Lesson #8 - Jesus’ Character & Works

Bible student

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

2 Timothy 3:16-17

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We have established reasons to believe in God and the Bible. We now will examine Jesus of Nazareth, the central figure of the Bible and Christianity. There is no debate as to whether this Jesus lived. He is written about in books other than the Bible. For example, Tacitus, a Roman historian, wrote in A.D. 112, “Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius” (Annals, XV, 44).

The question asked when Jesus lived and the question that yet remains is, “Who is (or was) this man?” Jesus said that Peter’s statement that He was “The Christ, the Son of the living God” was the correct answer to the question (Matthew 16:13-18). Is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God as He claimed? Again, we remind you that faith must be based on evidence. Our source of evidence for Jesus is the Bible, which we have already established to be the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Is there evidence within the Bible to convince us that Jesus was more than a man? We begin our study by surveying what the Bible says about Jesus’ character and His works.

Jesus’ Character

If Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, we must find evidence of a sinless, godly character. If sin were found in His life, all that Christians believe about who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing, is shot down. If He sinned, He could not be Divine, He could not have been man’s sacrifice (1 Peter 1:19) and He could not presently serve as man’s intercessor with God (Hebrews 4:14-16) and man’s example (1 Peter 2:21-25).

The acid test of Jesus’ sinlessness comes from an examination of the question posed by Jesus to His enemies, “Which one of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46). A man’s friends might be blind to his faults, but not his enemies. The N.T. record is not just a testimonial about Jesus by His friends. The scrutiny of His enemies is recorded as well. Did Jesus’ enemies ever convict Him of sin? We will particularly notice Mark 2 and 3 where one charge after another is made against Jesus.

Jesus was accused of blasphemy (Mark 2:5-12). He claimed to be able to forgive sins, something reserved only for God. But, He proved that His claim was not blasphemous by healing a lame man. By demonstrating Divine power in some-thing they could see, He proved that He had the Divine power in the realm they could not see (forgiveness of sins).

Next Jesus was charged with sin because of His association with sinners (Mark 2:13-17). Jesus replied that the very purpose of His work demanded association with sinners; the doctor must come in contact with the sick. The attitude the Pharisees displayed toward those they labeled “sinners” showed that they had become overly concerned with the ritual of religion (sacrifice) to the neglect of its very essence (the imitation of God; here particularly in mercy) (cp. Matthew 9:13).

Then Jesus was condemned because His disciples did not fast like John’s disciples (Mark 2:18-22). His answer was that fasting was not appropriate at that time. The Pharisees had turned something designed for specific occasions into mere ritual. In addition, Jesus’ work was some-thing new, not just a patch on the old. His work should not therefore be expected to be identical with what had gone on before.

Lastly, the Pharisees said that Jesus and His disciples violated the Sabbath Jesus’ disciples broke the Jewish traditions by plucking grain on the Sabbath. In the traditions that they had developed, they missed the whole reason that God set it up. The Sabbath was to be a day of rest, a day for man’s benefit, not a day for man to go hungry. (Mark 2:23-28)

The traditions also held that a man could be helped medically on the Sabbath only in cases of life and death. Jesus, knowing they would accuse Him for healing a withered hand (a non-emergency situation) on the Sabbath, got behind their tedious traditions with the simple question, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good or to do harm? To save a life or to kill?” (Mark 3:4). They could not and did not answer for they would have approved Jesus’ healing of the man’s hand. Unable to convict him of sin, they took counsel to kill Him. This is perhaps the supreme testimony to His sinlessness. They could not discredit Him, so they were forced to have to destroy Him to get Him out of the way. (Read Mark 3:1-6)

Jesus’ Works

Jesus did not expect men to believe His claim to be the Son of God without evidence. In fact He said, “If I alone bear witness of Myself, my testimony is not true” (John 5:31). To convince men of His claim, Jesus set forth witnesses and one of these was the works the Father had given Him to do (John 5:36).

