– Alright, Christianity for Beginners. This is lesson number four. The topic of this lesson, Jesus Christ. You can’t get more basic than that. Christianity for Beginners. We’re going to talk about Jesus tonight. So far in our series, entitled
Christianity for beginners, we’ve covered the following topics, basic belief in God, the Christian religion itself, and the Bible. And basically, we’ve tried
to answer the question, why do Christians believe in God? Why do they believe that there is God? And we’ve given answer to that question. The Christian religion, we compare the Christian religion to other major religions in the world to demonstrate its
strengths and its advantages in comparison to other world religions. And then last time we
talked about the Bible. Why do Christians believe that
the Bible is inspired of God? We gave some reasons for that. Today’s lesson, we’ll
examine the reason for faith and the Bible, and that
is Jesus Christ Himself. Now, there are a lot of
theories about Jesus. Some say He’s an ancient Jewish rabbi, a prophet of some kind, a ghost, spirit. Some have even said that He is some kind of alien being
from another planet, some kind of advanced life form. I’ve actually read an article about somebody proposing that idea. And I’m sure that the
speculation is going to continue and more opinions and theories will eventually be developed. There’s always some new angle that someone is going to
come up with who is Jesus. But in this class and for Christians, the only source of information about Jesus and His life
and ministry and teaching, the only authentic source, authoritative source for
information about Jesus is the Bible itself. This lesson should really be entitled: “What does the Bible say about Jesus?” That should sound so simple. That should sound so basic,
like “Yeah, of course.” and yet many people who
claim to be Christians come up with these wild-eyed
ideas and theories. And you ask them, “Where did you get that? “Surely, you didn’t
get it from the Bible.” And that’s always the problem. They got it from the
internet, but not the Bible. So this is the best way
to discover who Jesus is, because only the Bible contains eyewitness accounts of His life, recorded and preserved for
us to read even to this day. Now on our last session, I explained how the Bible was written, you know the Bible itself, who it was organized and
why Christians believe that it comes from God, or in other words, why Christians believe that the Bible is inspired. But I didn’t tell you what
the theme of the Bible was, or what was the Bible about. Well the entire Bible is about Jesus. He’s the main point of all
the books of the Bible. The different parts explained
different things about Him and His interaction with us. For example, the Old Testament is really the story about the creation of the world and then how God prepared for His coming, Jesus’ coming, by
forming the Jewish nation. All the events come together to form a human and historical stage for His eventual appearance
as a man in this world. I’ve mentioned that before. The Old Testament
basically tells this story through the eyes and through the words of the Jewish prophets
and leaders and kings. A lot of times we get kind of caught up in the minutia of the Old Testament, the laws, the customers, the stories, and we forget what is this all about. It’s simply the story of how God created a unique people with a
culture whose only purpose was to deliver Jesus onto the human historical stage, period. And once they did that,
they have fulfilled. This is why it’s such a tragedy
that they rejected Christ. They were prepared for thousands of years to bring Him on stage. And when he finally
arrived, they rejected Him. Number two. The four gospels are the
eyewitness accounts of His life, His ministry, His death, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven. Again, the story recorded preserved by men who were with Him for years and who knew Him intimately. The rest of the New Testament
written by other apostles and disciples of the apostles show how His followers
established the Christian church according to His instructions. Now, in addition to this, there are teaching to help followers and disciples live their Christian lives in every generation and environment. So we could go anywhere in the Bible to find out about Jesus concerning the promise of His coming, concerning the preparation
for His appearance. Concerning the circumstances of His miraculous birth, the content of His teachings, the details of his death and resurrection, the people who knew Him personally and spread His teaching
throughout the world. This is what this book is about. It’s always about Jesus. But I don’t think we’d have time in a single lesson to do it. I don’t just think it, I know it. We don’t have time in a
single lesson to do this. However, what we can do is to
focus on what the Bible says about how Jesus is. This is actually the
