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Friday, March 18, 2016

Procession of the King

Procession of the King
Zechariah 9:1-10; John 1:29b; Matthew 21:1-11


Zec 9:9-10 NKJV  "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.  (10)  I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be 'from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.'

Joh 1:29 NKJV  ..."Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

I recently started watching a TV series on Netflix called “Blue Bloods”.  It's actually a really good series about a family of New York City police officers, starring Tom Selleck, who plays the Police Commissioner of NYC. 

What really impresses me is that every episode shows the entire family, including grandkids… coming together after Church on Sunday… and sitting down to a family dinner where they pray as a family before the meal. 

So far, the series has only had positive statements concerning Christianity... and one episode even spoke of Jesus in a manner that's just unheard of in Hollywood anymore.  I was really surprised... but pleased!

Anyway... I only brought any of this up because I wanted to use the show's title... “Blue Bloods”.  Though the TV show is using it to reference the fact that they're NYPD Police... “Blue Blood” is actually a term that dates back to the 18th or 19th century and was used in reference to royalty.  Many believed back then, that someone who was of royal lineage had a different color blood—blue, rather than red like everyone else.

It's thought that this belief may have come from the appearance of blue veins among the members of royalty, which, because of the paleness of their untanned skin, caused the blue veins to stand out.

The blue veins of the common folk, of course, would be less visible because their skin was tanned from working outdoors.

Now... the notion that there are lines of “royal blood” probably goes back to the very first strongmen (such as Nimrod) who were able to gather others around them and establish themselves as kings... Their children... and then their children's children would take over the throne and before long a royal line is established.

Now, the Bible is absolutely clear that all those who are in authority (such as kings and kingdoms) are appointed to that position by God.

Rom 13:1-2 NKJV  Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  (2)  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

But the Bible is also clear that though there may be many man-made royal lines established through strength and cunning... there is only ONE truly royal line... 

And we're first introduced to this royal line when God, speaking to David through the prophet Nathan, said...

2Sa 7:16 NKJV  And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.

Of course we know that this lineage leads to... and ends with, Jesus.  The King of kings and Lord of lords.  And ever since the promise made to David... the Jews, down through the age… had anticipated the coming of One who would be of the line of David who would fulfill all the OT prophecies and establish a Kingdom where truth, righteousness and justice reigned...

The only problem though... is that though they claimed to believe that this Messiah would come... it was only lip service, because when He did come... they rejected Him... tortured Him… and then brutally killed Him.

*  *  *  *  *

God had established several “feasts”, or “festivals” for the Israelite's to celebrate each year.  Three of these were known as “pilgrimage” feasts because it was required of every Jewish male to attend these three, every year in Jerusalem.  These pilgrimage feasts were... Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.

Now... because of this attendance requirement... you can imagine that during these three feasts... Jerusalem would be overflowing with humanity.  And think of this... in most cases, we can assume that the married men also brought their wives and children to Jerusalem with them.

It's been estimated that there could have been over 2 million people in Jerusalem during this Passover that Jesus was going toward.  He had left Galilee for this final journey to Jerusalem back in chapter 19, and according to John's gospel (12:1-2), He arrived in Bethany where He would stay in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus... 6 days before Passover.

The next day, Jesus left Bethany for Jerusalem... and on His way, He drew near to another small village called Bethphage, where we see Him set in motion certain events that will ultimately lead to both the Cross... and the Resurrection...

And He begins by showing the people...


I. The King Comes in Peace

Mat 21:1-5 NKJV  Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,  (2)  saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.  (3)  And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them."  (4)  All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:  (5)  "TELL THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, 'BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, LOWLY, AND SITTING ON A DONKEY, A COLT, THE FOAL OF A DONKEY.' "

Jesus is always in control of the events that affect His life.  Nothing is left to chance when it comes to fulfilling the will and the purpose of God.  Matter-of-fact, there is really no such thing as “chance” if God is.  Because if God is, then His predetermined purpose and counsel will come to pass.

