Two Talents

Faith-based expressions of a Christian.

Waiting for the Messiah

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I read a story this morning which states the singer Madonna is looking to buy property in Israel.

US pop diva Madonna wants to buy a house in the Israeli town of Rosh Pina, where the ancient Jewish Kabbalah tradition expects the Messiah to appear at the end of the world.

Madonna is into Kabbalah, which I recently learned began as something taught to Rabbis who had achieved a higher scholastic level. Sort of an advanced studies course you might say. I find the story interesting for two reasons. Firstly, that Judaism has already failed to receive its promised Messiah (Yeshua, or Jesus) and that Madonna has turned her back on Jesus. She was raised Catholic, so she’s heard that Jesus is the Christ, received the Eucharist, etc. While I have major problems with the Roman Catholic presentation of the gospel message the crux of Jesus being the Christ is at least there within Catholicism.

At issue is whether Jesus is the Messiah promised to the Jews (i.e. the Christ, the Annointed One). If Jesus is who He said He was, then He is the promised Messiah. If He is the Messiah, then He was rejected by the Jews, because today most Jews are either atheists or still waiting for the Messiah. Let’s see what the scripture says.

I am the LORD! That is my name!
I will not share my glory with anyone else,
or the praise due me with idols. {Isaiah 42:8 NET}

God said He would not share His glory with anyone else, and yet Jesus claimed to share in it. Thus, Jesus was claiming to be God by saying He had God’s qualities.

18For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

19Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

20″For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.

21″For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes.

22″For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,

23so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

24″Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. {John 5:18-24 NASB}

It is interesting to note that when people made errors in Christ’s presence He corrected them, yet He never corrected anyone who came to the conclusion that He was God. This happened among the Jews more than once and Jesus did not once correct them for forming a wrong conclusion. Instead, he corrected them because their hearts were hardened and they did not possess faith. In point of fact, they had concluded correctly, but rather than be grateful that God’s promise had been fulfilled they were bitter, angry and full of hate for Jesus. They wanted him dead and eventually conspired to have him killed. Their plan succeeded only because Jesus allowed it.

Jesus never denied the charges of those Jews that He was making Himself equal with God. How could He when that is exactly what He said?

51″Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”

52The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’

53″Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?”

54Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’;

55and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word.

56″Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

57So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”

58Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

59Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. {John 8:51-58 NASB}

The audience in that case realized exactly what Jesus was saying, and claiming to be. He stated that He knew how Abraham felt about the matter and His audience asked how this could be, since Abraham had lived hundreds of years prior. Jesus was not even 50 years old, so how could He know such things? He answered them plainly by saying, “…before Abraham was born, I am.” His audience immediately knew what He was saying because God had said the following to Moses:

13Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”

14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” {Exodus 3:13-14 NASB}

Let us return to the first quoted portion of scripture, Isaiah 42:8

I am the LORD! That is my name!
I will not share my glory with anyone else,
or the praise due me with idols. {Isaiah 42:8 NET}

God said He would not share His glory with anyone else. Therefore, it follows that if God did share His glory it would have to be with Himself. Jesus said…

“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. {John 17:5 NASB}

“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. {John 17:24 NASB}

Jesus claimed to possess the glory of God, which God had said He would not share with anyone else. Did God lie? Or is Jesus God? Knowing the first option is impossible (for God cannot lie), and never desiring to suggest such an affront to God, I choose the latter option.

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Written by Shawn

March 4, 2006 at 3:49 pm

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