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What the Bible Teaches--A Guide to Total Christian Commitment 
by Rev. James McRobbie    ©Pillar of Fire, International 
"Christ freely gave Himself for us."
[Bottom of page] [The Living Word] [Back: Chapter 1] [Next: Chapter 3] [Index]
Chapter 2 Contents: |The Sacred Name| |The Incarnation| |Pre-existence| |Earthly Life and Ministry| |Suffering and Decease| |Purposes of Christ's Earthly Mission| |Jesus Revealed|

[What the Bible Teaches refers to numerous passages from the Bible. Your study will be greatly enhanced by looking up the verses as you go along. If you want to look up Bible verses online as you study, clicking here will open up "The Bible Gateway" in a new window. You may then use the title buttons on your browser screen to move back and forth between the Bible and this study. All quotations in What the Bible Teaches are from the King James Version [KJV] unless otherwise specified.]

Chapter 2: What the Bible Teaches ABOUT JESUS

"How can I choose but love Thee, God's dear Son,
O Jesus, loveliest and most loving One?
Were there no heaven to gain, no hell to flee,
For what Thou art alone, I must love Thee."
    There is an indefinable charm in the name of Jesus. It is the "name" that "charms our fears," that "bids our sorrows cease." ["O for a Thousand Tongues"] There is "power" in Jesus' name. The evil agencies in the world know this and it is appalling how it has been wrested by the profane in their imprecations and obscenity.

The Sacred Name

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    The name of Jesus is God-given and angel-announced. To Joseph the angel-message was: "Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" [Matthew 1:21]. The name, Jesus, therefore, signifies Savior.
    Christ means "anointed," and is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word, Messiah [Daniel 9:25; John 1:41]. The use of the name in the Scriptures is often identified with the promises of the prophets in relation to the anointed One to come. It was the Jewish custom to anoint kings, prophets and priests at the initiation ceremony into each particular office. He himself said He was anointed [Luke 4:18], and typically [i.e., as a type or symbol] this took place at His baptism [Luke 3:21-22].
    The Son of God is also the Lord Jesus Christ. The word Lord, printed in small capitals in the Authorized Version [KJV], signifies Jehovah [Isaiah 40:3; cp. Matt. 3:3]. The Psalmist said, Thy name alone is Jehovah. As Lord of all, He has authority as universal Ruler and Master.
    Isaiah foretold the time when God would walk among men in human form and predicted His incarnation in the name "Immanuel" [Isaiah 7:14] -- God with us.
    To all who know Him, Jesus is the One "altogether lovely," the "rose of Sharon," the "lily of the valleys," and the "bright and morning star" [Song of Solomon 5:16; 2:1; Revelation 22:16].
    He Himself said He was the "good shepherd," the "door," the "vine," the true bread and the bread of life, the "light of the world," "the truth, the way, the life," "the resurrection," the "son of man," king, etc.
    The various aspects of His divine nature are seen in the declarations of the prophets, as "Sun of righteousness," "Shiloh," Son of David, and "Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace," "Alpha and Omega," "Lion of the tribe of Judah," etc. These words are laden with deep meaning and afford a profitable and interesting study.

The Incarnation

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    Nothing is so cherished by the church as the fascinating story of the birth of Christ -- the journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem, crowded Bethlehem, the episode of the infant in the stable, the visit of the Shepherds and the Wise Men, Simeon and Anna in the temple, the slaying of the infants, and the flight to Egypt and return. Such is the synopsis of events that narrates the giving of that life in which the Son of God became the Son of man, when "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" [John 1:14].
  Incarnation signifies a spirit or soul taking on flesh. In general, incarnation refers to the visible embodiment of Jesus Christ in human flesh. The story of the divine conception is very simple, though it has often been severely assailed, criticized, and called into question. It is carefully and adequately related by Luke [Luke 1:30-35]. In these remarkable verses we see that Jesus, though born of a Jewish virgin, was the Son of God. It was predicted that He would be born of a virgin [Isa. 7:14]. There is no reference here to an earthly father. We know that the name of a child is from the paternal side. Thus we read, "And shall call his name Immanuel." "El" is God; He was "God with man." The same thought is beautifully corroborated in the other well known Messianic prophecy of Isaiah's: "Unto us a child is born," having reference to the maternal side of His incarnation. It then adds: "Unto us a son is given." From His Father's side He is the "gift of God" [John 3:16] -- God's Son.
    Though He declared, "I am from God," He did not live as God but as man. Though omnipotent in power, still in His incarnation, He used this divine prerogative to vindicate His divine nature and Sonship only. He hungered, He wept, He became weary, He was tempted in every way as we are. As a youth He grew in wisdom and stature [Luke 2:52]. He entered into the joys and sorrows of human existence [John 2:1; 11:35]. He languished in death, in mortal pain, even as any one of us might in similar circumstances [Matt. 26:38; Luke 23:46; Philippians 2:8].
    Christ is humanity's "second Adam" -- not alone our spotless ideal, but our redemption and all creation's future hope -- human yet perfect, tempted yet unfallen, servant yet King of kings, in death like a criminal, yet Savior and Son of God.
    The proof of our Lord's divinity is established beyond all question.
"The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the most conclusive proof of His divinity."


