Who Is Jesus to You?
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Aug. 25, 2013
*Who is Jesus Christ? -- This is one of the most important questions we ever have to answer in life.
*Some people would say that Jesus is a mythological person on the same level as Zeus and Hercules. That's what I believed when I was a young man. Many people would say that Jesus was a prophet. And most would say that He was a good man.
*But the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is: The Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the Author of Life, the Author of Salvation, the Beginning and the End, the Bread of Life, the Creator of all, Emmanuel -- God with us, Faithful and True, Firstborn from the Dead, the Good Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep, the great "I Am", the Judge of the living and the dead, King Eternal, the Lamb of God, the Light of the World, Lord of All, our Protection, Redemption and Righteousness, the Resurrection and the Life, our Rock, our Savior, the Son of God, the Way, the Truth and the Life!
*Jesus is all of these things, and more! But who is Jesus Christ to you? This is an even more important question: Who is Jesus to you?
*Today's Scripture helps us see who Jesus wants to be to you. This Old Testament prophecy was written 700 years before Christ was born, but it certainly applies to Jesus.
*In Luke 4, Jesus went back to His hometown of Nazareth. He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath Day, and was asked to read God's Word. At that time Jesus turned to this very passage in Isaiah and read:
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;
2. To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
3. To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
*Then the Lord sat down to show His authority. In Jewish tradition the one who sat was in charge. That's where we get our word "chairman." (1)
*Jesus sat down after reading these verses, and said: "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:21)
*The townspeople understood that Jesus was claiming to be the prophesied Messiah and promised King. But they would not accept this local man as their Messiah. And in fact, they became so enraged that they tried to throw the Lord off a cliff.
*Of course they could not kill Jesus, because it was always God's plan for His only begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins. They also could not kill Jesus, because He IS the Messiah, Savior, Almighty God, and Lord of all. But this prophecy in Isaiah tells us much more about the Lord.
1. Who is Jesus to you? -- He wants to be your Preacher.
*And if we have trusted in the Lord, then Jesus is our Preacher. There are a lot of wonderful preachers in this world, but none of them can hold a candle to Jesus!
*In vs. 1, Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor. . ." That phrase "preach good tidings" is one word in the original language. It means "to bring good news," and the word picture is something fresh and full, overflowing with goodness.
*Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor." Now the Lord surely loves poor people, but He isn't talking about financial poverty here. He's talking about someone who realizes his own spiritual poverty.
*It's the same thing Jesus had in mind in Matthew 5:3, when He said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Jesus is talking about people who have realized that they have no righteousness on their own. But they are happy, because they have trusted in the Lord.
*In vs. 1, the Lord also said: "He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." Then in vs. 2 the Lord said: "He has sent me to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God. . ."
*Notice that word "proclaim" in those two verses. It means "to cry out with a loud sound." That word reminds us that we've got news so big and so important that it deserves to be shouted from the rooftop!
*But we must not skip over the sobering news in vs. 2: "The day of God's vengeance." Jesus also came to proclaim "the day of God's vengeance." God is surely going to take vengeance on His enemies. That includes everyone who refuses to receive Jesus as Lord. But if we have put our trust in Jesus, we can be sure that He will destroy our greatest enemies: Satan, sin and death.
*Jesus came to set His people free! And this takes us back to the good news in vs. 1, where Jesus said, "He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound."
*Here God is not primarily talking about prisons made with concrete and steel, though many Christians around the world are locked up in prisons like that right now. They are suffering in places like China and Iran, and one day they will be free!
*But here God is mainly talking about the prisoners who are trapped by their own sin. They are trapped under a sentence of eternal death. But Jesus said: "He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." And the wonderful truth is that through Christ we can still be free even in the worst prison.
*During World War II, Christian author Corrie ten Boom and her family were arrested by the Nazis for protecting Jews. Corrie and her sister we sent to the Ravensbrück prison camp north of Berlin. Between 1939 and 1945, over 130,000 female prisoners passed through the Ravensbrück camp system. Only 40,000 survived.
*Listen to part of Corrie's testimony: "Far away from my home in Holland, my sister Betsy and I were now to be within the shadow of a crematory. Every day about 600 bodies were burned (alive in that crematory).
*When I saw the smoke go up in the air I asked myself, 'When will it be my time to die?' I did not know before hand that I should be set free by a miracle from God. (It came in the form of a blunder by a prison official just) one week before the Germans killed all the women of my age.
*I have looked death in the eye not once, but several times. What a joy it was that Jesus was with me and that I knew that He had died on a cross for all the sins of the whole world and for my sins as well. I was not afraid! I knew that when they killed me I would go to the Father in heaven." (2)
*Corrie ten Boom was trapped in one of history's worst prisons. But she was already free because she trusted in the good news of the cross! She trusted in the message of the world's greatest preacher.
-Jesus wants to be your Preacher too.
2. He also wants to be your Healer.
*In Isaiah 61:1, the Lord said, "He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted." It's the word picture of binding up our wounds. People need healing. We need healing! And the only true healing comes from the Lord.
*Here's what the Apostle Peter said, when he was preaching about Jesus in Acts 10:36-38
36. "The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ He is Lord of all
37. that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:
38. how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and HEALING all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."
 Jesus went around "doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil." Certainly that includes physical healing.
*We thank God for our health-care professionals. They are a gift from God, and they help people every day. But ultimately, all physical healing comes from God.
 Jesus is our physical healer, and our emotional healer.
*As He said in vs. 1, "He (i.e. the Father) has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted." And nobody can heal a broken heart like Jesus Christ.
 Jesus is our physical healer, our emotional healer, and our spiritual healer.
*1 Peter 2:24 talks about those who have been spiritually healed by trusting in the Lord: "Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed."