When Jesus sent the two disciples into Bethphage to get the mare and her colt... He initiated the start of His own coronation.  You see... He was very familiar with the prophecy that Matthew quoted from Zechariah ...

Zec 9:9 NKJV  "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

And He knew full well that this prophecy would have to be fulfilled in order for the people of Jerusalem to recognize the significance of this day, and the symbolism involved... when they saw Him coming into Jerusalem... not walking as He usually is… but riding on the colt of a donkey.

A colt... the foal of a donkey!  Not a horse... but a small donkey!  It almost seems inappropriate, doesn't it.  It's almost comical.  Because the donkeys of the Middle East were small animals similar to what we know as burros.  So here is an adult man riding a small donkey... His legs are kinda “splayed” out because of the animals round belly… and His feet close to dragging the ground... and especially so when you consider that Christ was riding the foal, and not the mare!

You know... when we think of a King making an entrance... we tend to think of Him arriving on the back of a beautiful white stallion... or something like that... don't we?  But here is Jesus... the One we know as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords... getting on the back of this lowly pack animal.

But guess what!?  That's exactly what God's prophet predicted would happen... That's what God's Son did... because this was part of God's divine plan!  The Son wouldn't come this time in earth's splendor... or reign with earthly power... or have great earthly wealth...

No... the Son came this time in poverty... with meekness and humbleness.  His incarnation would be the time of His humiliation... not His glorification.

Though a day is coming when He will return once again in glory and honor and power... this time He would be meek and lowly… the bearer of the world's sin...

So... nothing would be more appropriate than for Him to enter the Holy City, riding on a lowly beast of burden...


II. The King Acclaimed by the People

Mat 21:6-8 NKJV  So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.  (7)  They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.  (8)  And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

Now... there are those who say that Jesus made prior arrangements with the owner of this mare and colt... and that's why the disciples were able to find the animals as they did and then, according to Mark's gospel...didn't receive much of a challenge for untying them and walking away...

Mar 11:4-6 NKJV  So they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door outside on the street, and they loosed it.  (5)  But some of those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing, loosing the colt?"  (6)  And they spoke to them just as Jesus had commanded. So they let them go.

And... I really don't think that its a necessary requirement to believe that everything Jesus did had to be miraculous.  He was both God and man... and I'm sure there had to be things He did simply as a man...

But in this instance... I do believe that this is another example of Christ's omniscience.  He knew where these animals would be... just as He knew which side of the boat the disciples needed to cast their nets in order to catch fish... and just as He knew that the one fish Peter caught would have enough money in its mouth to pay the temple tax for all of them...(Mat 17:27)

So, to me, this is just another example of Christ's omniscience in action.  Plus... it was a well known custom of the Jews of that day... to loan out their animal... or a cart... or some such thing... when asked for it by a rabbi or a religious leader.  They all knew that it was only a loan, and would be shortly returned to them.

When the disciples find the animals just as Christ said... and they brought them back to Him... they began to lay their cloaks on its back in order to provide a makeshift saddle for Him to sit on..  Then, while steadying the colt... they assist Jesus in getting on the animal's back.

*  *  *  *  *
You know... I've participated in a few parades here and there.  And I have this picture in my mind similar to a parade's staging area.  The disciples are preparing with Jesus for this trip into Jerusalem... Other people are arriving... on their own way into the city for the feast... Wondering what's going on with this prophet and His disciples...  Many of the new arrivals to the staging area are from Galilee and know who He is and what He's been doing throughout Judea and Galilee... healing the sick, curing disease, feeding the hungry, and even raising the dead...

And the crowd begins to get larger and larger as other people passing by...  pause to check it out and maybe they start to hear rumors... about this miracle working prophet... and how that it looked like something big was about to happen...

Could this have anything to do with our hope of Messiah coming?  Is this the One who was promised… so long ago?