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    In John 1:1-4 we see that Jesus was "in the beginning," Creator, and co-equal with God the Father. The Elohim of Genesis 1:26 is a plural noun and denotes the Trinity: "Let us make man in OUR image." The Jews of our Lord's time denied the claim of His pre-existence. In John 8:57 they interrogated Him: "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and has thou seen Abraham?" The reply was, "Before Abraham was, I am." Here is a convincing statement of His pre-existence -- that He as truly existed in and before Abraham's time as He did then. It was Christ, the Jehovah angel of the Old Testament, who visited Abraham [Genesis 18:1, 13, 17]. The Old Testament prophet Micah announced His pre-incarnation activities in these words: "Whose goings forth have been from old," and adds: "from the days of eternity" [Micah 5:2, Margin].
    His pre-existence was glorious [John 17:5]. He was one with the Father -- the Father's glory was also His glory.
    Christ is enthroned in glory now. With His resurrected, glorified body, He lives in eternal glory [Heb. 7:25]. "Behold, I am alive for evermore." He lives in the presence of God the Father and was seen by Stephen standing at His right hand [Acts 7:56].

Earthly Life and Ministry

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    One of the most remarkable features of Christ's earthly life was His habit of spending much time in secret prayer. Sixteen times in the New Testament we have the specific record of His prayers. This would serve to teach us that as the Son of man He continually relied upon the Father in heaven for moral fortitude, spiritual guidance and physical endurance. He watched for the opportunity for prayer and would often be found by His disciples alone in communion with the Father. He spent long seasons in prayer [Luke 6:12]. He wrestled in prayer [Heb. 5:7]. He exhorted to prayer [Luke 11:1-13]. He gave an outline of a model prayer [Matt. 6:9-13]. He began His ministry with prayer [Luke 3:21], and ended it with the same [Luke 23:42]. The church, of which He is the head, is a church of prayer [Acts 12:5]. If Christ, with all His perfection of character, incessantly gave Himself to prayer, what sort of persons should we be?
    Christ's earthly life was characterized by intense activity: He was always occupied and yet we have but a meager record of all that He did [John 21:25]. He made long preaching tours, journeying by foot. He was so poor that He did not even have a transport donkey to aid Him in that country of hills. Wherever He went He was thronged by the crowds, and He preached to them, sometimes fed them, and miraculously healed the sick.  His work was threefold. It was benevolent -- administering to the physical and spiritual needs of the masses. Spiritual -- forgiving sins, giving evidences of His divinity, explaining the mysteries of the kingdom. Ethical -- He was always instructing His disciples and the masses, usually through a medium of parables [Matt. 13:34]. Why? He had a purpose for it [Matt. 13:13]. Many of our Lord's great discourses were spoken out of doors [see Matt. 5:1; 13:1; 24:3; John 4:6].  The New Testament record shows that Jesus uttered thirty-five parables and performed thirty-five miracles. In the light of this we should consider the amazing statement in John 21:25.
    Christ aligned Himself with the common people and chose illiterate men as His immediate followers, even though they were to be the pioneers of a great world movement. He mingled among the lowly [Matt. 9:11]; He ministered to them [Matt. 11:5]; He loved them [1 John 3:1], and for them He died [John 3:16].
    We see in Him who was perfect God and perfect man, a unique paradoxical character:

Suffering and Decease

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    What chapter in the Old Testament towers above all others in providing a description of the sufferings and decease of Christ? His sufferings were vicarious [Isa. 53:6]. He took the sinner's place [Rom. 5:8]. He was the divine substitute who fulfilled all God's holy requirements [John 17:4], thus fully qualifying Himself as the great High Priest and Mediator of the New Covenant [Heb. 8:6; 12:24]. That hateful thing sin must be punished how? [Genesis 3:3; Rom. 6:23.] What did Christ become for us? [Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21.] Christ came not only to deal with outward transgressions but to do what? [Heb. 13:12.] Why? [Heb. 12:14.]
    Christ freely gave Himself for us [Gal. 2:20]. The Father freely gave the Son [1 John 4:9]. What was the great motive actuating this? [John 3:16] What is God? [1 John 4:8, 16]. What one thing especially should impel us to yield fully to God now and forever? [1 John 4:19]. Many scriptures might be given.
    The unspeakably painful and shameful death that our Savior endured on the cross -- the death administered to slaves and criminals -- reveals how serious and awful a thing sin is; and does it not teach us what the impenitent sinner must bear through the eternal ages?

Purposes of Christ's Earthly Mission

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    Christ's earthly mission was at least threefold:

Jesus Revealed

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    The book of Revelation, by symbol and metaphor, shows us how Jesus, the coming One, is to be revealed; how His enemies are to be judged; how He is to occupy the throne of David, and reign in righteousness for a thousand years.
    It is not difficult to see that we are now in the "last days" of the Laodicean church period [Rev. 3:14-22]. It has been pointed out that there is no mention of the church between chapters 3 and 19. In these intervening chapters we see how Christ is to redeem this earth in judgment, how it will be wrested from the control of the evil one. This is presented to us under different symbols: seals, horsemen, trumpets, beasts, etc. Severe though this judgment will be, it is seen to be intermingled with grace, as in chapters 7, 11, 14. Even in the great tribulation there will be some who will be "faithful unto death," and who will seal their faith with their blood [Rev. 20:4].
    Christ will return clothed in majesty, power, and glory. "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him" [Rev. 1:7]. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire" [2 Thessalonians 1:7-8]. "This same Jesus, . . . shall so come" [Acts 1:11]. The Patmos Seer [see Rev. 1:9-11] saw the heavens opened and the returning One appearing as "King of kings and Lord of lords," escorted with saints and angels, to take His rightful place as world ruler. For a thousand years He will sit upon the throne of His glory, at the close of which time He will deliver up the kingdom to the Father [1 Cor. 15:24]. Then will follow the Great White Throne Judgment, when the sea will give up the dead, when death and Hades will deliver up the dead which are in them, and when Christ will sit on the throne of judgment [Acts 17:31]. Sentence will then be passed, all will bow the knee to Christ, and He will be exalted over all --        "GOD BLESSED FOR EVER."

[Top of page] [THE LIVING WORD] [Back: Chapter 1] [Next: Chapter 3] [Index]

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