Jesus: One of a Kind, Part 1

William C. Brownson Uncategorized

READ : John 7:46
Mark 7:37

No one ever spoke as this man spoke, or lived a blameless life as he lived.

In this study, “The Case for Christian faith,” we’ve talked about the Scriptures, about the witness of Jesus to his being the Son of God, about his crucifixion and his resurrection. Now we come today to the climax for me. It’s what I’ve been wanting to say from the beginning, gathered up and focused. It’s the place for me where teaching, preaching, personal witness and life passion all come together. Remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “To me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the nation the unsearchable riches of Christ.” That’s how I feel. These are the greatest things I ever think about, talk about, live for and share. These are immeasurable riches that I am privileged to offer to others, that bring to them the truest wealth, the greatest treasures in life.

What Is “Unique”?

All right, today it’s the uniqueness of Jesus. You know what unique means: “Existing as the only one or the sole example, single, solitary in type or characteristics, having no like or equal, unparalleled, incomparable.” That’s it, the incomparable Jesus. Jesus: one of a kind. That’s what I want to talk about today and the next time.

Simply put, Jesus Christ himself is the case for Christian faith. Not a religion, not an institution, not even a body of doctrine or a code of ethics, although Christian faith includes all of these. The faith, friends, stands or falls with the person around whom these cluster the unique, the incomparable Jesus. And in these next two times, I want to talk about five ways in which Jesus is one of a kind:

  • One of a kind in how he spoke.
  • One of a kind in how he lived.
  • One of a kind in how he died.
  • One of a kind in how he rose and
  • One of a kind in how he continues to work in this
    world
    .

One of a Kind in How He Spoke

For today it’s the first two, one of a kind in the way he spoke. It was an occasion when the authorities sent the temple police to arrest Jesus. It was on the last day of a festival. He had just been preaching. “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, out of his inmost being will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Some time later the temple police came back to headquarters, and they were asked, “Why didn’t you arrest him?” (v. 45). You know what their answer was? “No one ever spoke like this man.” No one ever spoke like this!

He was unique in the way he spoke; for one thing, about who he is. When I hear people say they admire Jesus’ teachings but do not believe in him, I wonder if they have noticed how much of his teaching is about himself perhaps the major part. Everything else grows out of that.

Jesus speaks about who he is as the fulfiller of God’s Word. He says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not think that I have come to destroy the law and the prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). In speaking to his critics, he said once, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life and they are the ones that testify of me, but you will not come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-46). Imagine, the Old Testament Scriptures were the heart of everything for Israel. Jesus says he comes to fulfill them, and that they’re really all about him!

He preaches in the synagogue in his hometown Nazareth and reads a passage from Isaiah 61 that speaks about the servant of the Lord. In him the Spirit is poured out. He will proclaim good news to the poor. He will set the captives free. He will proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Jesus sits down afterwards and says, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). In other words, the heart of what the Old Testament was saying is about Jesus.

On the road to Emmaus, in talking to Cleopas and his friend, he pauses and chides them that they are so slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. And then, beginning with Moses and the prophets and the psalms, he expounds to them in all the Scriptures the things about himself. He’s the fulfiller of God’s Word (Luke 24:25-27, 44).

What’s more, he’s the promised Messiah. Remember that time when Jesus was talking to the woman by the well in Samaria and in his searching love was calling to her attention things about her life that made her uncomfortable? She tried to sidestep all this and said, “When the Messiah comes he will tell us about these things.” And Jesus responded, “I, the one speaking to you, am he” (John 4:26).

And in the critical moment of his life when Jesus was before the high priest and the Sanhedrin, and the high priest demanded, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”, Jesus did not hesitate. He said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:60-62). He said he was the promised Messiah.

What’s more, he said he was the Son of God. He speaks of God as “my Father” (John 14:1-3). He seems to know everything about the Father’s house and the mansions, the rooms in the Father’s house. He will be able to take people there. He’ll be coming in the clouds of heaven (John 14:1-2). He says, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). He says that the worship, honor and praise that are due to the Father are due also to him (John 5:23).

Think about what he said about his past. Remember these words: “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58)? He spoke in prayer about a glory he had with the Father before the world was and how he had come down into the world in order to do the Father’s will. He spoke about why he came in a unique way. He came to be a physician for the sick. He came to save the lost. He came to be a witness to the truth. He came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. He came, he said, so that we might have life. He’s the life giver.

What can he do? He says that he’s the only one who has the right here on earth to forgive sins. He proclaims himself as the one who will be the judge of all people at the last day. He says when he gives the Great Commission to his followers after his resurrection, “All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18-20). He can give people the nourishment on which their souls depend. He is the bread of life. He’s the living water, he says. He is the light of the world. He is the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in him, though they were dead, yet shall they live. He’s the way, the truth and the life. Ponder the things that he said about himself, who he was and what he could do.

And you know, sometimes when he spoke, people were furious. They took up stones to stone him. Other people fell before him in worship and adoration but nobody ever laughed. Nobody ever made claims like this, and was considered in any way sane and taken seriously. He was unique in the way he spoke.

Unique in How He Lived

And also in the way he lived. Once, when he had opened the ears and loosened the tongue of a deaf and dumb man, the people were astonished beyond measure and they said, “He has done all things well” (Mark 7:37). That was the story of his life. That’s been the verdict of people in every age. Can you imagine Jesus saying to people, “Which of you convinces me of sin?” (John 8:46). He just right out challenged them to say anything about his life that showed that he had sinned. Who could do that? Who would even dare to do that? He would sometimes say to people, “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your heavenly Father will give to his children.” In other words, he assumes that everybody else in the human race is afflicted with the plague of sin, and he’s the only one who’s not in that place. It’s so different from our common experience. In our awareness, the most holy people in the world, the most godly ones who live nearest to God are those who have the greatest sense of their own sin and failing.

But Jesus, without self-consciousness, without presumption, without a trace of pride, says that he does always the things that please the Father. His whole purpose in the world is to do the will of the one who has sent him, to speak the words of the Father, to do the works of the Father.

Jesus is such a marvelous blending of opposites. He’s meek and lowly in heart, and yet he’s the mighty one who alone can bring people into relationship with God. He is conscious that he’s come from God, and he’s going to God on that last night of his life. But then aware of that tremendous identity and destiny he girds himself with a towel and washes the feet of his disciples. He is the great One who comes to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. He can weep at the grave of Lazarus his friend, and then speak the word that calls forth Lazarus from the dead.

And in the most amazing way, Jesus lives the life of love. He loves the Father. He comes down into the world to reveal the Father’s heart and glory and to do the Father’s will. That the world may know that he loves the Father, he marches toward the cross. And how he loves people with a self-giving and self-sacrificing love! This is Jesus.

Let me ask you, friends: No one ever spoke like this. Can’t you put your trust in what he said? No one ever lived this. He backed up his claims with his life, not like charlatans who say one thing and do another. He lived this way. Isn’t he worth trusting, obeying and following?