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This week we are continuing our series titled Understanding Christ’s Passion.

The death of Christ was interpreted only as a great personal tragedy and a political catastrophe by the disciples until the light of God was shed on this event through the doorway of an empty tomb and the presence of a living Lord.

This week we are talking about,

Recognising His Identity.

Text

Matthew 21:10 (ESV)

10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”

Scripture Reading

Matthew 21:1-11 (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

21 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 

2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 

3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 

4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 

7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 

8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 

9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 

10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 

11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Introduction 

On that first Palm Sunday, Jesus, surrounded buy a great crowd of followers and others, entered Jerusalem as the King in exact fulfilment of prophecy, to make a final appeal to His own nation.

Isaiah 62:11 (ESV)

11 Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.”

Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)

The Coming King of Zion

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he,

humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

This was His royal entry, and it caused a sensation.

Matthew 21:10 (ESV) says

10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”

For two thousand years this same Jesus has been invading our complacent little Jerusalems, causing considerable disturbance, and many have been pondering His true identity, asking, “who is this?”

On the evening of Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to the disciples behind closed doors.

He lingered until they recognised Him.

He came to the Roman Empire and overthrew the Caesars.

During the Dark Ages, He came in mystic power to scattered groups.

He fortified sorely pressed followers as they proclaimed His truths.

He was present during the Protestant Reformation. 

He came to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with stirrings of power and progress.

He confronted the twentieth century, and the question was asked, “who is Jesus?”

Now in the twenty first century, this amazing man still disturbs us.

Who is this man who examines our policies and motives and dealings with each other?

“Who is this?” 

This question was relevant two thousand years ago, and it is relevant now.

There is no easy answer, but let’s look at five roles of this mysterious Jesus.

  1. Jesus was and is a man.

Jesus was born a Jew.

His parents were called humble peasants, but were “of the house and lineage of David” 

Luke 2:4 (ESV) says

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,

This means that when God became incarnate, He did not assume human flesh in the abstract, He became part of a family.

Family membership cuts two ways, so when God came into this world, He entered in such a way to experience our problem, the family problem.

He knew the problem of illustrious relatives, disgraceful relatives, the problem of the “skeleton in the closet,” the problem of mediocrity.

Though born in Bethlehem in fulfilment of prophecy, He grew up in Nazareth in Galilee in a large, devout Jewish family.

He had a normal boyhood.

He learned His fathers trade and was called “the carpenter” in Mark 6:3.

He assumed responsibility for the family at His fathers death.

He learned the lore of His people and the Law and the Prophets as taught by the rabbis.

At about thirty years of age, He was baptised and entered into His ministry.

Luke 3:23 (ESV)

23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,

Never did a man teach as He taught or live as He lived.

Jesus’ body and mind obeyed the laws of normal human development.

He met temptations, pondered the cross, slept from weariness, and , exhausted at midday, sat beside a well.

Like other men, He had times of great rejoicing, times of indignation, and times of deep compassion.

At times He was astonished by the people’ lack of faith, at other times by their great faith.

His soul was nourished by secret prayer, His power was replenished by quite retreats, and always He lived in humble total dependance on His Father.

What about Jesus’ physical appearance?

We have no actual description, but since He worked in a rough occupation, He was probably hard and tanned.

We see in Jesus the type of manhood we admire, the courage of a valiant soul, the chivalry of a soldier, the genuine of a true gentleman, and the purity we want to see in our children.

2. Jesus is God.

The night before Jesus died, He said in John 14:9 (ESV)

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Jesus is God.

A distinguished Jewish rabbi wrote, :for Christians Jesus was born divinely and live humanly, for Jew He was born humanly and lived divinely.”

But this is a false distinction, a play on words.

Jesus is man. Jesus is God.

In the Son, the Father not only acts and speaks, but He is present.

Jesus Christ is God Himself, uniquely present in human life.

The mysteries surrounding the birth, life, and death of Christ are the mysteries of God.

The power of His miracles are God’s power.

Jesus said in John 5:36 (ESV)

36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.

His preaching was the Word of God.

His healing hands delivered the infinite mercy and health of God.

The forgiveness that Christ imparts is the eternal forgiveness of God.

Jesus is God.

3. Jesus is the head of the church.

Jesus asked His disciples about the current ideas of His identity in Matthew 16:15 (ESV)

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peters confession in Matthew 16:16 (ESV) was

16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 

Jesus was so pleased with Peter’s answer he said in Matthew 16:17-18 (ESV)

17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 

18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The important thing to understand is that Christ built the church and is therefore its head.

Paul told us that Christ loved the church in Ephesians 5:25 (ESV)

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

And purchased it with His own blood in Acts 20:28 (ESV)

28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

In Colossians 1:18 (ESV) Paul said,

18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

And in Romans 12 Paul used the physical body to describe the church.

He also did so in 1 Corinthians 12 (ESV) with verse 27 as the key verse,

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Christ is the head of the church.

This means three things.

  1. Christ has absolute primacy in His church.

The members of the body exist to serve the interests of the head.

B. Christ has supremacy over His church.

Just as the whole government of the body is in the head, so all authority in the church belongs to Christ.

He is the supreme ruler of His church on earth.

No one else could ever rise to his position.

C. Christ’s church has complete dependance on Him.

Just as the human body is lifeless without the head, so the church is lifeless apart from Christ.

4. Jesus is the Saviour of the world.

The entire New Testament stems from this fact

  1. There is no question about Jesus’ mission..

Jesus never left the world in doubt about His purpose. 

Luke 19:10 (ESV)

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

John 10:10 (ESV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV)

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

B. There is no question about Jesus’ motive.

1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV)

5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

John 3:16 (ESV) is the heart of the New Testament, and clearly expresses His  motive,

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

C. There is no question about the early disciples and their faith.

Arrested for preaching Christ after healing a lame man at the temple gate, Peter and John were thrown in jail for the night.

The next morning the rulers would have released them in exchange for their promise to keep silent.

Instead, Peter preached to the Sanhedrin, stating that they crucified Jesus.

Peter affirmed that Jesus was the stone rejected by the builders, which has been made head of the corner.

His climax was Acts 4:12 (ESV)

12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

D. There is no question about Jesus method, then and now.

Acts 1:8 (ESV)

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Jesus is the Saviour of the world.

Today many names are associated with security and salvation.

Communism has its plans.

Socialism has its doctrines.

Democracy has its ideals.

Politicians have their promises.

The military has its power.

But humankind can only retrieve, we cannot redeem.

5. Jesus is the constant companion who enables us to serve God and others.

Christ’s transforming power has changed lives, and it still changes lives.

  1. Christ helps us understand the Bible.

His Spirit guides us into all truth, John 16:13 (ESV) says

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

He is the key to the Scriptures.

B. Christ is our model, our example in all things.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) says

11 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Did anyone ever display the qualities or meet the standard set forth in the Sermon on the Mount?

Yes, one did, Jesus and we are to follow His example.

C. Christ is our constant companion along life’s pathway.

He promised His disciples in John 14:18 (ESV)

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

And He still does.

D. Christ’s power transforms us into servants of God and others.

To know Christ is to travel the hard road.

He does no lead us into a maze.

He will take our hand and lead us to Gethsemanes and Calvaries of our own in His service.

Conclusion.

To those who obey him, Christ will reveal Himself in the conflicts they encounter, and they will learn in their own experiences who He is.

Do you know who He is?

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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