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Would You Recognize Jesus?

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Do we have a close enough relationship with our Lord that we truly see Him wherever we go?

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How many of you remember a television game show that ran for years, called, “To Tell the Truth”?

The premise, or basic concept behind the show, was that there were three challengers who were introduced, all of which who were claiming to be the central character. The announcer would ask the challengers , who were standing side by side, “What is your name please?” Each challenger would then state, “My name is [central character’s name].”
There was a panel of four celebrities on each show, who would read along as the game show host read aloud a signed affidavit about the central character of that show.
Then, the panelists would each be given a time period to challenge and ask the three challengers questions, that were inherent to and only about the real CENTRAL CHARACTER for that show, of which no one knew which of the three, was the real CENTRAL CHARACTER.
Finally, after the questioning was complete, each panel member would vote on which of the challengers they believed to be the real central character for that show.
Once the voting was done, the game show host would ask, “Will the real [central character’s name] please stand up?” Then, the real person of the three would stand up and the panel and the audience would then see who the real person of the three was.
The interesting thing about this show, is that you are talking about people who don’t know the real person and yet they are trying to use clues to determine the truth of which person is who they claim to be, so that the question can finally be asked, “Will the real [central character’s name], please stand up” and they can see if they got it right!
Today, I would very much like, to ask you a question similar in nature to this game show and see if you can answer it. Not for me, or for anyone else here, but for you and your own life. And if you are with us, watching via the live feed, then I am asking you the same question.
And like the game show that I just described to you, “To Tell the Truth”, in order for you to be able to answer this question and get it right, having the right information and knowledge base about the person I am going to ask you of is crucial!
Allow me to play a clip right now, from a song performed by Johnny Cash, who I believe, also wrote this song. The name of this song as we shall see in the lyrics, is also the very question that I am asking you today, so pay close attention and see if you can pick out the question that I am bringing to you this morning.
If you've never fed the hungry, or given clothes to the poor If you've never helped the stranger who came knocking on your door If you forgot to send some flowers to a sick and shut-in friend Well if you ain't helping none of these, then you ain't helping Him If you've ever seen some children, playing ball behind a school If you've ever watched an old man, plowing ground behind mule If you've ever stopped and listened, when you could not hear a sound Then brother you have met Him, because Jesus gets around Would you recognise Jesus if you met Him face to face? Or would you wonder if He's just another one you could not place? You may not find Him coming in a chariot of the Lord, Jesus could be riding in a "49 Ford.
Did any of you catch, within the lyrics, the question that is on my mind this morning?

This morning, I would like to walk you through various accounts found in the New Testament and show you some different people who truly recognized who Jesus was.

As we look at these various accounts, you will see that there were some who recognized Jesus, not because they had a personal prior knowledge of Him or walked with Him for years during His life or during the time of His ministry, but they knew and recognized Him through divine revelation and because of their faith!
I want you to begin to think in your minds this morning as we look at these accounts, about your own relationship with Jesus and of how intimately you know Him and whether or not you would recognize Jesus when He presents Himself to you.
Notice I didn’t say, “If” He presents Himself, but rather, “When” He presents Himself to you!
The reason that I say it like this to you, is because our perception of Jesus and our personal relationship with Him, cannot be likened to or treated as something as common as our other earthly relationships!
Our relationship with Jesus and how we see Him and our ability to recognize Him, is based not upon the flesh, but upon the very thing that He Himself said of our relationship with His Father, when He said, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
We will come back to this, as this deals with the very description of Jesus that we are to look for!

Turn with me in your Bibles this morning, or on your tablets and smartphones, to the gospel of .

Luke 2:21–32 NLT
Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived. Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. The law of the Lord says, “If a woman’s first child is a boy, he must be dedicated to the Lord.” So they offered the sacrifice required in the law of the Lord—“either a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Here we find a man who loved and served Yahweh with all of his being. I say this because of the way that gospel records the account of this man named Simeon.
It calls him a righteous and devout man and these two words would only be used of someone and their position with God, if they were serving God with love and devotion and not wavering between the world and God.
And the passage lets us know that Simeon, because of his love for the Lord, had favor in the eyes of God and that God’s Holy Spirit was on him and had also given Simeon a promise!
A promise that he would not die until he had personally seen the Messiah!
The Bible doesn’t say when Simeon recieved this promise, but only that it had been given to him.
NOTE: When God makes a promise, the fulfillment of that promise is not on our time table, but His! We must stop turning away from God and His precious and great promises in and for our lives, because our faith is weak and we get tired of waiting.
All of the promises that are from God are guaranteed through Jesus, just as tells us, “For all the promises of God are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him, our“Amen” is spoken to the glory of God.”
Besides the very great promises that we find for us all in the Bible, if God has given you a personal promise for your life, HOLD ONTO IT as a great treasure, because HE is faithful and will bring to pass all that He has said that He would!
So Simeon is led to the temple that day, by Holy Spirit and upon entering it, he sees a couple bringing their newborn son before the Lord in dedication and offerings. This was nothing unusual and it went on, probably almost daily, if not weekly.
As soon as Simeon sees the baby Jesus, he knows that this is MESSIAH, this is the CHRIST of God!
And he takes the child into his arms and blesses God and announces that he has seen salvation, both for the Jews as well as for the gentiles.
Jesus had not even crawled or walked yet, let alone went to the cross for our sins and yet here is a man that states that he has witnessed salvation!
How could he see salvation when the cross had not even taken place yet?
The answer is simply this. Jesus is SALVATION, period!
The cross of Calvary is where He paid the price with His own blood for the forgiveness of our sins to give us access to salvation, but He is our salvation.
In fact His name in Hebrew, Yeshua, literally means, SALVATION!
, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
So, when Simeon recognized Jesus, even as a newborn child and declared that he had seen salvation, this was a literal declaration of who and what he was seeing; OUR SALVATION!

