Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
What a bold statement Jesus is claiming in that verse above. For he is saying that there is no other way to come to God the Father except through him, and him alone. We can see this also to be true where John the disciple of Jesus said: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)
Now, I’ve have come to believe that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to have a true relationship with God the Father. For I myself was one of those who was running from God. I wanted to live life my way and to do the things I wanted to do. This was true even though I knew what I was doing was wrong and was affecting others too. But the good news is that one day while I was wallowing in my sin and feeling so lost, God reveled His Son to me in a real way. You see, I heard about Jesus Christ and even went to church when I was young. However, I never really knew who He was until that day He opened my eyes. And for the first time in my life I understood who God was and realized that I can actually have a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus. And what else is exciting is the fact that He chose me, and not me choosing Him. I was not looking for Him, but He was looking for me and made Himself known to me.
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Remember what was said earlier about God giving His only Begotten Son. This relationship that I have with God is because Jesus loved me and died for my sins so that I can be forgiven of all the wrong that I’ve done. He took my place by suffering for me, not only through beatings, whippings and being nailed to the cross, but he also was tormented for three days and nights in hell, suffering God’s wrath that was do you and me. (see: Bought at a Price) Therefore, none of us can earn our forgiveness by doing good works. This is because they’re based on our efforts and works and not on the finished work which Jesus has done. For Jesus is our perfect sinless sacrifice who took the penalty for every bad thing that we ever committed. This is true love. Amen.
And let’s also consider what Jesus gave up to do all this. For we know that before coming to earth, Jesus was the Word who was one with God the Father. But he “emptied” himself of his heavenly attributes and became fully man in order to take on the sins of the world upon himself. For we read: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
That’s amazing brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus gave up his position in heaven to be like us so that we can be like him when he returns. For we read also: Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (1 John 3:2) And again we read: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5)
So, we can see that God the Father Himself paid a high price by giving His Son for our sins. So, it should not come as a surprise to learn why God would punish all who refuse to except Jesus as their Savior. You see, we weren’t bought with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. (1st Peter 1:18-19) But that being said, God desires that none should perish but that all would come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) God doesn’t want us to die in our sins but to receive His Son and spend all eternity with Him in paradise. (Ezekiel 33:11) So, that’s why I love God with my whole being because He thought of me and saved me from eternal punishment.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
So, do you want true love, joy and peace in your life? Well you can. You see, this is the outcome of a true relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All you have to do is repent of your sins and give your life over to God. For you will then see life in a whole new way. It’s like being “Born Again.” (John 3:3, 1st Peter 1:22-23) You see, God will fill you with His Holy Spirit and that is why you’ll experience this new life that you have. And by you walking after the Spirit, you can put to death that old life with all its sins and now live a life that's pleasing to God. (Romans 8:13) And the neat thing is, you’ll be so excited that you’ll want everyone to know about this new relationship that you have with God.
Walking after the Spirit
Now, we need to be aware of God’s presence in everything we think, say and do. And what would be the results of a person being mindful of God and walking after the Spirit in this way? Wouldn't they be so filled with God's love, that it would pour over into other people lives as well? I believe so brothers and sisters in Christ. In other words, a Spirit filled life can (and should) radically change our life and the lives of others. That’s what we’re called to do.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:16-21)
So, we see it’s of a necessity that we walk after the Spirit to avoid the works of the flesh. For those who live after the flesh “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” So, let’s have that same attitude as the apostle Paul who said: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
There is a God who is real and loves you so much. He’ll bring true meaning and purpose into your life if you’ll just give yourself over to Jesus Christ. Any other way would be empty, meaningless and eventually could led you to eternal damnation. So, ask Jesus to be Lord and Savior of your life and receive Him in your heart today. You will not regret it. Amen.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)
A Few Word to the Reader
I want to remind you my brothers and sisters in Christ, who Jesus is and what he did for us. And for those of you who may not know who he is, I pray that this article may help you have a clear understanding of his love for us and how he gave his life for us. So, whether these words are a sweat reminder or a life changing eye opener, I hope you will come away being blessed by what’s being presented here. And be aware, for there are those who preach the doctrines of man instead of the truth of God's word. So please: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) Amen.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
If we would look at the word “God” in the passage above, we would see it being used in the plural form, thus showing us that there was more than one agent involved in the creation act. We can see this to be true in verse 2 where we read: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Here we see the Spirit of God being introduced to us, moving upon the dark waters of the earth. Then in verse 3, we hear the voice of our God calling out saying: “Let there be light: and there was light.”
