Friday, August 27, 2004

Who is Jesus? - Matthew 1

In the very first book of the New Testament, the first of the Gospels, and in the first chapter, we are introduced to Jesus and told who He is. Matthew, the disciple of Jesus tells us four things about Him:
  • The Position of Jesus (v. 1)
  • The Promise of Jesus (v. 16)
  • The Purpose of Jesus (v. 21)
  • The Person of Jesus (v.23)

1) The Position of Jesus - The King of the Jews
Matthew begins his Gospel with the words: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." David was the king, and Abraham was the father of the Jewish race. In saying that Jesus was the son of David, the son of Abraham, Matthew sets forth Jesus' royal lineage. He is the "Son of David", a term familiar to the Jews; and not just a son of David, but the son of David. Every Jew who read these words were to know that this Jesus is their rightful king, and they must acknowledge Him as King.

But Jesus, of course, is not just King of the Jews, but King of All. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as we sing, but the question is: Is He our King? And is He our Lord whom we worship and obey?

2) The Promise of Jesus - The Christ
Jesus is the Promised One from of old. All the Old Testament tells of Him from Genesis to Malachi. The Jewish word is actually "Messiah", which means "Anointed One". In the Jewish culture back then, two types of people were anointed - kings and priests. Apart from being King, Jesus is our Great High Priest who lives forever to make intercession for us, and who came down to earth to make atonement for our sins by giving Himself up to die on the cross.

The priest is a mediator between man and God, and Jesus is the perfect Priest who made the perfect sacrifice which, once made, is enough and does not need to be made again. Because He lives, we can be assured that our salvation is sure and secure.

3) The Purpose of Jesus - Saviour
The name Jesus itself is significant. It is actually Yeshua, which is also rendered as Joshua. It was a common name, but it was loaded with meaning. "Jesus" actually means "Jehovah saves", or "Saviour"; and that is what Jesus came to be - our Saviour from sin, death and hell. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

The angel said, "Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." Are you saved from your sin? If not, wait no longer! If yes, then you are free and do not have to live in sin any more! Those who believe in Him have been saved from the power and consequence of sin. They have stepped over from death to life, and sin shall no longer have dominion over them.

4) The Person of Jesus - The God-Man
Finally, and most wonderfully, we are told who Jesus really is - He is God incarnate, meaning, God taking the form of a human being. He is 100% God and 100% man. He is "God with us". He walks with us and talks with us. He took on the form of man to experience everything we experience, that He may understand and empathize with us and help us in our time of need.

Jesus understands. He understands us more than we could ever realise - not only because He made us, but also because He was made to be like us in every way but without sin. There's no temptation or trial that we can ever go through that He has not been through Himself. And because He was victorious in them all and He now lives in us, He can give us the victory in everything we face. If God be for us, who can be against us?