The following sermon transcript does not match the video version of the sermon—it matches only the audio version. Here's a brief explanation why.
John MacArthur routinely preaches a sermon more than once on the same date, during different worship services at Grace Community Church. Normally, for a given sermon title, our website features the audio and video that were recorded during the same worship service. Very occasionally, though, we will post the audio from one service and the video from another. Such was the case for the sermon titled "I and the Father Are One, Part 2," the transcript of which follows below. The transcript is of the audio version.
Open your Bible again to the 20th chapter of the gospel of John. I read the 1st chapter earlier, and now we are at chapter 20. That is essentially the formal ending of the gospel of John. Chapter 21 is kind of an epilogue, as what I read you earlier is kind of a prologue.
In the summary statement of why John wrote this gospel, he says in verses 30 and 31, “Many other signs Jesus also performed” – he means by that miracles – “in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book.” By the way, in chapter 21:25 he says, “If they were all written, the books of the world couldn’t contain them.” “But” – verse 31 – “these that are in this book have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,” – or the Messiah – “the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
The goal of writing this gospel was that you might have life, eternal life. That life comes only by believing in Him, believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. John has set out in this gospel to demonstrate that that is absolutely the truth, as the other gospel writers have as well. In fact, at the very beginning of his gospel, as I read you earlier, in verse 17, he says, chapter 1, “Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”
And then, of course, there’s the testimony of John the Baptist in chapter 1, “And the Jews” – in verse 19 – “and the priests and Levites from Jerusalem came to John and they said, ‘Who are you?’ And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ. I am not the Christ.’”
They couldn’t understand who he was. “Are you Elijah or are you the Prophet?” “No. No. I am just a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” Verse 25, “They asked him, and said to him, ‘Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ?”
Later in this chapter, “Andrew,” – down in verse 40 – “Simon Peter’s brother comes to his brother Simon and says to him, having spent the day with Jesus, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means the Christ).” This book opens up with this inquiry about the Christ, and in verse 41 of that 1st chapter we learn that Christ is simply the New Testament word for the Old Testament term “Messiah.”
And then the book ends by saying, “This whole book has been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,” – or the Messiah – “the Son of God; and by believing have life in His name.” Eternal life comes to those who believe Jesus is the Messiah. Do you know what that means? If your salvation depends on believing Jesus is the Messiah, then that is of critical importance. Everybody seems to know the name Jesus to know a whole lot less about Him, and virtually to know nothing about what it means that He’s the Messiah.
Could you say about your salvation what Andrew said, “We have found the Messiah”? He was saying, was Andrew, “We have made the most significant discovery ever. All the other Jews are asking John the Baptist, ‘Are you the Messiah? Are you the Messiah? If you’re not the Messiah, who are you?’” The coming of Messiah was on everybody’s lips and mind. The Jews had waited millennia for the arrival of the Messiah, and they all knew what was bound up in the truth concerning Messiah. This is a familiar Old Testament reality. They all knew about the promise of the Messiah.
Now what is a messiah? Well, we said the word in Hebrew, messiah – Greek Christ – means the anointed one. And I showed you last time that in the Old Testament there were three offices, three people occupying critical offices who were anointed: kings, priests, and prophets. This anointing was a symbol of God’s Spirit being placed upon them, because they were agents of the theocratic kingdom they functioned for God. They were, in a sense, mediators between God and His people. The prophet brought the word from God to His people, the priest brought the people to God through reconciliation, and the king was sovereign on God’s behalf over the people. These are anointed offices in the Old Testaments; and kings, and priests, and prophets were anointed, symbolically identifying them as agents of God.
Now not all kings functioned as agents of God, most did not. Not all priests functioned as they should have, as those who bring people to God, most likely did not. Not all prophets functioned as those who spoke for God; there were many, many false prophets. But those who truly ruled for God, truly spoke for God, and truly brought the people to God were the messiahs of the Old Testament, the anointed ones.
But the Old Testament promises that there will be a particular and specific messiah, the Messiah. Anybody who was anointed could be said to be an anointed person. That could even be said of people today. But there is the Anointed One promised in the Old Testament, and they all knew it. This one would be the combination of prophet, priest, and king. He would fulfill all the duties of a prophet, revealing the word of God to men; all the duties of a priest, bringing men to God; and all the duties of a king, sovereignly ruling over His people on behalf of God, and subduing all enemies.