Now stay right there in that same chapter of Luke, and just drop down to verses 36-38 and read with me.

“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Here, in this same instance with Simeon, we see another faithful servant of Yahweh, who had spent the majority of her life worshipping and serving God, daily in the temple, through prayer and fasting.
Let me say this, I know that many of us are not accustomed to fasting (and probably many of us are not accustomed to much prayer), but in the passage, there is a relevant point that we see.
We have talked about recently, that our worship of God is, in the truest definition, our obedience and service to God, right?
Well, in this passage, we are told that this ESHET CHAYIL, (this woman of valor), worshipped God night and day in the temple. And how did she worship God? With PRAYER and FASTING!
Praying and fasting are not just neat things that we should try, but they are part of our obedience and service to God; i.e. OUR WORSHIP of God!
The Bible tells us that Anna was 84 years old, when she walked into the temple that day and saw the baby Jesus and instantly, she RECOGNIZED the redeemer, the messiah, Jesus the Christ and began to speak of who she had just witnessed to all whom she could!
She was declaring that REDEMPTION had arrived, simply by seeing the and recognizing the baby Jesus!

Since we are talking about the baby Jesus and the recognition of who and what He was, let me back up just a little bit, before He was even born, and show you another instance. In we read this,

Luke 1:39–44 NLT
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.
Elizabeth, the mother of John the baptist and a relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus, recognized who Jesus was, while He is still in the womb!
As soon as Mary walked into the house and upon Elizabeth hearing her voice, Elizabeth was granted the recognition of who the baby inside of Mary’s womb was (for the Bible tells us that Elizabeth became filled with the Holy Spirit), as she cried out and called the unborn baby Jesus, LORD!
It says that the baby John, leaped for joy in the womb and so g
Not only that, but the unborn baby, John the baptist, leaped for joy inside of the womb!
This unborn baby heard Mary’s voice and knew instantly who else was in the house!
Two things here, in this account of the recognition of Jesus: whenever you see that a person has the Holy Spirit of God come upon them, or fill them, things change and something great and mighty happens!
Can you say the same thing in your life about His presence within you?
And the other thing we see in this account with Elizabeth and her unborn child, upon the recognizing of Jesus, there was the instant filling of joy!
Great rejoicing should come from all who recognize Jesus in their lives!
In talking about John the baptist and his recognition of Jesus, let me make a couple of more remarks here.
It was John the baptist years later, while baptizing and teaching of repentance at the river Jordan, who recognized Jesus coming towards him and called out, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.”
John recognized Jesus as the redeemer of God and also recognized Jesus’ equality and preeminence with God, by saying that Jesus was before Him.
In other words John was saying that, Jesus was already existing, before they were born.
Just as Jesus said Himself, to the religious zealots, “Before Abraham was, I AM”, showing His equality with God the Father!
The other main thing about John the baptist and his recognition of Jesus, that we need to pay attention to is this.
John had the amazing “in the womb” recognition of the Christ and he had the recognition of Jesus being the redeeming lamb of God by the river, which came with him witnessing the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus like a dove. Two amazing accounts of where John recognized who and what Jesus was.
And yet, it was John, after being imprisoned by Herod, who had some of his followers go and ask Jesus if Jesus was truly the one that they were waiting for, or should they look for another?!
In other words, because Jesus was not openly declaring to the Jewish people His deity and making it crystal clear He was the living son of God, John was under pressure now and starting to doubt Jesus and thus forgetting his prior recognition of who and what Jesus was!
This happens to many of us today! Even when we have had amazing revelations of who Jesus is in our lives, and recognized Him as our Lord and Savior, as soon as the enemy comes against us and life takes a turn, we begin to doubt and question Him!
If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you have this guarantee, “He will never leave you and He will never forsake you!”

Throughout the gospels, we find Jesus being recognized as different titles, in the eyes of those who were looking for someone and something completely different, even though He may have fulfilled the description that they recognized Him as.

