Who is Jesus? Why did He come? According to Jesse Duplantis, “The very first thing on Jesus’ agenda was to get rid of poverty!” (One of many such heresies to be uttered from his mouth. But I digress.) Some will say He came to teach us how to be better people. Or that He was a good teacher, a role model of morality. “He wasn’t a prophet, and He certainly wasn’t the Son of God.” Then why the cross? Ah, the cross! Whenever some liberal or New Agey-type person tries to come up with some theory like "Jesus came to be a good person," they always get tripped up by the cross. Paul said it best in 1st Corinthians 1:23--we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness.
We are reading in Matthew 21. Let me set the scene for you. Jesus leaves the city of Jericho. He meets Bartimaeus and the other blind man and restores their sight. He sees Zacchaeus—the “wee man” up in the sycamore tree, and lodges at his house for the night (Luke 19). Then at the beginning of chapter 21 here, Jesus and His disciples come near a town called Bethany. In Mark it says they came near “Bethpage and Bethany.” These two towns shared a border, so one started where the other one ended. Kinda like Sevierville and Pigeon Forge. Or Dallas-Forth Worth, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Kansas City KS-Kansas City MO, Texarkana TX-Texarkana AR.
We’ll pick it up here. Matthew 21:1-11—1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them." 4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 5 "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!" 10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?" 11 So the multitudes said, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee."
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. Why did Jesus come? I found a video last week. Oprah Winfrey--that should tell you enough right there--she was touting some new book from some New Agey-type guru fellow. She said that Jesus came to "bring us a Christ-consciousness." If anybody out there can tell me exactly what that means, please let me know. Now, I’ve been saying for a while now, quoting Luke 19:10 and 1st Timothy 1:15, that Jesus came to save sinners. That the miracles and healings were only for showing the world who He was. But even the saving of sinners is only the biggest part of His true mission. The reason Jesus came was to glorify God here on earth. Listen to John 17:4—“I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” Literally, “I have glorified You on earth, having finished the work you gave me to do.” After He gets up from this prayer, He does not do a single thing. His overarching purpose was to glorify God. The most important part of that mission was His death, burial and resurrection to reconcile His sheep to God.
Today and next week we’re going to be looking at God the Son. You’ve seen that poster that says, "And He shall be called…” And it has I think 53 titles of Christ. Savior. Redeemer. Lamb of God. We could spend weeks on each one of those titles, and years studying Christ Himself, and who He was and who He is and who He shall be. Today I want to look at who Christ came to earth to be. We know that He has always been God. John 1:1—In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. But who was He while He was here? We’re going to see that He was Savior, Lamb, Priest, and King.
First, let’s look at Jesus’ name from the Hebrew perspective. The name “Jesus” actually comes to us from the Hebrew through the Greek. We’re about to have one of the shortest Hebrew lessons you'll ever hear. Notice what the people shouted in verse 9—“Hosanna!!” That word “Hosanna” is a contraction of the Hebrew “Hoshiah Na!” which means “Save us!” It comes from the same Hebrew root (Yasha) that we get names like Hosea or Joshua. Now, in the Old Testament, if you see someone with a name that starts with “Je” or “Jeho” or “Jehu” or something like that, it comes from the Hebrew “Ye” or “Yeho” or “Yehu.” (Remember, there are no J’s in Hebrew.) This is a form of the name YHVH. We know that He came from God. So the first part of His name would be “Ye.” The last part of His name would come from the fact that He was Savior. “Hoshua” is another form of Yasha.” So, “Ye” plus “Hoshua” gives us “Yehoshua”—“YHVH saves.” Yehoshua became the Greek Iesous, from which we get Jesus.
The title “Christ.” You’ve heard the word “Messiah.” That word comes from the Hebrew “Mashiach.” This means “anointed One.” There were many “anointed ones” in the Old Testament. Saul was anointed king of Israel. Many were anointed to be prophets. But there was one who was to be the anointed of the anointed. Daniel 9:25—and this is by no means a lesson in Bible prophecy. You’ll have to talk to Jack VanImpe about that. Daniel writes, Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks… This “anointed of the anointed” was to be “Mashiach.” The Greek word for “Anointed” is CristoV (Cristos) No small stretch, we get “Christ.” So, in the Hebrew, His name would be called Yehoshua Ha’Mashiach. The Anointed Savior.
That said, let’s look at who Jesus was. First, He was the LAMB. In John 1:29, John the Baptist sees Jesus approaching and cries out, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” We find many references in the Old Testament to the sacrificing of lambs. One of the first references is in Genesis 22. We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. And you know, there are so many parallels between that story and the crucifixion. Number one, many scholars believe that Mount Moriah as it was called in the Abraham story, was the same hill that was later called Golgotha or Calvary. It’s the first time in the Bible we find the word “love.” And listen to Genesis 22:6-8—6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
The next instance we see is in Exodus 12. After God has sent the first nine plagues, and Pharaoh has hardened his heart, and still will not let the people go, God sends the last plague. Anybody know what it was? Not only the firstborn of the Egyptians, but every living creature. Man, cattle, dogs. Unless they took the blood of a lamb and smeared it on the frame of their front door. Again, there are so many parallels between this story and the crucifixion. Think about this: the firstborn would be slain to deliver God’s people from bondage. When you get a chance, read Colossians 1:15, 18.