And so the Jews had waited, waited through millennia for the coming of Messiah, the perfect prophet, priest, and king. And we looked at that office last time and kind of defined it from the Old Testament. Today I want to look at the person of Messiah. What kind of person will Messiah be when He comes? Something about His nature.
The Messiah cannot just be anyone. The person of Messiah, this perfect prophet/priest/king has to be the consummate, complete mediator between man and God. Messiah is a mediator. As the priests and prophets and kings mediated for God and men, so the final, full, complete, perfect Anointed One must bring God and man together perfectly – listen – and eternally, perfectly and eternally. The Messiah must bring the word of God to man, must bring man to God, and must rule over man and protect him from all enemies.
In order to be the perfect Mediator, He must then bring God and man together, and that mean He must be both God and man. That is why, as I read earlier in John 1, we read in verse 14, “And the Word” – who is the Son of God – “became flesh. And the Word became flesh. Yes, we saw His glory, the glory is of the only begotten from the Father. We saw His glory. He was full of grace and truth. But He, the glorious Son of God, the glorious eternal Word, became flesh.” That is a requirement for the Messiah, the Messiah.
This messianic mediator must possess all the perfections, all the powers, all the prerogatives, all the attributes of the one true God. He must possess all the attributes, all the powers, all the features of man, of humanity. Who qualifies for that? Who is fully God and fully man? There is only one who is the Son of Man, and at the same time the Son of God, and that is Jesus of Nazareth. He is the only one.
John, in this gospel, starting at the very beginning wants us to know that this Messiah, this Christ, this perfect Mediator, this Prophet/Priest/King, this Anointed One is God, and so he introduces Him as God in verse 1 of chapter 1. He calls Him the Word because He is the revelation of God. He is God revealed in flesh, and He says, “The Word not only was with God, the Word was God.” And he demonstrates that by saying, “He was the creator of everything that exists, and the source of life. He is God. He speaks of His deity. He says that, “He possesses” – in verse 14 – “that glory which belongs to the prototokos, the premier One from the Father.”
He indicates His deity in verse 15 with regard to John the Baptist. John testified about Him, cried saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for he existed before me. He was born after me, He existed before me. He was born after me, He existed before me.” How is that possible? You have to be an eternal being. Verse 18 says, “No one has seen God at any time; but this prototokos, this premier One from God who is the Son of God, He has explained God. God is revealed in Him.”
In chapter 5, he says as God He possesses all authority, all the authority of God. In chapter 2, he says He possesses all the knowledge of God. There isn’t anything He doesn’t know, there isn’t anything He cannot do. He says about Himself in chapter 8, verse 58, “Before Abraham was born, I am. Before Abraham was born, I am.” Go two-thousand years back to the birth of Abraham, and when Abraham was born, He already existed as the I Am, the Eternal One.
He has infinite power, John tells us. He is the Creator, in John 1:3. He is the Judge of all men, in John 5. He has the power to raise all people from the dead. He has the power to do miracles and signs. He has God’s ability to be present, even though physically He is absent, and that comes out very early in the gospel of John in chapters where it’s clear that He comes from heaven.
Chapter 3, verse 13: “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.” He is a heavenly being, which explains why He could be places in His conscious presence that He wasn’t in His body, such as at the end of chapter 1, verse 48, “Nathanael said to Him, ‘How do You know me?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’ Nathanael said to Him, ‘Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.’”
Only God is omniscient. Only God has a conscience presence and awareness of everything, whether He is present or not. He is the one who possess infinite sovereignty. He gives judgment to every soul. He is the one who has infinite glory. He is the glory of God revealed, as we read in chapter 1.
Summing it up, John 10:30, He says, “I and the Father are one.” John 14:9, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” Twenty-three times in the gospel of John Jesus uses “I am,” the tetragrammaton from the Old Testament, Yahweh, “I Am that I Am.” That is God’s name, the eternally existing One. Twenty-three times He refers to Himself by that, egóeimi in Greek. I am the eternally existing One.
Clearly over and over and over, John wants us to understand His deity. And you can see it summed up in the 17th chapter of John when our Lord comes before the Father, and without any kind of embarrassment that might be the feeling of someone who was claiming something that wasn’t true. He says to God, He says, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Messiah whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”
Then this: “Now glorify Me, Father, together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world existed.” This is eternal glory. This is eternal deity. John does this again and again. He identifies the deity of Jesus Christ, which of course is the explanation for the power of His miracles, the signs that he refers to in chapter 20.
