By M.L. Dye
When God sent our Savior from Heaven to this sin ruined orb, He set forth clear and unmistakable evidence of our Savior's divinity.
Though Christ partook of human flesh, He was absolutely unique, or different from all other mortals, as we shall note.
First: He was unique in the fact that His Spirit came from another world to this world. He said, "before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). Again "I came down from Heaven (John 6:38) and again, "Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:5). And again, for Thou lovest me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).
Surely all will agree that Christ, in this fact, was indeed unique.
Second: Christ was unique in prophecy; Many details concerning His coming were foretold centuries before He appeared. The prophet Daniel foretold the time of His comming. The place of His birth was plainly foretold by Micah, in these words, "Thou, Bethlehem, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto Me, that is to be ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).
Isaiah, called "the greatest of the prophets" most clearly describes the sufferings of Christ in His atonement for sin. Indeed, so numerous are such prophecies of the Old Testament that Peter declares, "To Him give all the prophets witness." (Acts 10:43)
Neither Zoroaster nor Confucius, nor Mohammed, nor Buddha could cite any prophecies about themselves; but Luke says of Christ, that on His way to Emmaus after His resurrection, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27)
Third: Christ was unique in having no human father. The devout Joseph was chagrined and shocked and exasperated to find that Mary, his darling sweetheart, was pregnant "so he planned to break off the engagement" (Phillips translation of Matt. 1:19). But an angel appeared to him and said, "Don't be afraid to take Mary to be your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." So Joseph knew, by celestial testimony, that Jesus had no human father.
Fourth: Christ was unique in miracles. Only of Christ is it true, that as many as touched Him were made perfectly whole (Matt 14:36). and "He healed them all" (Matt. 12:15). Even more than this is true of Christ. D. L. Moody was called to preach at the funeral of a man of great influence. Because many would attend, Mr Moody determined to preach the best possible funeral sermon that many might br won of Christ. He resolved to find out how Christ Himself preached a funeral sermon, and to pattern after Him. But while noting carefully all the Gospel accounts of Christ at funerals he was startled to learn that in all the sacred records, never once did Jesus preach a funeral sermon. He always raised the dead! CHRIST is indeed unique.
Fifth: Christ never made a mistake. He never had to apologize and never to regret.
Sixth: Christ never once sinned but always sought to please the Father, He repeatedly said, "I seek not My own will but the will of Him Who sent me," In fact, He said His very food was to do the Father's will (John 4:34).
Seventh: Because Jesus was unique in never sinning. He could be, and was the only man of all mankind who could be the atonement for the sins of the world, or take the place of the sinner as "the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). John the Baptist, pointing to Him, cried out, "Behold the Lamb of god Who taketh away the sins of the world." After His death and resurrection, Jesus Himself declared, "Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations" (Luke 24:46,47).
Even this does not exhaust the matchless marvels of Jesus Christ. There remains a most important point in which Christ is unique. This last is an infinite attribute of Christ and exalts His divine majesty almost beyond the capacity of the human mind to comprehend. It is the marvelous fact that, after His resurrection, Christ became, so far as this world is concerned, actually Omnipresent or everywhere present, at the same time---exactly as God the Father is Omnipresent.
Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). In giving "the great commission" to the eleven, Jesus sent them "into the world." One went to India, one to Asia-Minor, one to Africa. John died on the Isle of Patmos. Others went in other directions, but to each of them He said, "Lo I am with you always and even unto the end of the age." He promised specifically and repeatedly to abide in each believer who would "keep His Words."
In His last discourse alone He cited this fact at least 9 different times. For example in John 14:23 Jesus explained, "If a man love Me he will keep My Words; and My Father will love him and I will love him and We will come unto him and make our abode with him." In His prayer in John 17, He said the believer would be one with Him and the Father "even as We are One," i.e., exactly as the father dwelt in Jesus so Jesus said He would dwell in the true believer. And the very last words of this same 17th chapter of John are "I in them."
It is perhaps the most glorious fact of all Christian Truth and experience that the personal, risen, loving Christ of Galilee not only is "alive indeed," but actually makes His residence in the body of true obedient believers. He, today, verily, uses the believer's body as His temple.
Thus Paul could say, "No longer I but Christ liveth in me." The most sublime and glorious privilege of any believer is to acknowledge the presence of the risen Christ, and to completely turn over to our ever living, loving, and watching Savior, the reins of our life on earth: thus giving the risen Christ a body in which to dwell and through which to continue His deeds of mercy.
When we glimpse of the actual uniqueness and divinity of Christ, we begin to realize why John the Baptist said, "He Who comes from Heaven is far above all others--far superior to all others in prominence and in excellence" (John 3:31---Amplified New Test.). Then we appreciate the words of John the beloved, recorded on the Isle of Patmos: "I was in the Spirit of the Lord's Day and heard behind me a great voice of a trumpet saying I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and I turned to see the Voice that spake to me. And being turned I saw seven golden candlesticks. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool---as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire. His feet like unto fine brass as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He Had in His right hand seven stars. And out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword; and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And He laid His right hand upon me saying unto me, 'Fear not, I am the first and the last. I am He that liveth and was dead and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.'... And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb and they sung a new song saying, "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof for Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld and heard the voice of many angels round about the Throne and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.' And every creature which is in Heaven and on the earth and such as are in the sea and all that are in them heard I saying, 'blessing and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb for ever and ever' (Rev 1:10-11;12-18; 5:8-13)
Because the Authority of Christ is, indeed, divine and unique, and Supreme, let us now study in deep humility and with obedience of heart EXACTLY WHAT OUR SAVIOR TAUGHT about Sin.
The very name Jesus indicates God's purpose to save us from sin. The angel who encouraged Joseph to go ahead with his marriage said he must call the baby's name "Jesus" "for," said the angel, "He shall save His People from their sins."
After the angels, the next mouthpiece of God, in telling how Christ was related to sin, was John the Baptist--a prophet and special advance agent of Christ. "Repent!" he cried, "for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" (Matt 3:2).
To the false religious leaders of his day who had rationalized away the need for true holiness of heart, John shouted in stentorian tones, "Bring forth fruits meet for repentance!" or "Show by your lives that you have repented." "For now", said John, "the axe is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire." "I, indeed baptize with water unto repentance but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Then re-emphasizing the need for real obedience of heart John uses another metaphor--"Whose fan is in His hand and He will throughly purge His floor and gather His wheat into the garner, but will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Far from preaching a soft and compromising little sermonette about "turning around," John made it clear that what God requires is to stop all wickedness and do only what is right, and his illustrations were unmistakably clear in emphasizing this.
Christ Himself described His own objective as "To call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The positive statement of Christ in this passage is, "I am come to call sinners to repentance" (Matt 9:13).
At this point let us remember that Jesus taught that WITH WILLINGNESS OF HEART TO OBEY GOD, THERE COMES AN ADDED ILLUMINATION FROM GOD. In John 7:16 Jesus said to the Pharisees: "My doctrine (i.e. teaching) is not Mine but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself." The Amplified New Testament translates this, "My teaching is not My own, but His Who sent Me. If any man desires to do His will (God's pleasure) he will have the needed illumination to recognize and can tell for himself, whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from Myself, and of My own accord and on My own authority." LET US THEN BE SURE that in our approach to this study, we are, first of all, willing to do God's will. For only thus can we hope to discern the Truth.