most important question about Jesus Christ, and we’ll see what three
individuals contained in the Bible, what do they say about Jesus, who He is. So who is Jesus. Now remember, we’re asking the question who is Jesus according to the Bible. Not just what we think or what we feel or what we learn from another
book or a movie or a teacher. Since most of the direct and
eyewitness accounts about Him are in the New Testament
portion of the Bible, we should go there to learn about Him. So, thousands of people saw
and hear Jesus speak and teach, even do miracles. There’s absolutely no
doubt of His existence because historians of that era write about Him and His ministry. Some people think, “Oh yeah, well, “just guys in the Bible
that wrote about Jesus.” No, no, no, no, he appears
in secular history books. He appears in secular history books. Alright. Josephus Flavius was a Jewish historian who wrote about this
particular period of time, the early first century. He was not a follower of Jesus, but he mentions Jesus and the
Christian religion in general in his history books. So here you have somebody
who doesn’t believe that Jesus is the son of God. He’s not a follower of Jesus. He’s a historian. And he’s documenting the
history of that period. Now he doesn’t only write about Jesus. He writes about what was going on with the Jewish nation, the politics, the military conflicts that
were happening at the time, and he mentions Jesus in his history because Jesus played a big part at a certain point in Jewish history. So history, not the Bible, but history, writes that Jesus was a Jewish man born into a humble family
who lived in Israel approximately 2,000 years ago. History now, history tells us that He began his ministry by claiming that He was the
Jewish Messiah, the Savior, and He was eventually
arrested and executed by the Roman government at the insistence of the Jewish leaders who accused Him with covering a civil unrest by His teachings. That’s not just the Bible, that’s history. We can find out what happened
by reading history books. Eventually, according to history, His followers established
the Christian church based on His teachings. So all of this that I’ve just mentioned, this is what history books teach about the facts of Jesus’ life. So anybody whoever says to you, “That’s just a fantasy,
that’s just in the Bible.” No, no, no, no. We have plenty of historical documents that mention the existence of Jesus. There were others, however, at the time, who actually followed Jesus
as His special disciples, and they, too, recorded
their accounts of His life, and we have these today. And so, it is from these writers whose records from the New Testament that we can establish a
much more comprehensive picture of who Jesus really was. For the sake of our study, we’re going to examine
three of these men’s writings and descriptions of Jesus. So the first witness. The first witness is Peter, of course, Peter the apostle. Peter was a fisherman by trade and along with his brother
Andrew had a family business. He was the first apostle called by Jesus to follow Him on a full-time basis. He was to hear all of Jesus’ teachings, witness His miracles, and later on be a leader in
the establishing of the church and finally die as a martyr in Rome, claiming to the very end that what he had heard and saw was true. Remember, these guys who were martyred, they could have saved their own lives simply by saying, “Okay,
I was just kidding. “Is it too late to apologize? “I don’t really believe that stuff. “I’m just saying it to get
popular and to make money,” but they didn’t. They went to there deaths. During Jesus’ ministry, Jesus asked the apostles, including Peter. Based on what they saw Him say and do, who did they think he was? And we know the answer. Peter answered without hesitation. He said, “You’re the Christ, “the Son of the living God.” So even while Jesus was alive, the Bible says that Peter
believed and declared Him to be the divine Son of God. Later on, after Jesus was executed, Peter describes the things that he saw with his own eyes as he rebukes the Jews for their hard hearts and
disbelieve, Pentecost Sunday. This is Peter preaching to the crowd. This is after Jesus
has ascended to heaven. The apostles have
received the Holy Spirit. Peter gets up to preach,
and he says to the crowd, “But you disowned the
Holy and Righteous One “and asked for a murderer
to be granted to you.” You know when they exchanged
Jesus for Barabbas, that’s what he’s talking about here. “You exchanged the holy and living one “for a murderer,” he says,
“to be granted to you, “but put to death the Prince of life, “the one whom God raised from the dead, “a fact to which we are witnesses.” Now, verse 15. “A fact to which we are witnesses.” We meaning he and the other apostles. Now, there’s a lot written about
Peter in the New Testament, and Peter himself writes
two of the epistles contained in this part of the Bible. But Jesus these two passages just read summarize well what
