Summary: Who is Jesus? Jesus is God.
(The song The Outlaw, written and recorded by Larry Norman is played with overhead 1 up)
The song we’ve just heard was written and recorded over 30 years ago by Larry Norman. It is entitled The Outlaw. And though it is 30 years old, I believe that it is still as current as ever. It is a song about Jesus Christ and of the opinions that people have had of him over time. And it is a song that comes to my memory just about every time I reflect on the question, “Who Is Jesus Christ?”
This year’s advent series is entitled, “Why Jesus? Why Christmas?” and last week I asked the question, “Why do we need Jesus?” and the suggestion was made that we need Jesus because we need to have a major change in our lives that only God, through Christ, can make.
But, who is Jesus? And quite frankly we must admit that some ask, who was Jesus?
It is an important question because Jesus and Christmas are tied very intimately together. Christmas’ origin is in the birth of Christ. But who was, and still is, Jesus Christ?
Norman’s song gives us a bit of a road map to the truth about Jesus so we are going to use two verses of it as a doorway to the Biblical story about Christ.
“Some say he was a poet, that he’d stand upon the hill
That his voice could calm an angry crowd and make the waves stand still,
That he spoke in many parables that few could understand,
But the people sat for hours just to listen to this man.”
Good poetry reminds us of the influence and power that words can have. But, Jesus was not a poet. Yet His words had, and still have, great impact on our lives.
Christ spoke and acted with God’s authority behind and in Him. He spoke with wisdom and insight that amazed the most learned people. Nicodemus acknowledged this authority when he said to Jesus, “Your miraculous signs are proof enough that God is with you!” (John 3:2)
Words have great power and allow us to create or destroy worlds. And Jesus’ words did exactly that. Because of the authority behind his words – He was able to pronounce people forgiven or condemned. He was able to heal both the body and the soul. And He was able to change the physical conditions around Him.
For example in Luke 8:22-24 with a word of rebuke, Jesus calmed a storm. One day Jesus said to His disciples, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. On the way across, Jesus lay down for a nap, and while he was sleeping the wind began to rise. A fierce storm developed that threatened to swamp them, and they were in real danger.
The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Master! Master! We’re going to drown!” So Jesus rebuked the wind and the raging waves. The stormed stopped and all was calm!”
His words created awe and amazement in people such as the disciples. His words, as we see in the next segment of Luke 8 also created fear and rejection.
While on the other side of the lake, Jesus encounters a demon-possessed man and delivers him from his possessed stated. One would think that there would be a great sigh of relief from those who had to deal with this man’s ranting and ravings. But, such was not the case in this situation as we read in verses 34 – 37.
“When the herdsman saw it, [that is the herd of pigs running into the lake], they fled to the nearby city and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, for they wanted to see for themselves what had happened. And they saw the man who had been possessed by demons sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet, clothed and sane.
Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed. And all the people in that region begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them.”
And there were times Jesus’ words also created an angry and hateful response as we see in Mark 14:62-65.
Jesus said, “I am, and you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God’s right hand in the place of power and coming back on the clouds of heaven.
Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict? And they all condemned him to death.
Then some of them began to spit at him, and they blindfolded him and hit him in the face with their fists. “Who hit you that time, prophet?” they jeered. And even the guards were hitting him as they led him away.”