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WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?

‘There was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” John 7:12-13

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 We know that there was a time ‘when even his own brothers did not believe in him.’ John 7:5

Many people have asked questions about Jesus over the past two thousand years & many still do. We read in Scripture many statements, comments & questions about Jesus illustrating how he divided opinion within families, communities, marriages & councils. Jesus still divides opinion today, in households around the world, as in some quarters his name is a derogatory term, yet in thousands of places he is worshiped in Churches & homes as Lord & Saviour. So let us look at some of the questions, statements, quotes & comments from various people in the scriptures to gain some incite into the life of Jesus & ask some hard questions ourselves.

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The Jews were divided, many said, “he is demon-possessed & raving mad. Why listen to him? Others said, “These are not the sayings of a madman, can a demon open the eyes of a man born blind?”‘ 

‘How did this man get such learning without having studied? ‘Jesus taught from the age of approximately 30 years of age in public places; in synagogues; in the temple; in homes; in rooms; in open places in the land of  Israel. This was during a time of Roman occupation in the time of Caesar. His teaching was profound, showing wisdom & incite far beyond his years. He was totally aware of the Rabbinic laws, the Jewish customs & the culture of the day. Coupled with that he had an incredible awareness of how men think & a depth of teaching far beyond anything that had been heard before. His teaching was radical, powerful, just & fair & was true to Scripture.

The Jews were amazed & asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied? Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.” John 7:15-16

‘They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.’ Luke 4:32

He claimed an intimate oneness with the Father God & a relationship that was  unique with God. He backed up his teaching with authority over evil spirits, demons & spoke of things in the supernatural world unheard of before. He spoke of heaven as though he had been there & demonstrated miracles [supernatural works that could not be explained] like turning water into wine; raising three people from death & healing many who were blind, paralysed & many people who were sick. He touched the untouchables and restored their skin from the deforming disease of leprosy. He prayed over some loaves & fish and as a result the food multiplied in his helpers hands as they were commanded to give it out to over 5000 men plus their wives & children in the desolate countryside. During the 3 years of his public ministry, miracles followed his teaching causing many people to either believe & follow. Others, particularly the religious leaders of the day, rejected Jesus & his claims.

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“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, & all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power & great glory.” Matthew 24:30

Jesus spoke prophetically of things to come & said that one day, he would return with his angels as Judge of all the earth. He would come back as King of kings & Lord of lords & send his angels to collect those who believed & followed him from the four corners of the earth. Matthew 24:27-32

Jesus said, “Abraham rejoiced at seeing my day… Before Abraham was born, I am!” John 8:56-59

He said that he was greater than Solomon & Jonah, had existed before Abraham who was on the earth 2000 years before Christ was born! He said his work was weightier than the work John the Baptist had been called to do and to the woman in Samaria he admitted he was the Christ, the Messiah. To the blind man [whom Jesus healed by spitting on the ground and rubbing mud on the man’s eyes & telling him to wash] he called himself the Son of Man. Jesus often claimed a oneness with the Father God & an intimate knowledge of heavenly & spiritual things.

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Simon Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe & know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69

He said, if you don’t believe in me because of my words, believe in me because of the miracles. Many did believe because of his words & many because of the signs, the miraculous works he performed. After the raising of Lazarus many put their faith in him & the authorities from that point sought for a way to kill Jesus. A regular occurrance was the manifestation of evil spirits who seemed to know instantly who Jesus was & spoke out their confession for all to hear. Jesus, firmly dealt with them by exercising greater authority to cast them out of people’s lives, setting them free from bondage.

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The naked man possessed with demons confronted Jesus & said, “What do you want from me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God, I beg you, don’t torment me!” Luke 8:28

Jesus was humble, he lived an uncomplicated life based on quiet prayer times & communion with Father God. He stated often that he only spoke what his Father told him to speak. He knew the ways of men & was far more aware of the spiritual world than anyone else. He opened up new truths to his audiences about the Father heart of God, who is Holy, all powerful & eternal. He talked of angels, fallen angels, heaven & hell. He shared parables, that were visual stories with powerful messages within, that illustrated why we need to forgive other people that have done us wrong & why we need to open our lives to God. He welcomed children & rebuked the religious but so often hypocritical religious authorities of the day. Jesus said they were spiritually blind as they missed the heart of the law to love God with all your heart soul, mind & strength & your neighbour as yourselves. He demonstrated humility & grace wherever he went: by coming to earth; being subject to human parents; being prepared to serve his fellow man; he demonstrated this by washing his disciples feet before being prepared to die on a rugged wooden cross.

“I know the Father & am from him, he sent me.” John 7:28-29

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John wrote: ‘The Word became flesh & made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One & Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’

John 1:14

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John the Baptist said, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

 

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Andrew said to Peter, “We have found the Messiah.”

