Summary: Jesus is the divine Son of God; the Logos; the sacred revealed!
The Sacred Essence, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
G. Campbell Morgan, the well known pastor of the last century of Westminster Chapel, near Buckingham Palace, was once approached by a soldier who said he would give anything to believe that God would forgive sins, “but I cannot believe He will forgive me if I just turn to Him. It is too cheap.” Dr. Morgan said to him: “You were working in the mine today. How did you get out of the pit?” He answered, “The way I usually do; I got into the cage and was pulled to the top.” “How much did you pay to come out of the pit?” “I didn’t pay anything.” “Weren’t you afraid to trust yourself to that cage? Was it not too cheap?” The man replied, “Oh, no! It was cheap for me, but it cost the company a lot of money to sink that shaft.” The man saw the light that it was the infinite price paid by the Son of God for our salvation, which comes to us by faith and not by anything that we can do.
This morning it is my desire to compel you according to the Scriptures and sound logic toward an assurance or a reassurance of the divine nature of the Son of God.
The weight and meaning of the sacrifice of Jesus is entirely contingent upon His being the Son of God, that is, the value of Jesus death for atonement of sin at the Cross of Mount Calvary is predicated upon His being able, worthy, to die in our stead. Since only God can forgive sin, the divinity of Christ is not a discretionary matter in Christian Theology; it is foundational, fundamental, and essential.
The title of this message is “The Sacred Essence.” Alternatively, I could have well titled it “The Divine Nature.” What is the essential make-up of Jesus? Who is He? Is He a divine man? Is He God in the flesh? Is He a sort of demigod, who achieved a sort of divine status, based on the merit of His good life? Who is Jesus? Why is worthy of worship? Where does He derive the power to save me from sin?
In philosophical terms, we are talking about the ontological essence of Jesus. That is, what is nature of Christ existence? In more practical terms, we will be talking about that most basic and fundamental of questions which Jesus posed to His disciples in Mathew 16:13, “Who do people say that I am?” To which Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mathew 16:16 NIV)
According to the Webster’s Dictionary of 1828, the term essence is defined as follows: “That which constitutes the particular nature of a being or substance, or of a genus, and which distinguishes it from all others… Formal existence; that which makes any thing to be what it is; or rather, the peculiar nature of a thing; the very substance; as the essence of Christianity. Existence; the quality of being… A being; an existent person; as heavenly essences. Species of being. Constituent substance; as the pure essence of a spirit…”
So, we proceed to answer the question: Who is Jesus? What is the essential or fundamental essence or nature of being or true nature of Jesus the Christ?
In seeking to answer the question, “What is the essential nature, the true essence, of Jesus Christ,” we are invariably embarking on a quest, a journey, of seeking for truth. We are embarking on an epic adventure to answer the most fundamental question ever posited, “What is truth?”
Just as Pontius Pilate asked Jesus in rhetorical fashion as he decided the fate of this divine man, in whom even he found no fault.
In 1937 the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s highest religious leader, died. A search for his successor, his reincarnation, began. When it was noted that the head of the corpse tilted eastward, his followers began to look in that direction. That and other hints from religious visions led them to a two-year-old boy in a remote farmhouse, and today he is the Dalai Lama.
We Christians are not left with such vague and nebulous guidance. We have the clear teaching of Scripture and the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit!
In John 16:13-14 Jesus says to His disciples, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” (NIV)
Can any man find the purity of truth in his own mental prowess or of his own intellect? The ancient philosophers of Greece, using incredible skills of the observation of nature and the use of mathematics came close.