Nature of Jesus’ Works- The N.T. records that Jesus healed all manner of diseases (Matthew 4:23) including palsy (Mark 2:1-2), fever (Mark 1:29-31), blindness (John 9), deafness (Matthew 11:5), muteness (Matthew 15:30-31), blood hemorrhaging (Luke 8:43-48), withered limbs (Mark 3:1-5), dropsy (Luke 14:1-14), and amputated ears (Luke 22:50-51).

During Jesus’ life on earth, men were afflicted in a way other than disease. Demons, helpers of Satan, possessed men. But Jesus was able to cast the demons out, ending great affliction and proving He had the power over Satan (Luke 9:37-43). Jesus also showed power over the laws of nature by acts such as feeding five thousand men with five loaves of bread and two fish (John 6:1-14), calming the sea with His command (Mark 4:39), and even walking on the sea (Jn 6:16-21).

And, if displaying power over disease, demons, and nature were not enough proof that Jesus was the Son of God, He also raised the dead on at least three occasions: the widow from Nain’s son (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43), and His dear friend Lazarus (John 11).

Number of Jesus’ Works- Thirty-five miracles are recorded in detail in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Many more are mentioned, but not fully told (Matthew 4:23-24). John relates only seven miracles, yet says that reading these should be enough to produce belief in Jesus (John 20:30-31).

Publicity of Jesus’ Works- Great multitudes marveled as Jesus made the sick well (Matthew 15:29-31). The whole city of Capernaum was at the door of the house where Jesus was staying while He performed miracles (Mark 1:32-34). People in the whole region around Gennesaret brought their sick to the marketplaces of the villages, cities, and the country and healed them before all (Mark 6:53-56). These things were “not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).

Testimony of Jesus’ Enemies- The strongest evidence for Jesus’ works comes from His enemies, as is the case with His sinless character. The enemies of Jesus did not deny His miracles. They attributed Jesus’ power to Satan (Matthew 12:22-24), at-tacked His character (Mark 3:1-6), and, finally, when all else failed, plotted to kill Lazarus and Jesus- both the walking miracle and the miracle worker (John 11:44-53; 12:9-11). That the Jewish leaders had to resort to such tactics is their silent (but yet so loud!) admission that His miracles did occur.

Conclusion

Jesus manifested the character of God- sinless perfection. Jesus manifested the works of God- supernatural wonders. The evidence is abundant that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.

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True or False? (Read all passages in the lesson carefully!)
Some historians question whether there was a man from Nazareth named Jesus.
True
False
The truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God is the foundation of Christianity.
True
False
One should not believe in Jesus unless he can find evidence supporting Him.
True
False
If Jesus sinned, He can still be the Christ, the Son of God, and Savior of men.
True
False
The N.T. record of Jesus includes only the viewpoint of His friends.
True
False
Jesus was unable to show that He had the power to forgive sins.
True
False
Associating with “sinners” was a sin.
True
False
The Pharisees had missed the essence of religion- developing God’s character.
True
False
Genuine fasting grew out of circumstances in people’s lives and was not just a religious ritual.
True
False
Jesus’ work was only to modify the Jewish religion.
True
False
Adding traditions to the Sabbath made it a burden rather than a blessing.
True
False
It was a sin to do good on the Sabbath.
True
False
Simon Peter’s mother was healed.
True
False
Jesus healed a man born blind.
True
False
That Jesus healed the deaf was evidence sent to John the Baptist while he was in prison.
True
False
If an ox could be helped on the Sabbath, then Jesus was right in healing a man of dropsy on that day.
True
False
Jesus fed 5000 men with five loaves and two fish and had no leftovers.
True
False
Jesus calmed the sea with just a simple command.
True
False
The disciples were not alarmed when Jesus walked on the sea toward them.
True
False
Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son out of compassion.
True
False
Jesus waited to come to Lazarus until he died so that He could raise Him to cause the disciples to believe.
True
False
Jesus’ fame helps us to believe that His healing was genuine.
True
False
It is logical to believe that Jesus cast out demons by Satan’s power.
True
False
The Jewish leaders’ actions were a silent admission that Jesus did miracles.
True
False
We have no basis to believe in Jesus now since we cannot see His miracles.
True
False
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