And when those who are hanging around… see what's occurring...  When they see Jesus getting up on that colt... sitting on the cloaks of some of His disciples... and they realize that the path they're on will lead them right to the eastern gate... they begin to understand that this is huge!  Zechariah's prophecy is coming to pass... right before their eyes...

And the level of excitement begins to grow and grow... people begin to want to take part in this... they want to do what they can to show their support for this prophet... that they're with Him... supporting Him... taking part in His coming into His kingdom!

They have looked for this moment all their lives!  They have for generations anticipated the arrival of the One who would complete their hope... fulfill their expectations... throw off the Roman yoke... and establish Messiah's kingdom of truth... righteousness... and justice...

So they begin to lay down their own cloaks on the road before Him... a sign of submission to the monarch... as if they were saying... “We place ourselves at your feet, even to walk on if necessary.”

Then others begin to cut down palm branches to lay before Him... and still others wave palm branches (like they do during Tabernacles)... the crowd may even be in multiples of thousands, before and behind Him as He begins to make His way down the hill toward Jerusalem...


III. The King Crowned with Praise

Mat 21:9-11 NKJV  Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!"  (10)  And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?"  (11)  So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee."

I've heard descriptions of what this scene may have looked like from people who have been to Israel and are familiar with the area. 

They say that when you stand on the Mount of Olives and look to Jerusalem and the eastern gate... it appears that “as the crow” flies... you might be able to pick up a rock and throw it and reach the gate (whether you could actually reach the gate or not is irrelevant... it “looks” like you could...)... It appears to be that close...

But... if you were to walk from the Mount of Olives to the eastern gate... you'd have to take a winding path down... making the trip much longer than it would appear.

Now… all the while Jesus and this multitude were making their way down from the Mount Olives toward Jerusalem... the people of Jerusalem would be able to see all that was going on... coming down the hill.

They would have been watching all the commotion... the shouts of Hosanna... the palms waving and being laid in front of this person riding toward the city on a colt.  They would have seen the other people laying their cloaks down in front of this man... which was a well recognized sign of submission to one who's greater...

The people of Jerusalem didn’t know Jesus as well as the country folk of Galilee… because most of His ministry was outside of Jerusalem.  But excitement is contagious!

And as they watched this multitude slowly arrive before this man… and their shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”… “Hosanna in the highest”… All of these being Messianic declarations!  They were acknowledging Christ’s Kingship and their hope that He was coming to set up His reign in Israel’s capital forever!

And when the people of Jerusalem see this “red carpet treatment” that He’s receiving... it begins to catch on throughout the city.  Verse 10 says… Mat 21:10b NKJV  …all the city was moved

“Moved” would be putting it lightly.  The word used here is “sieo”, which means to vibrate, agitate, quake…

There’s Christian rock band called Family Force Five that has a song that would describe Jerusalem at this moment… it’s called… “Shake’n like an earthquake!”

There was such a commotion going on that Luke tells us that the Pharisees scolded Jesus for it… telling Him to make them stop!  And Jesus’ reply to this demand is an open declaration of His deity

Luk 19:40 NKJV  But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."

If men withhold their praise… the very earth itself will shout the wonders and glories of Christ!

But as excited and as jubilant as the people seem to be… it’s clear that they’re still missing the point of all of this.  Because when they’re asked, “Who is this?”… Their response isMat 21:11b NKJV  …"This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee."

Not the “Messiah of God”… but the “prophet from Nazareth”.  And because the crowds have once again failed to recognize who He was and what He came to do…

In their disappointment at their unrealized expectations… they will soon turn on Him.  And those who on this day were shouting “Hosanna”… will soon be shouting “Crucify Him… Crucify Him!”

You see… they expected one thing… but they got another.  They wanted a Jesus who would get rid of the Roman oppressor, and bring about a Kingdom of peace, prosperity and deliverance from sickness.  They wanted a Christ who would satisfy their desire for material wealth and welfare

But what they got was… Joh 1:29 NKJV  ... The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

*  *  *  *  *

If the main reason I follow Christ is because I believe He will shield me from life’s hardships and heal all my sicknesses… then I’m headed for the same disillusionment the people of Jerusalem experienced back then.

