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The Claims made by Jesus the Messiah**

In our study in the holy Gospel {Injeel}, we have studied that Jesus the Messiah was unique in His Life, in His Teaching and in His Authority.  In addition because of what he taught, he was causing division among the teachers of the Jews.  Because of all of this they wanted to put him to death.   We also learnt that Jesus the Messiah was more than a mere prophet. Jesus was full of the power of God. He was the very Power of God in a human body! That was why He could calm the storm, cast out demons, heal the sick and the blind, and even raise the dead to life.  He is the Word of God in bodily form!

In this study we will continue in the book of the Gospel {Injeel}, and hear how the Jesus the Messiah made some very disturbing claims of himself, that a mere prophet of God would and should not.  In this study we will continue in the book of the Gospel and hear how Jesus reproved those who opposed Him, and how he claimed many unique aspects that are exclusively in the domain of God.    In the Gospel of John, chapter eight, we read:

(John 8) 2At dawn [Jesus] appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered round him, and he sat down to teach them.… 12[And Jesus said to them,] "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 13The Pharisees challenged him, "Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid." 14Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going… 23…"You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." 25"Who are you?" they asked. "Just what I have been claiming all along," Jesus replied.… 28"When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am, and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.… 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

33They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" 34Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father." 39"Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did. 40As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41You are doing the things your own father does."

"We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself." 42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? 47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

48The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?" 49"I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus, "but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." 52At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. 53Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?" 54Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." 57"You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" 58"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" 59At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

(John 9) 1As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

6Having said this, he spat on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7"Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means "Sent"). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. 8His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9Some claimed that he was. Others said, "No, he only looks like him." But he himself insisted, "I am the man." 10"How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded. 11He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see." 12"Where is this man?" they asked him. "I don't know," he said.

13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. 15Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see." 16Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided. 17Finally they turned again to the blind man, "What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened." The man replied, "He is a prophet."

18The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents. 19"Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?" 20"We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. 21But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 23That was why his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."

24A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God," they said. "We know this man is a sinner." 25He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" 26Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" 27He answered, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?" 28Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from."

30The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. 32Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." 34To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" 36"Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him." 37Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you." 38Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. 39Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."

40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" 41Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."

Thus the Lord Jesus healed the man who was born blind and rebuked the Pharisees because of their blinded minds. These religious experts had a blindness that was worse than ordinary blindness. They could see, but they did not want to see, which is why they picked up rocks to throw at Jesus. These religious men had closed their minds to the truth about Jesus. They did not want to believe that He was the Messiah and the Light of the world. They did not want to believe that Jesus existed before the prophet Abraham; that He was the Word that was with God in the beginning. They did not want to see the truth.

Here we have seen two kinds of blind people: Those who are blind in the eyes; and those who are blind in the mind. The darkness of a blind mind is worse than the darkness of blind eyes. If your eyes are blind, you cannot see the things of the world, but if your heart and mind are blind, then you cannot see or understand the things of eternity!

The Word of God teaches us that all of Adam's children are blind from birth-blind in their minds and in their hearts. Because of Adam's sin, all of us have been born in the darkness of sin and ignorance. We have no knowledge of God and no natural desire for His truth. Like cockroaches that scatter when a light is turned on, we avoid the light of God's Word, content to live out our lives in the darkness. Sadly, most of Adam's offspring die in the darkness of sin and ignorance. The prophet Hosea wrote: "Hear the word of the Lord…My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you…!" (Hos. 4:1,6)

The good news is that God does not want any of us to perish in the darkness of sin and ignorance. That is why He visited our world by sending to us the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophet Zachariah spoke of the Lord Jesus as "the Rising Sun" whom God would send "from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." (Luke 1:79) The prophets were like the stars that illumine the night, but Jesus Christ is like the rising sun, bringing light and life to all who believe in Him. How many suns did God create to illuminate our world? Only one. How many Saviors has God sent from heaven to deliver sinners from the darkness of sin and eternal hell? Only one. However, most of Adam's children do not understand this, which is why they are still stumbling in the darkness of sin. That is what the Scripture declares concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, saying: "The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him." (John 1:5,10)

Everywhere Jesus went the crowds pressed in on Him, but few recognized who He really was. They considered Him a prophet, but did not recognize that all the fullness of God dwelt in Him. They did not understand that Jesus was the Lord of Glory, who came from heaven. As we continue, God willing, we will see how the Lord Jesus was full of the light of the glory of God, and how He displayed it for a brief moment one day when He was on a mountain with three of His disciples.  Now let us return to the holy Gospel. The Scripture says:

(Luke 9) 18Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?" 19They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life." (Matt. 16) 15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of the living God." 17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."