Then the next convincing evidence to all this is where it says: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of heaven, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that moves on the earth.’ So God made man; in the image of God He made him; male and female He made them.” (Genesis 1:26-27) So, we have our “God” again in the plural form saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” This again is a clear indication that more than one agent was involved in creation.
Now, in John’s gospel where we read: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3) Did you notice that it says: “all things were made through him?” So, we see that the Word was involved in creation as well. And finally we read: “But now, O Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8) So, we can see that the Father, the Word and the Spirit were all involved in the act of creation, yet being one God.
Now, to go even further with this thought, we read in Deuteronomy: “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah” (Deuteronomy 6:4) Again, the word “God” is in the plural form as noted earlier and the word “one” is used here as a compound unity, as though two or more are coming together to be as one. We see this word being used in Genesis where we read: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be oneflesh.” (Genesis 2:24) Therefore in the same way, we see God the Father, the Spirit of God and the Word all under the one name Jehovah (Most bibles use "LORD" instead of Jehovah).
Now as mentioned earlier, God created the man and woman in his image. Therefore, the male and female relationship would fit this image of God because it takes both the man and the woman to bring forth life into this world as well. Thus, we see the man as the initiator and the woman as the receiver through whom life is brought forth, both working together as one. Therefore, we see the scriptures being fulfilled which say: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) and “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)
The Word became Flesh
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Now, most of us know that the “Word” who became flesh is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And we know that he became flesh to show us the way to the Father and to take on the sins of the world upon himself. Therefore, he had to be made just like us, for we read: “Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death -- that is, the devil -- and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it is clear that he does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham's offspring. Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:14-17)
Now, did you notice it says “in every way” he had to be made like us? Jesus had to become flesh and blood just like us with all of life’s limitations. “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4) Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s not come to the false notion that Jesus was both fully man and fully God all at the same time. For Moses said: “Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; (Deuteronomy 18:15)
So, was Moses both fully God and man at the same time? Not according to Scripture. And to make this point even clearer, we read in Hebrews: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) Notice it says that Jesus was tempted in “in all points”but resisted those temptations (Matthew 4:1-11). This we know can’t happen with God: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13) So, if Jesus was still fully God with all his attributes, that passage above in Hebrews as well as the one in Matthew chapter 4 would not only be pointless, but contradicting as well.
So that being said, let’s take heed to John the apostles warning in which he said: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7) So be careful brothers and sisters in Christ. For we must study the scriptures ourselves to recognize the false teachings of man. For there are those who believe that Jesus still retained all his attributes which he had while being the Word. This teaching is stripping Jesus of the price that was payed when he gave up what he had in heaven in order to become a man like us. For this false teaching is getting uncomfortably close to taking away his humanity as mentioned above. And just a reminder of what Jesus said to the rich young ruler; “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18) So, we see that Jesus wouldn’t even except being called good. For this he said to dispel any notion that he was trying to make himself God. So please always test Scripture with scripture. (1 Timothy 2:16)
He Emptied Himself
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
From what we can see from that passage above, Jesus while being the “Word” emptied himself by completely letting go of his heavenly nature with all his attributes. This Jesus said in order to show us the way to God the Father by being our example on how to live for him. And ultimately, he did it to suffer for all the sins of the world as well. For only one who is truly flesh and blood could do this, and not God himself. Thus, he had to become fully human to suffer the agony of beatings, whippings and then being nailed to a cross. And last of all he had to suffer the torments of hell as well for three days and nights, taking upon himself the penalty for our sins.
