A True Reason To Be Thankful
Jesus Equality With God in A Culture That Worships Self-Sufficiency
John 5: 18
18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
For the unbeliever, Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God is foolishness. For, there is no God to this person, aside from the god of their own good intentions and good works. They enthrone upon their lives their feelings, their experience and their opinion as king. And, they worship this idol as such! But, we know, that there is no true God but Yahweh!
For the self-righteous, it is a stumbling block. For, their self-sufficiency is king.
But, for the blood bought, for the elect, for the child of God… This truth is the glorious POWER OF GOD! For, in this truth is the glorious revelation that God chose to become like us. That He is Triune… Appearing as the Father, who gave Himself as the Son, who then gave Himself to us in the form of the Holy Spirit to be our counselor and comforter! Oh, what glorious reason we have to be thankful today!
But, engrained within our fallen nature is the tendency to love self-sufficiency. We worship it in America! We are told, “You can do anything you put your mind to.” And, if we are not careful, we can allow this to embolden us to believe that we are sufficient enough to earn or attain salvation.
And, in the face of all this enters Jesus Christ! He not only proved to us that we are wholly insufficient for attaining our own salvation, but he proved to us that HE is merciful enough to become that atonement for us!
In order for this truth to penetrate our human condition, it requires a laying down of our self-sufficiency, and a giving over of our supremacy upon our lives.
For some, this truth is embraced, and they throw their pride and self-sufficiency aside and run to the arms of this merciful and holy God!
But, sadly, for others… they lament Jesus’ supreme sufficiency for attaining salvation, and they see it as a direct threat to their façade of self-sufficiency and their resume for good works.
This was the case for the Pharisees and religious leaders in Jerusalem. When being so intimately confronted with Jesus’ ministry, an appropriate response should have been one of authentic humility, and immense joy! But, instead they rejected Jesus.
They were correct in assuming that Jesus was directly and intentionally challenging their façade, their established order, their inauthentic traditions, and their repressive authority over God’s chosen people. But what frustrated them most was when Jesus claimed to be the very Son of God. When he laid claim to equality with God, it beckoned them to worship Him as such.
And, this was a great stumbling block to these men.
And, today it is still a stumbling block to countless others.
1 Corinthians 1: 23
…but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Jesus as the incarnate Son of God, as the incarnate form of the Triune God, as the flesh and blood of God Himself, is a doctrine that many religions and ideologies find reprehensible.
Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many other people groups, stumble over this idea that God is Triune, appearing as The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. One of Islam’s core claims is that there is no God but Allah, and that he has no son. Likewise those part of the cults of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons also believe that Jesus was simply a good man or a helpful prophet, but not God in human form.
Oh, that God would open their eyes to see that this could not be!!!!!
Jesus made clear his claim to be God in the flesh. He made this claim throughout His ministry. He said that He was in the Father, and the Father was in Him. He said that He was the Son of God. He said that He was the Word, and that He was present with God in the beginning, before there was even time itself!
But, He not only claimed it… He proved it. He proved it through his many miracles. Even more so, He proved it through his atoning death. His death can only be satisfactory for our atonement if He is God himself, for this is the only way by which God’s supreme justice and unconditional mercy can be satisfied simultaneously. And, if Jesus were not God, then this would not be possible!
There are some who claim that they are willing to accept Jesus as a good man or faithful prophet, but not as Lord. And it is blasphemy! It is heresy! But, it is also illogical!
C.S. Lewis sums it up better than I could ever dream of in this quote below:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
So, on this eve of the day that we celebrate a national day of thankfulness to God, I want to encourage you to thank Him with immense joy that He chose to appear in this dirty, rotten world as a human like you and me. But, more than that… he chose to take upon himself the punishment and wrath due us, as God Himself, in order to atone for our sins… Not only for our good, but for His glory!
Oh, what a glorious God we worship, and what a beautiful Savior we serve! He gives us unending mercies that we do not deserve. His mercies are of old, and they are new each morning! For the Christian, we can be thankful for God’s past mercies, but also trust in future mercies! How can it be, that God would love a wretch like you and me? Thank Him today!