When I started this series, I was doing so from the point of view of an actor developing a character. In order to bring a character to life, we need to know their history, their lineage, their lifestyle, friends, personality and more. Usually we go to the script for the information – in this case, the Bible.
The Word of God has a lot to say about the Messiah. In the Old Testament, there are over 300 prophesies written about him and what He would do – how He would live and die – those He associated with – His mission and so forth. In the New Testament, we see an early example of His Devotion to studying the Scriptures and His knowledge and understanding of them. He was twelve at the time.
In Luke 4:14-21 Jesus returns to His home town of Nazareth to teach. Particularly in verse 16 it says, “He went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As was His custom, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read.” He was not yet time for Him to teach.
This little snippet, tells us that during the time of His youth, it was His custom to read in the synagogue. This was something He did every Sabbath until He began His ministry.
The prophesies (many in the book of Isaiah) speak of Jesus’ lineage,birth, where it happened, the events surrounding it. We also get a glimpse of the kind of person He was.
Isaiah 53:1, 3* – “Who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal His saving power? He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care.”
Isaiah 53:7-8*a – “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. From prison and trial they led Him away to His death.”
Psalm 22:14-16* – “My life is poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within Me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of My mouth. You have laid Me in the dust and left Me for dead. My enemies surround Me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on Me. They have pierced My hands and feet.”
The man He became, says a lot about His upbringing and character. He was friendly and knew how to communicate to the common man. I imagine He had an amazing speaking voice – gentle and kind, yet loud enough to reach the ears of thousands. He honored His earthly parents as well as His heavenly Father. He had a servant attitude up to the point of laying down His life for the world and their sins. He knew about fishing, carpentry, walking on water, calming a storm and being useful in His community. He was able to heal people and raise them from the dead. He was generous, spoke the truth, knew what was in people’s hearts and minds and enjoyed being with them. He was also determined in His mission for mankind, which required a great amount of focus. He was angry with the corruption of God’s Word and wasted no words in stating His displeasure. He prayed fervently for His people. He loved everyone.
With all these personality traits, we get a hint of who Jesus is. We don’t have evidence, but we can speculate. All we really need to know is this. Jesus was born a natural birth – Son of God and Mary’s Son. His presentation at the temple before Simeon, made it clear that He was the awaited Messiah. He escaped death by Herod when the family fled to Egypt. He stayed back on one of the family’s trips to Jerusalem and went to the temple to learn. He was in His Father’s house. Then, when His parents found Him, He went back with them and was obedient to them. Later, He shared His Word with the masses, fed them, prayed with and for them, healed them, led them to repentance, suffered the pain of torture, abuse and scorn and eventually hung on a cross to die for you and me. He then conquered the devil and rose to life again.
Jesus was a man, but He was also God. This is a most amazing concept and difficult to understand, but because of man’s fall into sin, our connection to the mind of God has been broken. Some day it will all make perfect sense to us. What we need to know about Jesus, is that He loved us so much He died for us. He rose again, on the third day, as we will also do when we die.
WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS!