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Witnesses of Jesus

Heralds

by Dennis Pollock

Without question and beyond dispute, the Bible plainly indicates that God is love, and that His great desire is that all men and women might come into a right relationship with Him, and live with Him forever. Equally undeniable is the fact that God has made one and only one provision for the salvation of men and women, and that provision is through His Son Jesus Christ. We are told this in a variety of ways and expressions. Some of the major verses demonstrating God’s great desire for the salvation of all people include:

  1. “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:14)
  2. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
  3. “(God) desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)


And some of the verses declaring Jesus to be the only divine provision for our salvation would include:

  1. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
  2. “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11,12)
  3. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)


Given these two realities: the fact that God loves us and wants all to be saved and the fact that Jesus is the only means by which we can avoid eternal destruction and receive eternal life, it would seem likely that God would go to great lengths to demonstrate that Jesus Christ truly is whom God says He is. We would expect God to witness clearly and frequently about Jesus Christ being His Son, and the one way we can find acceptance with our Creator. And this turns out to be precisely the case. Both history and the Bible are filled with witnesses and evidence that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

From of Old

Taking no chances, God began witnessing of His Son from the beginning of man, anointing prophets to predict the coming, the nature, and the work of His Son. In Zechariah’s prophecy, he declares:

“(God) has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began…” (Luke 1:69,70)

Throughout the early ages of time, men, and sometimes women, have been anointed to speak the word of the Lord and to testify that His Son would one day come. God may often prefer to be on the quiet side, but when it comes to Jesus, He gets downright talkative! As God cursed the tempting serpent in the presence of Adam and Eve, He declared:

“And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

Matthew Henry writes: “A gracious promise is here made of Christ, as the Deliverer of fallen man from the power of Satan. Here was the dawn of the gospel day: no sooner was the wound given, than the remedy was provided and revealed. This gracious revelation of a Savior came unasked, and unlooked for.”

As you study the Old Testament Scriptures, you will find Jesus all over the place, if you have the eyes to see Him. After He was raised from the dead He appeared to two men traveling from Jerusalem, and the Bible tells us, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Later, while with all His disciples, He tells them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44).

Two Requirements

Old Testament ScrollsIn a short devotional like this we could not possibly cover the entirety of the many, many prophecies sprinkled so liberally throughout the Old Testament Scriptures. But allow me to address two of these prophecies, both of which were fully believed by the Jews of Jesus’ day, which, when combined, should pretty much settle the question of Jesus’ identity all by themselves. The first of these prophecies gives us the precise location of where the Messiah was to be born. The prophet Micah writes, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel…” (Micah 5:2). This was the verse the Jewish scribes and Biblical scholars referred to when asked by Herod where the Christ was to be born. They did not hesitate to tell him it must be in Bethlehem, quoting the Micah passage. In their minds, anyone born outside of Bethlehem could never qualify as their coming King. God’s provision of an eternal ruler over Israel must have His beginnings in little Bethlehem, according to the prophecy.

A second prophecy, which every Jew of Jesus’ day strongly believed, declared that the Messiah would be a “son of David,” and therefore he must be of the tribe of Judah. If any man from Dan or Ephraim or Benjamin or Levi stood up and declared himself the Messiah, he would be ridiculed and told he was disqualified from birth. Only a man of the tribe of Judah with a lineage that ran directly back to King David had the proper credentials.

These two requirements: being born in Bethlehem and having descended from the tribe of Judah, eliminated the vast majority of Jews. Bethlehem was a tiny community, and to split the male population of this village twelve ways until only those of the tribe of Judah and lineage of David were left would provide a very tiny pool of men from which to choose – barely a handful! Amazingly, Jesus fulfilled the requirements perfectly – indeed He was the only well-known historical religious leader who ever did. There are no other candidates.

