David Jeremiah - Is He the Son of Mary or the Son of God?
Seems like I've always known about Jesus. My dad was a pastor. Went to Sunday school since I was a child. I learned that Jesus loves me, way back then. Heard all the wonderful stories about Jesus. When I was 13 years old, my father led me to Jesus Christ. I remember where I was, and I remember that we prayed, and it was that day I knew what it meant to become a Christian.
Later on, as I grew in Christ, I decided that I wanted to devote my life to him in a way that I had never thought of before. God called me to be a pastor, and every time I come to church, I have this tremendous burden on my heart that it's not about me, and it's not about us. It's about him, and when we lift him up, the Bible says he draws all people to himself.
So I have known Jesus, as many of you have, for a long time, but none of us know Jesus as we should, for he's the mystery of the ages. So multifaceted is he that the Bible overflows with names and titles and designations to describe him. Here are just a few of them: He's the Alpha and Omega, and he's the anointed one. He's the beloved of God. He's the bright and morning star. He's the carpenter of Nazareth, and he's the Christ of glory. He's the everlasting Lord.
He's the first and the last, the faithful and true. He's the Holy One, the High Priest. He's Immanuel, the intercessor. He's the judge of all the earth. He's the lily of the valley. He's the Lamb of God. He's the Lion of Judah, and he's the Lord of lords. He's the man of sorrow and the morning star, and the manna from heaven. He's the Nazarene. He's the overcomer, and he's the Prince of Peace. He's the Redeemer, the rabbi and the rock. He's the Son of God, the son of Mary, the Son of Man, and he's the Savior of the world. He's the teacher come from God. He's the virgin-born Son of God. He's the way, the truth, and the life, and he's the Word of God, and he's Yahweh, "Jehovah saves". He's Jesus, the Jesus we know, the Jesus we love, and the Jesus we hope to get to know a lot better. It's an amazing thing to think about him. He's the center of history.
Most people forget that. Every weekday around the world, he is accounted for because we date his presence on this earth with B.C., "before Christ", and A.D., which means "In the year of our Lord". Just think about it: Every day, we date our events from Jesus's coming here to this earth. Most of us have, at one time or another, heard the famous "One Solitary Life". I remember Donna and I hearing that in the Radio City Music Hall theater in New York City when a secular group recited the "One Solitary Life" while they portrayed what it meant for Jesus to be here. It was almost an amazing thing that that could happen in such a place.
James Allan Francis wrote that, and part of it goes like this: "Twenty wide centuries have come and gone, and today he's the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. I am within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that we're ever built, and all the parliaments that have ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as has that one solitary life, Jesus Christ".
He's more than just a familiar word. Because Jesus lived in history, there's no doubt about that. We know he lived in history. There's no reliable secular historian that denies it. And because his life is recorded for us in the Bible, we can learn much about him because he rose from the grave and is alive now, and we can have a personal relationship with him, and we know Jesus and he knows us, and we interact with him and we pray to him, and we have fellowship with him.
I want us all to become closer to Jesus. That's my goal. I wanna become closer to him myself. I felt a little movement this week as I reviewed and studied what I'm sharing with you today. The Apostle Paul wrote this: "Everything else is worthless when compared to the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord". To know and love Christ is why the Apostle Paul described him so delicately, and it's why we open our Bibles to discover who he is and what he did. And I hope that it is possible for us, even in this message today, to learn some things about Jesus that we may not know.
In the Bible is where we meet him, his character, his attributes, and his titles. And of all the titles that are attached to the person of Jesus Christ, perhaps the most meaningful one, and when you get right down to the bottom of this story, is the word "Son". He is a Son. Isaiah said, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given". Jesus frequently referred to himself as the Son of Man, and over ten times in John's gospel, he's called the Son of God. Two of our Lord's most important titles were son of Mary, and Son of God. The title "son of Mary" indicates his humanity, that he was born of Mary and shares all the characteristics of humanness, and the title "Son of God" speaks of his deity, that he is equal with God.
