Scripture: Matthew 27:41-54
Proposition or Theme Sentence: Jesus was more than a political leader or a prophet; he was the Son of God and therefore is our connection to God.
Purpose: To convince unsaved listeners to accept Jesus as God's Son and their connection to God.
Introduction: "Who was Jesus?" asked the well-known journalist. Perhaps thousands of people tuned in for two evenings to watch this prime-time television special devoted to investigating this question. Investigative journalists are not the only ones asking this question. It seems like Jesus is being talked about a lot these days. He has even been seen on the covers of "Time" and "Newsweek" magazines. He was voted one of the most influential men of the twentieth century even though he has not walked on this earth for almost two thousand years. And for two thousand years people have talked about him, written books about him, preached about him, and wondered about him. Who is Jesus to you? I would like for us to take just a few minutes to look at what some people think about Jesus, and then I would like us to look at what the Bible says about him.
I. Some people say that he was a prophet, or a good religious teacher
A. He lived a good life and encouraged others to follow his example.
B. His teachings were simple and full of wisdom.
C. He called people to turn from doing bad and commanded them to love each other.
D. Many religions accept that he was a prophet:
1. Muslims believe that he was one of many prophets sent by God,
2. Jews, Buddhists and Hindus accept him as a wise teacher.
E. We would agree: he was wise, and good, and people would be much better off if they would follow his teachings.
F. But was he just a prophet, or a good teacher? Who was Jesus?
II. Some people say that he was a political leader
A. He invited a few men to be his "disciples" and called them to follow him.
B. He ministered to all people, but when rejected by the establishment, he spent his time:
1. healing the sick,
2. telling the poor people that God was on their side,
3. teaching his disciples.
C. He spoke often about the "Kingdom of God" and we know that every kingdom:
1. must have a king,
2. must have subjects.
3. We assume that he was assuming to be the King and his followers the subjects.
D. He even admitted to being the "King of the Jews."
1. His enemies used this to accuse him of treason against the Roman government. (cf. Luke 23:1-5)
2. His enemies used this against him when he was on the cross.-Matt. 27: 41-42
E. But was he just a failed political leader? Who was Jesus?
III. He was the Son of God (Do not state this until the end of the point.)
A. The Roman soldier who observed the crucifixion and death of Jesus learned the truth about who Jesus was. (This should be a well-told story about the centurion who crucified Jesus and watched him die and his insight into who Jesus was).
1. The soldier was an officer in the Roman army.
a. Probably going about his regular duties,
b. Ordered to perform the execution of a man convicted of leading a political uprising.
c. He probably knew something about Jesus, but not all of the issues because:
i. he was not a Jew, and
ii. probably not familiar with all of the religious issues involved.
2. He saw how Jesus suffered rejection as he died.
a. He heard the people mock his inability to save himself. (vss. 39-40)
b. He heard the religious leaders insult his trust in God. (vss. 41-43)
c. He heard the other criminals insult him. (vs. 44)
3. Then he experienced the strange events surrounding Jesus' death.
a. The sky became dark for three hours in the middle of the day. (vs. 45)
b. The ground shook and rocks crumbled immediately after Jesus died. (vs. 51)
c. These strange events terrified him-a toughened Roman army officer-and he cried out, "Surely this man was the Son of God." (vs. 54 paraphrased)
B. The Soldier realized who Jesus was- the Son of God.
1. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.
a. This meant he had a special relationship with God, which no one else could claim.
b. This meant that he was the means of access to God.
c. This means that Jesus is our connection to God also.
Conclusion: Jesus was not just a good man, a wise teacher, or a prophet from God. He was not just some kind of political leader intending to lead a rebellion. He was the Son of God sent here to die on our behalf in order to provide for the forgiveness of our sins. And because he is God's Son, he is our connection with God. Who is Jesus to us? He is God's Son, our path to God. If we want to know God we must accept Jesus as his Son and get connected with him.
Invitation: Who is Jesus to you? Is he just a good teacher, just a good example, or is he the Son of God? Because Jesus is the Son of God, he is your connection with God. Because he died on the cross he made it possible for you to have a relationship with God. But this can only happen through him. Will you accept Jesus as the Son of God, and accept him as your connection to God?