Saturday, April 4, 2009

Concerning the Messiah

Below are select Scriptures that describe Jesus Christ, who he was, what he did, and the awesome authority given him by God. The Apostles quoted different Scriptures to prove who the Messiah was so I have included the Scriptures that they quoted so you can get a better idea of what they had in mind as they wrote these letters.

John 1

In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in the beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.

What has come into existence by means of him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light is shining in the darkness, but the darkness has not overpowered it.

There arose a man that was sent forth as a representative of God: his name was John. This man came for a witness, in order to bear witness about the light, that people of all sorts might believe through him. He was not that light, but he was meant to bear witness about that light.

The true light that gives light to every sort of man was about to come into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into existence through him, but the world did not know him. He came to his own home, but his own people did not take him in. However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name; and they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.

So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth. (John bore witness about him, yes, he actually cried out—this was the one who said it—saying: "The one coming behind me has advanced in front of me, because he existed before me.") For we all received from out of his fullness, even undeserved kindness upon undeserved kindness. Because the Law was given through Moses, the undeserved kindness and the truth came to be through Jesus Christ. No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him.

Hebrews 1

God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things. He is the reflection of his glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power; and after he had made a purification for our sins he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in lofty places. So he has become better than the angels, to the extent that he has inherited a name more excellent than theirs.

For example, to which one of the angels did he ever say: "You are my son; I, today, I have become your father"? (Psalm 2:7) And again: "I myself shall become his father, and he himself will become my son"? (2 Samuel 7:14) But when he again brings his Firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says: "And let all God’s angels do obeisance to him."-Deuteronomy 32:43, Greek Septuagint

Also, with reference to the angels he says: "And he makes his angels spirits, and his public servants a flame of fire." (Psalm 104:4) But with reference to the Son: "God is your throne forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness. You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your partners." (Psalm 45:6-7) And: "You at the beginning, O Lord, laid the foundations of the earth itself, and the heavens are the works of your hands. They themselves will perish, but you yourself are to remain continually; and just like an outer garment they will all grow old, and you will wrap them up just as a cloak, as an outer garment; and they will be changed, but you are the same, and your years will never run out."-Psalm 102:25-27

But with reference to which one of the angels has he ever said: "Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet"? (Psalm 110:1) Are they not all spirits for public service, sent forth to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?

Hebrews 2

For it is not to angels that he has subjected the inhabited earth to come, about which we are speaking. But a certain witness has given proof somewhere, saying: "What is man that you keep him in mind, or the son of man that you take care of him? You made him a little lower than angels; with glory and honor you crowned him, and appointed him over the works of your hands. All things you subjected under his feet." (Psalm 8:4-6) For in that he subjected all things to him God left nothing that is not subject to him. Now, though, we do not yet see all things in subjection to him; but we behold Jesus, who has been made a little lower than angels, crowned with glory and honor for having suffered death, that he by God’s undeserved kindness might taste death for every man.

For it was fitting for the one for whose sake all things are and through whom all things are, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Chief Agent of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he who is sanctifying and those who are being sanctified all stem from one, and for this cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers," as he says: "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the middle of the congregation I will praise you with song." (Psalm 22:22) And again: "I will have my trust in him." (Isaiah 8:17) And again: "Look! I and the young children, whom Jehovah gave me."-Isaiah 8:18

Therefore, since the "young children" are sharers of blood and flesh, he also similarly partook of the same things, that through his death he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil; and that he might emancipate all those who for fear of death were subject to slavery all through their lives. For he is really not assisting angels at all, but he is assisting Abraham’s seed. Consequently he was obliged to become like his "brothers" in all respects, that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, in order to offer propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered when being put to the test, he is able to come to the aid of those who are being put to the test.

1 Peter 2

Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected, it is true, by men, but chosen, precious, with God, you yourselves also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it is contained in Scripture: "Look! I am laying in Zion a stone, chosen, a foundation cornerstone, precious; and no one exercising faith in it will by any means come to disappointment."-Isaiah 28:16

It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers; but to those not believing, "the identical stone that the builders rejected has become the head of the corner," (Psalm 118:22) and "a stone of stumbling and a rock-mass of offense." (Isaiah 8:14) These are stumbling because they are disobedient to the word. To this very end they were also appointed. But you are "a chosen race (Deuteronomy 7:6), a royal priesthood, a holy nation (Exodus 19:6), a people for special possession (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6), that you should declare abroad the excellencies (Isaiah 43:21)" of the one that called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. For you were once not a people, but are now God’s people; you were those who had not been shown mercy, but are now those who have been shown mercy.

In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely. He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth. When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously. He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness. And "by his stripes you were healed." (Isaiah 53:5) For you were like sheep, going astray; but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.