Don't let anybody tell you that that wasn't a true statement to be known by all those who knew him while he was on this earth because, listen to me, men and women, it was that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God that got him crucified. John 5:18 says, "Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was his Father, making him equal with God". Jesus was the son of Mary because he was a human being, and he is the Son of God because he is God. With that understanding, the best place to begin studying the life of Jesus is by looking at his title as Son, and I would like to focus on those two elements, his role as the son of Mary and as the Son of God.
The title of the message, "Is He the son of Mary, or Is He the Son of God"? The son of Mary. When the Bible speaks of Jesus's humanity, it begins with his birth, and it encourages us to respond with wonder and worship as did the shepherds and the wise men as we acknowledge the incredible mystery of his incarnation.
To know the son of Mary is to be astonished, when we really get down to it, about the entry of Jesus Christ into this world. It was a mystery, a mystery of the ages. It is something unlike anything that had ever happened before, and it will never happen again. The mystery of Jesus's birth is wrapped up in this term. It's called "the virgin birth of Christ". The doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ teaches us that Jesus was divinely conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit, bringing together his two natures: deity and humanity. Here is how we are told in Luke that Mary was given the information about what was about to happen to her in this process.
Luke chapter 1, verse 34, "And Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be? How can I be pregnant since I do not know a man, since I have not had a relationship with a man?' And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you, therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. For with God nothing will be impossible.' And Mary said, 'Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word'".
Now, the key word in that statement is the word "overshadow". I want you to think about that with me for a moment. The idea in the language of the Bible is that a great cloud is engulfing someone. When you're overshadowed, you're engulfed by something, and the people of Israel had always used that metaphor to understand God's mysterious and undeniable presence. With all of his creative energy, the Lord would surround Mary with his presence, and she would miraculously become pregnant, and Joseph would not be the human father.
Jesus is in no way a product of this world. He enters into this world from the realm of eternity. "Jesus Christ was born into the world. He came into history from outside of history. He did not evolve out of history. Our Lord's birth was an Advent". He did not come from the human race. He came into the human race from above. "He is not man becoming God, but God becoming human flesh". Jesus Christ is not from us. Jesus Christ is from God.
So the birth of Jesus is not the beginning of Jesus. One of the things you may not know about Jesus is that he did not begin at Bethlehem. Was he born then? Oh, yes, but there never was a time when Jesus was not, and there never will be a time when Jesus ceases to be. What happened at Bethlehem was that Jesus, who existed forever as God, became a man. Throughout the history of Christianity, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ has been one of the most assaulted doctrines of the Christian faith.
Let's face it: If the skeptics can undo his miraculous birth, his miraculous life is of no account. If the Bible is not true that Jesus came into this world in the way I have described it, then our salvation is meaningless, and nothing we say we believe has any value at all. And the skeptics and those who criticize us for our faith, they know, if you destroy the belief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, you have basically cut Christianity off at its knees.
And I wanna tell you why I know Jesus was born the way he was, quite apart from all of the apologetic evidence that I've already given. Jesus's mother, Mary, loved loved Jesus as all good mothers do. She was so willing to do anything she could to protect the child that she had raised from infancy. On the hill of Golgotha, as Jesus was about to be crucified, a small group of people gathered at the foot of the hill to watch, and in that group was Mary, his mother.
To prevent the death of her son, all Mary had to do in that moment was to step forward and say, "No, he is not the Son of God. He is the son of Joseph. I remember the night when he was conceived. Do not kill him. He is not the Son of God. He is my son and the son of Joseph". But Mary stood there, and she watched her son die because she knew in her heart that the charge against him was true. He was the Son of God. There is no other explanation for his birth. She had heard the announcement from the angel. She had been there on that glorious night when he came into the world. He was the Son of God, and she watched him die for what she knew was true.
Yes, Jesus came into this world. His birth was miraculous. I believe in the virgin birth of Christ without apology. I don't only believe it, I know it. It is the incredible way Christ tasted of flesh and became one of us. The mystery of his birth. What about the measure of his life? Is there anything that we can point to that would help us demonstrate that Jesus really was a human being, that he lived upon this earth as we as humans live? First of all, he did what humanity does. He was born. He grew up. He had brothers and sisters. He grew tired. He got thirsty. He got hungry. He became physically weak, and he died.
