Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
[include file=/StatCounter-AllPages.txt] [include file=/StatCounter-SCM.txt]
VERIFYING MINISTRY OF CHRIST
FATHER We thank You for this Book which is a unique Book. It speaks to us of a very unique Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Were thankful that He is set forth in these pages; indeed He is the radiance of these pages, the One Who shows forth the glory of Yourself, our Father; and we want to know Him better as we study Your Word together. Make us to be open and receptive to Your Word, I pray in Jesus Name. Amen.
For our opening portion of scripture, turn with me please to Luke, chapter seven, beginning at verse 19. Now this is concerning John the Baptist. He wasnt the first Baptist by the way. He really was a baptizer, would probably be the better name to describe him; but John who had been the one who introduced the Lord Jesus and had the privilege of baptizing Him. Having had the assurance that He was the One Whom God had chosen to be the true Messiah. When John ends up in prison, he becomes a bit distressed and disturbed, because he doesnt see the tremendous things that I suppose he anticipated in the Messiah. I believe that most of the Jews thought that Jesus would establish a great and grand and glorious kingdom, and they were not seeing this as such. So, in this passage is set forth a question that John sends to the Lord Jesus, John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? Now I suppose that Jesus could have just said, Yes, I am. Just go back and tell him so. But He just doesnt give that kind of direct answer to their question. In fact, many times Jesus didnt give a direct answer to questions. He simply gave them additional information that they were then to process in their own thinking and come up with their own conclusion. Now notice verse 21, And in that same hour He cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind He gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way [In other words, go back to John.] and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And then He gives a complimentary word concerning John the Baptist. One of the ploys that the Jehovahs Witness use is that you will never read in the Bible that Jesus comes right out and says, I am God. Now that happens to be true in saying that, thats right. Youll not find a single statement by the Lord Jesus in which He says, I am God. As I have dealt with Jehovahs Witnesses through the years, Ive said that Im glad He never did. Right away they say, Why? Well, for a number of years I was president of Lancaster Bible College, and if I had gone around all the time saying, Im president of Lancaster Bible College. Im this... Ill tell them, if Jesus had beat His chest and said, Im God, Im God, people would have thought that he was crazy. You know, if you have a particular position and you are a particular person, the very practice that you do, will demonstrate who you are. Thus, the very verification of Who Jesus was depended upon His ministry. Now, youll see this back in John 14 after that the Lord Jesus had indicated that He was going back to the Father, and Philip says to Him in verse 8, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us [or will be satisfied]. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? [Now notice this,] Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: [What does the next words say?] or else believe me for the very works sake. So, Jesus is saying here, both to John the Baptist and to Philip, Believe me for what I do, for it is the evidence of Who I am.
Now, I want you to see three things about the Lord Jesus: First, about His Person,then about His Position, and then concerning His Practice. As we spoke of the virgin birth and concluded by pointing out that Jesus Christ became a Unique Person, in the incarnation, He became the God-Man, both God and man were inextricably united in Jesus Christ and eternally so. So the first point that I want us to see is that His was undivided Person of the human and the Divine. His was not the either or. He was not either God or man. He was both. If you go to John chapter one, you will see that the beginning of this gospel in which John is presenting the Lord Jesus as the Son of God, the One sent from God [and this occurs many times in the gospel of John, the reference the Lord Jesus Himself makes of having been sent from God], In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God [and if youre reading it in the Greek, it would be, God was the Word; and the emphasis was upon God being the Word.]
