His Message Has Authority
There was something mysteriously different about Jesus, the Messiah. He appeared to he much like other persons. That is, He was born as a baby, grew to manhood, lived and worked as other people do. In physical, bodily appearance He did not seem different from the prophets before Him. But His Spirit made Him unique. His Spirit was not like man’s spirit, created of God. God was revealed in Him. He was the Word of God, manifested not in the form of a book, as other revelations of God were, but in the form of a man who could be seen, touched, and approached by man. Through the teachings, miracles, and humility of this One, God’s supreme love was revealed. It was this Spirit within that spoke with divine authority.
As Jesus, the Messiah, grew from childhood He was submissive to those experiences which were common to people so that people could see that He understood their needs and weaknesses. They could recognize in Him the outreach and the love of God.
After He had been confirmed by John at the River Jordan, Jesus, the Messiah, began His work of teaching and proclaiming the truth. He taught people how to live in the way that would please God. He taught them, as the prophets had before Him, that God would punish sin but would provide a way of salvation for those who would accept it. Let’s examine briefly some of the teachings of Jesus, the Messiah. We will discover that they fulfill completely what we have heard from the prophets.
The Importance of God’s Word
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus faced one of the same problems that is common to all of us: Satan tried to tempt Him. Of course Jesus, the Messiah, has all power over Satan. As an example to us, He demonstrated the power of the written Word of God. He said, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Bread, which satisfies the appetite of the flesh, can represent to us the earthly things we seek. Satan tries to tempt us to stray from God and to get our minds on acquiring the things of this life or chasing after earthly pleasures. Jesus, the Messiah, taught the importance of remaining faithful, by accepting and following the revelations of God. It is most significant that He emphasized this at the beginning of His earthly ministry, in that saying which we should remember always: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Jesus continued to reveal the Scriptures and quote them in all His teachings. He pointed out to His followers Scripture portions which indicate that His life ~d words were in fulfillment of prophecy. Man was to know that God’s will and divine love are revealed through His Word, and this Word is to be our guide from birth to death.
The Justice and Judgment of God
Jesus taught very clearly about divine righteousness and holy justice. In strong words He pronounced judgment upon those who allow their lives to be ruled by sin. The righteous and just character of God requires that those who reject Him must stand under His judgment. Those who will not be penitent and receive forgiveness from God will be punished by everlasting fire. Quoting David and Isaiah, Jesus warned people to repent and escape judgment.
The Love and Concern of God
Jesus taught that God is like a loving father to His people, deeply concerned and interested in the details of their lives. People are His highest creation, and when they live in accordance with His plan for them, they are His great joy. When they reject and disobey Him, He is grieved and longs to see them turn to Him. Jesus said that God actively seeks people. He looks for them, calls them, and offers them salvation. Jesus demonstrated this in His earthly life by the fact that He did not avoid sinners. He sought them. He visited them, talked to them, and showed the love and concern of God among them in many ways.
The Penalty for Sin and the Reconciliation
Jesus explained through sermons, parables, and illustrations the truth that sin is certain to bring a penalty of eternal suffering and separation from God. Therefore, since all people have sinned, this penalty is required for all. If this penalty were enforced without mercy, everyone would be condemned to eternal death. God designed the symbolic ceremony of animal sacrifice to illustrate how justice and love can be combined. In this illustration, sin is placed upon the animal. The animal is killed in place of sinful persons, so the price is paid and God’s love provides salvation. Jesus completed the teachings on this subject by foretelling His own submission as the Perfect Sacrifice. He would atone for the sins of the world. He would give His life as a ransom for many. He gave His followers enough information about this mystery so they would understand why He suffered, and then they would be able to teach others the message of salvation.
True Worship of the Heart
We remember that the prophet Isaiah spoke forth for the Lord, saying, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” Jesus, the Messiah, revealed again that worship must come sincerely from the heart. He warned the people against a show of religion which is without true devotion and praise to God. Once He was asked to discuss the importance of certain places of worship. His answer was that the place in itself was not the important question. He said, “God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Faith and Obedience Required of Man
The sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God is sufficient to redeem all mankind. But forgiveness of sin can come only to those who accept in faith and believe sincerely that the sacrifice is for them. Man fell into sin by making a choice, and it is by making a choice that he can receive salvation. God extends to people an invitation, as we heard from the prophet Isaiah, “Come to me, hear me.” He does not force people. He does not receive and reject them in uncertain ways. Any person can receive the benefits of God’s love and mercy. Faith and obedience are the requirements. Jesus said, “You will have whatever you ask, if you believe.”
We can see by these examples that the teachings of Jesus were a summary, a conclusion, and a fulfillment of all that the prophets had taught. Those who heard Him recognized the authority with which He spoke. The authority of Jesus the Messiah was the authority of God, for He said, “I have come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.”
For You To Do
For each of the teachings of Jesus listed here write one illustration from your study of the prophets. For example, Jesus taught the Importance of God’s Word. One illustration from the prophets is: Moses received writing from the finger of God. Probably you can think of several illustrations for each of the teachings listed.
- The importance of God’s Word
- The justice and judgment of God
- The love and concern of God
- The penalty for sin and the atonement
- True worship of the heart
- Faith and obedience required of man