Jesus became the voice of God and as Apostle of God revealed Him to us and tread and prepared the path to perfection through sufferings that we may receive it through faith in Him.
The muted cry of a child shattered the stillness of the small cattle shed in Bethlehem and a little distance away a few shepherds were startled to find themselves surrounded by the brightness of the glory of the Lord and a ‘great company of the heavenly host’ declaring ‘peace on earth’ and urging them to go and witness the marvelous blessing for mankind. The angels rejoiced in declaring His birth, Simeon and Anna blessed God for fulfilling His promise to reveal the Lord’s Messiah to them, the teachers of the Scriptures were ‘amazed at His understanding and answers’, John the Baptist expressed the ‘need to be baptized by Him, the demons recognized Him as the ‘Son of the Most High God’, God the Father declared His being ‘the only begotten Son in Whom I (God) an well pleased’, death could neither prevail over Him nor disobey Him when He raised the dead back to life, nature obeyed Him and the ‘wild animals desired His company and the angels ministered to Him, He called Himself to be ‘the light of the world’—Yet His own and the world did not recognize Him and asked Him ‘in what authority You do these things?’ Even more than two thousand years after His ascension to heaven many willingly suffer for witnessing His name while He remains an enigma to others. Who is the real Jesus and how do we get acquainted with Him?
Voice of God- Apostle Paul reveals one aspect of the Lord’s identity “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2). Lord Jesus is the ‘voice of God’ to reveal God to humanity and provide them with a comparable template to emulate and be transformed in to that image. He is the Word, that was with God and which was God. The Lord called Himself to be ‘the light of the world’ and in Him is life, for at the command from God “Let there be light” He was revealed on the earth and His glory filled the whole earth with light for three days before sun, moon and the stars were created. All life on earth started in Him and finds fulfillment in Him.
The second part is of His being the Creator for “through whom also He made the worlds” and He came from God where ‘He was in the beginning. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:2-3). Jesus as voice of God revealed God to us through His works and through every act during His life on earth. On the one hand He displayed what God likes through His teachings while on the other He revealed the immense love of God for His creation by moving from place to place to bless the needy. He is the voice of God who shows compassion for the widow of Nain to bring to life the only hope for the future, her only son lying in the coffin.
He is the voice that calls out to His brethren to turn back to their God by repenting for their sins and be restored to their original blessed state. Abraham did not know God yet He reached out to “make you a great nation and I will bless you” (Genesis 12:2). Abram had no hope left to have an heir to inherit his riches yet God changed his name from Abram to Abraham and his wife from Sarai to Sarah to reveal Himself through them and their descendants to the world. Lord Jesus left heaven to become that same voice to the ‘chosen ones’, His fellow Israelites to reveal the truth to them to enable them through another chance to witness God to others, the Gentiles.
He is the voice of God that desires to take our burdens on Himself to help us back into the blessed state of the Garden of Eden with all rights restored to be in the presence of God. He calls out to all the heavy laden to come to Him to enter His rest for His yoke is easy and burden light (Matthew 11:28-30). He is God who calls out to us to put our loads on Him for when yoked together it is always the strong that carries the maximum burden. He is the voice that comes knocking at door to share with us the heavenly spiritual food of ‘knowledge of God’ to enable us to overcome the designs of the devil and then share the throne with Him. Those who heed his call are blessed to be ‘children of God’ and joint heirs with Him with assurance of answered prayers to receive ‘whatever you ask I will do’.
Basis of our faith- “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14). The birth of our Lord as man, His crucifixion and rising from the dead on the third followed by His ascension are all open acts witnessed by innumerable people and not some myth created by some people to fool others. The events were all recorded hundreds of years before by prophets who lived ages apart in different locations, without being aware of each other. The Jewish elders with the Chief Priests were interpreters of the same Scriptures that recorded the future events in detail and all were eagerly waiting for the promised Messiah to come. All deeds, teachings and miracles were subjected to the closest scrutiny by the same persons and accepted as true and this is no heresy.
The effect of His death and resurrection confirmed all that He had declared about Himself and as taught by Him ‘the truth set them free’ from all fear. Those who were fighting a few days before to decipher who will be the greatest among themselves, had deserted Him to be alone on the cross, were so emboldened to resist the directives of the Chief Priests to stand and preach the ‘Good News of the Gospel’ in the temple courts and rejoiced to be “counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41). Not only this, they travelled far and wide, to unknown regions, not knowing the local language or peoples to proclaim the ‘risen Christ’. People who preached the Word were from humble backgrounds who “were unschooled, ordinary men, they (the rulers, the elders and the teaches of the law) were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Since then during the past more than two thousand years countless millions have suffered preaching the Gospel and innumerable others have believed, received healing from physical, social and financial problems and rejoiced in His name.
