Sermon – January 3, 2021 – Christmas 2

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Pastor Clark  ~  John 7:40-43  ~  January 3, 2021  ~  Christmas 2 Sermon

Who is Jesus?

40On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.

Dear friends in our Savior, Jesus,

This may sound like a public examination question, but it really isn’t meant to. Who is Jesus? Now, please note, I’m not asking, “Who is Jesus to you?” That’s really a far different question, and it leads us down all kinds of subjective dead ends. If you have listened to any of the popular Christian songs of our day or hear what the general public says about Jesus, you will recognize the problem. A time when people had a better Biblical literacy than ours was the time that Jesus walked among us. Even they struggled. So, WHO IS JESUS?

  1. He is the Christ who brings us spiritual, heavenly peace.

40On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”

Jesus had gone secretly to Jerusalem to one of the three major Jewish festivals called the Feast of Tabernacles. While he was there he taught in the temple courts in such an authoritative way and with such understanding that people asked who he was.

There were all kinds of speculation. Little conversations crept up among the people of the crowd who heard what Jesus had to say. Maybe he was the prophet. That is a reference to the Old Testament: (Deuteronomy 18:18) 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. They thought maybe that’s who Jesus was.

Others speculated that he was the Messiah, and that opened up a whole new can of worms. They knew Jesus was from Nazareth but that the Messiah was supposed to come from Bethlehem. They knew enough to know this prophecy, but they didn’t know enough about Jesus to realize that he had been born in Bethlehem. So there was confusion.

Those kinds of situations happen today, too. Especially the one where people know a little bit about Jesus but not too much. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Not knowing who Jesus is leads people today to think that some sins are “not that bad.” It leads people to think that repentance is nothing more than saying you’re sorry for your sins, completely leaving out a change in actions. It leads people to treat worship services like a binge worthy Netflix show…I’ll fast forward to the parts I like the most.

Do you know who Jesus is? Jesus is the Prophet who Moses said would come. He is the Messiah to which prophecies from the Bible and eyewitnesses like his mother, his stepfather, the angels, and the shepherds all testify. As the Christ, Jesus came to be the Savior from sins, the least of which is damnable, even if it is the sin of ignorance. He came to remove the guilt from our lives instead of letting it be the motivation in our lives. Jesus is the Christ who brings spiritual, heavenly peace.

  1. He is the Christ who causes earthly division.

That’s what the Bible says, but that doesn’t mean everyone will appreciate it. Many people will want Jesus to be what they want him to be. That was true at this feast of the Tabernacles. 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.

With all the murmuring going on among the crowd, they didn’t agree. They didn’t agree with Jesus, and they didn’t agree with each other. This wasn’t the only time this happened. (John 9:16; 10:19). People couldn’t be neutral when it came to Jesus.

Just a few nights ago we gathered and sang, “Sleep in heavenly peace” from “Silent Night.” But do people even understand that? People hear those words and point to the homeless and question how we could sing such a thing. Many think Christ’s church exists to feed the hungry or pay their electric bill. The reasons they are confused is that they don’t know who Jesus is.

I know this can sound harsh because in the deep recesses of our hearts, it’s not what we would like Jesus to be. Maybe we should listen to Jesus himself:  (Matthew 10:34) 34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. He also said in Luke 12:49-53: 4 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Should this concern you and me? It should because it comes down to who Jesus is. Not everyone’s idea is correct. And that’s not popular at this time of year when we just want to enjoy our families and our celebrations.

God sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world. He sent him to walk in our shoes for an entire lifetime the way he wants us all to walk. And when Jesus was done, God took out his payment for all our subjectivity and our rebellion on Jesus. He then raised him to show to all that Jesus had succeeded for you and me. All the rest of it is meaningless without this. That’s who Jesus is. Don’t be led astray by your own desires or become uncertain about him no matter what other people may say. He isn’t uncertain about you. Amen.