“The Jesus Controversy”

“If you are wrong on Jesus, you are wrong on everything.”  I said it!  The idea that you can have a misguided and mislead understanding of the most important person to ever live is deceptive and dangerous. You have to know who Jesus really is.

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Timothy 3:16).

When the Apostle Paul says, “without controversy” he is not intimating that the person and ministry of Jesus is without refutation, opposition or contentions. Jesus is still a most polarizing figure. There are perhaps as many books  that attempt to minimize Jesus as there are that seek to interpret his personality and ministry through a biblical prism.

What is without controversy is the empirical truth of Jesus. Jesus was and is. In eternity and in history Jesus is real and central.  Jesus cannot be ignored. He cannot be dismissed. Jesus is the centerpiece of all civilization. Jesus is essential.

There are a myriad of false dogmas and empty doctrines that seek to explain Jesus. Paul, arguably the greatest Christologist to have ever lived, does not try to explain the mystery of the divinity and humanity of Jesus. Paul honors the study of Christ by saying, “great is the mystery”. He views Jesus in the hypostatic union (all God and all man) and the Incarnation (God manifested in flesh) as the “great mystery of godliness”.

For those who have to know the “how?” of Jesus, the answer of the apostle is succinct and put forth in these terms:

“God was manifested in the flesh”. This is the Incarnation. Jesus is not other than God. Jesus is all that God is revealed in a man. Paul calls Him, “the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form” (Colossians 2:8).  Jesus is God.  Jesus is God in the world in the flesh living among His own creation. Jesus is God the Creator taking on the nature of the created in order to rescue all of creation.

“Justified in the Spirit”. This refers specifically to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Now don’t miss this!  The baptism in the Holy Spirit that Jesus experienced at the Jordan at the time of His water baptism was a signature confirmation that He was the authentic Son of God (John 1:33-34). The word “justified” means “vindicated”.  The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a major asset. The baptism in the Holy Spirit should confirms the sonship and service of every saint.

“Seen of angels”. The appearance and attendance of the angels in the life of Christ confirm that the Son of God was unique in His relationship with the Father and His coordination with heaven. While many great men of God had angelic encounters and assistance none had the the kind of angelic devotion that accompanied Jesus.  At His birth the angels worshipped Him. At His temptation the angels ministered unto Him. At His agony in  Gethsemane He was served by the angels. On His way to the cross He had 12 legions of angels waiting to rescue Him at his command. At His resurrection angels were there to announce His triumph. At His ascension angels escorted Him back to heaven.

“Preached unto the Gentiles”. Jesus did not come into the world trapped within the Jewish culture. Jesus is Savior of the world. He proclaimed the good news of God to non-Jews. He even preached to the pagan Pontius Pilate. Throughout His ministry Jesus found Himself rejected by Jews and received by Gentiles. Some of the most powerful examples of faith in Jesus and the power that comes with it involve and include Gentiles. The Syro-Phoenician woman, the demoniac of Gadara, the Roman centurion were all miracles for Gentiles.

“Believed on in the world”. There was a revelation of God presented to the world and some believed. While Jesus was living among them, they believed. They believed not because of religion, they believed because of revelation. By revelation Peter says, “Thou art the Christ, Son of the living God” . “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Word was enfleshed, revealed unlike any word God have ever spoken before. Jesus becomes the author and finisher of the faith of those believe.

“Received up into glory”. The ascension of Jesus is the great affirmation of Jesus’ success. Jesus successfully purchased our redemption. Jesus was definitely resurrected from death. The ascension confirms “mission accomplished” for Jesus. The glory of the pre-incarnate Christ is restored. He who took on flesh is again glorified. “I am he that liveth, and was dead; behold I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:18).

The message of Jesus does not require an explanation. It is a proclamation! You don’t have to argue for Jesus, you have to agree with Jesus. Jesus is who He says He is. Do you agree?

 

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