To begin let’s clarify our definitions.
IGNORANCE IS NOT KNOWING. This means we have never taken the time to invest in the truth. We have been led by our opinions, our philosophy and sometimes our laziness.
STUPIDITY IS KNOWING BUT NOT DOING. We know the truth, we have been exposed to the facts but we choose to ignore those truths and do as we please.
The three following quotes from history put these definitions into perspective.
Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. — Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with our opinions and content with your knowledge. — Elbert Hubbard (185-1915)
The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism. – Sir William Osler (1849-1919)
Most of us fall into one category or the other on a variety of topics. Most of these topics have little to no affect on the way we live or our quality of life. However, when it comes to spiritual matters, especially the claims and imperatives of Jesus, most of us are just plain ignorant. That is, we have never taken the time to investigate what Jesus said or what he has commanded us to do.
JESUS CLAIMED TO LIVE A SINLESS LIFE
John 8:28-29 “So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.'”
John 8:46-47 “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
- Why did Jesus claim to be without sin?
- Apart from God, who is without sin?
- What does this proclaim to us about Jesus?
JESUS CLAIMED TO BE THE ONLY WAY TO GOD
John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.”
Matthew 11:27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Note: No other world religious leader, such as Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed ever made this claim.
- Why is Jesus so exclusive in his claim to be the only way to God?
- How does this make Jesus unique?
JESUS CLAIMED TO HAVE SHARED THE GLORY OF GOD IN HEAVEN
Jesus claimed to have pre-existed the people he spoke with. The apostle John wrote that Jesus was with God in the very beginning, and that “all things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.”(John 1:1-5)
John 17:5 “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
- If Jesus always existed then what does this tell us about his claim to be God?
- John states that Jesus is also the creator of all things. What insight does this give us about the nature of Jesus?
JESUS CLAIMED TO BE ABLE TO FORGIVE SINS
One of the reasons that the Jewish leaders were so angry with Jesus was his continual practice of forgiving people’s sins. The religious leaders understood clearly that since sins were rebellion against God Himself, only God could forgive sins.
Luke 5:20-21 “When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'”(emphasis: web author)
Luke 7:48-49 “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The other guests began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?'”
- Why would Jesus believe he had the power to forgive sins?
- Why were the guests astonished at his ability to forgive sins?
JESUS CLAIMED TO BE A HEAVENLY KING
Luke 22:69 “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
Luke 23:1-3 “Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.’ So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied.”
John 18:36-37 “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’ ‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.'”
- What truth is Jesus testifying to?
- If Jesus is the King of the Universe then what does that make us who believe?
JESUS CLAIMED TO BE ABLE TO GIVE EVERLASTING LIFE
Jesus didn’t just tell people how they could find everlasting life, or deepen their own life experience. He actually claimed to give life from himself.
John 6:40 “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:47 “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”
John 10:28-30 “I give [my followers] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die…'”
- What power does Jesus claim to possess?
- What assurance and hope does this give you?
JESUS CLAIMED THAT HE WOULD DIE AND COME BACK TO LIFE
John 10:17 “Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 12:32-33 “‘But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.’ He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.”
John 16:16 “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
Luke 18:31-33 “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up into Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.'”
- Why could death not hold Jesus?
- What authority does Jesus claim to have?
JESUS CLAIMED THAT HE WOULD RETURN AGAIN TO JUDGE THE WORLD
Matthew 24:27-30 “So as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man… At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”
Matthew 25:31-32 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats.”
Mark 14:61-62 “Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'”
- What kind of return entrance will Jesus make one day?
- What does Matthew mean when Jesus says he will separate the sheep from the goats?
Take the time to summarize the claims of Jesus in your own words. Let me know what you think.