What’s the Big Deal About Jesus?

Who is this Jesus we Christians say we believe in? What’s the big deal about him, anyway? Why does he matter when life is beating me down? Isn’t it enough to just believe in God?

These are the questions a Jewish tax collector named Levi Matthew wanted to answer when he wrote The Gospel of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament of the Bible.

He answered boldly. Without equivocation, he claimed the following in the very first words he penned:

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.—Matthew 1:1

To our modern english-speaking ears, this just seems like the introduction to a genealogy.

You know…

The boring part.

But take another look…

The book of the genealogy of Jesus

Christ,

The son of David,

The son of Abraham.

Jesus is his birth name. Christ, son of David, and son of Abraham are titles that were pregnant with significance to Matthew’s readers.

Have you ever thought about what they mean?

Here’s a quick summary.

JESUS

The name, Jesus, is originally from the Hebrew, Yeshua (Joshua), which means Jehovah saves. You may recall from your Christmas celebrations what the Angel commanded Joseph,

You will call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.—Matthew 1:21

Matthew wants you to know…

Jesus is God’s Savior for you.

 CHRIST

The title, Christ, signifies that Jesus is The (capital “T”) Messiah, The Anointed (chosen and empowered) One. He is the man God appointed for His redemptive mission. He is anointed to be God’s chosen Prophet, chosen Priest, and chosen King.

As Prophet he declares God law and gospel to whoever has ears to hear. As Priest he makes atonement for sins and intercedes for his people. As King he rules over us to bless and protect us from the evil one.

He is the Mediator between God and men, the only Redeemer of mankind.

Matthew wants you to know…

Jesus is God’s Christ for you.

 THE SON OF DAVID

The title, Son of David, signifies that Jesus is the heir of God’s promise to King David.

He promised that one of David’s descendants would inherit an everlasting throne.

I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.—2 Samuel 7:13

Jesus is the heir of David’s throne. He is the promised, everlasting King.

He is the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless His people with an everlasting, righteous kingdom.

Matthew wants you to know…

Jesus is God’s King for you.

 THE SON OF ABRAHAM

The title, Son of Abraham, signifies that Jesus is the heir of God’s ancient promise to Abraham.

He promised that one of Abraham’s descendants would bring blessing to every nation.

In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.—Genesis 12:3

Jesus is the heir of Abraham’s blessing. He is the promised blessing.

He is the fulfillment of God’s promise to bring everlasting blessing to a people chosen from among all the families of earth.

Matthew wants you to know…

Jesus is God’s Blessing for you.

 SAVIOR, CHRIST, KING, BLESSING

By attributing these titles to Jesus, Matthew is boldly declaring his faith that, in Jesus, the great promises of God have been fulfilled among us. Salvation has come. The Christ has come. The Kingdom has come. The Blessing has come.

For us!

When life has you by the throat…

When mental illness threatens to steal your mind…

When grief from loss, or fear of tomorrow, grips your heart…

Remember this:

Jesus

Christ,

the son of David,

the son of Abraham.

For you!

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I Would Never Believe

A historical, apologetic poem…


I would not believe in a hidden Creator;
I would not believe in original Man;
I would not believe in an ark on a great flood;
I would not believe in God’s bow or God’s plan.

I would not believe Abram heard a voice calling;
I would not believe he was given Canaan;
I would not believe the son, Isaac, was promised;
I would not believe Jacob wrestled a man.

I would not believe that a bush spoke while burning;
I would not believe Moses parted the sea;
I would not believe in the stones cut from Sinai;
I would not believe cloud and fire could lead.

I would not believe that walls fell before trumpets;
I would not believe in lambs, bulls, or priests;
I would not believe in an altar or temple;
I would not believe in their prophets or kings.

I would not believe when wild John came to baptize;
I would not believe in the Man he proclaimed;
I would not believe in the Spirit descending;
I would not believe some unknown Nazarene.

I would not believe in the wine, loaves or fishes;
I would not believe in the lepers made clean;
I would not believe that dead Lazarus was raised;
I would not believe Bartimaeus could see.

I would not believe in Zacchaeus, forgiven;
I would not believe, nor care, Jesus wept;
I would not care a sick woman dared touched Him;
I would not believe that He came to pay debts.

I would not believe some foretold he would suffer;
I would not believe He intended to die;
I would not care were He innocent or not;
I would not believe He was Christ, crucified.

I would not believe that I needed a Savior;
I would not believe anything that He claimed;
I would not believe in a Father to pray to;
I would not believe He, alone, is the Way.

I would not believe that events have a purpose;
I would not believe my life means anything;
I would not believe that He cares for my sorrows;
I would not believe He’s my Redeemer, my King.

If hundreds had not seen Him alive, after dead;
If witnesses were not killed for saying He lived;
If four had not written and fully agreed;
If disciples had not loved Him, unto death, how they loved him;

If they had not loved Him, I would never believe.

Where to Find an Authentic Man

Contrary to what I’ve seen online, authentic manhood is not about “unlocking your inner bad ass.” Here’s a few brief thoughts on the subject…

Jesus is the most fully authentic person—the most believable man—I am aware of, indeed, that I can imagine.

He left behind infinite superiority to put his life at risk to the violence of his inferiors.

Yet he hid nothing. He lived before people as he was inwardly. In public. Nothing hidden. No shame. No fear. What he taught, said in conversation, and did in ministry, or otherwise, displayed his mastery of himself, his mastery over every situation, and his masterful understanding of the people he encountered.

No secret schemes. No tricks. No lies. No guile.

No self-protection. No self-promotion.

Nothing artful. Nothing contrived.

Just open, honest, infinite power.

Laid aside in love.

This is why I want to know him, follow him. This is why my purpose is to belong to him.

This is why I worship him: divinity undiminished yet incarnate, the most fully authentic man.

This is why I recommend him to you: You will always know what he is about.