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Who is This?

C Jones, Cardiff

The Herod referred to in Luke 9.9 was a very cruel man, and from what we learn about him in the Scriptures he appears to have been superstitious and guilt-ridden. When he heard of the miracles performed by the Lord Jesus Christ, he was troubled, and although John the Baptist had not performed any miracles (Jn 10.41), Herod was perplexed (Lk 9.7-8), and said, "John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him" (v.9). Ultimately, Herod did see the Lord, for Pilate sent Him to Herod, who was glad to see Him, hoping to witness Him perform a miracle. He asked the Lord many questions, but the Lord, of whom it had been said, "Never man spake like this man" (Jn 7.46), chose not to speak to him. Herod, probably feeling more secure because he was surrounded by his soldiers, "set him at nought, and mocked him" (Lk 23.6-12).

What manner of man is this?

Herod was not the only one to ask questions concerning the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ. There was the occasion when the Lord, showing His humanity, was tired and went to sleep in a boat. A great storm arose, and the boat and all those in it were in danger. The disciples woke the Lord and said, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (Mk 4.38). The Lord was tired as we, who are possessed of sinful humanity (Rom 3.23), get tired. The Lord was truly man but His humanity was holy humanity. There is no sin in Him (1 Jn 3.5), and it is a statement of eternal truth to say that He is incapable of sinning. The Lord arose and, showing His deity, "rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (Mk 4.39). All these events caused the disciples to fear and they said to one another, "What manner of man is this?" (v.41). The disciples did the right thing in taking their worry and fear to the Lord, and the question they asked was understandable. They were afraid, and it is good to remember that about thirty years later, Peter, who was probably among those who, in their fear, spoke to the Lord during the storm, wrote, "Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you" (1 Pet 5.7).

Is not this the Christ?

On another occasion we read of the Lord sitting on a well because He was tired. The Lord, in His omniscience, knew that a Samaritan woman would come to draw water. When she came, He asked her for a drink. She was surprised that this Man, being a Jew, should ask her, a Samaritan, for such a thing (Jn 4.9). The conversation continued and the Lord graciously revealed to her wonderful truths (vv.10-15). When He told her that she had had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband, she realised that He was not an ordinary man and believed that He was a prophet. They spoke of worship, and then the Lord revealed to the woman that He was the Messiah, the Christ (vv.25-26). She returned to her home town and said to the men, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" (v.29). The question she put to the men caused them to go to see the Lord (v.30).

Many of the Samaritans of Sychar believed on the Lord because of what the woman had told them (v.39), and when the Lord Himself stayed there for two days many more believed on Him because of the things He told them, and said, He "is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world" (v.42).

Thou art the Christ

Towards the end of His earthly ministry, the Lord put two questions to His disciples. He first asked them, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" (Mt 16.13). He who is the Son of God (Mk 1.1) identified Himself with man and often referred to Himself as the Son of man (eg Mt 8.20; 26.64; Lk 19.10). The Lord was a perfect, sinless man and a perfect Saviour. He is fully man and fully God. He knows and understands the Father (Mt 11.27), and, having perfect, holy humanity, He knows and understands man. He is the "one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2.5).

The Lord knew all things (Jn 2.25; 21.17), but He wanted the disciples to think about what men were saying concerning Himself. Some thought He was John the Baptist. Some thought He was Elijah, probably because they knew of the miracles associated with Elijah. Other people thought that He might be Jeremiah or "one of the prophets" (Mt 16.14).

The disciples, like believers today, were privileged to know much more about the Lord than others, and the Lord said to them, "But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16.15-16). Peter confessed that the Lord was the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God, and the Lord said, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven" (v.17). Peter’s answer regarding the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ was not the result of human speculation or reasoning for he had been blessed by a revelation from God.

By the grace of God, those of us who are believers know that the Lord was not simply a good, great, and outstanding man or just another prophet. We know that He was a man but not a mere man, for He is the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten, eternal, and beloved Son of God in whom dwells "all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col 2.9). He created all things (Jn 1.3); all things were made by Him and for Him and He holds all things together (Col 1.16-17).

The Lord came into the world as a babe. He came to glorify His Father and make possible the salvation of sinners who repent and put their faith and trust in His Person and His completed work on the cross (1 Tim 1.15; Lk 19.10). Hundreds of years before He came, Isaiah had written, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Is 7.14). "Immanuel" means "God with us" (Mt 1.23). The Lord is the very essence and substance of God and expresses the mind of God. John tells us that "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us" (Jn 1.14, RV). He is the "image of the invisible God" (Col 1.15); "the express image of His person" (Heb 1.3); and He could say, "…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (Jn 14.9).

The answer to Herod’s question, "Who is this?", is that He is the Son of the living God, the pre-eminent, unique, unparalleled, glorious, and altogether lovely Lord Jesus Christ, by grace the Lord and Saviour of all believers.

Concluded.

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