John also, along with the other gospel writers, makes it very clear that Jesus was the man. He was a man. We know from the gospel record that He had a mother, that she was pregnant, that she gave birth, that He was born in the normal way; though conceived by the Holy Spirit without a man, He was born in the normal way. He had a human birth, and we know that He had human ancestors, He has genealogies. His mother’s genealogy is given in Luke 3. His father’s genealogy is given in Luke 1, even though His father played no role in the genetic make-up of the Son of God. Nonetheless, His father was in the line of David, which was important for Him to have the royal right.
He was a man. He lived as a man, we see Him as a baby, we see Him as an infant, we know there were those who came from the east to offer gifts to Him, to honor Him as an infant; He was a real child. We saw Him at the age of twelve, and He is in the temple and He’s asking questions of the doctors. We know that He grew up in a home in Nazareth where He was a worker with wood, a worker with His hands, along with His father in the family business. We know that He moved along in life in age. He grew in wisdom and statue and favor with God and man, like all human beings grow.
He was recognized as a man by His friends, by His neighbors, and by His enemies. He had all the components of human life, except He didn’t have any sin. But He was in very sense human. He lived a human life, He died a human death. That is why 1 Timothy 2:5 says He is the man, Messiah Jesus. He is the man, Messiah Jesus. Messiah – they always knew. The Jews always knew Messiah would be a man. They always knew He would be a man. How did they know that? Because when Messiah is first introduced – go back to Genesis 3 with me and we’re going to do this rather rapidly, but it’s important.
When the curse came from God on Adam and Eve, it also came on Satan. And in Genesis 3:15, just that one verse, God says to the serpent, who is Satan, “I will put enmity” – or hostility – “between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
Here is a promise, the first messianic promise that from a woman will come a man who will crush the head of Satan. That is the initial messianic promise. A man will be born from a woman who will crush the head of Satan. The damage that the fall did was manifest instantaneously. The world immediately became fallen, and everything was corrupted. Men and women began to feel shame, they covered themselves, and things went wrong really fast.
The man, chapter 4, had relations with is wife Eve. They conceived and gave birth to Cain. Now what do you think she thought about that? I’m pretty sure she thought that was going to be the promise of the curse. “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord. This must be the man who will crush the head of Satan. It must be. It must be Cain.”
Well, she got another son Abel. Maybe it would be Abel. No, it wouldn’t be Abel, Cain murdered Abel. Wouldn’t be Cain, God cursed Cain. Cain murdered Abel in the text of Genesis 4, verse 8, killed him. God cursed Cain in verse 11. So it’s not going to be any of these two.
Adam had relations with her again, chapter 4, verse 25. She gave birth to a son and named him Seth, and again she says, “God has appointed me another offspring in the place of Abel, for Cain killed him.” “It must be Seth. Seth must be the man who will crush the serpent’s head.”
It wasn’t Seth. “Seth was given a son called Enosh, then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.” “Maybe it was going to be Enosh who would crush the head of the serpent.” But it wasn’t Enosh.
And then you have chapter 5, and this is the “and he died” chapter. That’s what it says over and over and over, “And he died, and he died, and he died, and he died.” None of these could be the Messiah. No one yet has crushed the serpent’s head. No one yet has spoken the revelation of God that redeems. No one yet has reconciled sinners to God. No one yet has appeared to remove all the enemies and establish the reign of God. Everybody dies. The only one who doesn’t die is Enoch. He took a walk one day and walked right into the presence of God. Everybody else died.
Maybe it’s going to be the last one in chapter 5, or near the last; that’s a familiar name. “Lamech has a son named Noah.” “Here’s the one. He’ll give us rest from our work and the toil of our hands, arising from the ground the Lord had cursed.” They must have thought Noah will reverse the curse. “Here is the one who will crush the serpent’s head.”
Well, Noah didn’t do anything to redeem society, did he? No. In fact, while Noah was alive and having – the end of chapter 5 – Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the world was getting worse, really worse. It was filled with demons. Satan was alive and well. Verse 5 says, “The wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. He said, ‘I’ll blot them out, not redeem him, drown him.’” “And Noah found favor, grace in the eyes of the Lord,” – in verse 8. God spared Noah as a righteous man, and his three sons and their three wives.
So the flood came and drowned the whole world. That’s not reconciliation; Noah’s not the Messiah. They came out of the ark and Noah had these children, maybe one of them is going to be the Messiah. But at that point there’s really no population to reconcile.
