A Life With Eternal Worth And Value

The Holy Spirit limited John’s account of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, to a selection of signs, events and messages.1 There were many more things he could have written about, but he concluded his gospel with an important summary: “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20:31 NKJV).

John’s gospel presents to us the most wonderful person, Jesus – Yeshua, meaning “Yahweh is salvation” – who is the anointed One, the Son of Man and “God blessed over all” (Rom. 9:5). Yet the Jewish leadership rejected Him, unwilling to accept God’s Messiah and refusing to believe that He is the Son of God. As long as the Jewish people reject these two points they cannot have a meaningful relationship with the Lord, or Yahweh, who had made Himself known to them (Dt. 6:4-5). The Jewish leaders accused Jesus of blasphemy, saying that He had done His great miracles through the power of Beelzebub (Satan) even though the wonders He did were clear signs that He was the Messiah (Mt. 12:22-28). In addition, despite all the evidence to the contrary, they declared Him guilty of blasphemy when He confirmed that He is the Son of God (Mt. 26:62-66).

As already mentioned, one purpose of John’s gospel is to produce faith in those who read or hear what was written, so they might receive life by believing in His name. Sadly, the majority did not want it in Jesus’ day just as they don’t desire it today. But the truth remains: God is the Source of life and the great Giver of life, and it is only through faith that we receive life (Jn. 3:16). This life cannot be separated from God’s light and love as none of His attributes can be severed from Him.

Yet the Jewish leadership repeatedly rejected the claims of the messiahship of Jesus. In their spiritual blindness – the consequence of their hardening (Isa. 6:10) – they rejected and denounced Him before Pilate, the Roman governor; and then forced Pilate to have Jesus crucified.

When Jesus rose from among the dead three days later, the Jewish leaders spread the lie that His disciples had stolen His body from the tomb. This lie, unsupported by any evidence, is still being spread (Mt. 28:11-15).

The Persecutor Convicted 
One man who followed the Jewish leadership after the death of Jesus the Messiah was Saul of Tarsus. He was born in the Roman province of Cilicia, in present-day Turkey. After his education there, Saul went to Jerusalem where he was trained by a famous rabbi, Gamaliel. Saul became a leader among those who persecuted the Jewish believers – those who had accepted Jesus as Savior and Messiah (Acts 8:1,3, 9:1). In Acts 9 we read that after having persecuted those believers in Jerusalem and Judea, Saul received authorization from the Jerusalem leadership to go to the Jewish community in Damascus to arrest those “of the Way” and put them on trial. Just before Saul arrived in Damascus, something totally unexpected happened: The Lord Jesus, the Messiah, appeared to him with a great light and a voice from heaven. The rejected Messiah of Nazareth – whom the Jewish leaders thought to be a counterfeit, a rebel and a blasphemer, but who is the true God-Man – appeared to Saul, saying, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” It didn’t take Saul long to realize who was speaking: It was the Lord!2 Saul instantly submitted to His authority, asking Him what he should do. After a few days, during which Saul was saved and then baptized, this persecutor was persecuted. Why? He had started to preach in the synagogue that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, proving from the Scriptures that this Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, God’s anointed One. The things he had rejected before – just as the Jewish leadership had done, with the exception of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea – he now preached to be the truth. Saul’s new activities were marked by the fact that he used the Old Testament Scriptures instead of the rabbinic traditions3 to teach the truth. Remember, the New Testament was not yet written in Saul’s day.

The majority of the Jewish audience rejected Saul’s message and started persecuting him, but there were a few who accepted his biblical teaching. The same pattern kept repeating itself. In the synagogues he visited, such as in Thessalonica (17:1-10), Paul used the Scriptures to show that Jesus is the Messiah. However, before a pagan audience he brought other arguments since they were not familiar with God’s Word (vv.22-31). Time after time Paul had to flee to avoid getting killed. But his life had dramatically changed to one of great value, in tune with the One whose life is of eternal worth.