Peter thought about Jesus based on what he experienced. Okay. So peter claimed that Jesus
was the Christ and the Messiah, the Savior promise by the Old Testament. In other words, Jesus
was the One sent by God to save mankind. That’s what Peter said. Peter also concluded that Jesus was divine based on water he heard
Jesus says and saw Him do. So you see a man raise
another person from the dea, there’s only one conclusion
you’re going to come to. Okay, this is not just
some ordinary person here. This person has diving power, is divine. And then finally, people
saw Jesus executed by the Roman soldiers and then saw Him after God raised Him from the dead. So, as I said before, Peter never changed or denied his witness, even when he was threatened, imprisoned, and finally sent to his death
for saying these things. So when we want to know who is Jesus, the Bible, through Peter’s words, says that he’s the Son
of God, he’s the Savior, and He was resurrected from the dead. That’s what Peter says. That’s his witness if he was here today. Let’s ask somebody else
who was there at the time. Let’s ask Thomas. Thomas, another apostle, we don’t know as much about Thomas as we know about Peter of course, but he’s the one often
referred to as doubting Thomas. Doubting Thomas because he wanted proof of Jesus’s resurrection
before he would believe. What he says about Jesus is interesting because of this very fact. He demands proof before he
would continue to believe. I mean he believed. He was the one that said,
when Jesus was alive and he was planning to
go into the area of Judea where it was dangerous for Jesus to go because they were looking
for him and everything. Isn’t it Thomas who said,
“Hey, let’s all go with him. “Let’s go die with him if we have to.” So he was pretty zealous,
he was not afraid. I have a feeling, and
this is only an opinion, he was crushed with disappointment
when Jesus was executed. I mean he really thought this
was the real deal right here. He was the Messiah. He was ready to die with Him when Jesus was ministering. And so, when Jesus was
executed, he was crushed. And so, when the others came to him and said, “We’ve seen the
messiah, we’ve seen the Lord. “He’s risen.” No, no, no, no, no. I’ve been burned once, that’s enough, unless I see the holes, unless
I see it with my own eyes, unless I can put my hands
in the holes inside myself, I’m not going to believe it. And somehow I don’t
hold it against Thomas, because that’s a very
human reaction that he had. I don’t want to be hurt again. I don’t want to be up
and then be disappointed. I’m mourning, I’m grieving. And so, what he says
about Jesus is fascinating because of his disbelieve at some point. He knew Jesus, and like the other apostles, he had lived and worked
with Jesus for three years. He saw the miracles,
he heard the teachings. He witnessed Jesus die on the cross. He was convinced Jesus was dead, so brutal and final was His execution at the hands of the Roman soldiers. And as I said, when the other apostles reported that they have seen Jesus resurrected and alive again,
Thomas was not onboard. Now in the Gospel of John, we read about Jesus’
confrontation with Thomas and how Thomas is encouraged to believe. So in John chapter 20, verse 24, all the way to 28, it says, “But Thomas, one of
the 12, called Didymus, “was not with them when Jesus came. “So the other disciples
were saying to him, “‘We’ve seen the Lord.’ “But he said to them, “‘Unless I see in His hands
the imprint of the nails, “‘and put my finger into
the place of the nails “‘and put my hand into His
side, I will not believe.’ “After eight days, his
disciples were again inside, “and Thomas with them. “Jesus came, the doors having been shut, “and stood in their mist and
said, ‘Peace be with you.’ “Then he said to Thomas,
‘Reach here with your finger, “‘and see my hands, “‘and reach here with your hand “‘and put it in into my side, “‘and do not be
unbelieving, but believing,’ “And Thomas answered and said to him, “‘My Lord and my God.'” Note what this exchange
teaches us about Jesus. Thomas believes that Jesus has
actually risen from the dead. He believes it now. Thomas acknowledges that Jesus is God, not just a prophet, or a
teacher, or a holy man. He is God. My Lord and my God. The apostle also demonstrates that Jesus is worth of not
only belief but worship, but worship as well. And Thomas in calling Jesus Lord indicates that Jesus has authority over him. Once again, a short passage, but one where the Bible sets forth important facts about who Jesus is, the divine object of belief and worship. And the Lord over us. People are free to choose
whether they believe this or not. I share this with people. People write on the website. They say sometimes nasty things, that we’re crazy, and this
is just a lot of hooey. And my response to them is, hey, you can choose to believe
if you want or not. That’s your choice, buddy, but you can’t deny that