But there is something special said about Shem in chapter 9. “Cursed be Canaan,” – Cain – “blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem” – verse 26 – “and Canaan will be his servant. And God may enlarge Japheth, but He will dwell in the tents of Shem.” In other words, Shem gets the blessing. So the Messiah’s not Abel, it’s not Cain, not Seth, not Enoch, not Noah; but it’s coming through the line of Shem. “Oh, we’re going to have a Semitic messiah.” Shem’s line, in chapter 11, starting in verse 10, the record of the generations of Shem.
And if you come down through those you come down to a man named Abram, Abram, a man from Ur, a son of Adam, son of Shem. This man receives a promise from God in chapter 12: “Go forth from your country, from your relatives, from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I’ll make you a great nation. I’ll bless you, make your name great; you’ll be a blessing. I’ll bless those who bless you; the who curses you, I’ll curse; and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” “Surely Abram is the Messiah.”
Follow the story of Abraham. He really can’t be the Messiah, his life is marked with deception and sin. “Maybe it’s that son, that miracle son Isaac. Maybe it’s Isaac.” No, but through Isaac. Well, Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. “Maybe it’s one of them.” No, they were sinful men. But through Jacob the Messiah would come. “But Jacob had twelve sons, maybe it’s one of them. Which one?”
And now you’re marching all the way to nearly the end of the book of Genesis in the history of all those patriarchs – and we get very specific in chapter 49:10, “The scepter” – the rule of Messiah – “shall not depart from Judah.” So of all the sons of Jacob it was going to be Judah. It was going to be Judah through whom Shiloh – what does Shiloh mean? It means “the one whose right it is” – another messianic statement. “He will hold the scepter. The ruler will come through between the feet of Judah.” It means it’ll descend from Judah. “To him shall be the obedience of the people.”
From Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Judah, the scepter will be passed down century and century and century and century, passed from the patriarchs. And there’s no Messiah in the line of Judah; and they keep records of the line of Judah, but no one is a Messiah. And some rabbis begin to think, “Well, maybe it’s Moses. Moses can be the Messiah.” Moses is a prophet. Numbers 12:3 says he’s the meekest man on the earth. He’s a redeemer of Israel. He began his life in Egypt. He is a powerful leading influence. He’s a hero. No, it can’t be Moses, because Moses said it’s going to be somebody else.
In the 18th chapter of Deuteronomy Moses says this: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. It’s not me, but someone like me, that is a man and a leader.” And he says, verse 18, “I’ll raise up a prophet from among their countrymen” – says God – “like you Moses,” – you were right – “and I’ll put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command you.”
That is exactly what Jesus did, spoke only what God commanded Him to speak and never anything else. “And it will come that whoever will not listen to My words” – verse 19 – “which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. So it’s not you, Moses, it’s going to be some other prophet yet to come, someone in the line of Judah.”
Four centuries later, four centuries later they’re looking for a king after Saul. Samuel goes to the house of a man named Jesse, and Jesse has a lot of sons, and Jesse is in the line of Judah, and they’re looking for a son who can be a king, and they select David, they select David, David the shepherd. He is from the line of Judah. He has royal right and royal blood. Is he the Messiah? No, no. But the Messiah will come through his line. The Messiah will be through the line of David. But it’s not David. He will not be the Messiah.
God tells him why in 2 Samuel 7. Basically he says, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendants after you who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.” Then He goes right past Solomon – Solomon isn’t the Messiah – “to a kingdom” – verse 16 – “that will endure before Me forever, a throne established forever.” “It won’t be you, David.” And it certainly wasn’t Solomon. He didn’t reconcile anything, he broke the kingdom in half.
Now we know Messiah will be a descendant of David, and the rabbis knew it, Hosea said it, Amos said it, Jeremiah said it, Micah said it, the psalmist said it – read Psalm 89 – they all know Messiah would be the son of David, a son of David. In fact, the rabbis said of Messiah, “He is Messiah ben David, Messiah ben David.” That’s why when they wanted to hail Jesus as Messiah, on the triumphal entry day in Jerusalem, Matthew 21:9, they said, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” It wasn’t Solomon, and it certainly wasn’t any who came from Solomon. The Messiah would, however, be a son of David.
He is actually identified with David perhaps in the most powerful way in Ezekiel 34. It might be helpful to look at Ezekiel 34. God gives us a plan for the future kingdom of Messiah, verse 11: “Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. I’ll bring them out from the peoples, gather them from the countries, bring them to their own land. I’ll feed them on the mountains of Israel by the streams in all the inhabited places of the land. I’ll feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. They will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,’ declares the Lord God.”
