John the Baptist had misgivings about Jesus being the Christ. He expected One (the Christ), who would deal with the Romans, with Herod, and with the Jewish leaders. However, Jesus showed no signs that He would take on these unwelcome powers. John accused Herod, the king of adultery, and he ended up in prison. From prison, John sent messengers to Jesus asking:
Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me (Matthew 11:3-6).
THE SEVEN BASICS MAN LIVES BY
These seven basics are so crucial and part of the human life that man takes them for granted. They are in the answer Jesus gave to John. The Baptist and we shall refer to them in different studies. “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”
The terminology is simple, but these basics affect all of a persons’ life. Let us begin with the last one and simply make it through one day without being upset, angry, irritated at something or someone, or disappointed at oneself or with others. It is an endless list of things that simply creep up and annoy and offend us. Jesus told John not to be disappointed because His way was not to get rid of the enemies, but to win the enemies over to His point of view. Even Jesus had problems with the idea to get people with set minds to come over to His Side. His own people demanded that Pilate, who had found no fault with Jesus, removed Him from their midst.
Upon this Pilate sought to release him (Jesus), but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; everyone who makes himself king sets himself against Caesar.” When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified (John 19:12-16).
The vision of the prophet Isaiah, regarding a Davidic Messiah, has become a dream yet to be fulfilled. When the Messiah Jesus came, the Jews were not ready and neither was the world for “peace on earth and good will among men” (Luke 2:14).
There shall come forth a shoot David) from the stump of Jesse, and a branch (Messiah-Christ) shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth, and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist and faithfulness the girdle of his loins.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like an ox. The sucking child shall play over the hose of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious. In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant which is left of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam, from Sinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea.
He will raise an ensign for the nations and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
But they shall swoop down upon the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put forth their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them. And the LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the sea of Egypt; and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching wind and smite it into seven channels that men may cross dryshod.
And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant which is left of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt (Isaiah 11:1-16).
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and the dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord (Isaiah 65:25).
Heaven dispatched a harbinger of “Good News” to shepherds that the “Shoot of David” had arrived in Bethlehem. The Message was that the world can have peace with this new leader.
And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning his child, and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them (Luke 2:8-20).
THE HOLY SPIRIT DISCLOSED TO SIMEON AND ANNA WHO THE BABY JESUS WAS
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.”
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanu-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow, till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at the very hour she gave thanks to God and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him (Luke 2:21-40).
GOD THE FATHER ALLOWED THIRTY YEARS FOR HIS SON TO GROW UP AS A MAN! AND GOD ANNOUNCED HIS REDEMPTIVE PURPOSE
Herod the Great must have presumed that the “Baby Jesus” was killed because no efforts were made to find the parents and their Son. Even when Jesus, as a twelve-year-old showed exceptional insight, no one pursued the reason for his gift. In our day, children with a rare gift become public news very quickly. It was not until the Baptist announced that the Messiah was on His way, that the people began to be curious. John the Baptist had to explain; and the Holy Spirit used a “Dove” to point out who Jesus was.
As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:15-17).
The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God” (John 1:29-34).
Now, when Jesus appeared in person and announced that He had come to start a “New Kingdom,” and that it was time to repent in order to qualify, He ran into severe hostility and opposition. Jesus’ intention to bring peace became an incentive for the sword.
I came to cast a fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her other, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law (Luke 12:49-53).
Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:34-39).
THE WORLD RULER IS SATAN! AND SATAN WAS AND SATAN IS EXTREMELY DISTURBED WITH CHRIST’S INVASION INTO HIS WORLD
The angry and contentious humanity was and still is led by Satan (John 14:30). Jesus did not expect, that, He, as a man and not being of this world, could or that He would survive in Satan’s world, and among the devil’s children. Three times Jesus predicted His own death to his disciples. However, the disciples did not grasp what their Lord meant until He had ascended, long after.
Again Jesus said to them (Jews), “I go away, and you will seek me and die in your sins; where I am going, you cannot come.” Then said the Jews, “Will he kill himself, since he says, “You’re from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he. “They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Even what I have told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he spoke to them of the Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” As he spoke thus, many believed in him (John 8:21-30).
They (Jews) answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. You do what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has nothing to do with the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God” (John 8:39-47).
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men (Matthew 16:13-23).
They went from there and passed through Galilee. And he (Jesus) would not have anyone know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him (Mark 9:30-32).
And taking the twelve, be (Jesus) said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated an spit upon; they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said (Luke 18:31-34).