Now if youre dealing with Jehovahs Witnesses, invariably if they are trying to deny the Deity of Christ, which they do seek to do, and either you or they end up here in John 1:1 they will say, Well now you see, thats not a verse that proves the Deity of Christ, because they point out and they try to use the Greek and say, The word God here at the end of the verse is not in the original, a word that has a definite article in front of it. And so if it doesnt have that definite article, then it just means a god that is, he was less than God, and then they take you back to Revelation 3:15 that says that he was the beginning of the creation of God; and Colossians 1:15 that he was the first-born of all creation; and they say, See, that shows and proves that he was created by God to create all things. So as soon as you try to prove that He is God because He created everything, they say that thats why he created so that he could create all things. Now there is a very interesting point to be made here with those who deny the Word, in the way Jehovahs Witnesses do. They have come up with what they have as their own translation. Its known as the New World Translation of the Bible. When they come to me, and I will never forget the first time a lady came to me with this, and we were living in Boston at the time, and we ended up in John 1:1; and she said, The Greek says this. I said, Oh, just wait a minute, Ill just get my Greek New Testament and you can read it to me. And, she flushed and said, Well, I really cant read Greek. I said, If you cant read the Greek, why are you talking about it? Well, she said, They tell us this is what it says. Well then, I said, You ought to understand what it says; and I went on about a number of things with her and she said that she would be back; but she never was, but on subsequent occasions. Heres a very good question to ask them, If this is god, with a small g, meaning that Hes less than God and should be translated a god, why dont we do the same thing in your New World Translation in verses 6, 12, 13, and 18? In each and every one of those four passages in the same chapter, they have God with a capital G even though in the Greek its Hod without a definite article. Ive never had a Jehovahs Witness answer that, on any level; and theyve called their presiding minister and things like this Theyve never been able to answer that. You see, you have some real problems in those verses. Notice verse 6, Theres a man sent [and if you are using their unwarranted approach to Greek grammar a man sent from a god] whose name was John. Verse 12, But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the son of [a] God [and that would have to be with a small g; verse 13, Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of [a] God. But the most difficult one that, and the one that cant possibly be anything but God Himself, that is, the God in heaven, is verse 18, No man hath seen a God at any time... Consequently, their whole argument falls apart; and the reason they make it god with a small g in verse 1, is that they simply want to deny that Jesus Christ was God. Now He was and indeed is God and was in the beginning with God. That word with is an interesting one. Its the Greek word which means toward meaning in full fellowship and favor with God in the Trinity.
Now in verse 14, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. So, God became man in Christ. In Hebrews 1, the writer of Hebrews emphasizes that in previous times, God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners [previously] spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory [that is the glory of God], and the express [or the exact] image of His person and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Then in chapter 2, verse 9, But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. He became a man that He might die for men that men might become the sons of God. Both were united in Christ, and the God-Man is a Unique Man.
Turn to I Timothy, chapter 2, verses 5 and 6. Here He is referred to both as man and as God come in the flesh, For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Then in I Timothy 3, verse 16, And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest [What?] in the flesh ... Thus Jesus Christ was God, clearly manifest in human form and walked and lived among men and gave His life for us. He had an Undivided Person when He took upon Himself humanity. I believe that this is why Jesus referred to use of Himself the term Son of man more than any other, because He had been and was the Son of God throughout all eternity past. But He became the Son of man, and I believe that He gloried in His identification with us as a part of the human race, though without sin His Undivided Person!
Second, His Unrivaled Position. He was the Christ, the Messiah. In Matthew, chapter 16, Peter makes this affirmation concerning Him. Beginning at verse 13, When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some saw that thou art John the Baptist: some Elias; and others, Jeremias [or Jeremiah], or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Now notice Simon Peters response Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Now the Hebrew word for Christ is Mashiah or Messiah, and it means The Anointed One. The Lord Jesus said, ...flesh and blood hath not revealed it [this] unto thee, but my Father Who is in heaven.
The term Anointed One is a term that relates to One Who in Himself united all that God desired for His Representative to be on earth. In the Old Testament [I think that most of you remember three who were anointed: prophets were anointed, priests were anointed, and kings were anointed. They each had a particular function to fulfill in Gods relationship to men. It was the role of a prophet to reveal God to men. It was a role of a priest to represent men to God, and it was the role a king [of the Jews] to rule for God among men. Jesus Christ combined Himself all three of these and fulfilled prophecy in doing this. Back in Deuteronomy, chapter 18, verse 15 is a reference to a coming prophet, and it refers this reference to Moses concerning One Who is coming, The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him. In Acts 3:22 the fulfillment of this is stated and indicated that Jesus was the Prophet Who fulfilled that prophecy recorded by Moses. In the book of Genesis 14:18 is the reference to Melchizedek. Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. In the book of Hebrews, chapter five, it is indicated that Jesus Christ Who was of the tribe of Judah, a kingly line but not a priestly line, traced His lineage not back to the priestly line of Aaron or Levi, but to that of Melchizedek. Turn just briefly to Hebrews 5:1, For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins [thus representing man to God]: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that He Himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof He ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto Him [and this would be the Father], Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee. As He saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; And being made perfect [Thats in actual demonstration of reality of perfection], He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Christ then was Prophet, Priest [after the order of Melchisedic], and King. The book of Matthew uniquely sets this forth, and in Matthew 22 theres reference to this concerning the Lord Jesus, (having been examined by the wise men of His day) beginning at verse 21, While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? You see, if David would have in Christ a greater son in fact, the greatest son that was ever presented to the world, the Lord Jesus as the descendant of David. It is interesting that before Pilate, when He was asked if He were king as Luke records in Luke 23:3, this statement from the Lord Jesus, Pilate asked Him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And He answered him and said, Thou sayest it [or it is true]. Do you remember the superinscription on the cross? Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews? So, He was Prophet [to represent God to men and Gods message to men]. He was Priest [to represent men to God, to make sacrifice for them], and King [to rule men for God among men on the earth]. Of course, was He received as King of the Jews? They said, No, we will not have this man rule over us. There is coming a day when He will return to rule upon the earth. Thus, Christ fulfilled all the roles of Messiah and indeed did admit clearly that He was the Messiah, not only to Peter but even to the woman at the well as recorded in John 4:25-26, The woman saith unto Him, I know that Messias [Messiah] cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things. Now notice Jesus response, Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He. He declared truly that He was the Messiah. He was the God-Man, and He was the Messiah, an Undivided Person and Unrivaled Position. No man ever appeared on this earth who could truly lay claim to and to fulfill the claims of being the Messiah.