If my primary motivation for following Jesus… is the fulfillment of some fleshly or earthly desire… then I’m really not following Him at all… am I?

You know… if the only thing Christ did for us in this life, was to save us from our sins… it would be enough.  It would be way more than enough!

If I never received another blessing from Him in this life… I would still owe Him my life and my all… because of what He did on Calvary.

On Calvary… Jesus did far more for us, than this world will ever acknowledge.  Because on Calvary… God… who became man… became the perfect, sinless sacrifice for sin.

On Calvary… our debt was paid in full… our sins were forgiven… and we were given the righteousness of Christ, through our faith in Him…

INVITATION


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Christ's Equality with the Father

Christ's Equality with the Father
John 5:16-23


While in the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked His disciples a question that mankind has been trying to answer ever since... (Mar 8:27) NKJV ..."Who do men say that I am?"

Who is Jesus Christ?” It matters not whether you're a theologian... a philosopher... or an auto mechanic or janitor... this is a question that has plagued men for centuries.

Because no other person in the history of the world has had the effect on the world that Jesus Christ has. No other person has made the claims that Jesus made. No other person has performed the miraculous works that Jesus has performed.

No other person has had the continuing and growing influence for good that Jesus has had. Though there have been “pretenders” in abundance down through the centuries... their influence has been either minor, regional, or in the case of one I can think of... his influence though large and growing... hasn't been for the good, but the for evil.

Who is Jesus Christ?” ...is the most important question that every human being is required answer. Every single man, woman and child is faced with this question... they must answer it... and the response they give will have eternal consequences...

Throughout the centuries since Jesus first asked this question of His disciples... pauper, priest and king have come up with many different answers. Some of these answers are simply over spiritualized nonsense... others have no basis in history... and still others are just outright lies from Satan...

Few of these answers have actually come from the eye-witness accounts as presented in the Scriptures... and fewer still come from Jesus' own words. Because to take the Scriptures... and Jesus' words as absolute truth would impose too much of a burden upon them.

We would rather make up and answer to “who” Christ is than to delve into the truth of the Bible because we love the sins in our lives... big sins or little sins... we're enslaved to them all, and we love them...

But if the holy writ is true... if Jesus truly is the Son of God and the only way available to spend eternity in heaven... then it would also be true that we are totally depraved sinners who will burn in hell if we don't repent and trust in the vicarious atonement of Christ... and then give our lives over to Him.

And because evil prefers darkness... men have come up with a wide assortment of answers to the question, “Who is Jesus Christ?”

The Jews of Jesus' day called Him a lawbreaker and a Samaritan (Joh 8:48) and demon possessed (Joh 7:20; 8:52)

The skeptics and liberals of the 18th and 19th centuries were bound and determined to deny Christ's deity by claiming that He was a great moral teacher who may have had more of a divine spark than normal men... yet, He was still just a man and therefore only an example of faith... but not the object of faith.

The existentialists of the 20th century said that the historic Jesus was really “unknowable”, and that though the “Christ of faith” may have some moral value... He is only one of many ways available. They try to convince us that one belief system has no more value than another belief system. When the reality is that this is simply a lie. Because truth has much more value than untruth...

Then of course... there are the intellectually challenged who make the claim that Jesus never really existed... when in fact... there is more extra-biblical evidence proving His life than there is for Julius Caesar, Aristotle, Cicero, Alexander, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammad or even Napoleon Bonaparte!

But as I mentioned earlier... in all this debate over Jesus... His own testimony... and the testimony of the eye-witnesses... is seldom considered seriously. Did He actually claim to be equal with God, as the historic Christian Church has always maintained?

As we'll see throughout the New Testament... Jesus did in fact claim absolute equality with God. The Jewish authorities clearly understood that not only was Jesus' use of the title “Son of God” to be a claim to deity... but the many times He took the covenant name of God... “I am” upon Himself... they also recognized this as a claim to be the Yahweh of the Old Testament.

