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About this series
Who is Jesus Really - Man Myth or Messiah?
It's THE question. In fact, it's the biggest question facing the world today. Was Jesus a man, myth or Messiah? Historical footnote or historical turning point? Religious guru or God revealed? Opinions swirl about this mysterious manger-born man. Walk into any bookstore and you'll see shelves lined with conspiracy theories threatening to unravel the very fabric of Christian faith. Do you have a clear picture of who He is? More importantly, can you articulate why you believe the way you do? In this series, Chip Ingram unveils the true identity of this mystery man from the pages of Scripture. So before you marginalize Him as a mere man, write Him off as a myth, or embrace Him as Messiah, you should discover who He is - really.More from this series
The number one sin in the Church that was judged was – what? Hypocrisy. And it’s the one that kind of gets glossed over. I think we think sexual immorality is the worst thing that could ever happen. I’ve got news. Spiritual sins usually have a lot worse negative impact than even physical sins. Both are wrong.
And I thought to myself, What would happen if God would lay bare, through His piercing eyes, issues in my life up on a screen where my real motive and what is going through my mind, not just how I appear? And what would happen if that happened to every believer to the point that we would repent and we would begin to do the right thing for the right reason? And when we weren’t we would say, “Oh, God, I’m sorry!” instead of just pretending?
He’s the resurrected Christ. This is not Jesus, meek and mild. His eyes are a blazing fire. His feet are bronze, glowing. This is that picture of judgment. He goes, “I am the all-powerful judge who will judge all creatures, visible and invisible, and trample the wicked under My feet.”
Psalm 91 you have that picture of when there is victory it’s like trampling the wicked under your feet. Revelation chapter 20. This is a picture of Jesus on the white horse at the very end and He says: all those things that make you crazy and make me crazy, the terrorist who walks in with a bomb and walks into a wedding of innocent people and explodes the bomb and kills thirty-nine people. Whoever that person was who took the nine-year-old and the eleven-year-old where they found the bones.
All these horrendous things that make this world so evil, Jesus says the day is coming when the resurrected Christ, not the One who came to say, “I forgive you. I came, I paid for the sin, whosoever can come. If you choose to reject Me, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to make all things right. I’m going to make all things right and the things you can see, I’m going to make all things right; and the things you can’t see.”
And you can read Revelation 20:11 to 15 with fear and trembling, because He comes and it’s by the Word of His power. And He takes wickedness and He tramples it under His feet. And whether it’s demons or whether it’s Satan or whether it’s kings or whether it’s nations or whether it’s regular people like you and me. And all things are exposed and He judges them.
This resurrected Christ is a judge! So often I think the Church, we have gotten so in love with the Jesus of the gospels – when was the last time you worshipped the Jesus of Revelation chapter 1, Revelation chapter 4, and Revelation chapter 5?
Myriads and myriads and myriads of angels bow down and says, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!” And they hide their face. And when people meet the resurrected Jesus, they fall on their face. But He is everybody’s good buddy. Self-help, cosmic vending machine. That’s what He has become in our day.
I’ve got news for you. People who think that’s who Jesus is are in for a rude awakening. A one whose feet are blazing bronze judgment, whose eyes are a fire, and though He is a High Priest with great compassion and a Messiah who came to save all of us from our sin, He will judge us according to – what? According to the voice of His Word.
And that’s where we go, with the voice of many waters. Isn’t it interesting, God’s voice? In the Old Testament, it talks about listening to His still, small voice. When Jesus was walking upon the earth He says, “I teach nothing except in parables.” His voice is, in a way, searching for those whose hearts are receptive.
The day is coming where it is not a still, small voice and it’s not going to be in parables. The truth of the resurrected Christ is going to be so loud that it is going to absolutely drown out all the superficiality and all the noise that clutter up your brain and mine. And the voice everyone will hear for all time is His voice. And no one will wonder who it is.
And no one will ever be in question about who is speaking or by what authority. Jesus is saying, “I am the One who spoke the world into existence out of nothing and upholds it by the Word of My power.”
Hebrews 11:3 says, “We believe,” the first tenet of faith is, “that God produced all that is out of nothing.” He spoke it into existence. It’s an amazing thing! He spoke it into existence. He spoke and light came into being.
