If God is the source of the Universe, and if He chose to reveal Himself to the creatures He has made–how would He accomplish this task? Would He make Himself know in a manner that we could expect, or would His revealing come in a way totally unanticipated?
The Apostle John wrote that although Jesus is the source of all things which exist, when He arrived in Jerusalem as the Messiah, the leaders of Israel did not recognize Him.
John 1:11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
Today, many people repeat this error by failing to recognize the true identity of Jesus. Who He is, and the purpose for which He arrived in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago–is of profound importance. God was seeking to reveal Himself to all mankind. He chose to accomplish this by sending His Son, in the form a man. He spoke human words and communicated love, mercy, and forgiveness, in a manner that any person could understand.
Those who first saw and heard Jesus–suffered from difficulty in identifying Him. It is a fact of human nature that we find it difficult to accept things which do not meet our expectations. If there is a God, and if He chose to reveal Himself to the world–would He not do so with great grandeur, accompanied by an army of glorious beings?
In fact, God chose to reveal Himself in great humility and simplicity. Jesus was born to a poor family, under questionable circumstances–with great difficulty. He lived the first thirty years of His life as a simple carpenter, working with His hands, making useful items for people. He experienced all of the difficulties and trials that all human beings encounter. He did this so that anyone, from any level of human life–might be able to relate to Him as not only a Savior, but as one who understands what it is like to be human.
Before God would come into the world and make Himself visibly known, He would empower Godly men to write details of His arrival, so that when He did come, He could be easily identified. If I told you that two months from now, a man would come to your home who would bring you every good thing that your heart desired, how would you be able to identify Him? First, I would tell you a little about this person; what He is like, what He would say, and what He would do. When you saw this man and He said and did those things that had been described to you–there would be no mistake in recognizing Him.
This is how the Great God of the Universe has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind.
The identity of Jesus is made clear by the things that He has done. John the Baptist wanted to know if Jesus was “the Prophet, Priest, and King” who was foretold by the Old Testament prophets. He asked Jesus, “Are you the Coming One?”
Matthew 11:2-5 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
Jesus said that His identity is linked to what He has said and done—in fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies.
The Blind See: Prophecy 197
Isaiah 29:18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book, And the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Matthew 9:29-30 Then Jesus touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened.
The Lame Walk: Prophecy 197
Prophecy: Isaiah 35:5-6 … Then the lame shall leap like a deer.
Fulfillment: Matthew 15:30 Then great multitudes came to Jesus, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.
The Lepers are Cleansed: Prophecy 30
Prophecy: Leviticus 14:11 Then the priest who makes him clean shall present the man who is to be made clean, and those things, before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
Fulfillment: Luke 5:12-14 And it happened when Jesus was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.”
The Deaf Hear: Prophecy 197
Prophecy: Isaiah 29:18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book…
Prophecy: Isaiah 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Fulfillment: Mark 7:32-37 Then they brought to Jesus one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly. Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
The Dead are Raised: Prophecy 190
Prophecy: Isaiah 26:19 Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise.
Fulfillment: John 11:43-44 Now when Jesus had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
The Good News is Preached: Prophecy 280
Prophecy: Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.
Fulfillment: Luke 4:16-21 So Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
We know who Jesus is, by the things that He has done. In this regard–anyone can correctly identify Him as the only person who has correctly met the hundreds of requirements that the Hebrew prophets describe for the Messiah. God has revealed Himself to us. He has come in a manner that He has chosen; in humility, as a servant to us–to bring us the best news that any human being has ever heard:
Our sins are forgiven, and we all have the opportunity to live in beauty and perfection–forever. All that we must do is receive the One whom God has sent into the world.
1 John 4:9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Hebrews 1:1-2 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.