That is the promise of a future kingdom, the kingdom promised to Abraham, reiterated to David, and then reiterated again through the prophets God’s going to do this. Who is He going to use to do this? Who will it be? Verse 23: “I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them. He will feed them himself and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the Lord have spoken.” The Messiah is actually called David to identify Him as the one who inherits the Davidic right to reign.
Centuries pass beyond David. Nine centuries go by, no Messiah. Three-hundred years after David some people say, “Well, maybe it ought to be Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz. Hezekiah was a good son. Maybe Hezekiah’s the Messiah. Maybe he’ll bring about the salvation and the kingdom that’s promised. Maybe he’ll crush the serpent’s head.” No.
Many false messiahs showed up. There was Theudas, but he was killed; there was Judas of Galilee, he was killed; there was Simon of East Jordan who claimed to be the Messiah, he was killed; and then there was the wonder working Bedouin, who couldn’t work a wonder to prevent himself from being killed. There were lots of these false messiahs. Hopes were burning bright for the Messiah, but they were beginning to wane as the centuries millennia rolled by.
Some rabbis were trying to figure out exactly when the Messiah would come, and they were studying Daniel 9. And guess what they discovered in Daniel 9; that Daniel says it will be 483 years exactly – that’s the math of Daniel 9 – from the decree of Artaxerxes to go back and rebuilt Jerusalem to the coming of Messiah. It’ll be 483 years. That decree was in 444-445 B.C., the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild. If you go 483 years later, by their calendar, you end up at the time of Jesus Christ. The rabbis said He would come at that time. He did. But how would they know? Of all the babies that were born at that time, how would they know? How would they know?
Well, Isaiah told them how they would know, and it would be absolutely unmistakable. Isaiah said, “Here’s how you know,” – chapter 7, verse 14 – “the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold,” – something shocking – “a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name God with us. A virgin will have a child who is God with us.” That’s a pretty limited sign. That only happened once. The rabbis knew the time and they knew the sign. They knew He would be a son.
Later in chapter 9, Isaiah says, “This Messiah will have all the attributes of God. A child will be born, a son will be given; the government” – the rule literally of the world – “will be on His shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.”
“He will be a kind who is God. He will be a king from the line of David, and it will happen 483 years after the decree of Artaxerxes.” And when Jesus was born they said, “Behold,” – Matthew 1:23 – “the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” The virgin had a child who was God.
Still, He came to His own and His own, what, received Him not. All those centuries of waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. They knew the time. They even knew the place, they even knew the place. They knew He would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2, the city of David, where David’s ancestors went to register for the taxation.
There is only one person, only one person who fits all the biblical identifying marks of the Anointed One, and it is Jesus. He is the King from Psalm 2. He is Immanuel from Isaiah 7. He is Son of Man from Daniel 7. He is the Servant of God from Isaiah thirty times. He is the Star of Numbers 24. He is the Shepherd of Ezekiel 34. He is the Redeemer of Isaiah 59. And in the New Testament He’s called all of those things: King, Immanuel, Son of Man, Servant of God, Star, Shepherd, Redeemer.
It’s unmistakable who the Messiah is. It’s no wonder that after John and Andrew had spent long hours with Jesus, Andrew goes to his brother and says, “We have found the Messiah.” It’s no wonder that Simon Peter says to Jesus later, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” At the trial, even the pagan world that had infested Judaism and made them blind, still the high priest is prompted to ask Jesus, “Tell us whether You are the Messiah.” The evidence was all clear. When Jesus met with the Samaritan woman in John 4 by the well at Sychar, she said to Him, “I know Messiah is coming, and when Messiah comes He’s going to declare all things to us,” and He said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
So this is the Messiah. The promise goes from God, to Eve, to Seth, to Noah, through Shem, through Abraham, through Isaac, through Jacob, through Judah, through Jesse, through David, all the way down to Jesus. And how will the world know? Well, it’ll be during that time that is 483 years from the decree of Artaxerxes, which is historically established. And you’ll know, because He will be born of a virgin; He will be David’s Lord and David’s son; He will be son of Abraham and before Abraham; He will be younger than John the Baptist, but before John the Baptist: Son of God, Son of Man, Immanuel.
