatment of His ‘brethren’(Matthew 25:40) or their response to His word (Matthew 7:21-28; John 12:48).  Those who have acknowledged Him before men He will acknowledge before His Father (Matthew 10:32-33), those who have denied Him, He will deny.  Indeed, for a man to be excluded from heaven on the last day, it will be enough for Jesus to say, ‘I never knew you’ (Matthew 7:23)” (Stott p. 31). 


He claimed a pre-existence:  What Jew living in that day would have conceived of a pre-existence? (John 8:58)


He claimed that His words would out-last the creation:  (Matthew 24:35)


He accepted worship:  While claiming that only God should be worshipped (Matthew 4:10), He accepted worship from many people (Matthew 8:2; 9:18; John 20:26-29).


He predicted both His death and resurrection:  What human being would ever risk the ridicule and exposure that could come from falsely claiming to rise from the dead.  In three days, everyone would know whether one had been teaching the truth or error.  He has forever given the human race an objective standard for testing all His claims and teachings.  The Messiah, the Savior of the world is the One whose tomb is empty!  (Matthew 16:21-23)


Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Chirst/503-644-9017