Red-letter Bibles can be both a blessing and a curse – a blessing because they highlight the important words of our Lord Jesus, but a curse to the uninformed reader because occasionally the words highlighted in red are not actually the words of Jesus! One influential example of this may be found in the book of Revelation. In the New American Standard Bible, Revelation 1:8 is highlighted in red, suggesting that the following words are the words of Jesus. This verse reads “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” This red-letter emphasis conveys the idea that Jesus is the Lord God, the Almighty. However, a careful reader of the book of Revelation will question the accuracy of this red-letter emphasis, which is an editorial interpretation and not of the authoritative inspiration of God.
Archive for the 'Jesus Christ' Category
It is evident that the average church-goer has no real grasp on the biblical meaning of Messianic titles such as ‘Son of God,’ ‘Christ,’ or ‘Son of Man.’ According to Dr. Hugh Schonfield, author of The Passover Plot, the majority of the Christians he conversed with “were not even aware that Christ was simply a Greek translation of the Hebrew title Messiah (Anointed One), and supposed that it had to do with the heavenly nature of the Second Person of the Trinity.” The significance of such titles is clearly being overlooked. However, their importance is not to be understated, for Jesus himself said that it is “upon this rock,” namely the fact that he is the Christ, that “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt 16:16,18). Thus, it is essential to have a correct understanding of such Messianic titles, for a vague or unbiblical understanding of Jesus’ titles will lead to a corruption of the gospel message he preached, and ultimately, his identity.
My purpose in writing this series of blog posts is twofold: First, to encourage us to be doers of the Word, not hearers only, and to take seriously what Jesus has commanded us in scripture. But secondly, I also want to encourage us to enlarge our thinking about Jesus. Since many of us are non-Trinitarian, in our zeal for monotheism we often tend to focus on who Jesus is not. But I want to focus on who Jesus is. Jesus is huge, and the scriptures have so much to say about him.
The message of the Bible is all about Jesus Christ. He’s in every book of the Bible. Only when we center our focus on Christ do we see the spiritual meaning of biblical events. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the hinge upon which all of scripture swings. We see it foreshadowed in the bread and wine offered by the high priest Melchizedek (Genesis 14), in Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son of promise (Genesis 22), in the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50) and Jonah (Jonah 1-4), and in Moses’ raising up of the snake in the wilderness (Numbers 21, John 3:14). When we fix our eyes on Christ, we see him on almost every page.
In my last post, entitled Taking Jesus Seriously: Right Here and Right Now I made the point that Jesus is not merely a historical or future figure, but someone who is alive today and presently working to accomplish his purposes. I wrote that I want to know Christ and have a relationship with him. This led to the question of whether it is possible to know Jesus personally since he is no longer physically present in the world.
One of my favorite passages of the gospels is the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, found in John 11:1-46. Lazarus was the brother of the Mary and Martha whom Jesus visited in Luke 10. Jesus loved Lazarus dearly (John 11:5) and his sisters must have been deeply distraught when Lazarus fell seriously ill (John 11:1). They immediately went to Jesus, but surprisingly, Jesus did not go immediately to Lazarus. Rather, he remained in the place where he was for two days, and told Mary and Martha, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it” (John 11:4).
Matthew 28:18-20: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Sometimes, we are so focused on what God is going to do in the future that we miss what God is already doing right here and now. We often think, “Someday, God will call me to be a missionary,” or “after I retire, then God will use me for the Great Commission.” But the truth is, God has already called us. Jesus has already commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations. So what are we waiting for?
Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Recently I have been driving down some country roads at night. It always amazes me when I come across people riding a bike along a busy road in the middle of the night, without any lights or reflectors to make themselves visible. One guy was skateboarding at night in a t-shirt and shorts despite below-freezing temperatures, and wearing all black. Fortunately my car headlights always enabled me to see (and avoid) these travelling daredevils.
by Bethany Reise
The Scriptures clearly say that no man can see God and live (Ex 33:20). But the Scriptures also describe many instances of people “seeing” God, even meeting with him “face to face” (Gen 32:31, Num 12:1-8). How then are the apparent “contradictions” reconciled? Some resort to adopting a Trinitarian perspective of God, and claim that when He appeared to His people in the Old Testament it was in the form of Jesus, the pre-incarnate Son of God, who is also God. However, to assert that God is more than one person is to divorce oneself from the God of the Old Testament and to deny the foundational Jewish belief that there is but one God, YHWH. This fact is clearly stated in their creed in Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” Thus, the answer to the mystery of the apparent “God sightings” in the Old Testament must be approached solely from a Hebraic perspective, with the knowledge that God is One and has never been seen or heard by man (John 5:37). It is only by applying the thoroughly Hebraic law of agency to the Scriptures, that seeming inconsistencies are resolved and the true nature of God and His Messiah remain undefiled.
by Bethany Reise
The author of Hebrews writes that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8). This beautiful statement is true and always will be, for Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35). However, this does not mean that the Jesus who is being preached in hundreds of thousands of churches across the globe today is the same Jesus who walked the face of this earth some two thousand years ago. In fact, in many churches, there is a different Jesus being preached. This “Jesus” is God in the flesh; he is one person with two natures: the human and the divine1. He is the second member of the Trinity, co-eternal and co-equal with the Father and the Spirit. He is the preexistent Son of God who left heaven, “became human without ceasing to be God,” and died for the sins of mankind2. This “Jesus” is not the Jesus of the Bible and certainly not the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. The real Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be, exactly who his closest followers understood him to be, and exactly who the Scriptures declared him to be: the human Messiah, the Son of living God (John 20:31).