Can you imagine reading the Gospel narratives for the first time? If so, then I am sure one of the things to impress you would be the tremendous claims made by Jesus Christ. These claims aroused interest and opposition when uttered, and they continue to do the same today. Did the disciples enter into the full meaning of the opening sentence of John 14? There He said, “Ye believe in God, believe also in Me,” asserting:

1. Equality With God

His enemies saw His meaning at once when He said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” and, “I and My Father are one” and promptly took up stones to stone Him. At His arraignment before Pilate they said, “He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” A professional friend once asked if I could show him one verse where Christ said He was God. He was pointed to these and other passages in the New Testament, but he “was not satisfied.” He thought he knew God the Father, but how could he when he would not recognize Christ as the Son? For Christ said He was

2. The Only One Who Could Reveal the Father

In Luke 10:22 He said, “No man knoweth … who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” This statement strikes at the root of that false doctrine of “the Universal Fatherhood of God.” It also illumines those other sayings of Christ: “I am the Light of the world”; “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” These first two stupendous claims are contained in one verse in the first chapter of John: “The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” In the first is established His deity; in the second He is seen as the Revealer of the Father. And in our next point He claims

3. Power to Forgive Sins

When Christ said, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:5, 7), His enemies at once challenged Him, saying, “Who can forgive sins but God only?” Their acute religious minds stated the matter accurately, and with convincing power flashed the answer: “Arise … and immediately [the paralytic man] arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all.” And for once they were amazed and glorified God. Thank God “that through this Man (the crucified, dead, buried and risen Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:38). Then we are led a step further and find

4. He Promises Rest to Those Who Come to Him

“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Try and picture a Jewish peasant with arms outspread, uttering these arresting words, words which have echoed round the world, summoning myriads from the wrecks of humanity to the haven of rest. In this passage we have a full Gospel of salvation, sanctification and service—rest from an accusing conscience and rest in doing His will, not only rest from the present but rest about the future, for Christ said:

5. “I Am the Resurrection and the Life.”

The Lord told Martha that He is not merely a human teacher of the resurrection but the divine author of all resurrection, whether spiritual or physical, and the root and fountain of all life. The Lord first of all made a declaration concerning Himself: “I am the Resurrection, and the Life” (John 11:25). And it is very plain, none could use this language but One Who knew and felt that He was very God. Then He declares there is resurrection for dead saints. “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.” What a privilege to know these things. The Savior in Whom we trust died and rose again. Then, He distinctly asserted He was:

6. The Fulfiller of Prophecy

At the commencement of His ministry He said: “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). And after His resurrection “He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Who could reverently read Psalm 22 or Isaiah 53, and the great crucifixion chapters, without admitting they refer to one and the same Person? The Old Testament Scriptures were guarded by the Jews, and yet they give minute details of the crucifixion of Messiah as it actually took place. No sign was to be given to the unbelieving Jew but that of the prophet Jonah. The Son of Man was to be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth and then come forth. Is it not strange, His enemies remembered this prediction whilst His disciples forgot it? To conclude, we will look at the last claim made by the Lord before His ascension, when He said:

7. “All Power Is Given Unto Me in Heaven and in Earth” (Matt. 28:18)

His power was demonstrated in the days of His flesh. He raised the dead, cleansed the leper, gave sight to the blind and cast out demons. He had power over the elements; He knew what was in the heart of man; He predicted the future and also died and rose from the dead. Unlike other powers which have arisen, His has never waned, but it has changed the lives of countless numbers right down the ages and has gone on increasing and glowing out to others through them. “The corn of wheat” which died has brought forth fruit in every clime.

And what of His power in Heaven? This has been demonstrated by the gift of the Holy Spirit as promised to His disciples. But its complete fulfillment is yet future, when we shall hear that great paean of praise: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Amen.”

— By J. H. Brewster. Originally published in the October 1932 issue of The Witness.


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