Posted: October 17th, 2013
Jesus the Servant and Son of God
Jesus is perhaps one of the most controversial and misunderstood figures in history and religion. Some people find it hard to reconcile the fact that Jesus was whom He said He was – the son of God. Because of this, they do not believe anything about Him, whether it is presented in the Christian literature, or whether documented in historical accounts. For many Christians, the bible is the only source of information they have which tells them about Jesus. However, some Christians do not understand the complete nature of Jesus since they find what seems to be contradicting information in the bible’s books. The Gospels present most of the information about Jesus while He was here on earth. However, they give different information concerning His life and death. This makes many people wonder about the accuracy of the information contained in the bible. The gospel books in the bible are different accounts of Jesus according to different writers. Each of the gospel writers chose to focus on specific ideologies and principles about Jesus. The different perspectives of the authors help people in understanding the nature and person of Jesus in different ways. While on earth, Jesus was a demonstration of the love that God the father has for his people, and he showed this by acting in obedience to God, becoming the suffering servant and savior of the world.
Jesus is the son of God, but he came to earth and lived as a man. While on earth, he demonstrated the fact that he knew God personally yet at the same time, he did ordinary things. His parents took Him to be named and circumcised. He was dutiful and obedient, and he often helped them. He underwent normal religious practices such as baptism, fasting, praying, and going to the places of worship. Jesus hungered for food and drink as other people did. He celebrated with others, such as at the wedding in Galilee. He got tired, and He rested and slept when necessary, such as when there was a storm. Jesus formed friends with other people such as the friendship and close bond He had with Lazarus and his family, often making time to visit. Therefore, He felt the loss when Lazarus died, and He wept for him, although He knew that Lazarus would resurrect. Jesus also had a closer bond with three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John. He was there with them during the transfiguration, which was a momentous moment in His life.
Jesus faced the trials and temptation that people face, and he experienced several challenges. He faced the temptations from the devil when fasting for forty days in the desert. He faced trials when as he went through the accusations brought by the Pharisees and other Jews, who accused Him before the roman council. Jesus was misunderstood by different people, including his own family. This is despite the fact that His parents knew that he would be an extraordinary child. They had experienced the visitation from the angels before and after His birth. They experienced the manner in which the wise men spoke about Him, and even the miracles He performed. The religious leaders did not understand Jesus, despite all the visible signs that were there that had told much about Jesus. They did not believe the teachings or proclamations of Jesus, although they had read the scriptures widely. Initially, the disciples of Jesus did not understand Him either, although they followed Him. At one time, they were not certain of his identity, and they were awed by the miracles that Jesus performed.
Jesus observed the Jewish and Roman laws. For instance, Jesus healed a man and commanded him to show himself to the priest as the Law of Moses commanded. He observed the Passover with His disciples, as the rest of the Jews did. He told the people to pay taxes, which was required to them by the Roman law. Jesus was a man, but He distinguished Himself from humanity because He was able to overcome temptations and trials. He did not merely observe the religious requirements for the sake of doing so. For instance, the Jewish religious leaders condemned Him, declaring him unclean because He chose to interact and dine with sinners and tax collectors. He had the spirit of God, and this made Him fulfill the mission that He had come to fulfill on earth.
Jesus spoke and taught with authority, showing people that he had a clear idea of the things he taught them. His authority reaffirmed His nature as a leader, and it made people follow and obey Him. He called the people who were later to be His disciples with authority, and they did not even question Him. They stopped doing whatever they were doing, and they heeded His commands. Jesus taught with such authority that many of the people were drawn to Him, something that the religious leaders were not able to do. All the people who listened to Him marveled at how He spoke. He even performed miracles with authority. He commanded the storm, and it calmed down. He commanded the demons to come out of people, and they did. Jesus even spoke with authority to death, and it heard Him, leading to the resurrection of Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus.
