Who is this Man?

The disciples witnessed Jesus heal the sick, exorcise demons, forgive sins, and even calm a violent storm - and all done with great authority. Yet rather than faith in the Son of God, his miracles produced confusion and fear among many, and in his disciples, the question – “ WHO IS THIS MAN? ”

The Crucified One Reigns

The New Testament links Christ’s enthronement to his death and resurrection by using key messianic texts in the Hebrew Bible. He achieved the authority to rule because of his faithful obedience unto death, and God vindicated him by raising him from the dead. And not only did the Father resurrect him, but He also seated him “ at His right hand ” where he now reigns supreme over all things.

Heir of Abraham

The gospel of Matthew begins by declaring that Jesus of Nazareth is the “ son of Abraham .” This is more than a genealogical notation - it sets the stage for the theme of fulfillment in this gospel account. The Nazarene is the Messiah and King of Israel, the promised “ seed ” of the Patriarch. In him, all the covenant promises find their fulfillment.

His Priestly Kingdom

At Sinai, Yahweh summoned Israel to be a “ kingdom of priests, a holy nation .” If she kept His covenant, the nation would become “ my own possession… for all the earth is mine .” He never intended for His people to be isolated from the rest of humanity. Instead, Israel was to reflect His light in a dark world.

On the Way

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus explains to his disciples just what it means to be the Messiah of Israel - Mark 8:27-38.  Jesus queried his disciples: Who do men say that I am? At least nine times, Mark declares that Jesus is “ on the way .” His march to Jerusalem echoes the words in Isaiah applied at the outset of Mark’s account to John the Baptist- “ I send my messenger before your face who shall prepare your way .”

The New Priest

The inability of the Levitical system to cleanse sins necessitated the new priesthood inaugurated by God in the death of Jesus .  The letter to the Hebrews begins by stressing the superiority of the “ word spoken in the Son ” over previous revelations “ spoken in the prophets ,” including the Great Lawgiver, Moses, and this indicates fundamental weaknesses in the Levitical priesthood and the sacrificial system.

Mercy is NOT Optional

Mercy and love are the defining characteristics of his true disciple, and they epitomize the cruciform life – Matthew 5:43-48.  In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exhorts his disciples to become “ perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect .” But how is anyone able to emulate the perfect righteousness of God? Simple. By performing acts of mercy for one’s enemy.

Disciples and Persecutors

When Christians react to hostility with hostility, whether from government, society, or individuals, Satan triumphs . The reality of persecution raises several questions. How should disciples react to any opposition, especially when they are persecuted by governments? Should they respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests, or are followers of Jesus called to emulate his example?