Jesus said: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40) And how was it for Jonah in the whale’s belly? Well, let’s read what Jonah had to say about it: “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:1-2) So, Jonah said “I cried by reason of mine affliction” and he said it was “hell” for him as well. So, as Jesus said: “as Jonah was. … so shall the Son of man be.” Again, only one who is truly flesh and blood could experience this type of agony and suffering. This Jesus did because of his love for us, for Paul the apostle said: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Break the Sabbath & make himself equal with God?
Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:18)
Now, did Jesus really break the sabbath and claimed to be equal to God the Father? Well, to find that answer we need to examine this passage with other scriptures. So, let’s first look at the claim that Jesus had broken the sabbath. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-17)
So, Jesus said he came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it. Then Jesus goes on to say: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19) So, Jesus couldn’t have broken the sabbath, because that would make him “least in the Kingdom of heaven” according to his own words. But as we do read above, Jesus has come to “fulfill” the law, not break it.
We can see this same thing happening here in Matthew’s gospel. “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath’.” (Matthew 12:1-2) However, we have Jesus in this same chapter putting them in their place by reminding them how David and his men were hungry and ate the “showbread” which only the priests were allowed to eat as well as the fact that the priests themselves on the sabbath do their priestly duties and are still blameless. (see 1 Samuel 21:1-6) Finally, Jesus sums it up by saying: “And if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:7-8) So, Jesus said they were “guiltless,” therefore neither Jesus nor his disciples broke the sabbath day.
Next, did Jesus in this same passage make himself equal with God by calling God his Father? Well, didn’t Jesus say for us to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” as recorded in Matthew 6:9? So, are we making ourselves equal with God because we call him “our Father” as well? Of course not. We can see the same thing happening in another part of John’s gospel where the Jews wanted to stone Jesus for saying: “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30), in which the Jews responded: “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33) So, is Jesus also making himself equal God by saying “I and my the Father are one?” Again, of course not, for that would make us equal with God as well, for Jesus said: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (John 17:20-21)
So again, we have the Jews reading more into this than what Jesus was trying to convey to them. However, we have Jesus again putting things in their proper perspective by reminding them saying: "Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came--and Scripture cannot be broken-- do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:34-36)
Now, let’s look at one more passage where the Jews falsely accused Jesus of making himself God. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? (Mark 2:5-7) So, can God only forgive sin? Well, let’s read what Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23) There we have it. Jesus gave us the authority both to forgive, or not forgive a person’s sins as well. Therefore, we see another false assumption made by the religious rulers claiming that Jesus was making himself God. This should all be proof that Jesus wasn’t claiming to be equal to God the Father in John 5:18 as well.
In the Aramaic English New Testament (the Peshitta), we have Andrew Gabriel Roth, a Messianic Jew, commentary on John 5:18 saying: “the charge here of Y’shua making himself equal to YHWH is simply Pharisee tradition projecting itself onto Y’shua.” Then Mr. Roth goes on to say: “The Ruach haKadesh (the Holy Spirit) in Mashiyach (in Christ) is equal to YHWH (God), but the Pharisees supposed that Y’shua and his followers equated his humanity with YHWH, they didn’t understand Isaiah 11:1-2, that Mahiyach has the Ruach haKadesh within him.” So we see that Jesus was not indicating that he was of the same nature as the Godhead while being in the flesh, but it was the Jews who perceived it this way.
God with Us
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
Now, according to that passage above, we read that Jesus was called Emmanuel which means God is with us. But at the same time, we also know that Jesus emptied himself and became fully flesh and blood like us as said earlier. So, how do we make sense of all this? Well, first we read in Hebrews 2:9 that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels just like us. Therefore, being Just like us, Jesus was made in the image and likeness of God as well according to Genesis 1:26. However, we also know that Adam and Eve marred that image by sinning against God. But we see Jesus, though he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet he was completely without sin. Therefore, Jesus would now fit this image of God more perfectly.