John 1:41

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Years later, after Jesus had been raised up from death & had ascended to heaven, the disciple Peter was sent to the house of Cornelius [a devout Roman centurion] to share the good news about Jesus. He shared about the his life, death & resurrection & as Peter spoke the Holy Spirit came upon the Roman community & they spoke in other tongues & praised the God of heaven.

Peter explained: “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit & power, & how he went around doing good & healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” Acts 10:38

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Blind Bartimaeus received his sight when he called out to Jesus who was on on route to Jerusalem from Jericho with a crowd of people around him. The Bible records, that Bartimaeus shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” At his the call of his name, Jesus stopped and gave him his sight. Have you ever called out to Jesus?

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners & recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” After he had rolled up the scroll given it back & sat down, he said: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18-19

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When Jesus went up the mountain with Peter, John & his brother James he was transfigured before them & became like blinding light. Moses & Elijah appeared from heaven & spoke to him about the cross & how he would soon fulfill all prophecy concerning his death & resurrection.

As Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed, & his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses & Elijah, appeared in glorious splendour, talking with Jesus. The spoke about his departure, which he was about to  bring to fulfillment in Jerusalem. Luke 9:29-31

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The Father said: “This is my Son, whom I have chosen, listen to him.” Luke 9:25

And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22

Testimonies that point to the unique Son of God who came to Israel two thousand years ago abound in the Scriptures. Testimonies from Father God, the disciples, fallen angels & prophets are plentiful. Jesus himself when asked by the woman at the well testifies to the fact that he is the Messiah. Peter declared that he is the Christ, the special one, sent by God to do the unique work that only the anointed One could achieve.

Jesus himself asked his disciples, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah;  & still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered: “The Christ of God.” Luke 9:18-20

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The woman at the well said: “I know Messiah [called Christ] is coming”. Jesus replied: “I who speak to you am he”. John 4:25-26 This encounter led to the invitation to stay in Samaria for several days to talk to the people. As a result many believed in Jesus as the Messiah.

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Jesus said to the man who had been born blind & who had received his sight:

“Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Who is he sir? that I may believe in him”. 

Jesus said, You have now seen him, in fact he is the one speaking to you.” John 10:35-38

Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about the importance of being born again, born anew of the Spirit of God. John  3: 3-8  He declared that our spirits need to be made alive to God’s Spirit so that we can see & know the things of God. Later to the disciples he said that they should remain in Jerusalem & after he had ascended to the Father he would send the Holy Spirit from the Father who would clothe them with power from on high to be effective witnesses in the towns & villages. He said that the Holy Spirit would take from the treasures of knowledge & wisdom from the heavenly storehouse & make those things known to man. The Holy Spirit would teach people across the world about Jesus & help them understand the mysteries of God’s Kingdom. He would be the Counselor, the Helper, the Guide & would reveal the secret things of God to man.

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John the Baptist said of Jesus: “He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit & with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor & to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Luke 3:16

To the woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria, Jesus said that God is Spirit and we can worship him in Spirit & truth. We can receive of the living water that will quench our thirst & that it is from himself that we can ask to receive of the living water. See John chapters 4 & 7.

Jesus said many times in John 6: “I am the living bread that comes down out of heaven.” John 6:33/38/50/51/58

“He who comes to me will never go hungry & he who believes in me will never go thirsty.”

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Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” John  8:12

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The testimony of the Scriptures point to Jesus [John 6:49], the testimony of the prophets point to Jesus [John 6:45]. When the two men walked to Emmaus, a small village situated 7 miles outside of Jerusalem they talked about the Christ who had been crucified in Jerusalem outside the city on a hill called Golgotha, with great sadness. A stranger caught up with them & talked with them, he opened up the Scriptures highlighting the teachings of Moses & the prophets that pointed to the Christ coming & dying on the cross & being raised from death. When they went to stay at the hostel, they beckoned for the stranger to stay with them so he sat at the meal table with them. It was only when he broke bread that there eyes were opened & they recognized him as he disappeared from their sight. Those men immediately ran back to tell the disciples all that had happened in the upper room. That same day several people had experienced the risen Christ appearing to them, including Mary Magdalene & the disciple, Peter. Soon afterwards Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples behind closed doors & ate fish with them & shared with them.

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Kevin based this collage on a vision he had whilst standing in the centre of Birmingham when doing his graphic design degree in 1979-81. Later that week he had produced this collage using torn shapes & oil pastels.

I am poured out like water, & all my bones are out of  joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, & my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men have encircled me, they have pierced my hands & my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare & gloat over me. They divide my garments among them & cast lots for my clothing.

