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Vintage Jesus

By Mark Driscoll

2064 08/23/2009

I'm very excited to be with you. We are going to talk about Jesus Christ today. Many have not heard of Him. Those who have, have become so familiar with Him that perhaps they have ceased to be amazed by Him. So I'm going, with all the enthusiasm I can muster, to tell you about this God man, Jesus Christ.

His name, Jesus, actually tells us something of His nature. It means, "God is my Savior." Christ means "the anointed one of God." So, Jesus Christ is the one whom God anointed to be our Savior. He was born roughly 2000 years ago in very humble circumstances to a poor family where his earthly dad was a construction worker named Joseph, like my dad who is also named Joseph and a construction worker. His mom, when she birthed Him, was a teenaged young woman.

He grew up in humble circumstances. He never traveled more than a few hundred miles from His home, never wrote a book, never held a political office, never ran a company, yet He is the most influential person in the history of the world. No one comes close to the impact that this man, Jesus Christ has made. In His wake, more songs have been sung to Him, more paintings painted of Him, more books written about Him than anyone who has lived in the history of the world. There are no less than 17,000 books that have been written about this man, Jesus Christ. Our two major holidays are about His birth at Christmas and His resurrection at Easter. Our entire calendar is based on this man - BC, before Christ, and AD, anno domini, the year of our Lord.

The question I want to answer for you is who is this man? Is He truly the only God? Jesus made seven statements that I'm excited to share with you. These statements are earth shattering, history altering, and life changing. No one in the history of the world has said the things that Jesus said. And so many have had so much to say about Jesus, I felt it was appropriate just to let Him speak for Himself. Here is what Jesus says.

Number one: He says repeatedly that He came down from heaven. This is an unprecedented and unparalleled claim. Occasionally, there will be a religious leader who tells us they got to peak into heaven. Mohammed, the founder ofIslam, claims that that he got to peak into heaven on one occasion. Sometimes, people tell you that they had a near-death experience where they got to see a brief snapshot of God's heavenly glory. Jesus says something more extraordinary than that, that He pre-existed eternally as God and that He has come down into human history on a rescue mission of love. He says this repeatedly in the sixth chapter of John's gospel alone. He says on multiple occasions, "I have come down from heaven." There has been no religious leader who has ever made that claim.

Number two: Jesus said that He alone is God. Hear His words for yourself. In John chapter 10, verses 30 - 33, Jesus says it this way: "I and the Father are one." He is claiming to be equal with God the Father. They picked up stones to stone Him and Jesus answered them, "I've shown you many good works from the Father, for which of them are you going to stone Me?" And they answered Him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy because You, being a man, make Yourself God." This claim of Jesus is unprecedented and unparalleled. No other major religious leader in the history of the world has said that they were God. Jesus says, emphatically, clearly, repeatedly that He is God.

In fact, the most humble among us are keenly aware of how truly not God-like we are. How in need of God we are. And Jesus says, that He in fact is God. Jesus performed miracles, He healed those who were sick, He fed those who were hungry, He loved those who were hurting. He didn't get into trouble for those actions. What got Him in trouble was this claim to be God. In fact, New York Judge Gaynor says it this way: "It is plain from each of the gospel narratives that the alleged crime for which Jesus was tried and convicted was blasphemy. A man claiming to be God." That's why Jesus was so heavily and mightily and repeatedly opposed.

Number three: Jesus said that His miracles proved He was God. In John 10, as well, verses 36 - 39, Jesus says, "Why then do you accuse Me of blasphemy because I said I am God's Son? Do not believe Me unless I do what My Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe Me, believe the miracles that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I in the Father." Again, they tried to seize Him but He escaped their grasp. Jesus says, "If you are stumbling over and struggling with My words that I am God come down from heaven, then examine My deeds. Look at My life. See Me walk on water. See Me resurrect those who are dead. See Me take a little boy's lunch and multiply it to feed the multitudes. See Me calm the storm as the Creator of the universe demonstrating unprecedented, unparalleled spiritual authority and power." Jesus said things that no one has ever said. Jesus did things that no one has everdone. In addition, His fourth claim is this: He claims that He is without sin.One example is in John 8:46: "Which of you convicts Me of sin?" He says this openly and publicly. Jesus says, "I am without sin." Those of us who are considered the most holy are aware of our faults, our flaws and our failures. And Jesus says, I have none of those. He is either the most boastful, arrogant man who's ever lived or the God man as He says He is.

This claim is absolutely astonishing. He is without sin. When you consider that sin includes our thoughts, that God knows our thoughts, our words, God hears our words, our deeds, God sees our life. It includes omission,where we don't do the things we are supposed to do and co-mission where we do the things we're not supposed to do. Every one of us lives with pains of regret and remorse. There are things we have said and done or failed to say and do that we have remorse and regret for and Jesus says I have no remorse, I have no regret, because I have no fault, I have no flaw and I have no failure. Only God could say something of that magnitude. And if He is not God, that is a horrendous claim to make.