The Jewish leaders knew exactly what Jesus was saying... which is why they attempted to stone Him for blasphemy (v.59) and then finally did have Him killed on the cross.

Those who would deny that Jesus ever claimed to be God have to also deny the historical accuracy and truthfulness of the gospels. And what they are ultimately saying is that they know more about the truth of what Jesus said 2,000 years ago than the eye-witnesses.

Who is Jesus Christ?”... Jesus answers that question Himself, in our passage today...

And we'll see in verses 16-23, He makes 5 unmistakable claims to full equality with God... beginning with Equality...


I. In His Person (Joh 5:16-18)

Joh 5:16-18 NKJV For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. (17) But Jesus answered them, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." (18) Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

We spent quite a bit of time last week talking about the Sabbath and how important it was to Jewish faith. We also spoke about the fact that the Jews had so distorted the idea of the Sabbath “rest” through their “traditions”... that they had turned it into a miserable burden.

When Jesus was confronted by the Jewish leaders about healing our impotent man on the Sabbath... and then influencing him to break the Sabbath traditions also by telling him to carry his bed and go home... He could have gone into a teaching discourse about how they had turned the Sabbath into something it was never intended to be...

But instead... He chose another direction. After all... arguing with the local “intellectuals” over the finer points of the “law vs tradition”... though it could be fun... it wouldn't be near as fun as seeing their heads explode by telling them that He was equal in Person with the Father!

Because when Jesus told them... Joh 5:17b NKJV ..."My Father has been working until now, and I have been working."

He wasn't simply letting them know that the Sabbath was made for man... and not man for the Sabbath... (which He was, by the way)... but He was also telling them that the Sabbath restrictions didn't apply to God.

As we discovered last week... as the Creator of the Universe... God may have “rested” on the 7th day... but it wasn't because He was tired... no, of course not! He “rested” from creating, not from exhaustion. All things were done, and “good”, so on the 7th day He rested... He quit creating.

But God is not simply the “Creator”... He is also the “Sustainer”. Though His creating power was at rest... His sustaining power continues to uphold everything He created, regardless of what day of the week it is.

Heb 1:3 NKJV who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

So, not only did Jesus claim equality with the Father by continuing to do good on the Sabbath... just as His Father did... but Jesus also did something else that was unthinkable... He called the Father... HIS FATHER!

The Jews would reference God as “our Father”... or the “Father in Heaven”... but they would never be so presumptuous as to call the “Heavenly Father”... “My Father!”

The implication of Christ's words here were crystal clear to His opponents. They knew full well that Jesus was claiming to be equal with God in His Person...

Joh 5:18b NKJV ...He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.

This just can't be any clearer... and to say otherwise... to say that Jesus never claimed equality with God... is to commit intellectual suicide.

But beyond claiming equality in His Person... Jesus also clearly claimed to be equal with the Father...


II. In His Works (Joh 5:19-20)

Joh 5:19-20 NKJV Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. (20) For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

For any mortal man to claim to be God would be the highest form of blasphemy. If Jesus wasn't actually making this claim... and the Jews had simply misunderstood Him... you would think that He would have backed up and clarified Himself... to set things straight... wouldn't you?

But what we see Jesus do instead is to “double down”. He had already exploded the heads of the Jewish leaders, as we've seen... Now, He tells them that the works they see Him doing... the works they are using to “accuse” Him with... aren't simply things He sees His Father currently doing... but just you wait... you ain't seen nothing yet!

In the same way that He learned the carpenter's trade from His adoptive father, Joseph... by watching and then copying everything he did... He also does the good works that He sees His Father doing... but not in merely imitating the Father... but doing the Father's work...

Joh 5:17b NKJV ..."My Father has been working until now, and I have been working."

Because just as the Father's work is indispensable... so also is Christ's... The perfect harmony we see in the joint working of the Father and the Son comes from the absolute unity of essence that they share...