Then, His Unmatched Practice. Sometimes when referring to the ministry of the Lord Jesus, theologians have referred to the active and the passive ministry of Christ. (I asked that of some of our students at the college, and even some of the seniors didnt know what it meant.) His Active Ministry was all that He did prior to the cross. The Passive Ministry has to do what was done to Him prior to and on the cross when He allowed Himself to be crucified. In John 8:28, Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man [Now Hes looking toward that final ministry of giving Himself], then shall ye know that I am He [and really heres a claim to being God in a veiled way when He says that I AM], and that I do nothing of Myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him. I dont believe that anybody else has ever appeared on earth that fully and completely did the will of God to such an extent that Jesus could say, Which of you convinceth me of sin? Dont ever try that. Dont ever lay yourself open to allowing someone to point out your sins. There was an evangelist who told a story about when he joined a fraternity in college, and he thought that a good thing to be was that each of the fellows be put up front and that all the others would tell them everything that was wrong with them. Now he kind of forgot that since they were going to do it, they were going to do it alphabetically and his name starting with the letter B, had him up before everyone before he realized it; and he said that that was the most horrible experience of his life. He said that it was amazing what those fellows could come up with about himself. They hadnt even known him too long. Well, dont ever leave yourself open to say, Which of you convinceth me of sin? Jesus could, because of the perfection of His ministry, of His preaching, and of His teaching.
In Matthew 26:55, as He was being accused and as He was being taken, In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. He taught, He ministered, He did that which was good. Reciting back to the Jews what Christ had done Peter, in his sermon at Pentecost, says this of the Lord Jesus in Acts 2:22, Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that He should be holden of it. Then in verse 36 he says, Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. In these statements hes combining both the active ministry, the doing of wonders and signs and miracles; and then the passive ministry being delivered by the determinate counsel of the foreknowledge of God, men have taken and slain: but God hath raised Him up from the dead. So, in His preaching and teaching, in His performing miracles and doing good, He also set for men an unsurpassed example of a proper life. Now I realize that in earlier days, fundamentalists reacted against the example, because in those days many were saying that you became a Christian by following Christs example. Thats absolutely not possible! You dont become a Christian by just following Jesus! You have to receive Him as your Savior; and then only by His power can you follow His example or be as He was in His living. In I Peter 2, beginning at verse 21, For even hereunto were ye called [Now its talking about patience in the midst of suffering and difficulty]: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example. Now this is an interesting word, different from the word example used many times in the New Testament which is a word for a type, a print, or an imprint. The word here [in I Peter 2:2l, example is a copywriting. In the Greek, its leaving us an example [a copywriting], that we should follow His steps. Now I realize that the first step you cant do unless youve received Him and Hes taken your sins away. It can be pointed out to a modernist or liberal that you cant take the first step yourself if you did no sin; and thus you have to receive Him [Who was our sinbearer] ...neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed.
