Throughout the past 2,000 years, thousands of papers and a multitude of books have been written about the life of Jesus Christ. However, the most authentic account of his life is his autobiography found in the Bible. In today’s text, Jesus talks about his life Ð who he is and what his mission is all about.
In today’s text, Jesus tells us that he and the Father are one. He wants us to know that he is more than a man, more than an instructor, more than a teacher. “I and the Father are one. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me.” Turning to those miracles, we find that only God can do the things he was doing.
Remember the miracle in John 11 when Jesus raised his good friend, Lazarus, from the dead. When Lazarus was sick, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus to come. However, Jesus waited until three or four days later. When she heard Jesus was coming, Martha ran out to the road to meet him. Feeling a bit disgusted with Jesus for not coming sooner, she told Jesus that Lazarus had died. Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha replied, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day, but I really want him right now.”
Then Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
Then Mary joined them, and they went out to the tomb together where Lazarus was buried. Jesus ordered the stone covering the cave to be removed even though it had been four days since he was placed in that tomb, and the body had begun to give off odor. Then Jesus looked up to heaven, gave thanks to the Father, and said in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
This would be quite difficult for a person to believe, even one who was standing by that tomb and witnessed Lazarus (who had been declared dead) walking out, restored to life and returned to his sisters. How much more difficult for a person who was not present to believe!
Jesus performed many more miracles while he was on this earth. The raising of Lazarus from the dead is just one example Jesus gives us in his autobiography to prove he was the Son of God.
In today’s text, Jesus makes a reference to his people being sheep. Only those who are really his sheep can truly understand what Jesus means when he calls himself one with the Father. He says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Scriptures make it clear that Jesus’ sheep are those who hear his voice and follow him. That is, the one who hears the gospel, and believes it in his heart. One becomes a sheep by receiving Jesus Christ into their heart and into their life.
One of the great blessings of being a child of God is to know Jesus will never leave us or forsake us, even when the going is rough. Another is to know we have a heavenly home. “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (Big statement now) No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:2-6). Unless we have received Jesus Christ, this doesn’t make much sense.
Sitting at an athletic event, I can look at the crowd of many thousand people and know that, according to Jesus’ own autobiography, no one knows him unless they have received him. The only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ human birth was in Bethlehem. His mother was Mary, who was a virgin. A person who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will never believe Jesus was conceived without a man’s help. But when we have met him in his autobiography, we understand that God can do whatever he chooses.
So He gave Mary the gracious privilege to become the mother of God, and his earthly father Joseph cared for him. When Jesus reached the age of 30, he began his ministry. He began revealing to the world his true nature as the promised Messiah. Those of us who know him in a personal way can understand this, but those living in Nazareth who did not understand him as Savior and Lord were really ready to kill him.
Jesus’ miracles were a way in which he revealed himself, offering us an opportunity for a personal relationship with him.
One day when Jesus and his disciples were on the Mount of Olives, he told them, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). What does this really mean?
Jesus was telling the disciples to take the message of salvation to the far corners of the earth. When their time came to leave this earth, then others will be his spokespeople.
The disciples didn’t quite understand this until after the ascension at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and gave them the task of establishing the church. Peter preached a tremendous sermon that day, and three thousand people became believers in Christ Jesus. They then went into the hinder lands sharing the good news.
Later, we have the great apostle Paul who preached the gospel and established many churches. He remained in contact with those congregations and wrote to them about their ills reminding them that God was with them. Jesus’ autobiography sent Paul to cities like Corinth to reprimand them, comfort them, and inspire them, for Jesus would not have them taken out of his hand. His desire was for them to turn to him when they believed they were of no value; then he would establish them in the faith again. That is our Savior.
I began by saying many books have been written on Jesus in these last 2,000 years. One great book was given to me by my father and mother when I was in the seminary. It was written by Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. One continually goes back to books like that, for the writers were students of the Word of God in the real sense of the word. They have been able to dig into all the facts and figures surrounding Jesus’ life, such as what was happening when Jesus was twelve years of age and his parents found him in the Jerusalem temple talking with the theologians of the day.
Good books are being written every day from those who love him. They sit in their studies and write in order that you and I may know him better. Read Jesus’ autobiography from the gospel accounts and the epistles, but go to some of these other books, as well, and make them a part of your library. Thereby, we see Jesus working through his people, and we are reminded that we are not alone.
We are not ignorant of what Jesus has done for us and who he really is. Turn to that Son of God, learn from his autobiography that he is all that we know him to be as one of his sheep.
If you are not one of his sheep, he is anxious to use his autobiography to tell you that, if you are humble and bow before the throne of grace, he will be your Lord.