Next, we also read that Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God after his baptism, for read: “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” (John 1:32-33) Therefore, “the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” (John 3:34) So, all those who have seen Jesus also have seen the Holy Spirit (who is God) at work within him. Therefore, because of his sinless nature as well as being filled and led by the Spirit God, all who see Jesus are seeing a clear image of who the Father is. This is true, for we read: “for in him dwells, in a bodily manner, all the fullness of what God is, (Colossians 2:9).
So, brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus can rightly say: “Have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me, Philip? The person who has seen me has seen the Father! How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? (John 14:9) And now in like manner, we who are filled with the Holy Spirit are more perfectly manifesting that image of God as well. This is true because Christ lives within me as declared in Galatians 2:20. And let’s remember that Jesus said: “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:21-23)
I Will Raise it Up
Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. (John 2:18-19)
Now we come across another passage that needs to be examined closely. For we must ask ourselves, did Jesus raise himself up? So, to determine this we need to examine what God’s word has to say below. First, we read: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” (Acts 2:23-24) Next we read: “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.” (Acts 5:30) And then finally we read: “Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise.” (1 Corinthians 15:15)
Now, from what was quoted above, we can see that there are three scriptures that bear witness that God raised up Jesus, and not Jesus himself. So, to find out what Jesus is really saying here, let’s look at a few other scriptures below that will help shed light on this.
So, from all that we read above, we can see that Jesus was not claiming to raise himself up. For Jesus being a prophet himself was only declaring what God the Father was going to do according to the scriptures. And that would be fact that God would not leave his soul in hell nor allow him to see corruption. We can see this to be true also where we read: “When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” (John 2:22) So, we see that they “believed the scripture” which would be Psalm 16:10 as well as “the word which Jesus had said” which would be Matthew 12:40 concerning Jonah the prophet. And yes, I know that Jesus could have easily said “Thus saith the LORD God, I will raise it up” to end all confusion. But we know that Jesus says things to weed-out the halfhearted and those who don’t believe, while causing us who do believe to dig deeper into his words to find their true meaning.
Below are a few of those things that Jesus said that would ether cause people to walk away or draw closer to him.
Led by the Spirit
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness (Luke 4:1)
As said before, Jesus being fully human, was filled and led by the Holy Spirit. And let's remember what Peter said: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” (Acts 2:22) First, we see Peter saying that he was "a man approved of God,” and this through "miracles and wonders and signs,” and then: "which God did by him.” Also, Jesus said concerning himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:1) And in Colossians 2:9 we read: “for in him dwells, in a bodily manner, all the fullness of what God is.” Notice that it says, “in him dwells” which would be the Holy Spirit which he received during his baptism by John.
Therefore, Jesus became flesh and blood just like us and was operating through the power of the Spirit of God. This would include his ability to do miracles, walk on water (which we know Peter did as well as recorded in Matthew 14:29), casting out demons, foreseeing events and all other supernatural works. For he said: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matthew 12:28)
Greater Works than These
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12 )
Now, let’s remember that Jesus Himself in John 14:12 said that we who believe will do even “greater works than these.”We can see this to be true where we read: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12) Also we read: “Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed everyone. (Acts 5:15-16)
So, as mention above, Jesus said that those who truly trust and believe in him will do not only the same, but even “greater works” than what he did. But why are we not seeing this in today’s churches? Well, in Matthew’s gospel we read: “Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.” (Matthew 17:15-16) Next, we see how Jesus responded to this by saying: “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.” (Matthew 17:17)
Wow, if that wasn’t a rebuke against his disciples, then I don’t know what is. For let’s remember that after this his disciples came to him saying: “why couldn’t we cast him out.” And what was Jesus response to their question: “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20) So, did you grasp what Jesus said here, for if we have faith, we can even tell mountains to move from one place to another. So, this clearly shows that we who are filled with the Holy Spirit have the same abilities as Jesus when it comes to performing miracles. But the question is, do we really trust and believe not only in Jesus Christ himself, but in everything he said to us as well?
Below are the words of our Savior Jesus Christ commissioning us to do what he did:
Below are a few of the supernatural acts of those who truly trusted and believed in who Jesus was, did and even said:
Now are We the Children of God
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)
So, we see that Jesus was not only made flesh and blood like us, but according to that passage above, we as children of God shall be like him at our resurrection. For “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” We see this to be true also where we read: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21) Jesus is now in his resurrected body which we’re also going to see him in and even be like him when he returns.
