Who is Jesus? The Son of God Mark 9:2-10 March 4, 2012
How have you been? Did you have a good week since last Sunday? My guess is that you enjoyed
Wednesday more than any other day last week. Wednesday was the day after the Republican
Presidential primary election. It was also the day that all of those political phone calls came to an
end and it became much quieter in our home. It is still not clear who the Republican candidate for
President will be. But one thing we know for sure, the Republican candidate like President Obama
will have supporters they are trying to rally, opponents they are trying to overcome and people in
the middle they are trying to impress.
Jesus faced a similar situation in Israel. He had supporters with great expectations, even if what they
wanted Jesus to do was not realistic. He had members of the religious elite who wanted to silence
him and limit his influence. And there were people in the middle who didn’t know what to do with
Jesus. But Jesus didn’t try to impress them. He wasn’t looking for their vote. He came to address
their greatest need, the need for God’s love and forgiveness. It is our greatest need, too.
People are looking for heroes, for someone they can look up to who does great things. Many people
today find their heroes in sports or entertainment. I’m not sure being able to act or sing or make
people laugh, being able to shot a basketball or throw a football or hit a baseball makes someone a
hero. Maybe that is why we’ve seen renewed interest in comic book super heroes like Iron Man,
Spider Man and Super Man over the past few years. Super Heroes are comic book figures with a
secret identity and super powers. But those super heroes are not real. The one true hero I heard
about this week is a man by the name of Frank Hall. He is an assistant football coach at the High
School in Ohio where the shootings took place last week. Coach Hall chased the gunman out of the
building, saving an unknown number of students. He put his life on the line to save others. Frank
Hall is a hero.
One day Jesus went on a mountain side to pray. He took Peter, James and John, his three closest
disciples with him. There was nothing unusual about that. But things changed when Moses and
Elijah appeared on the mountain with Jesus and began talking with Him. Moses and Elijah are great
heroes of faith from the Old Testament. Moses stood up to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel
out of slavery in Egypt. Elijah stood up to the prophets of the idol Baal on Mt. Carmel as the Lord
God proved that He alone is God. God gave the Law, the 10 Commandments to Moses. Elijah was
one of God’s great prophets, who brought God’s word to the people of his day.
The Gospel accounts don’t tell us what Jesus, Moses and Elijah were talking about. But we can
make an educated guess. Jesus came to fulfill the Law for us. He came to fulfill the promise that
God had given to His people through the prophets. Only six days earlier Jesus told the disciples that
he had to go to Jerusalem to suffer, die and rise again. My guess is that Jesus, Moses and Elijah
were talking about God’s plan to redeem sinful people, to restore them to His family. That means
that Jesus is more than hero. While they were all still on the mountain, God the Father said, “This is
my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (verse 7) Jesus is more than a hero. Jesus is the Son of God,
the one person worth listening to and following.
God the Father didn’t say that Jesus is a son of God. Jesus is not one of many. He is unique. He is
the Son of God, the promised Immanuel and keeper of the Law. Jesus is both true God and true
man. He is God who entered our world to take our place under the Law and to pay the price for our
sin. He is the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus told Nicodemus, “God sent
his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17
NLT) Jesus came to do the one thing we cannot for ourselves, save us.
God the Father told the disciples to listen to Jesus. They needed to understand who Jesus was and
what He was about to do. We need to listen to Jesus too and to realize that Jesus didn’t come to live
up to our expectations. He came to meet our greatest need. There are times when we can fool
ourselves into thinking that we are pretty good people, that we are better than most and that God
could never condemn us. But is that true? The Bible tells us that if you hate someone you’re a
murder. (1 John 3:15). Jesus says that if you look at another person with lust you’re guilty of
adultery (Matthew 5:28) and if you refuse to forgive someone God won’t forgive you (Matthew
6:15). I’m not perfect and neither are you. We are all guilty of violating God’s law. We need help.
Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10 NLT) Jesus
came to save us from sin and death.
That is why we need to set aside our expectations and listen to Jesus. We can’t save ourselves. Jesus
doesn’t promise us fame and fortune. He promises us God’s love and forgiveness. He came to fulfill
God’s plan that sent Him to the cross to die in our place and rise from the dead proving that sin and
death have been defeated. No other religion is going to tell us that. They tell us what we have to do
to save ourselves. No world view that tells us that this life is all there is can help us either because
God created us to live forever. God has placed eternity in our hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Not only do we need to listen to Jesus, we need to follow Him. We follow the Lord in faith. We
follow Him when we put our trust in Him and rely on His love and forgiveness. We follow Him
when we respond to love by loving others. We follow Him when we respond to His forgiveness by
forgiving others. We follow Jesus when we respond to His service by serving others in His name.
It is clear that some people have false expectations about Jesus today. Others are openly opposed to
Him and to His followers. But that doesn’t change the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. So listen to
Him. Follow Him. Receive the gifts of forgiveness and life, hope and peace that only Jesus can