WHO JESUS CLAIMED TO BE
‘Jesus according to Himself’
April 20, 2017
Connection Bible Study, CITAM Thika Road
John 1:19 – 26
Much like back then, the world suffers because people cannot recognize Jesus even though He is among them.
WHO JESUS WAS ACCORDING THE PEOPLE
1. “King of the Jews” (wise men from the east. Mat_2:2).
a. The Roman historians, Suetonius and Tacitus, bear witness to an expectation, prevalent in the East, that out of Judea should arise a sovereign of the world.
b. The light of the Scriptures and the light of nature are calculated to lead the seeking soul to Christ, the Savior. Those who follow their light to Him will find in Him joy unspeakable. Those who spurn their light will have in this life only dread of Him and hereafter naught but misery. (I AM the light of the world)
2. “Mightier than I” (John Baptist. Mat_3:11).
3. “Son of God” (demons. Mat_8:29).
4. “A blasphemer (certain Scribes. Mat_9:3).
5. “Son of David” (two blind men. Mat_9:27) (a woman of Canaan. Mat_15:22).
6. “The carpenter’s son” (His fellow countrymen. Mat_13:55).
7. “John the Baptist” (Herod and others. Mat_14:2; Mat_16:14).
8. “The Son of God” (they that were in the ship. Mat_14:33).
9. “Elijah” (some. Mat_16:14).
10. “Jeremiah” (others. Mat_16:14).
11. “One of the prophets” (some men. Mat_16:14).
12. “The Christ, the Son of the living God” (Peter. Mat_16:16).
13. “The Christ, the Son of God” (Martha. Joh_11:27).
14. “My beloved Son” (God the Father. Mat_17:5).
15. “Good Master” (a certain ruler. Mat_19:16).
16. “The prophet of Nazareth” (the multitude. Mat_21:11).
17. “The carpenter, son of Mary” (many hearing Him. Mar_6:3).
18. “Thy salvation … a light … the glory” (Simeon. Luk_2:30; Luk_2:32).
19. “Joseph’s son” (all in the synagogue. Luk_4:22).
20. “A great prophet” (all witnessing the raising of the widow’s son. Luk_7:16).
21. “A righteous man” (the Roman centurion. Luk_23:47).
22. “A prophet mighty in deed and word” (the two going to Emmaus. Luk_24:19).
23. “The Lamb of God” (John the Baptist. Joh_1:29).
24. “The Messias” (Andrew. Joh_1:41).
25. “The Son of God … the King of Israel” (Nathanael. Joh_1:49).
26. “A teacher come from God” (Nicodemus. Joh_3:2).
27. “A prophet” (a woman of Samaria. Joh_4:19).
28. “Jesus the son of Joseph” (the Jews. Joh_6:42).
29. “A Samaritan” and having a demon (the Jews. Joh_8:48).
30. “A prophet” (the blind man. Joh_9:17).
31. “The King of Israel” (much people. Joh_12:13).
WHO JESUS WAS ACCORDING TO HIMSELF
The Bread Of Life
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
EXPECTED RESPONSE: Come to me, Believe in me.
Jesus had recently fed the 5000. Incredibly some were still asking for a miraculous sign to help them believe He was who He claimed to be. They brought up the manna their forefathers had eaten in the wilderness (Exodus 16:13-18), and that established the context for this statement. I believe Jesus was saying the manna was meant to be a model of the Messiah. Whoever partakes of Him will never again know spiritual hunger. Like the manna, every one who seeks Him will find Him (Matt. 7:7-8), but each of us has to find Him for ourselves. No one else can receive Him for us, nor can we receive Him for anyone else. We all get an amount sufficient for our salvation. No one is lacking, none of Him is wasted.