And let’s remember that Jesus clearly identified himself with us while he was in the flesh, for he said: "Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:47-50)
Also, we see the same to be true where we read: “God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. For he said to the Father, "I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people." (Hebrews 2:10-12) This shows, not only his close ties with us during his humanity, but he is going to transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body.
But that being said, Jesus Christ is and will be our Lord. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:8-11) “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:3)
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:23)
We like Peter, may think we’re doing Jesus honor with our words and actions. But just like Peter, we can actually bring Jesus dishonor with our wrong conclusions. This would include anyone thinking that Jesus was both fully God and man at the same time, or believing that he didn’t suffer in hell in our place, or even proclaiming that he didn’t exist before becoming to earth. All these wrong conclusions would be robbing Jesus of the glory that is due him. So, let’s do our best to walk after the Spirit, living for Jesus and keeping our mind stayed on God the Father at all times. And let’s pray that we who are in Christ would do just that. Amen.
Below are some more scripture passages that may help you to comprehend what’s being said here:
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
A Few Words to the Reader
It is my intent that this article would remind you, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, of the price that God the Father paid for us by sending his Son (the Word) to be a payment for our sins. And yes, there are those who have a tendency to water down his suffering for one reason or another. However, God is our final Judge so let’s put away any judgment on our part. But even though that is true, He still requires us to point out His error. This we must do in hope that those who are in error will come to the full knowledge of the truth. So, I hope this article will give you all the more reason to praise and worship our God and Father knowing the price that he truly paid for all us sinners by sending his beloved Son whom he loved. Therefore, let us also give homage to our Savior Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave this life for us, and being thankful for the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. Amen.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
God who loves us, desires that none should perish for he says: “As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11) We see the same thing in the New Testament where it says: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) So, to make this possible, Jesus Christ came to take all our sins upon himself. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)
According to the passage above, Jesus said: “as Jonah was. …so shall the Son of man be.” So, to see what it was like for Jesus in the heart of the earth, we need to see how it was for Jonah himself. “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:1-2) So, we can see that Jonah was experiencing “affliction” and quoted it as being in “the belly of hell.” Also, we read that Jonah said: “I cried by reason of mine affliction” and God heard him and we know that He delivered him as well.
So, from all this we should be able to conclude that Jesus was suffering affliction as well in the heart of the earth, which we know is hell. And from what we can read in book of Hebrews, Jesus while being in his earthly body cried out to God as well, pleading that his soul would not be left in hell. For we read: “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; (Hebrews 5:7) And we know Jesus was heard, for Peter said concerning him: “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:24)” (Acts 2:24) So, Jesus was “loosed” from “the pangs of death.” So, what pains are there in death? Hellfire my friends.
Also, we can see clearly from the account of the “Rich man and Lazarus” that hell is a place of torment. “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:24) And let’s remember that Jesus called Jonah a prophet and even at one point said: "in the volume of the book it is written of me.” (Hebrews 10:7, Psalm 40:7-9) So, from what we can read, Jesus took upon himself the torments that was do us, for “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
KEY PASSAGES CONCERNING JESUS IN HELL
Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
This passage above poses a few problems for us because in most translations (as we see above), it appears as if Jesus was promising the repentant thief that they would be together in paradise that day. But we also know that Jesus said he had to spend three days and nights in hell as well. So, how do we make sense of all this? Well, let’s first keep in mind that there were no comas in the Greek, so the translators had the option to place them where they wanted. So, for this passage quoted above, the translators of the King James Bible chose to put the coma before the word “today.” However, we have other bibles where the translators chose to place the coma after the word “today.” Thus, this same passage quoted above would read: “Truly I say to you today: you will be with me in paradise.” This makes more sense because now we have Jesus not promising the thief that they would be together that literal day, but at some point in the future.