Our new covering- In the Garden of Eden the Lord God covered the shame and nakedness of Adam and Eve that was caused by sin and disobedience, with animal skins. We were forgiven that sin through that covering but these skins was made such a permanent part of our being that we adopted the animal traits also to become and behave like animals, under the total control of Satan. Jesus was born as man and through His sacrificial death provided us with a chance to get rid of the shame of sin and thus discard the old flesh in which “nothing good dwells, for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Romans 7:18). The Lord fulfilled the Old Testament promise of ‘not leaving you nor forsaking you’ (Deuteronomy 31:6) through the promised Holy Spirit who dwells in us. In the past God’s command was clear “Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, “be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death” (Deuteronomy 19:12). The sinful man had no chance of ever getting back in to the presence of God when he was barred from even touching anything pertaining to God.
Through the Holy Spirit our Savior provided us the chance to taste God, enjoy Him and put Him on as a new covering to give us a new life while making “no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14). This new covering gives us a chance to “not be confirmed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). He leads and guides us into this new way of life through daily gradual change to finally become like Him.
Captain of our salvation- The Jewish people are told about the Lord as “captain of their salvation” being made perfect through sufferings (Hebrews 2:10). Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are about to be thrown into the fire that had been heated seven times more for refusing to bow down before the ‘image of gold’ that king Nebuchadnezzar had set up. The king to his amazement finds four persons walking around in the fir instead of three that were thrown in and the fourth one “looks like the son of gods”. The three stepped out of the fire with no ill affect and “there was no smell of fire on them” (Daniel 3:18-28). A captain of the troops moves ahead in a difficult terrain/ battle situation clearing a path through the natural or enemy resistance for others to follow. Our Lord traversed that path of suffering for us so that we do not have to suffer. He took our sins upon Himself, died for us, went down to hell for us and defeated death to rise up again on the third day so that we do not have to go on that path but follow Him to the place of His glory. He suffered to be perfected to give us that perfection when we ‘put Him on’ in faith and follow Him.
Our joint heir– The Lord blessed us to be ‘children of God’ through faith in Him and granted us the hereditary rights to what was solely His. His final prayer to the Father seeks unimaginable blessings for us “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:22-23). He suffered to be made perfect and He desires to pass on that perfection to us and not only that unity with the Father through Him and partakers of the Father’s love that was for the ‘only begotten Son’. And these blessings are meant to reveal God’s love for us, for He promised “whatever you ask in My name, that I will do” (John 14:13).
Eternal fellowship with God- The robber who was crucified with the Lord made a prayer “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” and that very moment got the ticket to paradise to be with the Lord that very day. He is seated at the right hand of the Father as our ‘Mediator, Advocate and High Priest’ to intercede for us. As a result God the Father does not look at us but at His Son and His finished work on the cross, thus granting us entry into His very presence. We are assured by Him of a mansion prepared for us in ‘his Father’s house”, thus ensuring a blessing filled eternal life. All this we have not earned but we are granted through His grace as a free gift for having faith in the Lord. “He is the door, the only way and in Him is life” and we obtain life in Him and enter in through Him.
Andrew Murray, the great South African writer, teacher and preacher (1828-1917) defined the entire life and ministry of the Lord Jesus wonderfully well. “In His death, Jesus destroyed the power of the devil. He put away sin and accomplished an eternal redemption. In His resurrection, He received from the Father a completely new life. It was the life of a man in the power of God, able to touch men’s hearts, to enter and renew and fill their lives with power. In His ascension, Jesus received the Spirit of the Father, through whom He could accomplish what He could not have done had He stayed physically present on the earth. He was able to make himself one with those He loved, and actually live their lives for them. Then they could live before the Father in humility like His, because it was He Himself who lived and breathed in them. And on Pentecost, He came and took possession of them. The work of getting them ready, of awakening a desire and hope in them through His teaching, was completed with a powerful transformation through the Spirit. The lives and letters of James and Peter and John testify that everything had changed for them. The Spirit of the meek and humble Jesus truly had possession of them” (Humility The beauty of Holiness by Andrew Murray).
The ‘Good Shepherd’ laid down His life for us to give us eternal life and walked the path leading to the eternal fires in hell for us to save us from that endless suffering. As Apostle of God He revealed God to us and as Captain He leads us into the presence of God forever.
He has done it for us- it is our choice to accept or reject the offered reward of faith in Him!! Be willing and claim for there may not be tomorrow.