On the day of His resurrection the Lord Jesus showed from the Scriptures, in His talk with the two disciples from Emmaus, that He truly is the Messiah (Lk. 24:13-35). Fifty days later, on Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came from heaven, the apostle Peter also proved from the Scriptures the same thing about the Lord Jesus (Acts 2:22-32). In his address, Peter quoted Psalm 16 to show that the Messiah Jesus did, indeed, rise from the dead and did not see any corruption (Acts 2:31). He also quoted verse 10 of that psalm, which brings us to the next point about this tremendous life of eternal value.

A Life Of Eternal Value 
The Holy Spirit guided David as he wrote Psalm 16, describing the coming Messiah as a Man on earth who always relied on God and did what is pleasing to Him. The Lord Jesus is God over all, blessed forever (Rom. 9:5), but He is also a Man: God and Man in one Person. This is a mystery beyond anyone’s grasp, for no one knows the Son but the Father (Mt. 11:27). The details of the life of our Lord on earth, as presented in the Gospels, will never be forgotten, while the Psalms – especially those called “messianic” – help us to grasp them more intimately, telling of His feelings.

Focusing on Psalm 16 we learn that one of the points that proves the Lord’s perfect humanity of a life of eternal value was the fact that He put His trust in God, always relying on Him (v.1, quoted in Heb. 2:13). Jesus always acted in communion with His God because He had come for the express purpose of doing God’s will, even where the human race had completely failed and the law could not bring the remedy (Ps. 40:7-8). Christ’s food was to do and accomplish the will of Him who had sent Him (Jn. 4:34).

God protected and guided the Lord Jesus, and Jesus always trusted His God – confiding in Him while remaining in this “Refuge,” or hiding place. God was His sole object and delight (Ps. 16:2-3), whereas those who are running “after another god” (v. 4) – as they will do when following the coming Antichrist – will cause themselves to have all kinds of trouble as the Lord Jesus predicted (Jn. 5:43-46). The same applies today to those who pretend to do God’s will but follow their own ideas, humanistic agendas or satanic counterfeits.

The Lord Jesus always enjoyed real fellowship with His God and with those around Him, who depended on Him for everything, including their future (Ps. 16:5-6). Such communion has been the experience of many believers throughout the centuries. Furthermore, Jesus constantly blessed the LORD who provided Him with counsel, instructing Him even during the night (v.7). Jesus always set His God, the perfect Object, before Him as His Protection, Companion and Trust – He was always at His side (v.8). Even during the traumatic experiences of being rejected by His own people He could say, “Yes, Father” (Mt. 11:16-26 NASB, compare to Isa. 49:4).

We can only imagine what it must have been for Him when one of His close disciples became an instrument in Satan’s hand to deliver Him to His enemies. How sad, too, when His disciples forsook Him, and then Peter denied Him – even with a curse! Yet, the Lord Jesus always maintained sweet fellowship with His God and Father, who led Him through those difficult events and experiences (Ps. 16:9).

He simply kept trusting. Thus, He was fully confident that His God would always be with Him,4 even when He was going through the process of dying, being buried and lying in the tomb. Including being raised from among the dead (Ps. 40; Rom. 6:4), Jesus was always sustained by His God (even though He was able to rise from among the dead in His own power, which is itself a blessed mystery).

Jesus always had confidence that this profound fellowship could not be broken, or even interrupted, by any circumstance or situation. Therefore He was able to be glad and look forward, with confidence, to pass through all He experienced as God’s holy One. Indeed, He was the only truly pious, God-fearing, law-abiding Jew; and He put His trust in His God assured He would not leave Him in the domain of death (Ps. 16:9-10). Through faith Jesus saw Himself already at the other side of death, with fullness of joy at God’s right hand, anticipating His present session in heaven (v.11).

We find something similar in John 17, in the prayer Jesus spoke before His final sufferings, where He placed Himself in spirit after His cross, resurrection and ascension. Moreover, the Lord knew that God would only forsake Him during the three hours of darkness on the cross (Ps. 22:1), which was necessary to settle the matter of sin once and for all (2 Cor. 5:21). But God would not allow Jesus to be defiled by anything, and therefore He made sure that His Son5 would be laid in a clean tomb (Isa. 53:9; Jn. 19:38-42). How remarkable: God’s holy One (Ps. 16:11) entered this life through a virgin womb (Lk. 1-2) and He would leave it through a virgin tomb (Ps. 16:10)!

