What Manner of Man is this? (Part 1)
This message is the first in a series on the topic, “what manner of man is this?” Even the wind and the sea obey Him. The main focus is to examine testimonies from a number of biblical sources pertaining to Jesus and His ministry.
A careful examination of the scriptures, particularly the Gospels will reveal the indelible impression Jesus has created on the lives of people He came into contact with during His earthly ministry, ranging from angels, even just prior to and immediately after His birth to The Father, His disciples and others, including demonic Spirits.
These testimonies do not only authenticate His credibility as the awaited Messiah, but also the fact that He is God manifested in the flesh and came with the express purpose to reveal the love and grace of the father which found expression in the redemption of mankind.
The testimonies are too numerous to bypass and every sincere seeker after truth can truly find salvation and destiny wrapped up in the very embodiment and incarnation of truth. Pilate, at the trial of Jesus, asked Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Jesus had answered that question a while before, when He addressed Thomas, one of His disciples (John 14:6) “I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Truth is not a concept, but rather a Person.
The first testimony we will examine is that of the Father. It is of utmost importance for us to understand how the Father sanctioned His Son, stamped His approval and received glory from His total and complete submission to the will of the Father.
The record shows that the Father spoke three times from Heaven during the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. The first time was on the occasion of His water baptism. (Matthew 3:13-17) After Jesus came out of the water, the Spirit of God descended on Him, in the physical manifestation of a dove and sat on Him. The heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God accompanied by a voice declaring. “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” another translation puts it, “who brings me great joy.” John was careful to point out that John the Baptist testified to the fact that he saw the Spirit of God in His physical manifestation on Jesus. A confirmed declaration that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29-34). We shall return to the testimony of John the Baptist later in the series.
The second time the father spoke was on Mount Tabor, popularly known as the mount of transfiguration. This event was recorded by Luke in his gospel. (Luke 9:28-36), Matthew and Mark made reference to this very significant event in the earthly life of Jesus. The narrative has it that Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain at which time He was transfigured, His countenance changed and He became bright as the noon day sun. This incident took place during a night operation. During the process, Jesus had a visitation from Moses and Elijah and they were discussing matters pertaining to His death and resurrection according to Luke 9:30-31.
The significant moment in this however, was when the Father spoke from out of heaven, apparently after Peter’s blurting. “This is my Son, My chosen one, Listen to Him” (Luke 9:35). We listen to Him because He has the words of life. It is an indication from the Father that all authority has been conferred upon Him and that the full redemption of all mankind rests squarely on His shoulder. Both Peter and John alluded to this audible voice from the Father. John spoke of witnessing the glory displayed on Jesus John 1:14. Peter made mention of the fact that they all heard the utterance from the father 2 Peter 1:18.
The third time the father spoke from heaven was to confirm that He has received glory from His son John 12:28. In verse 27, Jesus expresses His heart to the Father about being troubled of what was about to be revealed. It seems evident that He was thinking about His impending suffering as well as His betrayal by a very close one. However, He hastened to tell the Father, that He would not capitulate from His intended purpose for coming into the world. But rather He will endure the hardship for the redemption of mankind is more important to Him than His own personal comfort. He reiterated that His one desire was for the Father to be glorified from all that will be accomplished by Him.
Against this background and context the Father spoke from heaven and gave Him the assurance the He has been glorified but at His (Jesus) request He (Father) will take more Glory. The Father has always considered the action of Jesus as credible and that is enough endorsement for the world to accept the son of God.
There can be no stronger validation of the person, life and ministry of Jesus than that of the Father. The fact that He recognizes the eternal purpose of their mission in Christ, supplies the untainted evidence of Him being the only way to the Father and eternal life. Despite all the environmental and personal challenges in life, that we will understand that He loves us and do not wish for any to perish but that all should come into eternal life. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. (1 John 1:9)
Paul Mursalin from Guyana is a member of the International Board of Barnabas Fund