The miracles which Jesus performed were proofs that he came from God. To seek him because they had seen them, and were convinced by them that he was the Messiah, would have been proper; but to follow him simply because their wants were supplied was mere selfishness of a gross kind. Yet, alas! many seek religion from no better motive than this. They suppose that it will add to their earthly happiness, or they seek only to escape from suffering or from the convictions of conscience, or they seek for heaven only as a place of enjoyment, and regard religion as valuable only for this. All this is mere selfishness. Religion does not forbid our regarding our own happiness, or seeking it in any proper way; but when this is the only or the prevailing motive, it is evident that we have never yet sought God aright. We are aiming at the loaves and fishes, and not at the honor of God and the good of his kingdom; and if this is the only or the main motive of our entering the church, we cannot be Christians.
As for our thirst, remember how Jesus told the woman at the well that the water He offered would cure her thirst forever. Pointing to Jacob’s well, before which they were standing, He said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
And then on the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. (John 7:37-39)
The Psalmist wrote, As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1) In Jesus our spiritual hunger is satisfied and our spiritual thirst is quenched. Once we have the Holy Spirit, our search for spiritual fulfillment comes to an end, and we never need any other sustenance. The God shaped hole in our heart is finally filled.
The Light Of The World
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
RESPONSE: Follow me
The pillar of fire
Light is another of John’s characteristic terms and ideas, playing a most important part in his writings, as related to the manifestation of Jesus and His work upon men. He comes from God, who is light (1Jn_1:5). “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (Joh_1:4). The Word was among men as light before the incarnation (Joh_1:9; Joh_9:5), and light came with the incarnation (Joh_3:19-21; Joh_8:12; Joh_12:46). Christ is light through the illuminating energy of the Spirit (Joh_14:21, Joh_14:26; Joh_16:13; 1Jn_2:20, 1Jn_2:27), which is received through love (Joh_14:22, Joh_14:23). The object of Christ’s work is to make men sons of light (Joh_12:36, Joh_12:46), and to endow them with the light of life (Joh_8:12).
In Joh_8:20, we are told that Jesus spake these words in the Treasury. This was in the Court of the Women, the most public part of the temple. Four golden candelabra stood there, each with four golden bowls, each one filled from a pitcher of oil by a youth of priestly descent. These were lighted on the first night of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is not unlikely that they may have suggested our Lord’s figure, but the figure itself was familiar both from prophecy and from tradition. According to tradition, Light was one of the names of the Messiah. See Isa_9:1; Isa_42:6; Isa_49:6; Isa_60:1-3; Mal_4:2; Luk_2:32.
The Door/Gate, The Shepherd
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)
RESPONSE: Enter through me.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
Christ is at once the door, the shepherd and the pasture. His pasture is the bread of life and the water of life.
A. Contrast between the Good Shepherd and the false shepherds of Israel.
1. (Joh_10:1-2) Jesus is the true, legitimate shepherd, who enters in the way that is proper and prepared (by Old Testament prophecies).
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.”
a. A thief and a robber: The Pharisees have shown that they are ungodly leaders of Israel by their excommunication of the man born blind. They avoided the proper entry to the kingdom of God (some other way), therefore they are suspect.
b. He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep: Shepherd was a common Old Testament picture of a leader of God’s people, whether good or bad (Isa_56:11, Jer_31:5).
2. (Joh_10:3-6) The sheep and their shepherd.
“To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
a. To him the doorkeeper opens: In towns, sheep from many flocks were kept for the night in a common sheepfold, overseen by one “doorkeeper” who regulated which shepherds brought and took which sheep.
b. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out: The shepherd calls the sheep by name, showing that the shepherd has a personal connection with the sheep. The shepherd leads them, instead of driving them, showing His loving care for the sheep.
c. For they know his voice: In the common sheepfolds of ancient times, the shepherd merely gave his distinctive call and his sheep came out from the others, following him out of the sheepfold. Sheep are experts at discerning their shepherd’s voice.
i. During World War I, some Turkish soldiers tried to steal a flock of sheep from a hillside near Jerusalem. The shepherd, who had been sleeping, awoke to find his flock being driven off. He couldn’t recapture them by force, so he called out to his flock with his distinctive call. The sheep listened, and returned to their rightful owner. The soldiers couldn’t stop the sheep from returning to their shepherd’s voice.
d. He brings out his own sheep: Here, Jesus speaks of calling his own sheep from the fold of Judaism. He will call out a remnant that will believe in Him (Rom_11:5).
