Summary: Fourth in series. The gift of the Son of God.
The Gift of the Son
Have you ever been insulted?
Insults can be hurtful, or funny -depends upon the delivery
"You’re so fat each step you take registers on the Richter scale."
But, when overweight individual gets on stage and pokes fun at their own obesity, at their own perceived flaws we laugh-and we laugh not at them, but with them.
Jokes on black people-bigotry and defamation, BUT, if on stage at the Apollo as a black same joke-riotous laughter.
According to the 1988 Random House College Dictionary to Insult means:
1. to treat insolently or with contemptuous rudeness; affront.
It is to degrade them by elevating oneself to a perceived position of superiority. It is to break down another’s value; to lesson someone, to cheapen them.
The very nature of an insult is to over exaggerate another’s flaw or weakness. To put so much focus, so much light and attention on this flaw until only this limited aspect is all that can be seen.
Our immediate response is to put our defenses up. Star Trek: Enterprise, shields
We stop their attack-lessen the blow.
The Jews have been insulted this morning, and dare I say, so have you and I. And even so by Jesus, but nobody is laughing.
II. Our Moral Perception
Most of us consider ourselves good. Morally and ethically.
• we don’t kill
• we don’t overtly steal
• we tell only an occasional lie, or half truths
• we pay our taxes
• we give back to our community
• we support our schools
• we spend time with our spouse and children
• we earn a decent wage
We’re really not bad people, in fact we think of ourselves as actually good people. Most Americans perceive themselves as good people. BARNA RESEARCH
And yet Jesus insults us. Oh, not directly mind you, but most certainly indirectly.
Much like our Jewish counterparts in the story you and I have our claim to moral integrity and worth. We live our lives on high ideals. Ideals we learned from our parents, and ideals which we as parents now pass down to our children.
Ideals such as:
• the value of life
• the value of honesty and integrity
• the value of a strong work ethic
• the value of a good education
For our Jewish counterparts though the claim lie in their relation to Abraham as his descendants. They had his blood in their veins-children of the promise
III. Jesus Confronts Us
Jesus challenges their legitimacy and questions the authenticity of their claim. He insults them as "children of the devil." "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires." John 8:44.
Background, shields go up
We have to ask ourselves who is Jesus to have made such a defaming insult? By what authority does he make these claims?
IV. Person and Nature of Jesus
What do we know of Jesus Christ the man
Historically we know:
• he was born between 7 and 4 BC
• he was Jewish
• he grew up in a time when there was great strife between the Jews and the Roman government
• he was our average looking 1st Century Mediterranean Jew; Josephus describes him as such
• he taught reform
• he made contentions with the ruling parties, both religious and political
• he died a victim of Roman justice
• his followers carried on his message
To go beyond takes faith. But we do not live in a world of faith.
BUT, the truth is that the historical nature can never encompass the full reality of who Christ is.
Jesus said, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God" vs 42. Also, in verse 38 He said, "I speak what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father."
Jesus is professing to be equal with God, of the same nature. Of this aspect of the nature of Christ the writer of the book of Hebrews said, "He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power." Hebrews 1:3.
At Christmas we are tempted to look at Jesus as nothing more than a man. An important man who forever changed the world. A man of great wisdom. A man who faced the trials of adversity. BUT, we fail to go beyond the Man and see the Messiah. Often times we are blinded by long held misconceptions.
*Away In A Manger- "no crying He makes"
-delusional image of a perfect child.
We find it difficult to accept what Christ says of Himself. We are left to wonder how can Jesus be both God and Man.