Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Remember Jesus is the Christ – 2 Tim 2:8

Remember Jesus
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matt 1:21 KJV)
Paul says to remember Jesus Christ. Jesus is our God and Savior, our Lord. The name of Jesus is a transliteration of the Hebrew name Joshua, meaning Jehovah is salvation. When parents decided to name a child Joshua, every time they called him, they were saying, “Jehovah is Salvation.” “Jehovah is Salvation, it’s time for dinner.” “Jehovah is Salvation, stop stomping in the mud.” “Jehovah is Salvation stop hitting your sister.” That could do one of two things for a parent and for a child. It could be a great reminder that God saves or it could become old and trite.
In some cultures, boys are still named Jesus. Unfortunately, as a name, Jesus is only a string of letters making a sound by which the child or parent recognizes the person. There isn’t any clear meaning to the name of Jesus today. When we speak the name of Jesus, people don’t hear “God is Salvation.”
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 NASU)
When I say the name of Jesus, I should hear, “God is Salvation” but I won’t unless I’ve trained my mind to understand what Jesus means. There is no way to separate Jesus’ name from who He is, salvation from God. When I talk to someone about Jesus, “God is Salvation” should be at the heart of the message because that is why Jesus came, to save us from our sins. His name is the only name by which anyone can be saved because His name is “God is Salvation” (Acts 4:12).
When doubts assail us about salvation, God, our future, or anything else, then we need to remember Jesus; Jesus is God; Jesus is Salvation. 
Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means "Christ"). (John 1:41 NLT)
We need to remember that Jesus is the Christ because our culture not only has a problem remembering who Jesus is, but they also think His surname (last name) is Christ. Even among Christians, Christ has little meaning. Many people know that it is synonymous with Messiah. But what does that mean, and how does remembering that Jesus is the Messiah make a difference when our soul is downcast within us?
The first thing to understand is that Christ or Messiah is Jesus’ title. There isn’t anything special about the word, christ. It is a transliteration of the Greek word without the “os” on the end. It simply means anointed. We christen or anoint children and boats. To understand the significance of Messiah or Anointed one, we need to look at its origin in the Old Testament.
Messiah in the Old Testament
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Ps 2:2-3 KJV)
Messiah is the Hebrew word for anointed and was applied to kings (most often David), priests, prophets, and even Cyrus, a pagan. They were all anointed by God. Messiah isn’t significant until it is used as a title. While there are many prophesies about Jesus, the word messiah is seen clearly referring to Jesus when the distant future is in the context of the passage. Psalm 2 is the first place where I read of the Lord’s anointed and it is clear that it is speaking of Jesus. People who don’t know Jesus have set themselves against the Lord and His anointed (Jesus) and want nothing to do with Him.
By demoting the title of Christ to a last name, people don’t understand or are unwilling to accept that they are under His dominion. They are not free to do whatever they want. They don’t know or ignore that there will be a day when they will bow before Him and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil 2:9-11). It will only be then that the full impact of the title, Christ, will be clear to them, but it will be too late for Jesus to be salvation for them. But for us, remembering Christ is remembering who is our Sovereign and who is in control of all our circumstances to which we are grateful.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself … (Dan 9:25-26 KJV)
The timing of Jesus’ coming as Messiah is predicted in Dan 9:25. Some versions transliterate the word mashiyach as “Messiah”, others translate it “the Anointed One”, but others say “an anointed one” without capitalizing the words. To me there is a big difference between these translations since there is only one Messiah or Anointed One; translating it as “an anointed one” literally means that there could be several Messiahs. Translating it “Messiah” or “the Anointed One” means there is only one and it is specific – it can only be fulfilled by Jesus.
And He said to them, "How can they say that the Christ is the Son of David? (Luke 20:41 NKJV)
In remembering Jesus, it is important to remember that Jesus is a descendent of David. The Messiah wasn’t called the anointed one when He was first announced in Gen 3:15. He was simply called the offspring or seed. The promised Savior can be traced through the Old Testament to the line of David and the promises God gave David that he would have a descendent sit on his throne forever (2 Sam 7:13). This is an important part of the Gospel because it shows that the Messiah had to have a human as well as divine origin in order to pay for our sins. Remembering Jesus descended from David reminds us that through all of history, not one prophecy has failed to bring Jesus at the right time through the line of David. We can trust a God who does that.
