The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 22 : The Gospel According to LUKE

[Chapter 4-2] (Luke 4:16-30) Do You Know and Believe Jesus Is God?

(Luke 4:16-30)
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’ He said to them, ‘You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’’ Then He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”
 
 
Are You Saying Jesus Is God?
 
When our Lord was tempted by Satan the Devil after he had fasted for 40 days, our Lord defeated the temptation with the faith of believing in the recorded Word. In the Scripture passage we have read today, the Lord went to the place called Nazareth, where He was born and raised. He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and as He stood up to read the Scriptures according to the practice, He was handed the Book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written from verse 18: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
The Scripture Word Jesus read here was the Word from the Book of Isaiah, and as He read the Word, He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” He was saying this Word of prophecy spoken in the Old Testament was about Jesus Himself and that the Word was fulfilled for the people of the world because He came to the world.
 
 
Let’s Look at the Content of the Word the Lord Read
 
Let’s look at the Word from the Gospel of Luke chapter 4 verse 18.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
This Word spoken by the Lord here is the Word about Jesus Himself. He was saying that Jesus Himself came to the world to do this work—to save the blind who had been oppressed by sin and by His power, opened their eyes, and freed them. The Word spoken by the Lord here is about spiritual things.
The Lord said He would proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind first. This means that the Lord gave us the true freedom through the gospel of the water and the Spirit when we were prisoners of Satan the Devil due to our sins. Then, He would proclaim recovery of sight to the blind. This means that He would make us see God perfectly by opening our spiritual eyes through the cleansing of sins in our hearts. What was the Word that the Lord truly wanted to say to you and me through this passage? It was that the Lord is the Son of God who came to this world to give the light of salvation to us.
The Lord illuminated the light of the salvation to all humankind as He said. However, what do many people think about this Word? Many people in the camps of liberal theology in Christianity, especially liberation theologians, misunderstand the Word from today’s Scripture passage and claim, “Christianity must first do the work of liberating the oppressed people if they want to really do upright ministry and thereby fulfill the will of Jesus. Therefore, we must liberate so many workers who are oppressed with an overload of work for low wages.” Therefore, because of such misunderstanding of the Scripture Word, many Christians actually do vain work of liberating people by making labor unions in companies.
However, the Lord wants us to do the work of liberating people from sin. The Lord said there would always be poor people in the world (Mark 14:7). This implies that there will always be oppressive people and people who are being oppressed. Of course, it would be better if such things did not happen, but such things will happen because this world is not a perfect world. Actually, it is a good thing to lift out the people who have been socially oppressed and deprived.
However, the ministry our Lord did when He came to this world was the work of delivering our hearts and souls from the authority of Satan the Devil, and from all the sins of the world. The Lord came to this world to do the work of liberating people from the oppression of the Devil and to give spiritual salvation and freedom to us. He came to spread the gospel of the water and the Holy Spirit in this world. The Lord Himself did these works and allowed us to preach this gospel of Truth.
People who claim to work for the employees by forming a labor union in companies are not the people who really work for the righteousness of the Lord. Of course, the freedom from all kinds of oppression and the equality of human rights are universal values to everyone of the world. However, the thing people really need is being freed from the status as prisoners of sin. Only then they can meet the Lord and enter the gate of salvation by receiving the cleansing of sins. That is the salvation and the possession of the genuine Truth. The only way for sinners to receive salvation is to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. It is the true will of the Lord for all the people who are oppressed by sins, people who suffer as slaves of Satan, to receive salvation from sin by believing in the righteousness of the Lord. The Lord spoke of this through today’s Scripture passage and that is what it means when He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
People in the synagogue listened to the Word of Jesus Christ and thought it was good as God’s grace poured upon them, but there was one problem for them. In their eyes, Jesus Christ only appeared to be the son of Joseph. As you know all too well, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and grew up in the village of Nazareth. Therefore, people in the village of Nazareth who knew the background of Jesus well thought, “Anyhow, is this not Joseph’s son?”