Now, even though placing a coma may for the most part be just a minor thing, in this case however it becomes a major one when it comes to understanding this passage above. So, it’s important that you have more than one translation within your library to help you have a better understanding of God’s word. This is true especially when those red flags pop up in your head telling you that something not right or jiving here. But most importantly, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help us navigate through all these different bible texts. For with God’s help, we can sort out all things, even when it comes to something as simple as a coma placement.
Below are listed some of those translations that chose to place the coma after today. Of course, there are more than what’s listed below, but these have I listed from my library of books to give you three witness. (I also have in my collection the Peshitta English translation as well as The Companion Bible which attest to the readings below)
So, we can see that all three of these translations move the coma after the word “today." Therefore, the word “today”that Jesus used would only be to emphasize his promise to the thief that at some point in the future they would be together. Which I’m sure made that repentant thief very happy even though it wasn’t that literal day.
Below are other passages found in the King James bible which uses the word “today” to help emphasize what’s being said:
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (John 19:30)
According to that passage above, what was it that Jesus finished? Was our forgiveness and redemption totally completed at that moment? For we must remember that Jesus said "It is finished" before he died and rose from the dead. And let’s consider what the word of God says, for we read: “Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25) And in the letter to the Corinthians we read: “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” (1 Corinthians 15:15-18) So, Christ’s death and resurrection are crucial for our redemption. And wouldn’t it make more sense for Jesus to say, “it is finished” after his death and resurrection if the completion of our redemption was in mind.
Now, let’s examine another passage which may help us to understand what Jesus meant when He said “It is finished.” For we read: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” (John 17:3-4) So, we see that Jesus came to reveal not only who he is, but “the only true God”which we know is God the Father. And not only that, Jesus came to reveal God’s plan of salvation for us as well by communicating to his disciple that he would have to die.
Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)
From what we can see from this passage above, Jesus totally trusted his heavenly Father with his own life. This he did knowing that the Father would not leave his soul in hell as stated before when He said: “I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue exulted; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:8-10)
So, Jesus trusted the Father that he would deliver his soul from hell after the three days and nights were accomplished. Therefore, let’s not come to the wrong conclusion that this passage is indicating that Jesus went immediately to the Father after his death. For that would make portions of the gospel confusing and even contradicting.
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40)
Now, we must not come to the false notion and believe that Jesus went inside the earth in a place called "Abrahams Bosom” for three days and nights (Luke 16:22) For if we examine the scriptures, we would find that this is not true. And, if Jesus was just hanging-out with the saints in such a place, (some, who would have been there for more than a few thousand years), why was he so glad to get out of there as quoted earlier? Let's remember while praying in agony Jesus said: "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39) So, wouldn’t this agonizing prayer be not only for the cross, but over his three days and nights in hell as well? I do believe so.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
Now, let’s deal with the word “paradise” which Jesus mentioned to the thief and see where it is. First, we can see from the passaged quoted above, the paradise of God is where the tree of life is. So, let’s read and see where is the tree of life? “And he shewed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, going out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of its street, and of the river, on this side and on that side, the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, in each month yielding its fruit; and the leaves of the tree for healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2) So, we see that the “tree of life” is by the “river of water of life” which goes out from the throne of God.
Also, we have Paul's own testimony when he said, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) So, according to the apostle Paul, paradise is up in heaven and not in some abode inside the earth.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1)
So, where is Abraham and all the Saint of God who have died? Well, to find that answer, we must look closely to what is quoted above. First, we should notice that it says we’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses? And next, it says in Hebrews 11:13 that those witnesses are they who have died in faith. So, according to God’s word, it sounds like they are quite alive and we’re surrounded by them as well. We can see this also to be true from what we read about the rich man and Lazarus. For after he died, the rich man was conscious of his surroundings, feeling the torments of hell while Lazarus who also had died was being comforted in the arms of Abraham who was quite alive himself.