One author describes it this way: "Jesus was really human. That means, when he didn't eat enough, he became hungry. When he didn't sleep enough, he got tired. When the soldiers pushed the thorns into the skin of his scalp and drove the nails into his wrists, it hurt. And then there's the most profound evidence of all: Jesus died. He didn't just seem to die or die halfway or kind of die, or even die in a sense. True, the story doesn't end with his death, but there's no getting around it: Jesus died". He did what humanity does, and he felt what humanity feels.
In a "Christianity Today" article, New Testament professor G. Walter Hansen described Jesus's emotions, and he put it together in such a profound paragraph. The best I can do is just read it to you. He said, "The gospel writers paint their portraits of Jesus using a kaleidoscope of brilliant 'emotional' colors. Jesus felt compassion, he was angry, he was indignant, he was consumed with zeal, he was troubled, he was greatly distressed, he was very sorrowful, he was depressed, he was deeply moved and grieved, and he sighed, and he wept and he sobbed, and he groaned, and he was in agony, and he was surprised and amazed, he rejoiced very greatly, he was full of joy, he greatly desired, and he loved".
He had all the emotions that we have as human beings. John Calvin memorably summed it up when he said, "Christ has put on our feelings as well as our flesh". He was as we are. He was human, and we know that by the things that he did and the things that he felt, but the Scripture also tells us we can know his humanity by the things that he thought. The Bible says that, as a boy, Jesus grew in wisdom and knowledge, that "He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man", Luke 2:52. Here, Luke tells us that Jesus was completely subject to the ordinary laws of intellectual growth. He had a human mind subject to the same laws of perception, memory, and logic, and development, as our own. He observed, and he learned, and he remembered, and he applied.
Pastor Mark Jones says, "Jesus had to learn the Bible, just like we must. Of course, he's the greatest theologian who ever lived. Nevertheless, we must not imagine that Christ had all the answers as a baby and merely waited to begin his ministry at the age of 30 without putting in hard work on a daily basis in obedience to his Father's will. While he was never ignorant of what he needed to know at any stage of his life, he nevertheless was required to learn", as we are.
Here's an astounding thought that I have not had before: "Jesus is human, and he always will be. Right now, sitting on the throne of the universe is a human being. When he judges the entire world, he will be human. For all eternity, age after age, God is human and always will be. He didn't just put on human skin, like a coat, only to take it off again when he got home to heaven. He became a man: heart, soul, mind, strength; a man. Just imagine for a moment how much God must have loved human beings to decide that, yes, he would become a human forever. He had existed for all eternity, the second person of the Trinity, in perfect and harmonious and beautiful relationship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and he decided to become human, and he knew when he did it that he would never be not-human again. There's only one thing that would lead the Son of God to do that, and that is his deep love for us".
You say, "You sure that's true"? Think of this for a moment: The disciples are standing, watching Jesus go up to heaven, and this is what they heard: "This same Jesus, which you have seen ascending into heaven, this same Jesus will come in like manner as he has gone". When we get to heaven, we'll see Jesus. We'll be able to examine the prints of the nails in his hands and the scar in his side. I don't pretend to understand all the nuances that are involved in that, but Jesus became a man for us. He continues to be a man, and now when we pray, the Bible says he intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father.
Oh, what a mystery is all of this. He's the son of Mary, but he's also the Son of God. Just as Jesus was the son of Mary, so is he the Son of God. This is arguably the most important title of Christ in the entire New Testament. It appears more than 40 times, "the Son of God". In the simplest of terms, "Son of God" is how the New Testament describes Jesus and his relationship to God the Father. It also shows us his divine identity. While Jesus was fully human, he is also fully God.
You say, "Well, I don't understand that. I don't know anything like that". There never has been anything like that. How many of you know Jesus Christ is without precedent? There is no one to compare him to. There never will be anyone like him. He is the individual, single, most unique, important person who's ever walked on this earth. He is the individually most notable character that you will ever hear about. There is no one like him. There is no one who's ever been like him. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man fused together in one person for eternity. He's God.
When Jesus stilled the storm with the disciples, they were so overcome with amazement, and they worshipped him, and they convinced that only God could have performed the miracle, and they said, "Truly, you are the Son of God". At his trial before the Jewish Council, his opponents charged him with claiming to be the Son of God, which they recognized as a claim of deity. Anyone claiming to be God could be charged with blasphemy and killed. Think of it. The only charge they could ever come up with and make it stick against Jesus was that he claimed to be the Son of God and because he was.