And there is one other very important Old Testament picture that should have made it clear: Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53 is really the first record of the life of Christ written 800 years before He arrived. Why did they reject Him? Well, Isaiah 53 pictures Jews in the future looking back at the cross and saying these things. They start out in verse 1, “We didn’t believe the message. We saw the arm of the Lord reveal, but we didn’t believe it.” What is that? The arm of the Lord is the power of God expressed in the miracles that Jesus did.
“We didn’t believe it. We didn’t believe He was what He’s called in the prior chapters in this section of Isaiah, as back in verse 13 of chapter 52, of the Servant, God’s Servant, Jehovah’s servant. We didn’t believe He was the Messiah, because” – verse 2 – “He grew up like a sucker branch. He was a nobody from nowhere. He had no family credentials, He had no religious credentials, He had no educational credentials, He had no accomplishments. He was like a sucker branch that you cut off, because it’s just needlessly taking life from some productive part of the tree. He was like a root out of parched ground.” You cut roots off on parched ground, because people trip on them and hurt themselves.
He was nothing more than something you get rid of. “He had absolutely no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nothing about Him was attractive to us. He was despised and forsaken. He was a man of sorrows. His life was marked by grief. He was the kind of person you turn and look the other way rather than look at Him, because it’s embarrassing to look at Him. He was despised; we did not esteem Him.”
All they would have had to done was read Isaiah 53 when Jesus was there and realize that they were doing just that to Him; they were fulfilling this. And then if they had thought about it, once they had put Him on the cross and they had read verse 5, “He was pierced through for our transgressions,” – that’s what happens in a crucifixion, you’re pierced: hands, feet, side in Jesus’ case – “crushed for our iniquities.” All kinds of crushings were going on, both in the scourging and in the configuration of His body, crushing His internal organs hanging on the cross. “He was being chastened. He was being scourged.” That’s as specific as it can get.
Verse 7 starts to talk about His trial, which was an utter attack on justice: “He was oppressed, He was afflicted, didn’t open His mouth.” There was no defense. “Jesus didn’t open His mouth to defend Himself; He was like a lamb led to slaughter. He didn’t open His mouth, even though He was headed for the shearers and even worse.”
Verse 8, again, back to His trial: “Oppression and judgment. From that He was taken away immediately.” You remember that they had laws that you couldn’t be taken to execution after a capital punishment verdict. There had to be time to pass so that other evidence could be brought in to save the life; that didn’t happen in Jesus’ case. They took Him immediately out of the verdict into the execution pattern. He was cut off, He was killed.
He was supposed to be buried, verse 9, with wicked men, where criminals are thrown, their bodies thrown in a heap. But He ended up being put in a tomb owned by a rich man. We know who that is, Joseph of Arimathea, who took His body and buried it in His own tomb. If they just read Isaiah 53; who fits that? Who fits that? That’s Messiah.
You want to know; ask yourself this: “Who’s the Messiah?” Well, who was Jewish? Who was a direct descendent of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David? Whose public ministry began 483 years after the Babylonian captivity of the Jews? Who was born in Bethlehem? Who was born of a virgin?
Who claimed to be the Son of God, Son of Man? Whose coming was preceded by a powerful preaching prophet declaring repentance? Who was renowned for His wisdom, for His knowledge, His teaching, His power, His righteousness? Who performed miracles?
Who entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey proclaimed King of the Jews? Who was scourged, beaten, spit on, pierced? Who was hated, despised, tortured, killed? Who died by crucifixion being pierced? Who was numbered with criminals? Who was buried in a rich man’s tomb? Whose close were distributed by casting of lots? Who rose from the dead?
Questions are not to answer, is it? The only one who fits the personhood of Messiah is Jesus. If you want eternal life you must believe that. And that, all, is just the introduction, because next time we’re going to look at the mission and ministry of Messiah, what He came to do.
Father, we are so blessed by the richness of Your Word, and so thankful for the presentation of our blessed Christ, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Friend, as we heard in that beautiful song today. We thank You for loving us, for saving us, not because we are worthy, because we are not; but we praise You for the grace that has been poured out on our behalf. Mercy upon mercy, grace upon grace, that we have been forgiven, granted eternal life. We honor Jesus as the Messiah, the perfect Mediator, Prophet, Priest, King, who is all that we need. Lord, we thank You that we have seen Him again in His majesty in the pages of Scripture, and fulfill in us all Your good will, Lord, as we endeavor to serve You more faithfully, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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