So, to accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath by doing the works of the Father... is to accuse the Father!

And because the Father loves the Son... He will show the Son even greater works... so that when He does those... all those who don't yet believe will wonder and marvel when they see the Son's equality with the Father...


III. In His Power and Sovereignty (Joh 5:21)

Joh 5:21 NKJV For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.

If only God can give life to the dead as the Scriptures tell us... Deu 32:39 NKJV 'Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

Then the One who raises the dead... must either be operating under the power and authority of God... as Elijah, Elisha, Peter and Paul were... or He must be God Himself.

Jesus raised Jarius' daughter... the widow's son... and Lazarus from the dead. Each of them were remarkable displays of the power of God over life and death. But where the prophets and apostles were working under the authority of God...

Jesus was working as the authority and power of God! Because just as the Father... Joh 5:21 NKJV ...raises the dead and gives life to them

Jesus gives life... Joh 5:21 NKJV ...to whom He will.

Jesus had the sovereign power of God to raise the dead during His earthly ministry... He will also have that same sovereign power to raise the dead on the “last day”... But we also get to see this same sovereign power displayed each and every time He raises those who are... Eph 2:1 NKJV ...dead in trespasses and sins

And gives them new life through the new birth.

Jesus declared His equality with the Father by claiming... and then proving to have the same power and sovereignty as the Father...

But He also claims His equality...


IV. In His Judgment (Joh 5:22)

Joh 5:22 NKJV For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,

The fact that Jesus would make such a statement would be insane... if it weren't true. Because the Bible is clear that judgment is the specific prerogative of God...

Ecc 12:14 NKJV For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.

But the fact that the Father has ...Joh 5:22 NKJV ...committed all judgment to the Son

Shows us that their will is one, in perfect harmony. The Father's judgment is Christ's judgment... and Christ's judgment is the Father's judgment...

And though “judgment” wasn't the primary reason why Christ came to earth at this time... a day is coming when He will be the One who judges the world...

Act 17:31 NKJV because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."

The purpose behind the delegation of life-giving power and sovereignty... and judgment-related authority to the Son... is so that the Son will have equality with the Father...


V. In His Honor (Joh 5:23)

Joh 5:23 NKJV that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

In the OT... Moses and the prophets were considered to be God's agents. They were His mouthpieces who spoke and acted on God's behalf.

There is a fundamental affirmation in Judaism which states... “a man's agent is like the man himself”... When Joseph was given Pharaoh's ring and seal... he became “like” Pharaoh himself. When one nation sends an ambassador to another nation... they are the agents of their nation and given the special rights and privileges of their nation

In a similar fashion... the power and authority given to the Son is so that men would honor the Son just as they honor the Father. If man disrespects the Son... they also disrespect the Father.

Any person... any religion... or any other belief system that fails to acknowledge the authority of Jesus... is in fact rejecting His sender... the Father

It's not up to a man to decide that he will honor One or the Other, because it is either Both... or Neither.

Knowledge of One, implies knowledge of the Other... Joh 8:19b NKJV ...Jesus answered, "You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also."

Hatred of One, implies hatred of the Other... Joh 15:23 NKJV He who hates Me hates My Father also.

And Denial of One, implies denial of the Other... 1Jn 2:23 NKJV Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

* * * * * *

So the question that we began this message with is still there. It's the same question that's posed, like I said... to every man, woman and child...

And that question is...“Who is Jesus Christ?” Be very careful in how you answer this... because your response to this question will have eternal consequences.

Those who take Jesus at His Word and believe the eye-witness testimony... can do no other but to declare to Him... “My Lord and my God!”

But all those who continue to harden their hearts to the truth of God's Word... and refuse to bow their knee before Him as Lord today... will do that very thing in “that day” when He returns on the clouds in His glory...

But in “that day”... it will be too late. So... you need to accept His terms of surrender today... and sue for peace right now. Because in “that day”, when He returns... there will be no more terms for peace... there will only be judgment.