1. ‟Portraits of Jesus: Introduction” — Without argument, more paintings, drawings, images and statues have been made of Jesus than of any other person who has ever lived! Early catacomb images pictured Him with short hair and clean-shaven. Western artists of the Middle Ages up until today give Him longer hair, a beard, and more Western European features. But the truth is, the eye-witness records do not give us one shred of evidence about his actual appearance. Why? The answer is not clear. But this is clear: the gospel writers were not interested in what He looked like – they wanted everyone to know what He WAS like! Welcome to our study entitled, “Portraits of Jesus.”
2. “Portrait: The One and Only Son of God” — To “paint” an accurate verbal picture of someone, we have to consider the source of information we will use. Living almost two millenium after Jesus means we rely on the testimony of others. We begin today by considering our sources, then examine the statements that He was the “only begotten” or “only one of his kind” Son of God.
3. “Portrait: In the Image of God (I)” — On two different occasions (John 8 & John 10) Jewish religious leaders wanted to stone Jesus to death because He claimed to be God! This was not only His claim, but the confession of the early church as well. Join us as we begin this two-part examination of how Jesus was “in very nature God” (Philippians 2:6).
4. “Portrait: In the Image of God (II)” — “In Him permanently lived the full measure of all the qualities of God in a human body.” This is an amplified translation of Paul’s profession in Colossians 2:9. Perhaps some would think Jesus would reject such majestic superlatives concerning Him. But then we would not be able to explain why He accepted the kind of worship only God should have! Intrigued? Click to listen.
5. “Portrait: Our Maker and Creator” — John tells us “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3) This incredible “picture” of Jesus is repeated several times by Paul as well as the writer of Hebrews. What is the evidence to support John’s assertion? Listen as we see how Jesus could both prove He was the Creator and also submit to the limits of a human body.
6. “Portrait: In Human Flesh (I)” — The Old Testament prophets were clear — the Promised One to come would be “born of a woman,” of the physical descendents of Abraham and David. He would be a child born of a virgin, but also called “God With Us (Immanuel)” and “Almighty God.” God was promising the impossible — in human terms: someone who would be both God and man. We picture today just how God took on our humanity and what a great sacrifice He made on our behalf in doing so. Next week we will see why He had to do this, and what He accomplished in doing so. Click on our message title to listen.
7. “Portrait: In Human Flesh (II)” — Last week we saw that Jesus was “God incarnate” (in human flesh). This was prophesied; it explains how Mary could become pregnant while a virgin; it explains how and why He could do miracles yet die on a cross. In this part of our study, we now examine WHY He had to become human. We can identify at least 9 reasons given in Scripture for His incarnation. Click our message title to hear more.
8.“Portrait: The Master Teacher” — “You call me, ‘Lord’ and ‘Teacher,’ and you are right, for so I am.” (John 13:13) The two most common titles His disciples and others used to address Jesus were “Teacher” and “Lord.” Jesus proclaimed that He brought the Words of God to men; in that sense He was the “Light of the World.” Teachers have the most profound effect on each person’s life, including ours! Who have we been listening to? Click on our message title to hear our lesson for today.
9. “Portrait: A Savior Is Born” — On the night of Jesus’ birth, shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem were treated to the world’s most spectacular multimedia presentation. It began with an announcement by an angel of God: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord!” (Luke 2:11) The prophecy of Zechariah was that the King would come possessing righteousness and salvation (Zechariah 9:9). Now He has come!
10. “Portrait: The Light of the World” — “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:5) Jesus was not sent just for the Jewish people. The prophecies were clear: He would be the “light for the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 49:6) Today we look at the world-wide mission of Jesus in coming into the world.
11. “Portrait: The Great High Priest” — Most of the New Testament focuses on what Jesus did while on earth (the Gospels) and the significance and benefits of His death and resurrection (the Epistles). But it is in the book of Hebrews we uniquely learn of what His present work in Heaven has been and continues to be — He is our high priest before the mercy seat of God! For Jewish Christians (Hebrews), this was an especially important concept, for they had lived all their previous lives trusting in the mediation of a high priest. We, too, need to understand what He is doing for us!
12. “Portrait: Born to Be King (I)” — The most prominent image the Jewish people cherished of the Promised One of the prophets was that of the King, the Son of David. Today we look at the original kings of the Jews and the future hope spoken of by their prophets.
13. “Portrait: Born to Be King (II)” — Today we see that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies concerning the coming King, and that He freely confessed that He was that One! After His resurrection and ascension, the gospel message went throughout the world that, The King has come!”
14. “Portrait: Tempted Just Like Us” — Earlier we saw that the Lord from Heaven was deity incarnate – God’s nature eternally fused with the nature of flesh and blood. Today we see what that meant as He came to, and walked upon this earth, experienced all that each of us experience, then died upon a cross.
15. “Portrait: Our Kinsman-Redeemer” — Hymns like, “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” and “Redeemed! How I Love to Proclaim It” emphasize that Jesus is our redeemer, a title also used of Him in scripture. But what did “redeemer” mean to a Jewish person? Today we look at the Old Testament background of redemption, followed by how Jesus fulfilled those expectations. Truly He is our great redeemer!
16. “Portrait: The Judge of All” — When Paul spoke to the august group of scholars and philosophers gathered at the Areopagus in Athens, he told them that God no longer overlooks the ignorance of men but calls on all to repent. Those who do not will be held accountable, “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) Later he tells the Corinthians, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:10) Here is our portrait for today’s study: Jesus has been appointed by God to be the Judge of all men!
17. “Portrait: Transformed into His Likeness (I)” — “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (II Corinthians 3:18) God predestined and foreordained that those who responded to the call of the gospel should be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29-30). Through sin we all have fallen short of the glory (praiseworthy perfection) of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus is the “radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3), and we reach again that glory of God through becoming like Him. Hear our full message by clicking on the title.
18. “Portrait: Transformed into His Likeness (II)” — As we finish our twelfth portrait of Jesus, we focus on the specific ways we are to bear His image. It is not simply the once popular “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) movement, but the actual things we are told in the Scriptures in which we are to be like Him. Hear our full lesson by clicking on our message title.