that’s what this teaches. The Bible teaches that
Jesus is the Son of God, that Jesus is divine, that Jesus resurrected from the dead. The Bible teaches all of that. You don’t have to believe
it if you don’t want to, but you can’t tell me that that’s not what the Bible teaches. Alright, a third person, moving a long. And the third person would be
the apostle Paul of course. Perhaps no one other than Jesus Himself articulate in more detail the character and the
person of Jesus Christ than Paul the apostle. As we know, Paul was a Jew, and early persecutor of
the Christian church. He was a pharisee. Pharisees were lawyers. Okay, they were layers. They knew the law, and they interpreted
the law for the people. Pharisees was a kind of lawyer. He belonged to the
pharisee party if you wish. The term pharisee means the separate ones, the separated ones. There was a time when pharisees were the heroes of the people, during the Intertestamentary period. There was a time when Greek was over the Greek culture and the Greek language. Greek ways were starting
to overwhelm the Jews to the point where they were not even knowing the Hebrew language anymore, and they were drifting away
from the holy scriptures and into the Greek mythology
and into Greek philosophy. And among the Jewish people,
there rose up this group to protect the word,
to protect God’s word, to protect the scriptures, back to the Bible, back to basics. They were the separated
ones, the pharisees. They were heroes at that time. But after a while, after century or two, these people drifted into legalism and all kinds of showy religion
and so on and so forth. So they kept the name
and they kept the rep, but they no longer really
the separated ones. So Paul was one of these guys. He was a pharisee. And the pharisees themselves were part of the ruling class, so the Jewish society of Jesus’ day. He was a religious zealot for Judaism who have obtained a mandate from the ruling counsel of Jewish leaders to wage a campaign of prosecution against Christians in order
to discourage their growth. In other words, he got
the leaders of the nation to give him permission by law to hunt down Christians and put them in jail and
destroy this religion. In recounting his own experience, Paul describes the
meeting with Jesus Christ that changed his life. In Acts 22, we read, “Brethren,” this is Paul now speaking, He says, “Brethren and fathers, “hear my defense which I now offer you.” And when they heard that
he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet. And he said, “I am a Jew,
born in Tarsus of Cilicia, “but brought up in this city, “educated under Gamaliel,
strictly according “to the law of our fathers,
being zealous for God “just as you are all today. “I persecuted this way to the death.” That’s how Christianity was referred to at the beginning, it was called the way. “I persecuted this way to the death, “binding and putting both
men and women into prisons. “as also the high the priest “and also the council of
the elders can testify. “From them I also received
letters to the brethren, “and started off for Damascus “in order to bring even
those who were there “to Jerusalem as prisons to be punished. “but it happened that I was on my way, “approaching Damascus about noontime, “a very bright light suddenly flashed “from heaven all around me, “and I fell to the ground and
heard a voice saying to me, “‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ “And I answered, who are you, Lord? And he said to me, ‘I
am Jesus the Nazarene, “‘whom you are persecuting.’ “And those who are with me saw the light, “to be sure, but did
not understand the voice “of the One who was speaking to me. “And I said, what shall I do, Lord? “And the lord said to me, ‘Get
up and go on into Damascus, “‘and there you’ll be told “‘of all that has been
appointed for you to do.’ “But since I could not see “because of the brightness of that light, “I was led by the hand
by those who are with me “and came into Damascus. “A certain Ananias, a man who was devout “by the standard of the law, “and well spoken of by all
the Jews who lived there, “came to me, and standing near said to me, “‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ “And at that very time I looked up at him. “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers “‘has appointed you to know his will “‘and to see the Righteous One “‘and to hear an utterance from His mouth. “‘For you will be a
witness for Him to all men “‘of what you have seen and heard. “‘Now why do you delay? “‘Get up and be baptized,
and wash away your sins, “‘calling on His name.'” And so, thus began the
conversion and mission of one of the most prolific
of Jesus’ apostle. Now, we know, both from
history and the Bible, that Paul went onto preach and establish the Christian religion throughout the Roman provinces and empire. He was eventually imprisoned
by the Emperor Nero and executed in Rome in 67 AD on account of his role
