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III. Jesus: The Model Citizen
Luke has a Greek focus. Dr. Luke wrote Luke and Acts. Remember the Greek games or the Olympics, where they sought physical perfection. Jesus was not a physical specimen of perfection as some might think. Quite the contrary, as we read in Isaiah 53:2, “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.” The Greeks also sought the elusive perfection in character. Jesus Christ is the model man with perfect character. Only Jesus could honestly ask, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46a) Luke 23:4 reads, “So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no fault in this Man.’” Paul later writes of Jesus, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Hebrews 7:26-28 reads, “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.” (Emphasis mine)
Jesus Christ is the perfect man.
IV. Jesus: The Message Incarnate
John has a universal focus. John records no parables and few miracles compared to the synoptic gospels. John explains that Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. He clearly proclaims the deity of Jesus Christ as we read in John 1:1, 10-18 reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became 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. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’’ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
John 14:7-11 reads, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” (Emphasis mine) John 14:6 reads, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
Jesus Christ is the pattern man.
Dr. Charles Wesley Pope writes, “Now put these four pictures of Jesus together, Matthew’s [Majestic King], Mark’s [Miracle Worker], Luke’s [Model Citizen] and John’s [Message Incarnate]—make of them one composite picture and you have a real picture of the historical Christ.
There is just one question which every reader or hearer should ask himself—It is the greatest question upon which the salvation that could ever be asked, and the question upon which the salvation of every soul depends—It is the question which Pilate asked of the mob at the trial of Jesus: ‘What then, shall I do with Jesus?’ Our salvation does not depend upon how good we have been, nor yet how bad we have been—it depends wholly on what we do with Jesus.”[i] (Emphasis mine)
Matthew 26:65-66 reads, “Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?’ They answered and said, ‘He is deserving of death.’”
Dr. Lawrence O. Richards explains, “Today many Jewish scholars seek to distinguish the historical Jesus from the Christ of Christianity. The man Jesus, most argue, was a Hasid, a pious and charismatic Jew who emphasized an intimate and vital faith in Israel’s God. Verses like these in Matthew [26:65-66] must have been added after the church deified the young rabbi, whose early death was so tragic.
But it won’t wash. Jesus still stands before the court of each man’s mind, still claiming to be the Christ, the Son of God. And our eternal destiny hinges on whether our verdict is yes or no.”[ii]
1 John 5:1, 12-13 reads, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. . . . He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” Acts 16:30-31 reads, “And he [the Philippian jailer] brought them [Paul and Silas] out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’” Romans 10:4-13 reads, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them.’ But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’’ (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, ‘‘Who will descend into the abyss?’’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 reads, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” 2 Corinthians 11:4 reads, “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” Galatians 1:6-10 reads, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Galatians 3:26-28 reads, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Titus Flavius Josephus (37-100), the Jewish historian of the first century, writes:
At that time there appeared Jesus, a wise man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of people who receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and among many of Greek origin. And when Pilate, because of an accusation made by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him previously did not cease to do so. For they reported that he appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. And up until this very day the tribe of Christians (named after him) has not died out.[iii]
[i]Pope, Living, 52.
[ii]Lawrence O. Richards, The 365-Day Devotional Commentary (Wheaton, IL: SP Publications Inc., 1990), 679. Database © 2009 WORDsearch Corp.
[iii]The City: A Publication of Houston Baptist University, Summer 2015, Volume VIII Issue 1, Michael R. Licona, “What Jesus’ Enemies Said About Him” (Houston, TX: Houston Baptist University, 2015), 98. Accessed: 01/31/16 http://www.hbu.edu/HBU/media/HBU/publications/thecity/201506-TheCity.pdf .