And let's also remember that Moses and Elisha appeared before Peter, James and John when Jesus was transfigured before them. And let’s remember that Jesus said to the Sadducees: “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31-32) So, even though a person’s body may be buried in the ground, their soul would be still alive. This would be true whether one is in the realm of the saints above the earth or being tormented in the flames of hell below it. (Matthew 17:1-4)
Further reading concerning this:
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke 16:22-23)
Now, you may be saying, “didn't the rich man in hell talk to Abraham afar off.” Well yes, but this is not proof that there is a chamber called “Abrahams Bosom” inside the earth. For there’s are a few problems with this. The first is the fact that the rich man has never seen Abraham before. So, how could he have recognized him far off in the distance among a huge mass of people. That would be like you sitting in a packed stadium and recognizing a well-known radio host all the way on the other side whom you never seen nor heard before; and then on top of that, being able to talking with him as well amongst the noise of the crowds.
So, on the contrary, wouldn’t this be a vision of some sort, just as it was with Stephen who was looking up and seeing Jesus standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7:55-56) So, that great gulf fixed between the rich man and Lazarus could have been simply the distance between hell beneath the earth, and the Saintly realm of the dead above it.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11)
Now, should we come to the conclusion that our atonement for sin has nothing to do with the shed blood of Christ? Not at all, for his word says above as well as below:
So, we see that the blood of Christ is a vital part of our atonement for sin. For without it, there would be no forgiveness possible. However, all sacrifices had to be done according to procedure which was written in the law. For not only was the blood of the lamb to be shed and applied for the remission of sins, but the lamb also had to go through the fire. One was not to be done without the other. And if by chance a step was missed or neglected, would God even regard it? God said: “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.” (Exodus 12:8)
Therefore, even though the blood of the lamb was the atonement for their sins, they still had to partake of its flesh which went through the flames of fire as well. So likewise, Christ blood does atone for our sins, but we also have to partake of him by receiving him in our hearts. And this could only have fully come about after all he did for us, not only by his blood being shed on the cross, but enduring the flames of hell as well. All this Jesus endured so that we wouldn’t have to. Thus, Jesus Christ truly became as a lamb that was slain.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
Now as mentioned earlier, we see that hell is the temporary abode for all who have died in their sins. (Luke ch.16) So again, even though Christ's blood was a vital part of our atonement for sins, he still had to suffer the wrath of God that was do for all sinners, which is hell itself. And let's remember that God is not a respecter of persons. (Acts 10:34) So, because our Savior Jesus died a sinner’s death, he had to also suffer a sinner’s death: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Now we must realize that the cross is a visible form of punishment brought on by man against those who violate the laws of man (which ideally should only coincide with God's laws). So, in a sense, it’s man's wrath and displeasure against those who are a threat to the good of society. On the other hand, hell is the wrath of God against those who violated his laws and standards. So, because Jesus was viewed by the religious rulers as a false prophet and a deceiver of the people, they put him to death according to the commandment of the law. (Zechariah 13:3-7) But again, because Jesus became sin for us, he had to suffer God's wrath which was hell.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
But by the power of our God, Jesus was raised from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. For it was imposable that death should hold him because in him was found no sin. For we read: “whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” (Acts 2:24) So let’s us rejoice over this fellow Christians, for our God wants all to be saved just as his word says: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
And this is also true in the Old Testament where we read: “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11) This is so true. Therefore, let’s be: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. (Romans 14:1-2)
Not everybody is at the same level of faith when it comes to the word of God. For there are some who have just a limited knowledge of the word yet they are still saved. On the other hand, there are those who have a much deeper knowledge of the word and are saved as well. And let’s remember what Paul the apostle said to the Corinthian believers: And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2) So, if one only has the knowledge that Jesus died on the cross and rose the third day, this person still would be saved if he believes in the saving blood of Christ.
So, I hope that this would stimulate a desire for you to dig deeper into God’s word. (2 Timothy 2:15) For it should be our desire to truly recognize and see everything that God did for us sinner. Therefore, we must not rely on man but read the bible ourselves and rely on the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. For his word says: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26) And let’s also remember what John the apostle said: “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie--just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 John 2:27)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17) So, let us always be “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) Amen.
YouTube Web Links on this Subject:
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26.