3. (Joh_10:7-10) The true shepherd protects and promotes life; the false shepherds take away life.
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
a. I am the door of the sheep: Is Jesus the door, or is He the one who has the right to enter through the door (Joh_10:2)? Both things are true of Jesus. When Jesus speaks of the door in this passage, He refers to a different type of sheepfold, one used out in the fields, not in the towns.
i. A “field” sheep pen was an enclosure for sheep with only one entrance. It might be a cave, a stone or mud-brick structure, and it might or might not have a roof.
b. I am the door: In a “field” sheepfold, the shepherd actually laid his body across the entrance, to keep the sheep in and to keep out the wolves. The shepherd was in fact the door.
c. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: Thief implies deception and trickery; robber implies violence and destruction. These take away life but Jesus gives life and He gives it abundantly.
4. (Joh_10:11-15) The good shepherd will lay down his life for the flock.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”
The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep: The bad shepherd thinks the flock exists for his benefit, but the good shepherd lives (and dies) for the good of the sheep.
• The good shepherd sacrifices for the sheep
• The good shepherd knows his sheep
• The good shepherd is known by the sheep
No one expects sheep to be responsible for themselves. Owners hire shepherds for that purpose. A shepherd’s job is to accept responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of his flock. Most shepherds only take that to the point where it would threaten their personal safety, rightly deciding that their life is worth more than that of a sheep. A few would be willing to risk their lives to protect their sheep, but our Shepherd knowingly and willingly died to save us, because there was no other way.
The Resurrection And The Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
RESPONSE: Believe in me
He draws her from her selfish grief to Himself. There is no need for Him to pray as man to God (Joh_11:22); He (and none else) is the Resurrection and the Life. There is no need to look forward to the last day; He is (not ‘will be’) the Resurrection and the Life. Comp. Joh_14:6; Col_3:4. In what follows, the first part shews how He is the Resurrection, the second how He is the Life. ‘He that believeth in Me, even if he shall have died (physically), shall live (eternally). And every one that liveth (physically) and believeth in Me, shall never die (eternally).’
With this statement, Jesus overthrows everything thing we know about the law of entropy and the way things work in this world. For a long, long time, death has ruled over men like a tyrant. This is not the land of the living, but the land of the dying.
i. Humorists and philosophers have understood the basic fear of death, and the basic dilemma of death. “Neither in the hearts of men nor in the manners of society will there be a lasting peace until we outlaw death.” (Albert Camus) “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.” (Woody Allen)
b. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live: Jesus is the champion over death. While the ancients feared death, the Christian can only fear dying. The believer will never die, but simply make an instant transition from an old life to a new life.
i. Think about how grand the claim of Jesus is here. I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. Who but God could possibly say such things?
c. Do you believe this? Jesus challenges Martha not to debate or intellectual assent, but to belief.
The Way, The Truth, And The Life
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
I am the way
The disciples are engrossed with the thought of separation from Jesus. To Thomas, ignorance of whither Jesus is going involves ignorance of the way. “Therefore, with loving condescension the figure is taken up, and they are assured that He is Himself, if we may so speak, this distance to be traversed” (Milligan and Moulton). All along the course to the Father’s house they are still with Him.
If it be asked where this way begins, and whither it goes, the answer is evident. It begins in the cold, dark, desolate region, into which sin has thrown the moral and material condition of every living man. And it goes along a course of ever-nearing communion with God—through many stages of prayer, and devout thought and humiliation and assimilation to the character of God, up to the many mansions of the Father’s house.
As being the perfect revelation of God the Father: combining in Himself and manifesting all divine reality, whether in the being, the law, or the character of God. He embodies what men ought to know and believe of God; what they should do as children of God, and what they should be.