The authority of Jesus meant that He knew what He was doing. When He taught the people, He was confident, and He had reassurance about the content of His message. When He commanded the demons out of people, He knew that they would hear and obey since He had power over them (Ehrman 59-60). Jesus also demonstrated His authority in the way He addressed the Jewish leaders. He condemned their religious hypocrisy in front of people, and He warned the people to be aware of them. In one instance, He warned the disciples of the yeast of the Pharisees. When giving the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus presented the religious leaders as people who did not care about others. Jesus warned against the Pharisees, condemning them even when they were in his presence. He was not afraid of how they would react, but He spoke to the leaders and to other people with authority.
Jesus came to earth to fulfill the command of God, of redeeming and reconciling people with His Father. While on earth, Jesus took the role of a servant sent by God to His people. He taught the people about life and God. He presented God to the people in a way that they had never known before, using concepts that they would understand such as parables and miracles. By using these concepts, Jesus showed the loving nature of God to the people, and the desire that God had to see His people come closer to Him. Jesus told many parables, using familiar concepts. The parables aimed at showing people the nature of God’s kingdom. The parable of the prodigal son showed the people that God was waiting for them with open arms and that He was ready to forgive them when they went to Him. The parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep were illustrations of how God is concerned about their life, and how He rejoiced when He found that which was lost (Luke 15).
Jesus performed many miracles for the people. He healed many of those who were sick and raised those who were dead. He cast out demons on the afflicted and fed the hungry. Jesus ministered to the people in different places. He went to the synagogue and interpreted the word of God to the people. He went to the cities and the mountains and told the people about God (Mathew 8). Jesus had a word and a message for everybody. He socialized with the outcast in the society, including the lepers, the prostitutes, and the tax collectors. He showed the people that even sinners had a place in the kingdom of God. The religious leaders criticized Jesus for socializing with the sinners, but Jesus did not let this bother Him. He told the religious leaders that he had come to save those who were lost and in sin, reiterating that only the sick people need the doctor (Luke 19:10). He spoke to the rich and the poor, and the religious and the ones who were not religious. He condemned the Pharisees and other religious leaders, for their hypocrisy. The actions of the Pharisees drew people away from God because they showed the people that they were not worthy before God. Jesus was a Jew, and He was careful to observe the Sabbath and other Jewish laws. However, His assertions as the servant of God to bring people closer made Him place the people above the Sabbath. Therefore, He was quick to heal those who needed healing on the Sabbath, and to teach people about the kingdom of God on the Sabbath.
Jesus acted as the servant of God when He left the heavenly kingdom and came to earth to live with people. He acted as the servant of God when He continued ministering despite the rejection He faced from His own people. Many Jews were not willing to believe in Jesus. They did not believe that He was the Messiah they had been anticipating despite the many signs preceding the birth of Jesus, and the prophecies told about Him. The Pharisees and other religious leaders had read much about the prophecies that were told about the Messiah. They refused to believe Him despite the messages that John the Baptist spoke to them and despite the miracles of Jesus. Despite their unbelief, Jesus continued teaching and talking to them about the kingdom of God. Jesus took the role of the suffering servant when He agreed to die on the cross, and become the ultimate sacrifice for the people. He knew that He would suffer and that He would be in pain, but He chose to proceed. He was beaten, humiliated, rejected, despised, and crucified for the redemption of humanity.
Jesus acted in obedience to God when he lived among people, and when he died on the cross for their salvation. He did not hide His divine nature from the people. He showed the people that He was sent from God by his works, which showed that He had divine power from God. Jesus constantly referred to God as His father. In different accounts, in the Bible, Jesus told the people who He was. He told them that He was the resurrection and the life, proving this when by raising different people from death. Jesus said he was the good shepherd. He would lead the people in clear paths and protect them from danger, just as a shepherd does for His sheep. He is willing to die for the sake of His sheep, which in this case are His people. Jesus says that He is the bread of life and that those who come to Him shall not hunger. Jesus told His disciples that He was the way, the truth and life and that people would only go to God through Him.
