As you study through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John you cannot miss that many of the Jews were not receptive of Jesus. Even among some whom initially believed in Jesus, their following of Him had limits. For example, notice what happened as some believed on Him: “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free” (John 8:19-33)?
Are you scratching your head? Did you notice how they started down the road of conversion, but then quickly exited? As the context continues, you later read this: “Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself” (John 8:48-53)? Is Jesus greater than the greats before Him? Is He greater than those after Him?
Failure to Recognize The Greatness Of Christ Is Not New
As we get into this study, let’s realize that this problem is not limited to first century Jews. Gentiles also had problems exalting men above Jesus and had to be taught against such (I Corinthians 1:10-4:6). To this very day, men are exalted to a position of authority greater than our Lord. From the Catholics who exalt priests, their pope, etc. to false churches of Christ that exalt elders, preachers, human institutions, etc.; Jesus gets demoted often. So, this brief study is just an answer to the Jews. It is a constant problem from then through now.
Jesus sharply rebuked those whom took positions of authority that did not belong to them (Matthew 23:1-33). The Apostles had authority and served as examples to be followed (Acts 2:42, I Corinthians 4:16-17, and II Corinthians 5:20). However, they did not exalt themselves even when men wanted to exalt them (Acts 10:25-26, Acts 14:8-18, I Corinthians 11:1, and II Corinthians 4:5). Then and now, Jesus is greater than all men or women on earth!
To Whomsoever Asks, Jesus Is The Greatest!
Our Heavenly Father gave ALL authority in Heaven and on earth to Jesus (Isaiah 9:1-7, Matthew 11:25-30, Matthew 28:18, Luke 1:26-33, John 3:26-36, John 5:21-29, John 13:3, Acts 2:32-36, Acts 4:10-12, Acts 10:36, Ephesians 1:19-23, Philippians 2:3-11, Colossians 1:12-20, I Peter 3:18-22, and Revelation 1:5). There is no one past, present, or future on this earth that can make a claim to be greater than what you just read in the Scriptures about Jesus.
When we are converted to Christ, we need to understand that we are now wholly under His authority above all else (II Corinthians 5:14-19). We need to obey His words and follow His lead (I John 2:1-6) in everything we say and do (Colossians 3:16-17). As members of His body, the church; we are collectively His house under His authority (Hebrews 3:1-6). Jesus has declared that nothing can come between us and Him from His end (Romans 8:31-39). Don’t allow someone or something to come between you and Him on your end. Jesus is, by far, the greatest. He is worthy of your love, glory, service, and unwavering dedication (Romans 14:7-12, I Timothy 1:17, I John 4:19, and Revelation 5:11-12).
I wrote this article as somewhat of an introduction to a study we are about to engage in together through weekly articles in this publication. Starting in the next article, we are going to have a written study on the book of Hebrews. That book establishes the greatness of Christ, His priesthood, His law, and the promises in Him. The book was written because early Christians, whom were Jews, struggled with their faith in Christ above their allegiance to Moses, Abraham, etc. Maybe this upcoming study can help all of us have a greater appreciation for, “that great shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20).
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