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A. I am excited to spend this semester pondering the life of our blessed Savior.
B. We are going to only scratch the surface because of how big a subject this is. Remember what we read in John 21:25 “There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”
C. No story has been more frequently told, pondered, analyzed, expounded than the story of Jesus coming into the world, and what He said and did, and how He died and rose again. It is the greatest story ever told.
II. Christ: the greatest topic which could ever be studied.
A. What is more worthy of our study?
1. Didn’t God give you a mind? Didn’t He give you the ability to study things? Well, what is more worthy of your mind than thinking about Jesus? And what is more worthy of your study than studying about Jesus?
2. What -ology is more worthy of your study that Christology?
3. If you only study one subject, what would be better to study than Jesus?
4. Col.2:3 tells us that in Jesus “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
B. And what study could be more personally important?
1. What other study sets you free? John 8:31-32, 36 “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free...if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
2. What other study gives you rest? “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt.11:29)
a. He Himself tells us to learn from Him. How do we learn from Him? By listening to His teaching and His actions.
C. There is no more important question than the one Jesus asks: “Who do people say that I am?” and even more important: “Who do you say that I am?”
1. There is no more controversial study than the study of Jesus. The debate rages fiercely: Who was Jesus?
2. The Bible says that when you study Jesus, you’re learning about God Himself.
a. Col.2:9 “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
b. Heb.1:3 “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature.”
III. Christ and the Scriptures
A. And so Jesus is gone (in the sense of His human/fleshly presence) and we’re left with two things: His Spirit and His word.
1. But the source of truth we have about Jesus is His word, a book, a piece of literature.
2. But some people don’t like literature. Interested in mining?
B. You can’t say “I’m into Jesus but I’m not into the Bible.” Which Jesus?
1. In 2Cor.11:4 Paul talks about someone who “comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached.”
2. The human tendency to reinvent Jesus.
3. How were they supposed to know which Jesus to believe in? By comparing it to the apostles’ teaching. And so it is with us. We are to be guided in our thinking about Jesus by the apostles’ teaching.
4. Jesus prays for us in this way: “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
IV. Spiritual dimensions of the study of Jesus
A. Of course, this is not just any study. It’s a study with a strong spiritual implications, a study for which we are dependant on the Holy Spirit.
1. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (John 16:13-14)
2. I think this applies to the apostles in a way it doesn’t apply to us, but it still makes clear the fact that the only way we will arrive at the truth of Christ is if we’re guided there by the Holy Spirit.
B. It is not just a matter of the mind but of the heart.
1. “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” (John 7:17)
2. This implies that if one is NOT willing to do His will, he will NOT know that the teaching of Christ is of God or not.
C. In the evangelical church you hear a lot about the fact that we can have a personal relationship with Christ and not just know about Him. I would like to explain that a little further.
1. We have a distinction between people we know personally and people we know about. All of us know about George Washington but none of us know him or can know him in this life, since he is dead. But all of us know other people personally.
2. The point about knowing Jesus is that Jesus was an historical figure who lived and walked in the land of Palestine in the first century. But when we study Christ, we are not merely studying a person who lived, but a person who lives.
3. Now that doesn’t mean you know Him personally. But it does mean you CAN know Him personally.
4. He is willing to be known. He is wanting to be known.
5. “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord... I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings.” (Phil.3:8, 10)
D. There is a kind of knowledge that puffs up. That’s obviously not what we’re talking about here.
1. When we study, we must study like a lover who longs to know his loved one more deeply, not like a student who is trying to get the best grade in the class.
A. Often at Christmas you hear Christians say that Jesus is the meaning of Christmas. But He’s not just the meaning of Christmas, He is the meaning of life. He is the meaning of everything!
1. He is the meaning of church.
2. He is the meaning of the world.
3. He is the meaning of the universe.
4. He is the meaning of history.
5. All things are for him and of him.
B. In fact, He is meaning itself.
1. The glory of anything is found in that it reflects Him.
2. When you study Christ you learn about everything else – including yourself.
a. You learn about the world.
b. You learn about why it was created.
c. You learn about why you were created – the purpose for your existence.
d. Your sin
e. God’s wrath against you
f. The love of God for you
g. You learn about your destiny.
3. We often hear the expression of someone finding himself. The way to find yourself is to search for Christ. The way to come to know who you are is by studying who He is.
4. Simeon – “Now I can die. I’ve seen Him.”
5. Zacharias – “Now I have joy.” Next to Him, nothing else matters.
6. The man who finds a treasure in a field
7. The merchant who finds the pearl of great price and sells all he has to purchase it
8. Stephen sees Jesus while being stoned
A. The most mysterious study
1. In Luke 2:19 we find Mary “treasur[ing] all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
a. This is not just an historical fact, but it is intended to teach us and lead us. It tells us that the appropriate response to the story of Jesus is to stop and ponder it with a sense of wonder and awe.
b. But it’s not merely something that awes us. It is also something that ought to be treasured and cherished and valued and prized.
B. No study more vast
1. John 21:24-25 “This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”
2. The gospel of John begins by saying Jesus is the word and it ends by saying a whole world full of our words would not be able to adequately explain who He is and what He did.
C. No loftier study, no higher subject
1. “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.” – John the Baptist (John 3:31)
2. Colossians 1:18 “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
3. Remember that this is how it’s all going to end: “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” (Rev.5:11-13)