Psalm 22:14-18

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He was despised & rejected by men, a man of sorrows, & familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, & we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities & carried our sorrows, yet we consider him stricken by God, smitten by him, & afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, & by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray each of us has turned to his own way; & the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed & afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, & as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Isaiah 53: 3-7

Jesus came to reveal God to man, to teach about the Kingdom of God & to show the Father’s heart of compassion & mercy.  Ultimately Jesus came to be the sin offering that would be an atoning sacrifice for all who would put their faith in Him & confess him as Lord & Saviour. He would fulfill all prophecy concerning the Messiah. Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 were both written 700 years before Jesus would go to the cross. In John you can read how soldiers drew lots for his clothes, see John 19:23-24.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one & only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but shall have eternal life, do you believe this?” John 3:16

He explained to them that he had to return to the Father & reign with him in heavenly places & that he would not leave them as orphans but would send the Holy Spirit who would remind them the things he had spoken to them. They were commissioned to take this good news out to the nations, teaching about him & baptising all those who follow him in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

“I am the resurrection & the life, … do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

“My Father glorifies me.” John 8:54

Jesus appeared to the disciples following his resurrection on several occasions over the six weeks before he would ascend. One of those appearances was on the shore of Galilee where he shared breakfast with seven disciples who had been fishing all night. The Scriptures record that Jesus had a fire going with some fish already cooking & some bread.

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Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Simon Peter climbed abroad & dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come & have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. John 21:10-12

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets & the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them: “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer & rise from the dead on the third day, & repentance & forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And I am going to send you what my Father has promised: but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:44-49

When Pentecost came, the Holy Spirit came on many people who started to speak of the great things of God in different languages understood by the international community in the Jerusalem. Peter mentions to the Jews that the Patriarch David, spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.

David said about him, “I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad & my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”

Psalm 16:8, quoted by Peter in Acts 2:25-27

 

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Kevin does a very effective light event for children or young people that illustrates Jesus, the light of the world. John 8:12

Peter explains: “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the Patriarch David died & was buried, & his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet & knew that God would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.”

Acts 2:29-31

For David did not ascend to heaven, & yet he said, The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

Psalm 110, quoted by Peter in Acts 2:34

After Peter spoke at Pentecost, the people were cut to the heart as many believed that Jesus Christ was & is the Son of David, the Messiah. The Scriptures record that more than 3000 believed & were baptised & added to their number that day. Acts 2:41

Approximately six years later, Saul was fervently opposing the Church by all means & wherever possible was arresting Christians belonging to the ‘Way’ & throwing them in prison. He stood by watching & condoning the stoning of the Stephen, a Christian man, full of faith in Christ Jesus. One day whilst riding to Damascus with letters giving permission to arrest believers & take them back to Jerusalem, he encountered the risen Christ.

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As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground & heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. Now get up & go into the city, & you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:3-6

Saul, who had his name changed to Paul, became an important apostle, traveling to many countries & planting many churches. He was to be a key author in the New Testament of a number of books such as Romans; Corinthians 1 & 2; Ephesians; Philippians & Colossians. He would testify to what happened on the Damascus Road on many occasions & each reveal a bit more detail, see Acts 22 & 26.

“Who are you, Lord?” I asked.

‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me.

Acts 22:8

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My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me. Acts 22:11

Later Paul recounts this dramatic encounter with Jesus to King Agrippa & reveals more details of what happened.

“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in  prison, & when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, & I tried to force them to blaspheme.

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In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them. On one of these journeys I was  going to Damascus with the authority & commission of the chief priests. About noon, O King, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me & my companions. We all fell to the ground, & I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’  the Lord replied. “Now get up & stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant & as a witness of what you have seen of me & what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people & from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes & turn them from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins & a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Acts 26: 9-18

Years later Paul writes in a letter to the Philippians & highlights the humility of Christ, the unique Son of God in fulfilling God’s plan of salvation for all those who believe, by willingly dying on the cross & atoning for their sins of the people.

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Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself out to be nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself & became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place & gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven & on earth & under the earth, & every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

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This collage illustrates some of the many names of Jesus in the Bible in the Old & New Testaments.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven & on earth, visible & invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him & for him. He is before all things, & in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church, he is the beginning & the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him, & through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 1:15-20

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That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead & seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule & authority, power & dominion, & every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His feet & appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:19-23

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Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 21.01.04  Written & illustrated by Kevin Moore – Face2Face Educational Trust

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Kevin enjoys opening up the Bible & using his artwork & can be booked to come to your church/conference/house party. Kevin is an evangelist, bible speaker & artist & uses his art & chess playing abilities in educational circles & within the Christian Church.

Please contact him using this email address: kevinmoore758@btinternet.com

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 Kevin is available to speak in your church if you would like him to come in the new year.

You may be interested in the article: Messiah, who is He? http://www.face2facetrust.org.uk/news/2013/12/messiah/

You may be interested in the article: http://www.face2facetrust.org.uk/questions/names-of-god/

 Designed & illustrated by Kevin Moore, Face2Face Educational Trust

Contact emails for Kevin: kevinmoore758@btinternet.com or kevinmooreface2facetrust@gmail.com

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