The last time I wrote (Emphasizing the Identity Of Jesus), I argued that while we are right to focus on our identity in Christ, our thoughts should not be consumed with the “our” as much as they are consumed with “Christ.” In other words, the reason our identity in Christ is so great is because Christ is so great. I briefly listed several ways that the Gospels define the identity OF Jesus. In today’s blog post, I’ll highlight three aspects to Jesus’ identity from the Gospels.
Three Aspects to Jesus’ Identity in the Gospels
# 1. Jesus is God: The one who came to dwell among His people
One of the many passages to prove this point comes from John 8:57-59. “So the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.”
They picked up stones because they understood exactly what Jesus was saying. He was claiming to be God – YAHWEH of the Old Testament in fact.
When I open my Scriptures and I start reading from the Gospels, I am comforted, encouraged, and strengthened that my Jesus is God.
# 2. Jesus is the Messiah: The deliverer and the redeemer of His people.
In John 20:30-31, we read, “I write these things that you might know that Jesus is the Messiah.”
What was Messiah, the Christ, going to do? According to Isaiah the prophet, He would give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and freedom to those who were in bondage. Throughout the Gospels the writers explain that Jesus continually authenticates His teaching with the signs of Isaiah.
The physical healings of individuals by Jesus pointed to a larger reality where those who were spiritually deaf, spiritually blind, and spiritually held captive could be release.
# 3. Jesus is the Suffering Servant: The one who would take our punishment.
The servant songs in Isaiah find their fulfillment in the person of Jesus. We learn by reading Isaiah that God’s servant would experience suffering. He would be pierced for our transgressions, He would be crushed for our iniquity, and He would carry our grief, and be despised and rejected. Suffer Jesus did. Serve Jesus did. And in so doing the suffering servant of Isaiah took the wrath of God that rightly belonged to us. No passage, in my judgment, speaks to this issue more than Matthew 27:46. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?’ that is, ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?’”
Practical Counseling Observations of Understanding the Identity OF Jesus
# 1. The identity of Jesus gives your counselees hope.
If Jesus can give sight to the blind, if He can grant hearing to the deaf, if He can release the demon possessed, then maybe, just maybe, Jesus can heal their marriage, Jesus can heal their broken heart, Jesus can help them love instead of hate.
# 2. The identity of Jesus encourages your counselees to love Him more.
The greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. In the Scriptural story the way you develop a love for Jesus is get to know Him (cf. Judges 2:10, Phil 3:10).
# 3. The identity of Jesus helps your counselees gain perspective in their suffering.
Some of our counselees are mad at God for what they believe are injustices done to them personally. You telling them how wonderful Jesus is does not normally change their mind. Instead, over and over and over again in Scripture those who are mad at God only receive a new perspective by running to the Lord (Psalm 73:16-17; Psalm 63).
# 4. The identity of Jesus strengthens your counselees’ relationship with Jesus.
Many of our counselees have had a very limited relationship with God. A significant portion of the time that we ask them to hit the highlights of their life; God is nowhere in their story. In other words, Jesus is so insignificant in their life that not only do they have problems, but they don’t even consider Jesus to be a highlight of their life. How is it that these folks are really going to take a step of growth unless they are resting regularly at the feet of Jesus?
If we think of biblical counseling merely through the grid of solving a problem, then we have fallen short of the kind of ministry that Scripture is calling us to. In fact, it is possible, even in church ministries; to do counseling that rarely talks about Jesus.
People need to understand the Identity OF Jesus so that they properly value and appreciate the ministry OF Jesus.
Join the Conversation
How has the identity OF Jesus impacted your life and ministry?