The truth of Christ was an attribute above all others essential to the offices which He undertook to fulfil. I shall take five of these offices. (1) That of a witness. What is a witness without truth? (2) The substance of that of which the whole of the Old Testament was the shadow. But the substance of anything is the truth of anything. Therefore, Christ is Truth. (3) The founder of a faith very different from all others which ever appeared upon this earth. Its precepts are the strictest—its doctrines are the loftiest—its consolations are the strongest. Now what intense veracity did that require in Him. (4) Christ is His people’s truth, His people’s righteousness. And what must be the truth of Him who was to be the Truth of the whole world? (5) Christ is Judge. How unspeakably momentous it is that in the last great division of all human destiny, the Judge should be true.
Not only life in the future world. He is “the principle and source of life in its temporal development and future consummation, so that whoever has not received Him into himself by faith, has become a prey to spiritual and eternal death” (Meyer). “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” Compare Col_3:4; Joh_6:50, Joh_6:51; Joh_11:25, Joh_11:26.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without the life there is no living. I am the way which you should pursue; the truth which you should believe; the life which yo should hope for” (Thomas a Kempis, “Imitation of Christ,” iii., 56).
We are accustomed to think and speak of life as issuing into death. And the thought is unquestionably true. But there is a yet deeper one, that death issues into life. Consider how many things that live had their cradle in death. The whole animal creation is full of the beautiful transformations of an inferior creature that dies into another formation of itself, much lovelier than the first. In the moral world means are continually dying for the ends to which these means were subservient and lived. In the spiritual and hidden life, every Christian knows too well what an inward dying to self there must be in daily mortifications and most painful crucifixions, that the Divine life may come forth in its power. And all this is leading us up to that great crowning doctrine of our faith, of which all this is only the allegory, that all life sprang first out of the death of Jesus Christ.
II. The supremacy of Christ over the whole history of life, or rather, I would say, the identity of Christ with the life of every soul, will be the more apparent, if we look at the subject in one or two of its bearings. (1) Let us take the life of nature. “By Him all things consist,”—i.e., are kept together, are held in their places and being. And thus the heavens and the earth, and all that are left in them of order, and promise, and stability, and sweetness, is kept against that day when by Him again, by His promise in the midst of them, they shall be restored to more than their original dignity and loveliness. (2) Turn now to things spiritual. Christ is life not for Himself but for His Church. For whatever God gives to the Son, He gives Him for the Church’s sake. The first Adam was a being of real, inherent, energetic life; but he could not communicate it, he was not intended to communicate it to another. But the Second Adam was not only to live, but to diffuse life to live in other lives, to be a fountain of life, to be the life of the whole world. That is what it means; “The first man, Adam, was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
RESPONSE: Remain in me
1.) He is the vine, planted in the vineyard, and not a spontaneous product; planted in the earth, for his is the Word made flesh. The vine has an unsightly unpromising outside; and Christ had no form nor comeliness, Isa_53:2. The vine is a spreading plant, and Christ will be known as salvation to the ends of the earth. The fruit of the vine honours God and cheers man (Jdg_9:13), so does the fruit of Christ’s mediation; it is better than gold, Pro_8:19. (2.) He is the true vine, as truth is opposed to pretense and counterfeit; he is really a fruitful plant, a plant of renown. He is not like that wild vine which deceived those who gathered of it (2Ki_4:39), but a true vine. Unfruitful trees are said to lie (Hab_3:17. marg.), but Christ is a vine that will not deceive. Whatever excellency there is in any creature, serviceable to man, it is but a shadow of that grace which is in Christ for his people’s good. He is that true vine typified by Judah’s vine, which enriched him with the blood of the grape (Gen_49:11), by Joseph’s vine, the branches of which ran over the wall (Gen_49:22), by Israel’s vine, under which he dwelt safely, 1Ki_4:25.
John answered them, “I am baptizing with water, but AMONG YOU stands a man whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal straps I am not worthy to untie.”