Jesus is proud to declare the fact that He belongs to God. He tells His disciples that they have seen God since they have seen Him. Jesus says that He has existed before time and is one with the father. Jesus told the people that He was the light of the world, inviting those who are in darkness to come to Him and receive the light. During the baptism and the transfiguration of Jesus, God reaffirmed the fact that Jesus was His son. When Jesus went past people with demons and cast them out, the demons recognized His divine nature, and proclaimed the fact that He was the Son of God. In different times, in the life of Jesus, angels appeared and ministered to Him. This happened from before the time He was conceived when an angel appeared to Mary and told her of the birth of Jesus. His conception and birth were holy and divine, in that He was born of a virgin. An angel also appeared when Jesus was fasting in the desert. After Jesus had died, an angel appeared on the third day declaring the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was the Son of God and He was divine in nature. He rose on the third day after He died, and He appeared to His disciples on several accounts. He ascended into heaven as the disciples watched Him.
Jesus performed miracles that only a divine person could execute. These miracles were a sign that He had divine power from heaven. He had power over life and death. He was able to feed more than five thousand people with two fish and five loaves of bread. He was able to restore sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. Jesus healed the paralyzed, as well as the lepers. He set people free from demonic attacks and He healed the epileptic. He enabled the disciples to catch many fish until they were overwhelmed although they had been striving to do so for a whole night without any success. He slept through a violent storm, and He calmed it down when the disciples woke Him up. He changed water into wine during the wedding in Galilee.
Some of the things that Jesus did were divine and supernatural in nature, though many people do not consider them miracles. For instance, Jesus was able to walk on water without drowning. He was able to fast for forty days in the desert, where He went without any food or water. Only a divine person would be able to do the things that Jesus did. Sometimes Jesus only needed to say a word or touch someone, and he or she would be healed in some cases, people were healed because of the faith they had. This happened with the centurion’s servant and the woman with the issue of blood. Jesus taught about the kingdom of God. He taught with such authority like one who had detailed information about the kingdom. He taught using parables and illustrations. He presented the people with an ideal heaven, which they would desire to go to once they died. He constantly referred to God as His father, and He told the people that He would go and prepare a place for them. The form of heaven that He referred to was a place of love and comfort.
Despite His divine nature, Jesus was a humble man. He demonstrated humility to the disciples and to the people who followed Him. He treated people with sympathy and He pitied them. At one time, Jesus commanded the disciples to feed the people who had followed Him to listen to His messages. The disciples wanted to chase the people away because of their lack food. Jesus used the opportunity to show the love and compassion He had for the people, and He was able to feed a multitude of people with little amount of food. Jesus walked to different places to save the lost and to free those who were in bondage. He did not give up His mission, although He was tired, discouraged, and rejected by the people. Jesus showed humility by emphasizing the fact that He was the servant of God. He demonstrated service to others to His disciples by washing their feet.
Jesus signified love for the people. He came to offer relief to the sinful and those bound by the law. By coming to earth and fulfilling the wishes of His Father, He was able to draw people closer to God. He informed the people that similar education as that of the religious leaders was not required to access God. He introduced God the father to the people, and by doing this, He introduced the element of a close relationship between the people and God. Jesus was the servant of God while here on earth. He demonstrated this through His actions and teachings. Jesus is the savior of the world, and He showed this by becoming the suffering servant, and dying on the cross, thereby redeeming humanity. Jesus was the divine Son of God even though He descended to earth to live as a man. God confirmed this during the baptism and the transfiguration of Jesus.
By coming to earth and living among people, Jesus was able to teach people about God. This made the people have a clearer understanding of the nature of the God they worshipped. Jesus demonstrated the love that God had for the people, when he was willing to become the suffering servant for their sake. This enabled him to endure many things brought against him by the Jewish religious leaders, and other people who did not understand or believe in him. He became their savior, and they found relief from sin and the burden of the law through him.
Blomberg, L. Craig. Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, Second Edition. B&H Publishing Group, 2009. Print
Ehrman, D. Bart. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writing. New York: Oxford Publishers, 2011. Print
Marsh, Clive and Steve, Moyise. Jesus and the Gospels: 2nd Edition. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006. Print
Platt, E. Elizabeth. Four Portraits of Jesus: Studies in the Gospels and Their Old Testament Background. Paulist Press, 2004. Print
The Holy Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids: Biblica, Inc. 2011. New International Version
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