Let us stop here and consider the question Jesus asked His disciples one day when He was alone with them. Jesus asked them, "Who do people say that I am?" The disciples answered Jesus that most people said that He was one of the prophets. Then Jesus questioned them again, saying, "But who do you say that I am?" One of the disciples, Simon Peter, answered Jesus, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!"

Truly, what Jesus asked His disciples is an important question which every one of us must answer!  Who do you consider Jesus to be? What do you think about Him? Do you merely classify Him with the prophets? Or do you agree with Peter who declared that Jesus is "the Messiah, the Son of the Living God"? Who do you think Jesus is? Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah--the Redeemer whom God promised long ago on that day when our ancestors, Adam and Eve, sinned? Do you believe that Jesus is "the Son of the Living God"— the Word of God which came down from heaven?

As you know, to this very day, many people deny that Jesus is the Son of God, because they think that this name means that God took a wife and had a child by her! But it does not mean that. God's glory is greater than that! God is Spirit and does not beget as a man begets, but that does not keep God from calling Jesus His Son.   It is like a person being called “Son of Pakistan” or “Son of the Road”, it does not mean Pakistan or the Road hade sexual union, but an expression that implies a Pakistani, or a Traveler.   That is how it was with Jesus, the Messiah, who was born of a virgin. Even before He was born, He was in heaven. He is the "Kalimat Allah" and the "Ruh Allah"--the very Word and Soul of God. {See lesson #61 for explanation of these Arabic terms.} Only Jesus is worthy to be called the Son of the Most High, because He alone is the Word that was with God in the beginning. This is a great mystery, but more than that, it is a great truth! God sent His Son into the world not only to save us from our sins, but also to show us what He is like. Jesus displayed God's character on earth. Whoever sees the Son knows what the Father is like. Whoever sees Jesus knows what God is like. Jesus is called the Son of God, because He came from God, because He is like God, and because He is the very Word of God and Soul of God. Dear friends, whether we believe it or whether we refuse to believe it, the truth remains: Jesus is the Son of the Living God!

Let us now continue in the Gospel of Matthew and read to what happened after Peter declared Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. The Scripture says:

(Matt. 16) 21From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" 23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

Did you hear what Jesus said to His disciples? He told them that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and then be raised to life again on the third day. Thus Jesus announced that He would pour out His blood to pay the debt for our sin.

But Peter could not accept that the Lord Jesus, who possessed all power and all authority, would allow the evil rulers of the Jews to arrest Him, torture Him and kill Him. That was why Peter said to Jesus, "Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!" However Jesus knew that He had come into the world to shed His blood as a sacrifice that takes away sin. That is the reason He said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men!"

Jesus knew why He had come into the world. He came to give His life by shedding His holy blood for sinners, just as God's prophets had predicted long beforehand. Jesus came so that the symbol of the sacrificial sheep might be fulfilled in Him. Ah, fellow readers, if we remember only one thing from our lesson today, let it be this: Jesus the Messiah came into the world to die as a sacrifice to pay for sin--my sin and yours! God willing, a few lessons from now, we will see how Jesus' prophecy about His own death was precisely fulfilled in Jerusalem. And so friends, even if some may proclaim another message which does not agree with what the Lord Jesus and the prophets prophesied so long ago, the truth concerning Jesus' death and resurrection does not change. God Himself is the One who decreed the death of the Messiah on the cross, and no one can change the decrees of God! Jesus chose to die as the supreme Sacrifice. He did it because He loves you and me and does not want us to perish. Now let us see what happened one week after Jesus made known to His disciples that He would offer up His life in Jerusalem. The Scripture says:

(Matt. 17) 1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

(Luke 9) 30Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. (Matt. 17) 4Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." 5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" 6When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." 8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. 9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

Did you grasp what happened on that high mountain? It was an amazing and wonderful event! We read that Jesus' outward appearance was transformed--His face shone like the sun and His clothes radiated a sparkling white light. The same awesome, dazzling pure light that shines out of God and surrounds the throne of God in heaven was now shining out of Jesus! The glorious light that filled the Holiest Place in the Tent of the Meeting in the days when Moses and the Israelites were in the wilderness--that same glory was in Jesus, though men could not see it. But for a few brief moments, in the presence of Jesus' three disciples, God unveiled His awesome glory which was hidden in Jesus' body! And at the same moment, God sent down from heaven two prophets, Moses and Elijah, to talk with Jesus concerning His death in Jerusalem. We also read that a bright cloud covered the mountain, and the voice of the Almighty echoed forth from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"

What was the reason for all this? Why did God do all these glorious things in the presence of Peter, John and James? This is the reason. God wanted to give those three witnesses an unshakable proof that, in truth, Jesus is the Eternal Son of God from heaven, and that all must listen to Him! That is what the Scripture proclaims, saying:

"He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him." (John 5:23) "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." (Heb. 1:1-3)

What do you think of Jesus? What do you say about Him? Do you believe that Jesus is the Lord of Glory, who came from heaven? Or do you merely classify Him with the prophets as most people in the world do? Let us read some excerpts from Jesus' apostles, Peter and John, who wrote in the Holy Scriptures several years after they saw the glory of God shine out of Jesus on top of the mountain.  The apostle Peter wrote:

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.' We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain!" (2 Pet. 1:16-18)

The apostle John wrote:

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it…We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth!" (1 John 1:1,2; John 1:14)

And in the end of the Gospel of John, he wrote,

"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name!" (John 20:30,31)

Do you find all this hard to understand? God wants to give you insight into these marvelous truths. The Scripture says:

"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned…We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory!" (2 Cor. 2:14,6-8)

We have already seen in the Writings of the Prophets that God repeatedly compares the children of Adam to lost sheep without a shepherd. However, God does not want the children of Adam to perish like sheep without a shepherd. That is the reason He sent down from heaven a mighty Shepherd to guide us in the way of peace and to save us from our most vicious enemies: Satan, sin, death and hell. Do you know the Good Shepherd, whom God sent to the children of Adam? If you do not, we invite you to study carefully as we continue.

We are reading in the Gospel of John, chapter ten. One day, Jesus said to the crowd gathered around Him:

(John 10) 1I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.… 6Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them. 7Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep… 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--15just as [God] the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep… 17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

19At these words the Jews were again divided. 20Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?" 21But others said, "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"

24The Jews gathered round him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." 25Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30I and the Father are one." 31Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from [God] the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"

33"We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." 34Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? 35If he called them 'gods', to whom the word of God came-and the Scripture cannot be broken--36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? 37Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38But 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." 39Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.

Did you read what Jesus said to the Jews? We for now will only focus on two of the names by which Jesus referred to Himself. Those two names are: The Gate for the sheep and the Good Shepherd.

First, after Jesus compared the children of Adam with sheep, He said to the crowd, "I am the gate for the sheep…whoever enters through me will be saved." Why did Jesus call Himself "the Gate for the sheep"? In those days, a shepherd would make an enclosure of thorny branches or rocks, constructed with a single doorway by which the flock could enter. When evening came and the sheep had entered, the shepherd himself would sleep in the doorway of the sheep pen to guard his sheep. Thus, before any wild animal could enter the pen and kill a sheep, it would have to come through the doorway where the shepherd lay. The shepherd would then chase the wild animal away before it could harm the sheep. In this way the shepherd himself was "the gate for the sheep."

The Lord Jesus called Himself "the Gate for the sheep." This means that Jesus cares for all those who belong to Him. This also means that before you can become a part of God's "flock," you must come through Jesus. Whoever wants to be saved from the snares of Satan, from the penalty of sin, from the power of death and the punishment of eternal hell must pass through Jesus. He alone is the door that can admit sinners into eternal life. That is why God's Word says: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) Jesus is the one and only door to Salvation.

Can you remember what we read some time ago concerning the prophet Noah and the flood? How many doors did God command Noah to make in the boat which would be a refuge to all who wanted to escape the judgment of the flood? Only one door. Anyone who wanted to escape the flood had to go through the one door of the boat. Whoever entered through the door was saved. Whoever did not enter through the door perished! Similarly, concerning the Day of Judgment, the Holy Scriptures confirm to us that God has opened only one door of salvation for the children of Adam. The Messiah Himself is the Door that can admit people into eternal life. That is why Jesus said, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…but the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber!" (John 10:9,1)

The second name by which Jesus referred to Himself is much like the first one. Jesus is not only "the Gate for the sheep," He is also "the Good Shepherd." Jesus is the Good Shepherd, because He is the One who loved us and gave His life for us. Oh, what a wonderful Shepherd He is! Concerning Him, the prophet David, wrote in the twenty-third Psalm {Zabur}, saying:

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!" (Psa. 23)

What we need to realize is that the Messiah Himself is the Good Shepherd of whom David wrote. That is why Jesus could say, "I am the good shepherd!" and, "I and [God] the Father are one!" (John 10:11,30) However, when Jesus declared that He was one with God, the Jews accused Him of blasphemy and picked up stones to throw at Him. They could not accept the idea that Jesus was God in a human body. To this very day, most of the children of Adam stumble over these words of Jesus. Some mistakenly think that to say Jesus is one with God must mean that there are two Gods. But that is not the way it is, for the Scriptures of the Prophets clearly declare the unity of God, saying: "The Lord our God is One!" (Deut. 6:4) But the fact that "God is One" did not prevent God from revealing Himself on earth as a man.

Perhaps an illustration will help. Think about the sun which shines on the earth giving us light and heat. How many such suns do we have? Only one. Where is the sun? It is far out in space, yet it is also here on earth, penetrating our lives with its life-giving sunshine. The fiery sun and the warm sunshine are one. Similarly, God and Jesus are one. Jesus said, "I and [God] the Father are one!" The Lord Jesus came into our world to communicate the light of God's love and salvation to us. Read  what the Holy Scriptures declare about God and Jesus:

"Our God is a consuming fire…who lives in unapproachable light!…No man has ever seen God, but God the only Son, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.…The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven!…God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus Christ]!…In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form!" (Heb. 12:29; 2 Tim 6:16; John 1:18; Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:19; 2:9)

Yes, that is what the Word of God declares: "In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form!" (Col. 2:9) Thus, the Lord Jesus could say, "I and [God] the Father are one!" Christ Jesus is the Good Shepherd who came from heaven, became a man, lived on earth, and laid down His holy life in order to redeem us from the curse which our sin brought. He is also the One who rose from the dead and offers eternal life to all who believe in Him. That is why Jesus could say:

"I am the good shepherd…I lay down my life for the sheep…only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." (John 10:14-18)

Beyond all question, Jesus is "the Good Shepherd," because He is the One who loved us enough to give His life for us!

Before we end this study, let us read once more to the wonderful words of the Lord Jesus, who said:

(John 10) 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.… 10but the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.… 14I am the good shepherd… 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand!"

Friends, who are you following? Are you following the Good Shepherd? Or are you following someone else?

God bless you as you ponder the many declaration and claims made by the Lord Jesus:

"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)

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved!…I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life (John 10:9,11)

Until next time, keep thinking about what Almighty God declared on top of the mountain concerning the Lord Jesus, when He said,

"This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Matt. 17:5)

May God make clear what we have read and studied.

 

** This is a study of the Claims of Jesus from the Holy Scriptures.   This teaching from the Scriptures is a compilation of Lessons 74, 75 and 76 from “The Way of Righteousness” by Paul Bramsen.    Posted here by permission of copyright holder – Paul Bramsen.

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