Number five: Jesus said He could forgive our sin. In Mark chapter 2, verse 5, He looks at someone and says, "Your sins are forgiven." A debate then erupted and ensued. People were wondering how in the world could this man forgive sin. God alone they said forgives sin. And they were right.

In Psalm 51:4, someone who is seen grievously, perhaps like you, that cry out to God in prayer saying, "God, against You only have I sinned." That's true. Our failures, our faults and our flaws, they're against God. And so God needs to forgive us, God needs to love us, God needs to pursue us, God needs to embrace us, God needs to cleanse us, God needs to renew us, God needs to restore us, and Jesus says that's what I do. That's what I do. I forgive. I forgive. This is absolutely unimaginable that we don't need to pay God back, that we don't need to earn God's love. We don't need to try harder and do better. We need Jesus. That's what we need. And Jesus is going to, shortly after saying this, go to the cross where He's going to die in our place for our sins, so that all of our sins, past, present and future, thought, word, deed, omission, co-mission, could all be forgiven. He did it so that we could become new people with new lives and new hopes and new dreams and new passions and new pleasures and new purposes for our whole lives. For our whole lives, we all need this love and forgiveness. And Jesus says, as God, "I can provide that."

Number six: Jesus said He was the only way to heaven. In John 14:6, He makes this claim: "I am the way, the truth, the light," singular and exclusive. "No one comes to the Father but by Me."

What Jesus does for us is clarifies and simplifies how to be reconciled to God through Him. There's one mediator between God and us and that's this man Christ Jesus. All we need is Jesus. If we want to have sins forgiven, it's in Jesus. If we want to have eternal life, it's with Jesus. If we want to know how to live, it is like Jesus. And Jesus says, all that we need is Him. He is theway, the truth, the life. There is no necessity to look for hope and salvation and newness of life anywhere other than in this man Jesus Christ. This is an amazing claim. Some will tell you that they can point you on the path to God's glory. Jesus says I am that path. Follow Me. Walk with Me. Trust in Me.

Number seven: Jesus said He would rise from death. All of His other truth claims hinge upon this truth claim. He says it this way, in Mark 10:33-34: "The son of man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him over to the Gentiles and they will mock Him and spit on Him and flog Him and kill Him." And here's the key, "And after three days, He will rise." Under intense public scrutiny and criticism, Jesus said, "I know the future. I will be arrested, I will be beaten, I will be broken and murdered and buried. And I will be back." In triumph over death, over the grave, over sin and the curse and all of its affects, I will be the liberator, I will be the hero, I will be the redeemer, I will be the Savior! I will conquer death.

Paul says that death is our great enemy. That we will all die. Some of you are on the precipice of the end of your life wondering what awaits you on the other side. What awaits you on the other side is Jesus who has conquered death and came back to tell us He did die and He did rise, He did so on a Sunday. That's why every Sunday, a few billion people on the earth gather to remember Jesus, not as a dead example, but as a living Savior. As the one who hears our prayers, who forgives our sins, who changes our lives, who guarantees our eternity and who conquers our death. And Jesus has done all of this and He has done it in love and He has done it in grace and He has done it in mercy and He's done it for us.

And so I will close with the final question from Jesus, the most important man in the history of the world, the God man Jesus Christ asks this, the most important question for your life. Matthew 16:15, Jesus says to those who are considering Him, as I would pray that you would consider Him, "Who do you say that I am?" Who do YOU say that I am? That is Jesus asking you, asking me, asking us, "Who do you say that I am?" Would you say today that Jesus is God? Come down from heaven? Proving Himself to be God through His miracles? Living a life without any sin, the life I should have lived? Forgiving my sin through His death, burial, and resurrection that I might be reconciled to God,experience new life today that continues forever? Is that what you would say? That's what I pray, that in the depths of your heart, with all sincerity, you would say, "Jesus, I say that You are God and Savior and friend."

Let me pray for you. Father God, I do ask that the Holy Spirit would open the hearts and the minds of those who would hear about Jesus. Some, Father, have never heard about Jesus. I pray that this news would be good news for them. That God has come to seek and to save and to love and to heal and to serve. God, for those who have heard it many times, I pray it would not just be information but transformation. I pray, Lord God, that today You would give us the spirit to believe freshly in the person and work of Jesus, to share in His resurrection life, to, by grace, be as people with joy and purpose and passion and pleasure and enthusiasm and hope and joy that never ends. And Lord God, for those who have heard this but never responded, they know a lot about Jesus but they don't know Jesus. Holy Spirit, I am humbly asking that You would allow them to meet Jesus right now. We ask this, Lord Jesus, in Your good name, Amen.

Copyright Hour of Power 2009. This message was delivered by Mark Driscoll from the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral and aired on the Hour of Power, August 23, 2009.

Read more about this week's guest pastor, Mark Driscoll.


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