And, we are to live righteous lives if we are Christians having been born again into the family of God. As Jesus went about doing good, so also should we. It wasnt a modernist that instituted the Golden Rule. It was Jesus Christ. If at any time or if any people ought to do good to others, its in the church age and by Christians who have been forgiven. I believe that we should live by the Golden Rule but more than that by the One Who gave the Rule, and allow our lives to be motivated and dominated by the Lord Jesus, so that our lives will be like His. I believe that Paul teaches this very thing, and sometimes I think that we lose sight of this. In Galatians 6:10, As we have therefore opportunity, let us [What?] do good unto all [The word men is just added there.] especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Jesus went about doing good. We, I believe, are to follow His example and do good as well. Now I think that includes giving the gospel, [In fact, thats the best thing you can do for people, but sometimes it also includes giving them food and helping them in times of need.]
Now His Passive Ministry in the Verifying Ministry of Christ. This involves in allowing Himself to be arrested, mocked, and tried. Turn to Matthew 26 beginning at verse 45, Then cometh He to His disciples [He had asked them to wait and to watch with Him], and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me [That was Judas.]. And while He yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He: hold Him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed Him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand [We find from one of the other gospels that it was Peter], and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priests, and smote off his ear. He was probably trying to split his head with the sword but he missed.] Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled. Those into whom He had poured His life forsook Him, and He was left alone. He knew this was coming. In John 3, apparently early in His ministry He indicated that the Son of man would be lifted up. He repeats it again in John 12 when the Greeks came to see Jesus; and He indicates that the Son of man was going to be glorified and that He would be lifted up; and when He was going to be lifted up, all men would be drawn unto Him. Thus He allowed Himself to be arrested, mocked, and tried. He allowed Himself to be crucified. He accepted willingly the punishment for the sins of the whole world.
Some of you know that Seventh-Day Adventists teach that in regard to the type on the Day of Atonement that the second goat upon which the sins of the people of Israel were laid and they confessed their sins and then it goes out into the wilderness. They say that Satan did that, and I was debating with one of the ministers of the Seventh-Day Adventists on WDAC some years ago, and I asked him and said, Well, what do you do with Isaiah 53:6, All we like sheep have gone astray;...and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. You know what he said? He said, I never saw that verse. Thats exactly what he said. He never saw it. Well, Isaiah 53 clearly refers to the Lord Jesus, and our iniquities were laid on Him, and He took them willingly. In John 10 beginning with verse 14 He says, I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because [What?] I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. [In the text of scripture when it says He dismissed His spirit. Thats literally what it means.] I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment [or this authority] have I received of my Father. He came to live a perfect life, to be an example; but above all, to die as a ransom for our sins. He became the propitiation in a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.
I dont know how many of you have had the privilege of visiting Los Angeles and seeing there the great painting of the Crucifixion of Christ. Its a tremendous experience. The painting, I think, is more than a hundred or one hundred sixteen feet long and about twelve to eighteen feet high. When I first heard of it, I thought that it was Christ on the cross, but when I saw it I found that there He stood all alone in the center of the picture just about to be nailed to the cross. And then by means of darkening the large auditorium and using spotlights, they singled out the various groups around the cross (the disciples who were afar off, the soldiers who were near at hand, the women who were there near the cross, the Jewish leaders who were jeering at Him). Then they finally, after centering in on different ones and describing them (using actual biblical language to do this), they then centered the spotlight on the Lord Jesus and indicated that He did this to bear the sins of the world. After having pointed that out, everything got dark, and the narrator says this (and this is at Forest Lawn Cemetery where this is located in Los Angeles) He says, All this happened because, God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I tell you, this is a tremendous moving experience to see that and to see the willingness of our Savior to give Himself. This was, I believe, Jesus finest hour.
Winston Churchill, in the midst of World War II when the bombing was going on and hope was sinking fast, wrote and said that someday people will look back and say, This was their finest hour!
Do you know that we look back to Calvary, and we say that this was His finest hour when the Lord Jesus gave Himself a ransom for us. He had to be Who He was, the Undivided God-Man. He had to have the Position that He did, the Messiah in order to do the works and finally The Work that He came to accomplish. In all these demonstrated as the centurion said afterward, Truly this man was the Son of God!
FATHER Were thankful for this time of sharing these thoughts concerning the Lord Jesus and the verification of Who He was by what He did. Were thankful that You were willing to allow Him to come into this world of woe and live a life of humiliation and then to give Himself in a death of utter humiliation to take our place to die for our sins, to be our substitutionary sacrifice. O Father, if there is anyone here that has never received the Lord Jesus, never accepted Him, open their hearts to receive the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord. I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.