Even the devil recognizes that Jesus is God. He addressed Jesus as the Son of God, and the demons recognized him as that. When they saw him, they cried out, Matthew 8:29, "What have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God"? I wrote in my notes, "The demons are smarter than most of the skeptics". He's the Son of God.
Here's a modern-day illustration that might help us: "Suppose you meet a man who claims to be the President of the United States, and the fact that military personnel greet him with a salute does not by itself prove his claim. The mere use of the title 'president,' apart from context, is ambiguous. I mean, he could be the president of a corporation or some other country. If all you know is that he signs bills into law, you would not necessarily infer that he was the President of the United States. After all, state governors do that. Even the fact that he lives in the White House would not be enough by itself to prove his claim. But I'll put all these things together in a coherent context. If he lives in the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is saluted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, regularly sits in the chair behind the President's desk in the Oval Office, responds affirmatively when addressed as 'Mr. President,' and from that chair, signs into law federal legislation, he probably is the President of the United States. Situation is much the same with the New Testament evidence for the identity of Jesus Christ. All creatures, even the most glorious angels in heaven are expected to worship him. He has existed forever. He exerted omnipotence in making the universe, and he continues to do so by sustaining its existence. He goes by the name 'Lord,' and also answers to 'God.' He lives in God's 'home,' heaven, and he sits in God's 'chair,' the heavenly throne. And from that position he sends the Holy Spirit, reveals himself to apostles, guides the church by his divine presence as they complete the mission to tell the whole world that he is Lord, and will one day judge all creatures and give eternal life to whomever he chooses. Such a person must, in fact, be God".
It's not just the one thing. It's everything. Jesus was not only the Son of Man, Jesus was and is the Son of God. And just like that, we are transported to the book of Philippians, where we read, "At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and those under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father".
So is he the son of Mary, or is he the Son of God? Here's one that you will love: He's both. If you accept one, you must accept the other. He cannot be one without the other because, if he is one without the other, he destroys what he claims to be. If he is not the Son of God, then it doesn't really matter whether he's human or not. If he is not human, then we have been lied to, and who cares? He's the Son of God and the Son of Man, and as the Son of God and the Son of Man, we call him Jesus, and he has this unique role in our lives.
Some of you may wonder about this whole business of Jesus being fully human and why he did certain things and didn't do other things. I will just explain that to you in the best way that I can in this simple way: When Jesus came to be one of us, he did not lay aside his deity. He did not put it on hold. Here's what he did: He voluntarily determined to not use his attributes for his own purpose. When he came to this earth, he put aside the independent use of his attributes.
You say, "How do you know that"? Well, let me ask you this question. One of his attributes is he's omnipresent. Was Jesus omnipresent when he was here? No, he was absolutely totally consigned to living in a body. Was he still omnipresent? Yes, but he put it aside. He voluntarily determined not to use those attributes while he was here so that he could fully identify with us 'cause, guess what? We're not omnipresent, and we're not omniscient, and we're not omnipotent. Here's what I know is so important about why Jesus had to do what he did, why he came, and why this is also important.
First of all, we need Jesus to show us God. How many of you know the Bible says God is a Spirit? How many of you know any spirits? Don't tell me. We don't understand spirits. I mean, we watch TV programs about it, but we don't know anything about it, really. How do you know a spirit? The Bible says that, in order for us to know God, we have to know Jesus because Jesus brings God into focus for us. On one occasion, Philip, one of Jesus's disciples said to Jesus, "Jesus, show us the Father".
And Jesus kind of scolded Philip. I love what he said. He said, "Philip, have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father". In other words, "I am the God you want to know. I am the Father who can be seen. I am the one who came to show you the Father". When we study Jesus, we're getting to know God, not just because Jesus is God, but because God is Jesus. Jesus is the one who shows us who God is and what God is like. In other words, God gave us Jesus, and now Jesus gives us God. The Bible says, "In past days, God demonstrated himself to us through the prophets, but now, in these last days, he has sent us his Son", and his Son has come to show us who God is.
