Galatians 3:23-29; 4:1-7 In several places in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as…
JESUS TEACHING ABOUT HIMSELF
JESUS AS THE LAMB OF GOD (John 1:29 -34)
As John the Baptist was baptising people at river Jordan, Jesus came to him to be baptised. John later identified him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the Sin of the world!” John, as the forerunner of Christ had given the true position of Jesus as the messiah but he himself could not identify him physically. John was baptising with water so that Jesus Christ might be revealed to Israel, but when Christ came to him, John saw the spirit in Jesus and said:
“I saw the spirit descend like a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but He who sent me to baptise with water said to me, he on whom you see the spirit descend and remain, this is he, who baptises with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have bore witness that this is the son of God.” (John 1:32- 34)
Before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, once in a year the high priests would enter the holy of holies on the Day of Atonement and offer, on behalf of the people, a sacrifice of a lamb without blemish. The blood of this sacrificial lamb is presumed to have the Sins of the people and made them, righteous before God.
By describing Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, John was predicting the death of Jesus on the cross, where he would sacrifice his blood to save mankind. Thus, by his sacrificial death, the Sin of man is removed by faith. Christians, who believe in this sacrifice He made on the cross, do not need any other sacrifice for the atonement of their sins.
JESUS AS THE DOOR AND THE GOOD SHEPHERD
(John 10:1- 18)
Jesus taught his disciples saying that he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way is a thief and a robber, but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him, the gate remains open, the sheep hears his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out for pastures. He goes before his sheep follow him because they know his voice, but they would not follow a stranger, because they do not know his voice. Jesus explained this by saying that he was the door or the sheepfold.
“All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them, I am the door; if any one enters by me he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:8 – 11)
Thus, Jesus described himself as the door and concludes that anyone that enters by him at any time will be saved.
The sheep will not follow a stranger as they do not know his voice. Christ says as the shepherd, he will not flee at the sight of a wolf as a hireling will. Jesus says he cares for his sheep for they belong to him. The thief or wolf destroys but Jesus gives abundantly life.
He went further to outline the qualities of a good shepherd and said he was the good shepherd for he would lay down his life for the sheep in his own accord and would take it back.
- By Jesus saying that He was the door, He showed that He was the only way to salvation.
- By saying he laid down his life, he was referring to his death on the cross; this was the Single sacrifice he had to make for the salvation of man.
- Also, by referring to himself as shepherd, he was making reference to the love he has for mankind. As shepherds love their sheep and provided them security and all they need, so he has come to protect and provide for mankind. Church leaders should therefore learn from this and try to be good shepherds to their flock by showing them love.
How the Teaching Relates to Leadership Role among Christians
- The teaching illustrates the fact that leadership involves taking risks to help those being led.
- Jesus as the lamb makes a great sacrifice for the sake of others. So christian leaders should be ready to help others without counting cost.
Relevance to all Christians
- Jesus laid down his life for us. He opened the doors to eternal life for everybody that believes and does the will of God. We must recognise Jesus as the only door through which we can enter into a life of happiness and joy. Any other door will mean destruction.
- If Christ has died for us, we should sin no more. We should always listen to the right voice, the voice of God and follow it. We should be steadfast in serving the Lord.
JESUS AS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
(John 3:19-21, 8:12, 9:1-5)
There are at least three instances in the book of John where Jesus referred to himself as the light of the world. After his encounter with Nicodemus, Jesus said:
“And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hate the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)
Again, when Jesus had discharged the woman caught in adultery, he spoke to the people saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Furthermore, as the disciples passed by and saw a man blind from his birth, they questioned whether the man’s blindness was as a result of his sin or that of his parents. Jesus replied;
“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night comes when no one can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world. ” (John 9:30-5)
Jesus was constantly referring to himself as the “light of the world”. Light shines; whenever there is light darkness disappears. Evil is committed
mostly in the dark. Light is life. Jesus as the light of the world means that his way of life is perfect and he is perfectly situated in the right hand of God. The light he brought to the world is the gospel of the kingdom of God which people must embrace to be saved and to inherit eternal life. Anyone who does not embrace the gospel is in darkness and will not inherit eternal life.
Anyone who walks in darkness will stumble and miss his way.
JESUS AS THE TRUE VINE (John 15:1 – 11)
Jesus referred to himself as the true vine and his father as the vine dresser. Every branch of Jesus that does not bear fruit, his father takes away and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. A branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine. Jesus is the vine and the christians are the branches. christians must abide in Jesus in order to be fruitful. Any man that fails to abide in Jesus will be cast off to wither and be burnt. He stated further that if they abide by his words and his words abide in them, they would ask whatever they like and it would be done for them. The father is glorified when the branches produce fruit. As the father loves him, so he also loves the christians. Jesus declared that the things he had spoken were for the joy of christians to be full.
- The vine is the symbol of the relationship between Christ and believers
- The christians are called to be fruitful.
- Unfruitfulness displeases the Lord.
- Close fellowship with the Lord makes fruitfulness possible.
- God’s word enables us to abide in Him.
- God wants our christian life to be fruitful and joyful always.
Jesus as the Living Water (John 4: 7- 15)
As Jesus was waiting for his disciples who went out to buy food, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from one of Jacob’s wells. Jesus was thirsty, so, he demanded water from the Samaritan woman. The woman refused on the ground that Jews and Samaritans have no dealings. Jesus answered and said:
“If you know the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, give me a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10).
The woman was amazed how Jesus could give her water when he had no vessel for drawing water from the well. The woman queried whether Jesus was greater than Jacob who gave them the well and drank from it with his and cattle. In response, Jesus declared:
“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again but whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14).
The woman then requested for the living water so that she might not thirst nor come to draw water.
Significance of Jesus as the Living Water
Jesus in describing himself as the living water was speaking metaphorically. The “living water” is the word of God which leads to salvation. This salvation is universal. It is for all the nations of the world.
By saying that it is a spring of water welling up to eternal life, he meant that the word of God would always stand the test of time and sustain whoever embraces it.
Jesus as the Living Bread (John 6:25-40)
When the multitude that came to Jesus had been fed, he left for the other side of the sea. People sought for him and went to him on a boat. Jesus said that they were looking for him in order to be fed and because of the signs that they had seen. He enjoined them to seek for the word of life which leads to eternal life. Such food, he said, could only come from the son of man who has the power to give. The people asked him what they would do as proof that they were doing the work of God. Jesus told them to believe in him, who was sent by God. They requested for a sign to make them believe that truly he was sent by God. They went further that their forefathers ate manna in the wilderness which was sent down from heaven. Jesus said that manna was sent as a temporary relief from physical hunger, God has sent down a living bread which gives life to the world.
The people then demanded for the bread of life which he said anyone who eats would no longer be hungry. Jesus then told them that he is the bread of life. Anyone who eats his flesh and drinks his blood will live forever. Yet, they did not believe Jesus despite the fact that they had seen him. He said that none of those that have been given him by his father would be cast out and that he had come from heaven to do God’s will.
Moral Lessons to be learnt from Christ’s Declaration of Himself as “Bread of Life”
- Christians should not base their belief only on signs and wonders.
- Their beliefs should not be based on material possessions.
- They should depend on Jesus as their source of life.
- Being physically weak or hungry does not affect spiritual strength.
- Man should not live by bread alone but by the word of God.
- There is need to be cautious in giving people title because of what they can offer.