as a Christian leader. And so, Paul, the adversary of the church, the one who initially
denied who Jesus was, ended up giving his life
for his faith in Christ. In his writings, we have a very
dynamic description of Jesus and his exalted position. He’s a good witness because he started of
not believing in Jesus. He started off wanting
to destroy Christianity. So he’s got something important
to say about Christianity and about Jesus. So, let’s just look at what he says. I won’t paraphrase it. We’ll just read what he says. He talks, he’s speaking about Jesus now in a letter to the Colossian church. And he says, “He,” meaning Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, “the first born of all creation. “For by him, all things were created, “both in the heavens and on earth, “visible and invisible, “whether thrones or dominions
or rules or authorities. “All things have been created
through Him and for Him. “He is before all things, “and in Him all things hold together. “He is also the head of
the body, the church, “and he is the beginning,
the first born from the dead, “so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. So note what Paul specifically
says about who Jesus is. First of all, he says He’s
the invisible image of God. When you see Jesus, you’re looking at God. When you see Jesus, you’re looking at God. He says He existed before creation. That means that He existed before time. What’s the significance of that? Well, who else existed before time? God. It’s just another saying He’s God. He says He’s supreme over creation. Well, what does that mean? Well, he says it in Mark 16, doesn’t he? “All authority has been given unto me.” That’s what Mark says about Him. Here Paul says the same thing. He has authority over all things. He’s also the Agent of creation. Everything in the material
and spiritual world was created by Him and for Him. He’s eternal, another
quality of the living God. Paul says He’s the head of the church. And here’s a point I want to make. Jesus is the only leader of the church in heaven and on earth. He does share this with any other person. There are no co-leaders of the church. In the local congregation, we have leaders in the local congregation, of course, the elders, shepherds, pastors, whatever you wish to call them. Okay. But in the entire body of Christ that includes all of the congregations of the church in the world, you know, the body of Christ, there’s only one head of
that, and that’s Jesus. Whether He’s on heaven or
on earth, it’s always Jesus. It’s not a man, it’s not a
woman, it’s not a person. Okay. Also, He leads those who will resurrect. It’s another way of
saying that He’s eternal by saying that He leads in the future. In other words, Paul is saying He’s the one who will
resurrect you in the future, but He’s already in the future. How is that? Well, because He exists outside of time. We live in time, yesterday,
today, tomorrow, you know. We live in time. He lives outside of time. That’s why Paul talks
about Him as being there before the creation was made. And He’s there after
the creation is finished and we’re resurrected from the dead. He’s both at the beginning,
at the end at the same time. Well, who can do that? Well, only God can do that. So he’s saying that Jesus is God five, six, seven, different ways. So these things of course
are not the only things that Paul says about Jesus, but we can see from these that Paul was proclaiming Jesus as the divine Son of God
based on his own experiences and knowledge of Christ and His teachings. So, we’ve reviewed three
of the eyewitnesses who describe and explain in the Bible who they believe Jesus to be. And I repeat again, people
don’t have to believe that. They don’t have to believe that, but they cannot say that that’s
not what the Bible teaches. Alright. And if you’re teaching someone else and sharing with someone else, there’s no reason for
them to be angry with you. There’s no reason for them
to call you names, you know, or you’re narrow-minded. All you’re saying is I’m just showing you what the Bible teaches about Jesus. That’s it. You can accept it or reject it. I’m just wanting to show you. So this leaves us with one
last person to examine, and that is of course Jesus Himself. Our description of Jesus
would be incomplete if we didn’t examine
at least the few things that the Lord said
about His true identity. Here are three things, very briefly, that He said about Himself to three different people. Okay. Number one, the Samaritan woman in John 4:25-26. In a conversation with
a woman while traveling, Jesus answers her question
about who is the true Messiah. 4:25 and six, it says,
“The woman said to Him, “‘I know that Messiah is coming, “‘He who is called Christ. “‘When that one comes, He will
declare all things to us.’ “Jesus said to her, ‘I
who speak to you am He.'” That is an amazing passage of scripture, because Jesus doesn’t say that to anybody, but he says it to a Samaritan woman. Flat out, there’s no… Sometimes Jesus would say the Son of Man. That was a coded way of