For instance, to many people (even His own disciples), Jesus was called, “rabbi”/”good teacher”. In fact, I read that of the 90 times that we see Jesus being addressed in the gospels, 60 of those times, He was recognized as and called, rabbi/teacher.
Jesus did say, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am”, and it was said of Him, after He finished the sermon on the Mount, “he taught as one having authority”.
Yet, just being a teacher was not the main reason that He came to us!
Jesus was recognized to be a prophet. The woman at the well said, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet”. When Jesus came into Jerusalem on the donkey in His triumphant entry the Bible says that people recognized Him by saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
And note here again, just as we saw a minute ago with John the baptist’s lapse in His recognition and regard for Jesus, when the situations changed, so also did the people in Jerusalem change their attitude towards Jesus in just a matter of days from the triumphant entry, after the religious leaders demanded the crucifixion of Jesus from Pilate. The crowds that had cheered and recognized Jesus as, “Hosanna”, now yelled and cheered for His crucifixion, as they said that they recognized Him to be a blasphemer and a type of insurrectionist.
It would serve us well to remember that, although we may see and recognize Jesus as different titles, based upon what is going on in our lives, (healer, restorer, prince of peace, wonderful counselor), He is the sovereign King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the everlasting Son of God first and foremost!
It was Peter, during their trip to Caesarea Philippi, that had the revelation and the true RECOGNITION of who Jesus was.
Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say that I am”, or asked another way, “Who do people recognize me to be?”
The disciples said, “Some say that you’re John the Baptist, others say you are Elijah, or one of the other prophets”.
Then, Jesus said, “But who do you say that I am”, (“Who do you recognize Me to be?”)
It was then that Peter made the great revelation, when he said, “You are the Christ; the Son of the living God!”
Jesus then made a statement to Peter about his recognition of who Jesus truly was, and it was a statement that was for all who would come to that realization and is still true for us today, He said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
You see, we will not truly open our spiritual eyes and see and recognize Him for who and what He is, unless Holy Spirit of almighty God convicts us and draws us to Him and opens our spiritual eyes.
Jesus said this about our coming to Him and recognizing Him as our Lord and savior, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
The word that is used there for “draw”, in the Greek, has the literal meaning of, “to DRAG”!
You see, we may think that WE recognize Jesus as messiah and the truth of all that He is and that WE make the decision to come to Him for salvation and that WE are the brokers who put the whole deal together and accept His terms after looking over the package that is offered, but nothing could further from the truth!
The reality is that HE comes to us, and HE convicts us of the fallen state that we are in and HE opens our eyes to be able to recognize who He is and HE extends to us the gift of life and HE drags us from the sea of sin to safety, where we would otherwise drown in our sin!
It is all, HE, HE, HE, not ME, ME, ME!

Recognizing the TRUTH of who Jesus is cannot be done through our natural eyes, as we will use human logic to try and make logical sense about Him and this does not work!

I know that I have used this story in the past, but I like it and it helps to make the point that even when the answer and reality of what going on is right before our eyes, we will be blind to it because our natural mind cannot perceive it.
A story circulated some years ago about Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend and student Watson, who were together on a camping trip. After a good meal and probably too much wine during their discussion, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend awake. "Watson," he said, "look up at the sky and tell me what you see." "I see millions and millions of stars," Watson replied. "What does that tell you?" Holmes questioned. Watson pondered the question and then said, "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you Holmes?" Sherlock was silent for a minute before speaking. "Watson, you idiot, it tells me that someone has stolen our tent!"
The obvious was right in front of both of them, but Watson’s natural eyes didn’t recognize the truth because of his own mind’s eye and logic!
Jesus said to us, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me.”
And when He said this, He wasn’t giving us a RECIPE for salvation, add this and this and this and you will be saved.
No, he was giving us the realities of who and what He is that we must know if we are to come to eternal saving grace!
He is the WAY - there is no other means of getting into heaven; not works, not effort on our part, not logic and moral goodness....NOTHING except the reality of coming by and through Him, as the door itself, gets us into heaven!
He is the LIFE - Apart from Jesus, Himself, there is no eternal LIFE, only eternal death. Our physical life as we know it on this earth is going to end for us all one day. This is not the life that Jesus was speaking on, but rather the eternal life with Him that can only come from HIM!
He is the TRUTH - We may know many truths in our lives, many absolutes about mathematics and science and finances, but eternal TRUTH and moral absolutes of the living WORD of God, is the only truth that matters.
In , we read of an amazing account where two of Jesus’ followers are walking on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection and in deep conversation about everything that has just took place. (Recant the story of the walk.)
Why were they unable to recognize Jesus when He appeared to them?
Probably a good place to look is the words of Jesus, Himself ,when He said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”
He called them “foolish” because they were reluctant to believe all that the scriptures had said about Him and
They, like most of the others, had a preconceived idea about who and what He was to be and to do and so they were BLIND to recognize Him!
The failed to believe and thus see the TRUTH!
Just like the beginning of this message and my sharing with you about the game show, To Tell the Truth, after all of the facts have been given and the time comes the real Jesus will stand up and we will see if we truly recognized Him, or if we followed a man made version of who He is and were deceived!
Jesus said in that when He returns in ALL of His glory, that He will gather all of the nations and separate them into two groups; sheep and goats; right and left.
And to those on His right, He will say, “‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
When we look out for others and serve and meet their needs, with genuine hearts of love and compassion, then we are seeing Jesus.
He is all around us, each and every day!
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