-Jesus is our Healer! He gives physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.
 But best of all, He gives the ultimate, eternal healing to all who trust in Him.
*Some of you may have known Ellen Layfield. She was a wonderful Christian lady from Jonesboro. Ellen was a devoted wife, mother, teacher and friend. In April of 2007, at the age of 49, Ellen was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. She went home to be with the Lord on May 30, 2008.
*After surgery to remove the tumor from her colon, Ellen began chemo to battle the cancer that had spread to her liver. She went through terrible nausea and pain from the cancer and the treatments. But Ellen had tenacious, overcoming faith. Here's part of the online journal she wrote a few weeks before she went to Heaven:
*"Sorry I haven't checked in lately. This has been a much better week than last week. I have been sleeping better. I'm walking like an olddddddddd woman. I do have some back and rib pain, but that's just gonna take more chemo to get better (and prayer)!
*Cathy and Randy do a wonderful job of pampering! We've had lots of wonderful friends and family delivering food this week. We appreciate all of you so much.
*I have another devotional that I would like to share with you from the book 'His Princess: Love Letters from Your King' by Sheri Rose Shepherd:
*'My Princess: I Will Heal Your Heart Don't get discouraged. My beloved; pain is a part of life. But I promise you that I will turn every tear you've cried into joy, and I will use your deep pain for a divine purpose. Don't try to hide your hurts from Me. I know everything about you. You are Mine, My beloved!
*I'm the only one who can handle your heart and restore you to health and wholeness again. I, too, have felt great pain, rejection, and anger. But we can go through every trial together.
*Hand in hand I will lead you back to My place of peace and joy after the storm. The sun will shine on you again, and your heart will be healed. I promise you, My Princess, that when you go through deep waters of great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned.
Love, -- Your King and your Healer'" (3)
*Who is Jesus Christ to you? -- He wants to be your Healer.
3. And He wants to be your Comforter.
*In vs. 2&3 Jesus tells us that He was sent by His Father "to comfort all who mourn," and "to console those who mourn in Zion."
*Jesus is our Comforter. That word "comfort" has the picture of someone breathing strongly, touched with compassion over our hurt. The word "console" pictures someone who makes an appointment, someone who makes a commitment to show up and do everything necessary to help. That's Jesus Christ. He is our Comforter.
*Well, things may be going great for you right now and I hope they are. But we live in a hurting world, and someday that hurt is going to visit you. But God has a great desire to comfort you.
*When the Lord went back to Heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit into the world on the Day of Pentecost. And Jesus said that His Spirit would be our Comforter, the Comforter who lives in the heart of all Christians.
*Who is Jesus to you? -- He wants to be your Comforter.
4. And He wants to be your Giver.
*In vs. 3, the Lord tells us that He was sent by His Father "to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."
*Our God is a giver! He gives His people "beauty for ashes." When the people of that day mourned, they often poured ashes on their heads. Many Catholics still put a spot of ash on their foreheads on the first day of Lent. And the "beauty" God talked about here is the picture of a beautiful crown.
*Jesus is saying, "I will wash away those ashes of grief and give you a beautiful crown of joy." And there was a great play on words in the original Hebrew. The words "beauty" and "ashes" were basically formed from the same three letters. And if you reversed the first two letters in the Hebrew word for "ashes," it was transformed into the word for "beauty." (4)
*Here in effect Jesus is saying, "I can do this. I can turn your life completely around. I can give you all the changes you need in your life."
*Jesus was sent by His Father to give "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, (and) the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Our God is a giver! His Word shows this to us over and over again:
-For example, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
-Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
-Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
-James 1:17, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
-And Romans 8:31-32,
31. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
*Every good gift is from God. And best of all, He has given Himself. That's what Jesus did when He died on the cross for our sins. He is our Giver!
*But why does He give? What's the goal? -- We find out in Isaiah 61:3. There Jesus tells us that He was sent by His Father "to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."
*Or as the NIV says: "They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." Jesus is turning His followers into oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord for the glory of His name.
*Jesus is turning His followers into oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord for the glory of His name. Everything the Lord gives us is so that we will be His oaks of righteousness, and so we will help the next generation grow into oaks of righteousness.
*God has a heart for children. So in Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." God has a heart for children! And He wants us to have a heart like His.
*What can we say about children? -- Sometimes they are noisy, whiney, fussy and even smelly. But they are wonderful. Children are an invaluable investment for the future. Children bring new life and new light into a church. And a church without children is a dead church. But children are welcomed here!
*Pastor James McCullen knows a family in Illinois who had their 17th child! Seventeen kids! Their last name was "Bettis". And James asked: "Do you know what they named the 17th child? They named him 'Welcome.' -- 'Welcome Bettis.' They wanted their new son to know that he was just as welcome as the other 16, and it made a big impact on his life." (5)
*We want children to know that they are welcomed here! -- So that "they will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."
*We want children to be able to give the right answer to our question today: "Who is Jesus Christ to you?"
*Who IS Jesus Christ to you?
*Jesus gave His life on the cross for you, and now the Risen Lord will forgive your sins. He will give eternal life to you, if you will open your heart to receive Him as Lord and Savior. Give your heart to Jesus, and you can begin to say, "He is my Preacher, Healer, Comforter, and Giver. He is my Lord, my Savior, and Friend."
*Let's all go to God in prayer.
1. ChristianGlobe.com sermon "Anointed Ministry" by Ron Lavin - Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
SermonCentral.com sermon "The Anointed Servant" by P.A. Solomon - Isaiah 61:1-7
John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible - Isaiah 61:3
Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible - Isaiah 61:3
5. Cross & Crown sermon "A Mother's Wages" by James McCullen - Exodus 2:1-10 & Hebrews 11:23-28