It may be that only after reading Daniel Jewish scholars started talking of the coming Messiah. However they missed the whole point of verse 26 where Jesus is cut of (killed) not because of anything He did, but for our sins. The title of Messiah for them was a conquering king, they didn’t understand that Messiah was also one who would save us from our sins and that would cost His life.
Messiah in the New Testament
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ." Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him. (Mark 8:29-30 NKJV)
Jesus seldom referred to Himself as Christ yet that is one of the major issues that the Jewish rulers used to accuse Jesus before Pilate and taunt Him at the crucifixion (Luke 23:2, 35).  The Jewish rulers understood that the title of Christ was the same as Son of Man and Son of God (Luke 22:66-70). Jesus knew that the title of Christ would mark Him as the coming ruler of Israel but that was not the purpose of His first coming.
After Peter declared that Jesus was the Messiah, He taught them about His future suffering, death, and resurrection (Mark 8:31). He elaborated on this after His resurrection when He explained that this was predicted by Moses and the prophets (Luke 24:25-27). When we remember the title of Christ or Messiah, we should remember that this is the title of the one who has suffered and died for our sins but who is raised to prove that He is God. His resurrection is a fundamental part of the Gospel and without it, we would not have a Messiah and we would not have hope (1 Cor 15:14).
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matt 24:30 KJV)
The conquering Messiah is yet to come. Jesus identified Himself with the conquering Messiah when He talked in Matthew 24 and 25 of His return and the events that will lead up to it. The coming of the Messiah will accomplish two things. The first will be judgment upon the wicked of the world. That is why all the tribes of the earth will mourn. At that time they will realize they had not remembered Jesus. They didn’t turn to Him for salvation when they had a chance. They will see His power and glory and mourn because they will not be a part of it.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ … (Rev 12:10 KJV)
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev 20:6 KJV)
The second thing that will be accomplished is the kingdom of God; salvation for all who have trusted in Jesus will be finalized. Christ or Messiah is clearly identified as God’s Christ or God’s Anointed. Salvation for all of us who have yielded to Jesus, God’s Anointed, in this age will be completed when we reign with Him in the millennial kingdom and on into eternity. Remembering Jesus the Messiah assures us of a perfect future without sin and evil.
Why Remember?
… give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. (Prov 30:8-9 NIV)
When do doubts come crashing in on you? Is it when you are in despair because of hardship or having too little? Or do doubts come when things are going to easy and you wonder if it is really because of your own abilities that things are going smoothly? The proverb warns that having either too little or too much can lead a person away from the Lord. Which is worse?
We see that ease of life has taken most cultures far away from the Lord as economies boom, people become self sufficient and forget about the Lord. Is that any worse than those within the culture who are poor and despised, who then result to illegal activities to make ends meet? The problem for both is the same. They haven’t remembered Jesus. Even worse, the next generation doesn’t even hear about Jesus. Their emptiness often leads them to other religions and the downward spiral of civilization intensifies.
Psalm 42 is the cry of person who is in deep depression. Doubts assail him as his enemies taunt him asking where his God is (vs. 3). For some reason, he has been cut off from worshipping with others (vs. 4); perhaps he just doesn’t feel like worshipping. He feels as if God is drowning him in sorrow (vs. 7) and has forgotten him (vs. 9). His depression is even causing him to have physical illness (vs. 10). What is his response to all this?
O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee … (Ps 42:6 KJV)
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. (Ps 42:11 KJV)
Can you believe this? His world has come crashing down on him and he starts talking to himself. He tells himself two fundamental things to keep going. First, he makes a decision to remember God. Second, he makes a decision to hope in God. Hope in God is not wishful thinking, it is looking forward to that which we have been assured is true (Heb 11:1). These two things lead him to praise God even in the midst of his problems.
We can raise us up from depression as well when we take some time to remember everything that the Lord has done. We can start in Genesis and praise Him for creation and work our way through the Bible to see how He is in control and works all things together to culminate in the book of Revelation and eternity with Him. We can remember how He has worked in our own lives and if we don’t think He has, then we’d better consider whether or not we belong to Him. If we belong to Him, if we have been born again, then we are assured of our eternity with Him (1 John 5:13).

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