Paul explained in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:35-37) that David did see corruption and he is still in the grave. But in Psalm 16 David spoke as a prophet and a type of the Messiah, foreseeing the joy of God’s presence with Jesus in the grave and in His resurrection.

The Life Of Eternal Value Continues 
Now in heaven, the Lord’s life of eternal value continues. The author of Hebrews frequently used the Old Testament to show the greatness of the Messiah, who is now seated at God’s right hand (Heb. 1:3). He will remain there until His enemies are made His footstool (v.13). While He is in heaven, throughout the age of grace, He functions as the “Minister of the sanctuary,” taking care of God’s interests (8:1-2 NKJV). He is also there for us (see Heb. 2:18, 4:16, 6:19-20, 10:19-21, 13:15)!

The Man In Heaven 
Through faith we see Jesus as a Man in heaven, crowned with glory and honor (Heb. 2:9). This was preceded by His work on the cross (v.17) to bring many sons to glory. He became their great Leader of salvation through sufferings (v.10). Even though He is in heaven, He is linked with the believers – His companions (1:9) – who are on earth and for whom He has sanctified Himself, not ashamed to call them “brethren” (2:11). He indicated this amazing truth to Mary of Magdala the morning of His resurrection (Jn. 20:17).

The ministry of our Lord Jesus in heaven is twofold: to make known God the Father’s name to those He calls His brethren and to sing God’s praises. In other words, to give a proper response to that revelation, singing on behalf of and with those He calls “the assembly” (Heb. 2:12-13), also called “holy brethren” (3:1). This is the company of called-out ones, from Judaism and paganism, that He started on Pentecost and that He will bring to completion at the rapture (Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:2-4; 1 Th. 4:16-17; Heb. 11:40). Hebrews 2:14-18 shows how intimately the Lord Jesus in heaven is linked with this company of believers on earth.

Psalm 16 describes as a prophetic preview Messiah’s perfect life on earth, which is tied to the meal offering (Lev. 2). Faithful members of His people presented that offering to God. The priestly family ate some parts of it, but the frankincense was only for God (v.2). Today in worship and adoration to our God and Father we present Him whose life here on earth was, and still is, of eternal value, and whose worth we contemplate while He is in heaven – realizing there are elements only God is able to evaluate.

Soon our blessed Lord will come and take us to Himself (Jn. 14:1-3). Then we will enjoy contemplating His eternal worth and we will bring praise and worship to our God forever.

1. John’s gospel closes with the following statement, “There are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (Jn. 21:25). In other words, the recorded details are sufficient, while much more could be added. The Gospel writers, led by the Spirit of God, used the principle of selection, but their selection was endorsed by God as complete and sufficient. 
2. This name implies He is God as well as Man. The name Lord (Greek: Kurios) is often used without the definite article and then, usually, refers to the fact that He is Yahweh (YHWH or Jehovah). In other contexts this name emphasizes His authority as Man, whether on earth or in heaven. 
3. The Lord Jesus kept the Mosaic law – the only Jew who ever did. But He opposed the man-made traditions, as seen in what is often called “the Sermon on the Mount” (Mt. 5-7). He condemned the Jewish leaders’ hypocrisy (15:1-20, 23). Christians are under a new law (Rom. 8:1-4; Gal. 6:2): the perfect law of liberty, or the royal law (Jas. 1:25, 2:8,12). 
4. Here we touch a profound mystery. As Man, during the three dark hours, the Lord Jesus was forsaken by God when He gave Himself as the supreme sacrifice (2 Cor. 5:21). Yet, the eternal Son was accompanied by the eternal Father (Jn. 16:32, see also 3:35, 18:11). His sacrifice was accomplished in the power of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus “by the eternal Spirit offered Himself spotless to God” (Heb. 9:14). 
5. Note that it says, “There they laid Jesus” (Jn. 19:42). We would say, “There they laid His body,” but this wonderful Person is the Word that became flesh (Jn. 1:14), and forever He will be inseparably connected with His body.

By Alfred Bouter