Number two, we need Jesus to show us God, but we also need Jesus to save us from our sin. Now, that's something we all know, but I want you to know it in a different way today. 1 Timothy 2:5-6, says this: "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself a ransom for all". What Paul said to Timothy is that Jesus Christ came here to do what no other one could ever do. How many mediators are there, class? How many?
Somebody says, "I don't like the fact that you think Jesus is the only way to heaven". Doesn't matter what I think. It matters what the Bible says. Jesus said, "I am the way, the life, and the truth, and no one comes to the Father except through me". He is the one way to God. That's what Paul said to Timothy. He's the one mediator. In Jesus Christ, we have this perfect and true mediator since he possesses the nature and attributes of God and the nature and attributes of man. He is the God-man and, therefore, the only one who could righteously and perfectly bring peace to these two warring parties.
Jesus himself said that he had come to this earth for this very reason, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost". Now, I've that told you before that my picture of that is the picture of the cross. We're hanging there between heaven and earth. In my mind, I see him reach up one hand to take hold of the Holy Father, and one hand reached down to take hold of us, and he was the only one who could, at the nexus of that cross, bring us together so that we could be saved. Jesus had to come, or we couldn't know God. He had to come, or we couldn't be saved from our sin 'cause there was no one else who could do it.
Number three, we need Jesus to set us free from the fear of death. Here's what the Bible says in Hebrews 2:14 and 15, "Since the children", that's us, "have flesh and blood, he too, Jesus too, shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all of their lives are held in slavery by their fear of death". How that describes so many people you and I know today. Jesus became the son of Mary, and he accepted flesh and blood so that he could do what we could never do. He confronted Satan, and he destroyed him. Satan is a defeated and disarmed enemy. One day, his sentence will be carried out.
1 John 3:8, says, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil". For this reason Jesus came to destroy the devil's works, and the only way he could destroy him was to rob him of his weapon. What is Satan's greatest weapon? It's death: physical death, spiritual death, eternal death. And when you have a weapon that's more powerful than the weapon of your enemy, and our weapon through Jesus Christ is eternity, you have everything you need to take him down.
You know how Jesus took away Satan's power of death? He died and became victorious over it. He walked out of the other side of death, and I don't know if Jesus ever did a high five or anything like that, but that's what I think should happen at that moment. He walked out of death, and on the other side, he had destroyed death. Satan's power over death was totally vitiated. That's why Jesus said, "If you believe in me, you'll never die". You'll never die spiritually because Satan's power to do that to you is gone.
You know, the Bible says in Psalm 23 that "Yea, though I walk through the valley", I always love this, "the valley of the shadow of death", you know that Christians, we don't go through death. We go through the shadow of death. Death for Christians is still death physically, but it's totally different. I know that I've been watching this for 50 years. A Christian dies different than anybody else 'cause we don't experience death. We experience the shadow of death.
Donald Gray Barnhouse was drivin' home from the funeral of his first wife, and his children were overcome with grief. As he sought some word of comfort for his kids, a huge moving van passed them, and its shadow swept over the car. Dr. Barnhouse said, "Children, would you rather be run over by a truck or by its shadow"? "The shadow, of course", said one of the children. "It's harmless". And Dr. Barnhouse said, "Two thousand years ago, the truck ran over the Lord Jesus so that only its shadow would have to run over us". He is the Savior of the world.
For a Christian, death is just a shadow. No longer is it the true substance of our fear. It's just a momentary obscuring of the light. We need Jesus to show us God. We need him to save us from our sin. We need Jesus to set us free from death. We need Jesus to sympathize with us in our weaknesses. Here's what Hebrews says: "We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses".
Why was it important for Jesus to become a man? So that he could experience what we experience. Have you ever tried to tell somebody your problems, and in your heart, you knew they didn't have any clue whatsoever what you were talkin' about? We always come up with "I know how you're feeling", and I have actually said to people when I was goin' through cancer, "No, you don't". If you've not had cancer, you don't know what I'm feeling, so don't give me that pious jargon. You only know what somebody is feeling if you felt it yourself. Isn't that true?
