Bible Studies > Self-Portraits of God: Lesson 4

Self-Portraits of God

Studies in the Life and Work of Jesus

Lesson 4: Historical Portraits; Jesus the Person in the New Testament

General Introduction

Tidings of the work of Jesus spread rapidly throughout Capernaum. Because they were afraid of the rabbis, the people did not come to be healed upon the Sabbath, but when the sun set there was a great commotion! From their homes, from their shops, from the market places, the inhabitants of the city hurried toward the house where Jesus was staying. Friends brought sick friends upon couches. Sickly people came leaning upon any type of support they could find. Some, of, course were helped by their friends, as we saw happening in the story of the paralytic in the study on Self-portraits in Miracles. They often entered the house in a very feeble condition, only to walk out in the strength of perfect health. The blind were given sight; the deaf were made to hear, and the troubled were made free.

On this evening the people continued to come and go hour after hour because no one knew whether or not Jesus would still be there in the morning. He went from city to city. Never before had the city of Capernaum had a day like this one. The throngs of people represented the followers of many gods, but none of their gods had done for their followers what Jesus was doing for the people of this city. Throughout the hours following the setting of the sun, on that Sabbath, the air was filled with the sounds made by those people who had been restored to wholeness.

Jesus was joyful in the joy He had awakened. He rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 13: 3). As He saw the suffering of those who came for help, He sympathized with them, and rejoiced in His power to help. He did not stop healing the people until they were all well. There was not a person left in the city, who came for help, who was not healed! Finally silence settle down upon the home of Simon Peter, where Jesus was staying. The long exciting day was over.

So how did this great life get started? What events introduced this life to the world?

The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary by God to tell her she was going to have a Son, and that they should name Him Jesus, because He would save His people from their sins. See Luke, chapter 1.

Wise men came from the East to see Him. They got there by following a star. See Matthew, chapters 1 and 2.

Out in the fields shepherds were doing the work of shepherds when an angel appeared in the sky and spoke to them, telling them that today, there is born to you a Savior; then other angels appeared, singing and lighting-up the plain. See Luke, chapter 2.

And little Jesus grew up and increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with both the people who met Him, and with God, (see Luke 2: 52), until one day when He met the people leading a study session in the temple; and they discovered that He had a different picture of God than they had, that He knew God as a friend rather than some one to talk about. Jesus’ God was His familiar and very likeable friend; Someone He had known from all eternity; as One brought up with Him. See Proverbs, chapter 8.

Jesus was subject to His parents, working with them in their daily lives, and working in Joseph’s carpenter shop, until He was baptized.

Then everything changed.

When Jesus came up out of the water at His baptism He went up on the river bank to pray, and there was a voice from heaven, which sounded like thunder to many, heard by the crowds gathered for John’s meeting, which said, “this is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” and life was never the same again! (For the story of Jesus baptism see Matthew, chapter 3.) We also learn from this record that God is not only Jesus’ familiar and very likable friend, but He is also Jesus’ Father.

The most ordinary things of life were altered by His presence. In the Old Testament David, the Psalmist, said that even the hills skip like little lambs at the presence of the Lord! In Jesus life, the times of the New Testament, something as ordinary as a wedding feast was made to be never-forgotten, because the host had miscalculated the number of friends that would be interested in the marriage of his children, and ran out of fresh wine for the guests to enjoy- only to have Jesus mother, who was a helper at the wedding feast, tell Jesus what had happened. He said, FILL THE WINE JARS WITH WATER! Some one actually did it! Then Jesus said to serve it to the host. Some one actually did it! The host spoke to the bridegroom, expressing his surprise at the fact that the bridegroom had kept the best wine until the last. (See John, chapter 2.)

From this event until the end of His life no one could ever guess what He might do next. Most of His time was spent repairing people and their lives, but He also talked

and talked to assure people that their lives could be very happy if they took the God of heaven to be their daily companion. If one surveys the material recorded and preserved for us to study, it is easy to say that Jesus favorite topic to talk about was the paternal character of the One known to the people of His nation as their God; the One they all knew about, but saw in a very different light from the one in which Jesus presented Him. Jesus concept of the God of Heaven, we saw in an earlier study, was that He is the Father we all wish we had. What made Jesus concept so different from the concept that the people already had was His personal acquaintance of the Father who was the pattern for all the great things that Jesus did—things which the people enjoyed and were blessed by every day of their lives. With Jesus’ God, life was worth more than just living- it had the promise of a life that lasted as long as Jesus’ God lived- with no bad, and all the desires of the renewed heart realized more and more as the times of the life eternal moved on. Jesus’ God’s future was a future in motion—people grew in it.

The life of the future which Jesus lived and presented in words was not only what everyone wanted, for their future, but it was breaking into many people’s lives as they listened to Jesus teach, and saw the works He did.

And they murdered Him. How does that happen?! He raised up the sick, healed the injured, stopped storms by speaking to the wind and the water, raised people from the dead, sent devils into a herd of swine, who subsequently raced down a steep bank and over a cliff, and drowned in the sea! And yet they murdered Him; or is it more accurate to say, yes they murdered Him, but He died for another reason?

Comments and Feedback

Deprecated: mysql_query(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/uparksda/public_html/includes/comments.php on line 33

Warning: mysql_query(): Access denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /home/uparksda/public_html/includes/comments.php on line 33

Warning: mysql_query(): A link to the server could not be established in /home/uparksda/public_html/includes/comments.php on line 33
error with database 1