referring to Himself, you know what I’m saying. But right here, I mean it’s all out there. Yeah, the Messiah is coming, that’s right. That’s Me, the One who’s speaking to you, I’m the Messiah. That’s just an amazing thing
that Jesus is saying here. So Jesus describes Himself as the Savior spoken off by the Jews. One argument is that, well,
Jesus was a well-meaning, but he was diluted. He was crazy. Well, crazy people don’t
raise people from the dead, but you know. And here, this is not a crazy person. He’s just flat out saying who He is. The second person that Jesus talks to is Peter the apostle. You know, we’ve looked
at Peter’s declaration earlier in this lesson, but this time let’s
focus on Jesus’ response to what Peter said. Okay, in Matthew 16. He said to them, here’s Jesus
talking to His apostles, and He’s asking them, “Who
do people think that I am? “What do people say about Me?” So He said to them, “But
who do you say that I am?” And Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the
Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed
are you, Simon Barjona, “because flesh and blood
did not reveal this to you, “but my Father who is in heaven.” So note that Jesus confirms
what Peter says about Him that it’s true. And even goes on to reveal how Peter has come to this knowledge. The Lord has shown this to you. The Father has revealed this to you. Alright, the third group
are the Apostles themselves. After Jesus’ resurrection and appearance to over 500 disciples, Jesus gives His apostles and
future disciples their mission. Chapter 28. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “‘All authority has been given to Me “‘in heaven and on earth. “‘Go therefore and make
disciples of all nations, “‘baptizing them in the name of the Father “‘and the Son, the Holy Spirit, “‘teaching them to observe
all that I commanded you, “‘and lo, I am with you always, “‘even to the end of the age.'” Mathew 28:18-20. Note here in this passage, Jesus claims exclusive divine
authority over everything. Over everything. Now, these are are only
a few of the things that are recorded concerning Jesus. But from these, we see some of the things that the Bible teaches about Jesus. I’ll just put them in a list. Okay. These are some of the things that the Bible teaches about Jesus, that He is a true historical figure. He wasn’t a ghost or a fairytale. He was a real person. He was the Jewish Messiah. In other words, the Bible teaches that Jesus was the Jewish messiah. The Bible teaches that he
was the divine Son of God. The Bible teaches that He is God Himself. The Bible teaches that in human form, He resurrected from the dead. The Bible teaches He’s an eternal being. The Bible teaches the Agent of creation. The Bible teaches He’s
the head of the church. He’s the supreme authority
over heaven and earth, and we could keep going. I only have 35 minutes. I could keep going, but the Bible teaches these
things about Jesus, clearly, and there’s no ambiguity. It’s clear. So, we could go on for more, but I’m going to close
this lesson with a quote from the Gospel of John who
face the similar dilemma, and that is trying to list all the things he actually heard and saw Jesus do. Faced with the mountain
of information before him, Jesus writes in the 20th and 21st chapters of his gospel record the following. In chapter 20, he says,
“Therefore many other signs “jesus also performed in the
presence of the disciples, “which are not written in this book,” meaning in his gospel, “but these have been written
so that you may believe “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, “and that believing, you
may have life in His name.” In other words, I haven’t put down everything that I saw and heard. I just put down enough for you to believe. That tells me there’s
enough information in here to create belief in me. The person we says, “Well, I’m not sure. “I don’t have quite enough information.” No. God Who created me and you
knows how much we need, how much information we
need to make a decision, and He’s saying we’ve
got plenty of information to make up our minds. And then the same gospel, John 20, a little further in chapter 21. He says, “and there are
also many other things “which Jesus did, “which if they were written in detail, “I suppose that even the world itself “would not contain the books
that would be written.” So just the very little
that we have about Jesus fills libraries. Do you ever Google “Jesus” online? It’s never ending. There’s so much, so much material. Okay. Who is Jesus? Actually, answering the question, what does the Bible
say about who Jesus is? Well, we’ve kind of listed a lot of things that the Bible says. Alright, next time,
we’re going to talk about what does the Bible say about salvation. We keep going through our lesson. Thank you for your attention. I appreciate it.