Faithlife Sermons

What Does Jesus Mean To You?

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Introduction: None More Famous

Recently, I was able to peruse through an index of influential figures. Among these were individuals with high accolades and lives of great influence. Men like Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States; William James, the American philosopher, physician, and psychologist—known as the “Father of American psychology”; and Samuel Johnson, the author of the Dictionary of the English Language, which was considered the “the pre-eminent British dictionary until the Oxford Dictionary was published.”
In this index the entries were given titles. For instance, Blaise Pascal is referred to as an author, man, and philosopher. He was a French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher who was essential in speaking up against Voltaire and Rene Descartes. Another entry was John Wesley who is referred to as an author and hymn writer. Joan of Arc is referred to as an author, martyr, soldier, virgin, and woman. But then I looked up Jesus.
Jesus, out of all of the entries, had the most references. He was referred to as an author, biblical man, carpenter, high priest, Messiah, prophet, rabbi, religious group founder, supernatural being, and teacher.
As a carpenter, he was a woodworker and builder, a craftsmen.
As a rabbi, he was a master teacher.
As a high priest, he was God’s representative for mankind and the offerer of the spiritual offerings that reconciles us to God.
As a prophet, He was the one directed by the inspiration of God to proclaim His word and sacred message.
Without question, Jesus is the most famous figure in human history. In a list of history’s most famous individuals, Jesus is included among other figures like, Adolf Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jackson, Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley, Muhammad, Princess Dianna, Buddha, and Barak Obama. Despite what makes these individuals well-known, Jesus is the most noble well known figure of them all.
In fact, Mahatma Gandhi once said, “[Jesus is] a man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.”
Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “Jesus Christ was an extremist for love, truth and goodness.”
Napoleon Bonaparte stated, “I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but what foundation did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded an empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.
Albert Einstein said, “I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrase-mongers, however artful¡¨. He further added: “No man can read the gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
Some of these individuals are not necessarily Christians, but they all recognize something special about Jesus. Jesus was an extraordinary human being. He was the ideal human, which is easily recognized by men, though not always respected. However, the things spoken—however wonderful they are—is not all there is to be said about Jesus.

Who Do They Say He Is?

The question of who Jesus is was asked during the first century. It seems many people did not understand just who He was. When Jesus wanted to find out what others were saying about Him, He was told,
Matthew 16:14 (CSB)
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Here, the passage shows us that individuals were claiming that Jesus was a Son, but more specifically He was the Son of man. That’s all they could see Him as.
What’s wrong with being just the Son of Man? What’s wrong with being John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets?
The simple answer is that they are all just men. And for what God needed done, He needed more than just a man.
I want to remind you today, when you are thinking about the things God has called you to and your day-to-day responsibilities—God has not just called you to be a mere man or woman. For the things God has called you to be, He needs you to be spiritual.

Jesus, the Son of God

You see, out of all of the titles and references given to Jesus, known of them were fully accurate. They were missing a part of the description that is critical to understanding who Jesus is.
I asked myself as I was reading this passage: Out of all the titles we give to Jesus, which one would He like to accept? Which title does Jesus want us to use in reference to Him? Out of all the titles we use to refer to Jesus earlier, what if we missed one? What if we missed the most important one?
Jesus asked His disciples who do men say that I am? Then he asked,
Matthew 16:15 (CSB)
15 “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?”
The question became personal!
This shows that the answer that the unlearned gives about who Jesus is should be different from the answer that the learned give concerning who Jesus is.
The problem I have discovered is that the learned and the unlearned have the same answer for the same question. We have not come to understand just who Jesus is, and therefore, our answers to who He is often sound like the sort of response we would get to people who have not truly learned what is to be in Christ.
When a person knows who Jesus is, their language and life changes. They have a sort of conviction about God and respect for His son that alters the way they interact with their Creator and other individuals.
When we know Jesus, we learn that we cannot love Christ and hate our brother. When we know Jesus there’s a new element of compassion given to us for others that compel us to live in consideration of other’s needs beyond our own. When we know Jesus, we strive to live peaceably and with a view of equity towards others that reflect the concern of God for all mankind. In other words, there’s an ethic that is given to all who know Jesus, so they are properly equipped to handle themselves in the character and power of the one they have committed to—Jesus Christ.
Knowing the true identity of Jesus was an important matter. Peter, through the revelation of God spoke up and responded to Peters question by saying,
Matthew 16:16 CSB
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
We must catch the gravity of such a declaration. I mentioned to you earlier that there are those who pretend to know, when they really don’t know. I mentioned this, because there were some who pretended to be who Jesus is, even during His own lifetime.
The title, Son of God, had many meanings in the classical world. Eugene Carpenter notes,

In New Testament times, each Caesar considered himself to be a “son of God.” For example, coins depicted Augustus as the incarnate Zeus or “worship-worthy son of God,” and altars were erected in his honor. Augustus encouraged the cult as a unifying element in his diverse empire and as a type of patriotism. After his death temples were built in his honor, and the symbols of divinity were transferred to succeeding emperors. For decades, all new temples were made for the imperial cult.

The Caesars built a cult out of impersonating the divine. They had people bowing before them, worshipping them, and adoring them when in fact, they were mere mortals.
My friends, let us mind how we adore one another! In this day, there has been much made of public figures and celebrity-like leaders who provoke their followers with their charisma, instead of their love and passion for Jesus Christ. We must love each other, but we cautious of idolizing each other. There’s one worthy of our worship—Jesus Christ, the King.
We don’t need more good leaders. We need men and women that can show us how to love Jesus with all our heart, mind, and soul. We need people that will deny themselves daily and take up their cross to follow Jesus. We need people that will lose this world so they might gain their soul. This is who Jesus was.
Jimmy Parks writes, The Son of God is a title for “a person who represents God is conceptualized as a son of God.” -The Lexham Figurative Language of the New Testament Dataset,” in Lexham Figurative Language of the Bible Glossary, ed. Joshua R. Westbury et al. (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016). David Freedman notes that Jewish intertestamental writings would often depict the Son of God as “the suffering righteous man as God’s son (Wis. 2:16–18; Sir. 4:10)” -Robert L. Mowery, “Son of God,” ed. David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 1241.
You see, the title of Son of God tells us everything we need to know about Jesus. This title appointed to Him lets us know He was the Lord’s Messiah.

What Does It Mean To Be The Lord’s Anointed?

Since Jesus is the Lord’s Anointed and He has died for our sins, this means we have an incredible responsibility towards the one who has died for us! Paul describes our duty as being one of intentional reflection upon the knowledge of truth that submits us into proper duty and service.
The point of his warning is to encourage us. He wants us to understand that the knowledge of Jesus should disable any willingness to sin against Him. The reason is: When the truth of Jesus enlighten us, it should also change us.
The disappointing fact is that so many claim to know Jesus, but they have not changed. Even more sad is the fact that they think its okay.
Paul warns that the one who deliberately continue in sin is headed for destruction, because we are no longer dealing with mere men; we are now handling the son of God.

Ways to Avoid Destruction

Reflect Hebrews 11:32
Maintain confidence Hebrews 11:35
Be patient Hebrews 11:36
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