Exodus 12:3, 5, 7—“3 On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household…5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year…7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.” If you take nothing else from the Passover story, remember this: the blood was on the doorposts and on the crosspiece. Jehovah's Witnesses will say that Jesus died on an upright stake. But watch this. On the front door, the blood was smeared on the upright post, and the crossbeam. On the Cross, Jesus's blood was smeared on the upright post and the crossbeam. Draw the pictures, and see if there's more and a resemblance.
Later on in Exodus, God commands Moses to tell Aaron the priest that every day—every single day as long as thee was a priest and a tabernacle/temple—every day, Exodus 29:38-39--“38 Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually. 39 One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight.” Next week we’re going to look at some of the ways that Jesus finished the picture that the Old Testament Law and sacrifices painted. And if you're not careful we just may go verse-by-verse through Leviticus. Every day the priest had to sacrifice lambs without spot or blemish. Our Father in Heaven only had to do it once. Hebrews 10:11-14—11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
One last thing about Christ being the Lamb. We see in Revelation 5 that Christ has taken possession of the earth. Listen to Revelation 5:11-14—11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever. The Lamb of God has taken away the sins of the world, and now He owns the whole earth—He’s just letting us borrow it for a little while.
Because He was the Lamb, He is our SAVIOR. We looked at the word “Hosanna” earlier. It means “Save us!” But when the people cried “Hosanna in the highest!” they were saying, “Save us to the uttermost!” Which is what Christ does. Of course by the time Friday rolled around they were shouting “Crucify Him!” which gives us a good picture of why we shouldn’t get too wrapped up in what people think about us. What does it mean when we say that Christ is our “Savior?” What does He save us from? Well, He saved us from several things.
• Our sins—Matthew 1:21--"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
• God’s wrath—Nahum 1:2-3—2 God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; the LORD avenges and is furious. The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; 3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.
• The Law—Galatians 3:13--Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.
We see from the Old Testament prophets that deliverance and salvation will happen at Jerusalem. These prophets recorded the words of the LORD. Isaiah 59:20—“The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” says the LORD. Joel 2:32, “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,” as the LORD has said, “Among the remnant whom the LORD calls.” Obadiah 1:17—“But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, And there shall be holiness…” We were enemies of God. We were at war with the Almighty. And if we had continued along in that war, what are the chances we would have won that war? We were on the wrong side. We were fighting alongside of Satan. We were fixin’ to lose the one war we need to win more than any other.
But listen to Psalm 98:1-3—1 Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. 2 The LORD has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations. 3 He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 1st Corinthians 15:57—The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, once we saw who were fighting for and who we were fighting against, we jumped ship. And instead of fighting a losing battle, we let God do the fighting for us and we get the victory. He is the LAMB, He is SAVIOR.
He is our HIGH PRIEST. In order for a sacrifice to be acceptable to God, it had to be offered up by a priest. But even the priest had to be acceptable. Many people today who think they are more enlightened than others are trying every way they can to twist the Scriptures to make it sound like it’s OK for women to preach and hold positions of authority in the church. They say things like “Well, I just don’t think God would exclude anybody from any position.” Well, in the Old Testament, God was pretty picky about who served in His temple. In fact He struck down two of Aaron’s sons for offering incense when they weren’t supposed to. He took away Saul’s kingdom because he offered an unacceptable sacrifice.
See, in the OT Law, only men from the tribe of Levi could serve in the temple or tabernacle. And only men from one branch of Aaron’s sons could be priest. Levi had a son named Kohath, who had a son Amram, who had three children--Moses, Miriam, and Aaron. And only certain sons of Aaron--termed "kohanim"--could serve as High Priest. In the temple/tabernacle, there was a section called the “Holy Place.” The priests would go in and offer incense here on the altar. Then you had a veil that by the time Christ came was believed to have been about 60’ high, 30’ wide, and 4 fingers thick. Behind this veil was the Most Holy Place. Only the high priest could go in there and only once a year, the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This is where the Ark of the Covenant was, and the high priest took in the blood of a goat to sprinkle on the ark to make atonement for the sins of the people. Hebrews 9:6-7—6 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance. But…
Listen to Hebrews 9:11-14—11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? The high priest went in once a year, every year, and performed a service that could never take away sins, but merely covered them over. Jesus went into THE MOST HOLY Place and performed a service that only had to be done once, that took away the sins of His people (John 1:29). Next week, we will look more at Christ as our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4).
Finally let’s look at Jesus as our KING. Have you ever wondered why Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey? Well, besides the fact it was to fulfill what was written in Zechariah 9:9-10—9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.’”
Why a donkey? Well, usually when a king came riding into a city riding a horse it had something to do with war. He was either and enemy coming in to announce he they had defeated that city’s armies, or he was that city’s general proclaiming victory over their enemies. But see, Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. He says as much to Pilate in John 18:36—Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” See, Jesus did not come to subdue and vanquish earthly governments and empires. Just before He ascended to the Father, He tells His disciples in Acts 1:6-7—6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” He could have done that with a word from His mouth, and He will some day. Revelation 19:11, 15—11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. See, Jesus did not come to set up a visible rule here on earth. His kingdom is inside of us. He came to rule—not the nations of men—but over the hearts of men.
He is the LAMB of God. He is the SAVIOR of mankind. He is our great HIGH PRIEST. He is—not only KING—but He is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. When He rode into Jerusalem, He was a humble Messiah. But when He strolled into Heaven after He ascended, a voice called out from inside, saying, "7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory." Selah. (Psalm 24:7-10)