Birth of the Messiah

As we read the New Testament and the events that surrounded the birth of Jesus, we find God speaking to men and women, giving testimony again and again that the birth of His Son was at hand. Zacharias gets the message from the angel Gabriel, who tells him that he and his wife will have a son who will be the forerunner and proclaimer of the Messiah. Zacharias can hardly believe such a thing and asks for a sign of proof. Gabriel is insulted, being one of God’s chief angels and not accustomed to having his words questioned. He replies, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time” (Luke 1:19,20).

Later the same Gabriel appears to Mary and tells her she will give birth to a Son who will be called the Son of God. When Joseph has a hard time believing Mary’s amazing explanation for her pregnancy, an unnamed angel appears to him in a dream and tells him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, informing him that the baby in her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and not any man. After baby Jesus is born, angels appear to a group of shepherds, announcing the birth of the Messiah, and proclaiming that famous hymn, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.” Later the wise men visit the family, having had a revelation through watching the stars, revealing to them that the King of the Jews had been born.

God, who had been so quiet for hundreds of years, was now talking almost non-stop to various ones about the appearing of His Son. Dreams, visions, angels, and divine revelations were being given throughout Israel and beyond. It almost seems as though God was so excited and so eager for the world to know of this great event that He could not hold back. When Joseph and Mary took eight-day-old Jesus to be circumcised it happened again. An old man named Simeon, whom the Bible calls “just and devout,” was there in the temple and we are told “The Holy Spirit was upon him.” He immediately recognized exactly who this little Jewish baby was, and took Him in his arms, praying, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples” (Luke 2:29-31).

Afterwards a godly old woman named Anna ran across the group, and instantly recognized that this tiny little baby boy was the long-awaited Messiah, and gave thanks to God for Him. The God of Israel, who so often had obscured Himself in darkness, was now shining forth in a way He had never done before. The Bible tells us that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every message shall be established, but God was not content to limit Himself to two or three witnesses. He was determined to reveal His Son to dozens of witnesses, hundreds, thousands, and eventually hundreds of millions of witnesses.

Just before Jesus was to start His ministry God raised up John the Baptist to go before him and declare His nearness. John Himself received a divine revelation that it was none other than his cousin, Yeshua, son of Mary, who would be Israel’s Messiah. As John baptized Jesus, he saw the sign God had foretold: the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove. Accompanying the vision was a voice - the very voice of earth’s Creator, declaring: “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased.” The same voice and the same words would later be heard by Peter, James, and John at the place we now call “The Mount of Transfiguration.”

The Testimony of Miracles

Jesus the HealerDuring Jesus’ earthly ministry God testified of His Son through what the Bible refers to as “miracles, wonders, and signs.” Throughout the history of the earth there have been some reputed to have done miracles, but none have so much and such dramatic evidence as the One known as Jesus of Nazareth. Blind eyes were opened, deaf ears were made to hear, the lame walked, and even the dead were raised to life. To read the gospels is to read of one miracle and one healing after another. God was using His Son to demonstrate to the world once and for all that He cares deeply about His creation. But He was also providing vivid testimony that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. In Peter’s impromptu sermon on the Day of Pentecost, he proclaimed, “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst…” (Acts 2:22).

Lack of time and space prohibit me from speaking of the thief on the cross, the earthquake and the temple curtain split down the middle, the dead saints raised, the angels who met the ladies at the empty tomb of Jesus, the gathering of 500 people who saw the resurrected Jesus, the angels who spoke to the disciples as they watched Jesus ascend to heaven, the Holy Spirit poured out on the Day of Pentecost, the miracles done by the hands of the apostles, and the many other past and current witnesses that all speak to the same incredible truth: the man known as Jesus of Nazareth was and is in fact the Son of God, sent to earth to die on the cross for our sins, and who was raised from the dead the third day.

What more could God have done to convince men and women of the truth of His Son Jesus Christ? For anyone with eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart open to divine truth, the evidence is overwhelming. The wonderful news is this: we are not alone in this cold and cruel world. There is a Heavenly Father who loves us, and has made a provision so that we can enjoy His presence forever and ever. Trust in Jesus, accept Him as your Lord and Savior, and receive the gift of eternal life.


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