The voice who spoke, “Let there be light!” He’s that, He’s big, big, big, big! Big enough to solve all of your problems, big enough to meet every need. But so big that you need to understand you are very small, I am very small. And we respond to the resurrected Christ with reverence and fear and humility, because His voice speaks and His message is, “Listen to Me. Believe Me.” Isn’t that what His voice is? “Believe Me. Don’t believe all the stuff you’re hearing everywhere. Believe Me.”
Then His right hand, we talked about the stars. That’s those messengers. And the point person for every church, the messengers of the Church, He says, “I am the Good Shepherd who will protect and provide for My bride, the Church. And My messengers, angels, by My great power and by My strength.”
And Jesus is saying, you almost get this picture of whoooaaa! His voice and the bronze and it’s just like this. And then He goes, “Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a second. Wait a second. Wait a second. Wait a second. Am I that holy? Yeah. Am I that unapproachable? Yeah.
“But I want to remind you, I am the Jesus who is the Good Shepherd and no one can take you out of My hands. I am the Good Shepherd and My sheep know My voice.
And although I have unlimited power and I am the One who spoke that light of thirteen billion light years, just what we can see, the messenger and point person in every, single church and every, single person including the person who happens to be seated in your seat is the object of My love and My affection and I dictate and direct all My power and all My energy and all My strength to fulfill all My purposes for you, because that’s how special you are. But I need you to understand who I really am.”
That’s what He’s saying to John. And then out of His mouth comes this two-edged sword. The sword is called, “The Word of God” in Ephesians 6. And John chapter 1, “In the beginning was the Word,” right? “And the Word was with God and the Word was God,” speaking of Jesus. “And the Word became flesh,” verse 14 of John 1, “and dwelt among us. And He explained the Father,” who is that? Jesus.
And so this word that comes out of His mouth, Jesus is saying to us, “I am the Word made flesh who dwelt among you, and explained the Father, full of grace and truth. And it is by My Word that I will now judge you, my people, and by My Word, I will destroy My enemies.”
And His Word is the way that He speaks to us today.
His Word defines reality. Here’s the message. Your relationship to His Word is a one-to-one relationship to your relationship with the Lord. You are not who you think you are with Him. You are what His Word says you are with Him.
It was Jesus who said, “Man won’t live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the Father’s mouth.” It is in Hebrews 4 that, “This Word is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit and joint and marrow; and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before God, who lays all things bare.” It is by being in this Word, not like you’ve got to, you have to, two chapters a day keep the devil away.
It is about a loving relationship where Jesus speaks out of His mouth to His children in the midst of this absolutely wacko world.
It is in His Word you find strength, and it is in His Word you endure suffering. It’s through His Word that you grow, it’s by His Word that a newborn babe longs for the pure milk, that you’re transformed. It’s by His Word. Whatever your relationship to His Word is, I will tell you, that is your relationship to the Lord.
Finally he says that, he gives us a picture of His face. And I can’t help but believe, I wasn’t there, obviously. But I just can’t help but believe that as John saw all this and the final thing, when he really stared into His face, bang! he went right back to Mark chapter 9 and the Transfiguration, where, remember what happened? He was metamorphosized. And Elijah was over here and Moses was over here and all of a sudden, Jesus unveils His glory, and the light comes streaming out of Him, out of His face, as bright as the sun, and, remember, hearing God’s voice, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.” And all of a sudden, John is going, Whoo, this is the Jesus that I walked with! This is the Jesus, who is the Son of God and the Son of Man. This is the Jesus that is my High Priest. This is the Jesus whose eyes pierced through to the very soul! This is the Jesus who is going to be my judge. This is the Jesus whose voice is powerful and mighty waters.
And this is the Jesus who I remember told me, “Don’t be afraid, John. I have called you My friend. I love you. I came to save you. No longer do I call you slaves, but I call you My friends. For a slave doesn’t know what His master is doing, but everything I have heard from the Father I have made known to you.”
And as he sees His face shining, the message is, “John, I am the radiant, brilliant, glorified, Second Person of the Godhead who did not consider it robbery to veil My glory for a season on earth, to purchase people from every tribe, nation, tongue, and to spend eternity with Me forever.”