That's why, if you've been through something, everything's different. You know, when you go through something, God gives you a ministry you never thought you'd ever have. Now you can really say, "I know what you're feeling", and you can help people. Jesus became one of us so that he could sympathize with our weaknesses. I wanna say somethin' to you, I hope will be an encouragement to you. I don't know what you're goin' through today. I can imagine. I hear enough during the week to know that it's representative of what we all face. Life is difficult. Life is hard. It's not getting any easier. Can I get a witness?
But here's what I know that's so wonderfully triumphant for every one of us. There's not anything you are ever gonna experience or experiencing now that Jesus doesn't understand, and when you go to him, he's able to sympathize. You know what the word "sympathize" means? It's a very wonderful word. It means "to suffer with", "to be with somebody in their suffering".
Finally, we need Jesus to strengthen us in times of temptation. I save this until last because I think it may be the most relevant thing in the list. Temptation is everywhere. You can't go anywhere, you can't do anything, you can't be involved in anything that you are not brought before temptation all the time. Here's what the Bible says: "In all things Jesus had to be made like his brethren". "For in that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to aid those who are tempted". And 4:15, says, "We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with us in our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin".
Now, here's what the Scripture is saying that, in Jesus, we have somebody who can help us with our temptation. But here's the problem we have with that: The Bible says that Jesus never sinned. He never yielded to temptation, and I'm saying, "How's that supposed to help me? 'Cause that's not my experience. How am I gonna get help from somebody who's never sinned"?
And that doesn't even seem like that would be real temptation if he's never sinned, and in theology, there's a doctrine called "the impeccability of Jesus Christ", which says, "Not only Jesus didn't sin, but he couldn't sin". I'm not gonna jump into that whole discussion today, but I'm gonna tell you that most people don't take these Scriptures with any value because they just assume, "Yeah, well, Jesus could never sin, so he can't help me".
So I wanna disabuse you of that false thinking. Here's how C.S. Lewis explains it. He said, "A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of the wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply doesn't know what it would've been like an hour later. That's why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness, they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we fight it. And Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means. He's the only one who lived through it all, felt every issue of it. He's the only realist among us", says, C.S. Lewis.
I can trust that he understands my temptation because he's felt way more temptation than I'll ever feel, and he's been victorious. Jesus, the son of Mary; Jesus, Son of God.
So here's the question: Who is Jesus to you? We've created a vision of Jesus in our culture today that's anything but true. There's this therapist Jesus, who helps you cope with life's problems and heals your past and tells you how valuable you are and that you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. That's not the real Jesus. And there's this open-minded Jesus, who loves everyone all the time, no matter what, except for people who are not open-minded as you. That's not the real Jesus either. There's the yuppie Jesus, who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.
There's the revolutionary Jesus, who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, "stick it to the man", blame things on the system. There's the guru Jesus, a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center. Then there's the Jesus who's the son of Mary and the Son of God, who stands before us today and says, "I am the only way you can come to the Father. If you choose not to come through me, you can't come to the Father", and it's only that we understand that, that it makes sense to us. It's not that Jesus is being arbitrary.
It's that he is saying, "There just isn't any other way because there isn't any other man who is fully God and fully human, who can bring it together". So if you think, "I'm not gonna go the Jesus way", you have just lost all hope of heaven. There is no other way. Jesus came to be the way. He has commissioned us as his people to go into all the world and proclaim to them that he is the way. If they will come through him, they can go to heaven, and they can be with God forever. You can have your sin forgiven. You can have a friend who sticks closer than a brother, who will help you in your weaknesses and give you victory over your temptation.
But don't seek it someplace else 'cause there's no place else to go. Let your search stop here 'cause it's not about Shadow Mountain Church or David Jeremiah. It's about Jesus Christ, the only way you can ever get to heaven. Somewhere down the road, you're gonna have to deal with this, whether you like it or not. It's kind of like that old commercial, "You can pay me now, or pay me later".
I would suggest that, one day, "Every knee will bow. And every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father". That will happen. That will happen to all of us. But far better than that, my friend, is for you to bow your knee to him today, in your heart, just to say:
Lord Jesus, I believe you are who you claim to be. I believe you're the only one who can save me from my sin and take me to heaven, and I receive you as my Savior today.