And how did John respond? Did John put his hand out and go, “Oh! Well, thanks, Jesus! You’re my buddy! Everything is going to be great. Fantastic! I love Jesus! Do you love Jesus? Praise the Lord! I’ve got a big, black Bible. I’ve got stickers on the back of my car. Do you have a fish? I’ve got a fish. You can put it on your car. Isn’t Jesus great? Hey, man! Isn’t it so cool to be a Christian?
You meet the resurrected Christ, you don’t jazz around. “When I saw Him,” John said, “I fell at His feet as though dead.” That’s what happens when you see Jesus as He is, at this moment, today. I fell at His feet, as though dead.
And then I love this. Boy, if we ended here, “Then He placed His right hand on me,” the same right hand that can hold all the Church and all that power can be tender enough to touch one individual person in their need like you and me, and comforting words, “Do not be afraid” – why? I’ve got it under control, John. “I’m the First and the Last.” The Alpha and the Omega. The all-wise One.
“I am the Living One” – what does that mean? It means I am available 24/7. I am available late at night, in the ICU, when you get the oncology report, when the marriage is bad, when the marriage is good, when the kids are well, when the kids are bad, when the job is great, when the job is terrible.I am just here 24/7. The resurrected, all-powerful, living God of the universe, available to you.
“I was dead, but behold, I live and I’m alive forever and ever!” And, by the way, never forget this: “I hold the keys. I have the authority over death and Hades.”
And so what do we learn? John got a glimpse that was long and full. And I bet in the back of his mind, that passage that, I’m not sure who the writer of Hebrews was, it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. And I think the fear of God overwhelmed him and then the grace of God nurtured him and picked him up.
And I think he heard the words, “Don’t be afraid,” not because you shouldn’t be, but because of how much I love you and who I am. And He said, “John, what will sustain the Church in persecution, what will sustain the Church when My identity is in question, what will sustain people in the midst of their pain and all the things they are going to go through is knowing that I am in control, I am coming back, I have power. The deal is already done. The victory is already won.
“And by the way, write all this down; get it really, really clear because I’m going to tell you what you see. Then I’m going to tell you what is to come. And by the way, John, make sure you let those people know who say they are a part of these lampstands, they say they are believers, they say they are followers, but My piercing eyes, I see through it all. And they are followers in name only and lips only and not in deed and truth. And they are phonies. John, make sure they know this is who they are worshipping. No room for hypocrisy. No room for game-playing.
“I will come with feet of bronze and with blazing eyes and I will be, not the merciful Savior. When I come back, I am the righteous Judge. And everyone will get exactly what they deserve. And that means every, single person will be consumed by My holiness, unless there is a veil of blood between them and Me that covers just like it did on the Passover. My very own blood, a free gift, for whosoever would believe.
“And for them, they will be a part of My family forever and ever and ever, not because they were good, not because they went to church, not because they read the Bible, not because they gave to the United Way, and not because they were a shade better, morally, than the average person next to them. It’s because they have been forgiven and received the gift of the resurrected Christ.”
And so the three questions I have to ask you, number one, are you ready to meet this Christ right now? Second, if you have never met this Jesus, would you be willing, on this day, to believe He brought you so you can repent and turn from your sin and turn your back on that life, receive the gift of eternal life by asking Christ to come into your life and say, “That’s the first step toward following the rest of my days”? That’s what is called, “becoming a Christian,” or, “born again.”
See, it’s not about church. When that happens, you will want to be here or somewhere that teaches the Bible to grow.
And finally, maybe you’re like I have been multiple times in my life. You’re a believer and just, over the years, or over the months, or over the weeks, your intellectual belief system and words say this and your life says that. And God brought you to say, “You know something? My blazing fire sees it all. I think we need to get this in alignment. Just own your stuff. I’m not surprised. I’m not shocked. I love you. I forgive you. But I will hold you accountable. So you need to repent.”
I want to be a follower of Christ, not just someone who intellectually believes in what He said. So do you know what you need to do? All the power of this resurrection is available to you. You don’t have to imagine, but the biggest question before you and me is this: How will you respond to the resurrected Christ?