Then the Lord said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’” What does this mean? People wanted to say to Jesus, “Isn’t Joseph your fleshly father? I even know your brothers, and you are not such a great person, right?” People at the time did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God the Father and that He was the Savior of humankind. The Lord knew their hearts. They were thinking, “They say you healed the sick in Capernaum. Well, go ahead and do the same here in this place. Try to do it in Nazareth where you had grown up. Then we will believe in You.” The Lord knew their hearts already when He spoke these Words here.
Many people in that era still did not believe in Jesus as their Savior even though the Lord came to the world to save all the people who have been held down and oppressed by sin and become prisoners of sin, and He actually saved all the people from all sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even though some people claimed to believe in Jesus, they didn’t believe in Him as the Perfect Savior. People in the village of Nazareth where Jesus was brought up did not believe in Jesus even more so. People at the time never believed in Jesus no matter how many wondrous works and miracles He performed in that village, and no matter what correct Word He spoke.
Therefore, the Lord spoke to such people: “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:25-27).
Do you know what this passage means? It means many people in this New Testament era do not believe in the righteousness of the Lord just like many people in the Old Testament era did not believe in the righteousness of the Lord. Even though Jesus came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit before them, even though Jesus was really the Son of God the Father, the Creator who created the universe, and the Savior, and even though this Jesus saved the people who were oppressed by the sins of the world and had been the prisoners of sins, they did not believe that Jesus was their own Savior. It means that they do not believe Jesus is the Savior. Jesus Himself spoke of this very fact here in this passage. The Lord came to this world and saved the people who had become the prisoner of sins and opened the eyes of people who were spiritually blind. But there were only small numbers of people who actually believed that the Lord Himself came to this world to do the work of salvation, and actually did that work and fulfilled it all.
Even during the Old Testament era, only General Naaman among many lepers living in Aram and Israel at that time received salvation. Only the widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon and her family received salvation when there was famine in Israel. Not only in Israel, but also in Arab, there were many lepers and only General Naaman actually received grace of God. Many people died of hunger when there was famine in Israel at that time. However, no one but the widow of Zarephath received the grace of God. What this Word means is that only these two people were able to receive the grace of God by faith even though so many people lived during the Old Testament Era.
Our Lord gave true freedom and true salvation from sin to you and me in this era. However, the number of people who believe in the righteousness of the Lord is really small, and the number of people who are prepared to receive this gospel of the water and the Spirit in their hearts is also really small. There were many lepers in the Old Testament, but General Naaman was the only person who was healed by faith of obedience when the Lord God spoke to him through His servant Elisha to go and wash seven times in the Jordan River.
In addition, what happened when everyone was about to die because of devastating famine in Israel? The Lord told Elijah to go to a widow in Zarephath. At the time, the widow of Zarephath only had very little flour from wheat as a last source of food, enough to make a loaf of bread or soup of dough flakes once. Therefore, she was going to eat it together with her son for the last time and die together (1 Kings 17:12). They were in a situation of just waiting to die of hunger when God sent Elijah to her. When he came to the town gate, she was there gathering sticks. Elijah the servant of God said to the widow, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink” (1 Kings 17:10). Then, the widow of Zarephath followed the Word agreeably. The widow of Zarephath who followed God’s Word properly and her son therefore received salvation appropriately.
This Word means that there actually were not many people who believed and obeyed God’s Word even in the Old Testament times; and like those times, when the Lord came to this world in the New Testament era, there were only a few people who truly believed in such a ministry of salvation of the Lord even though the Lord had saved all mankind through the gospel of the water and the Spirit and given them freedom by liberating them from oppression.
What is the reason for this? That is because people of the world knew Jesus just in a human perspective and only thought of Him as a human. They really downgraded the status of Jesus. However, Jesus is definitely the Son of God the Father. More precisely, Jesus, who is the Son of God the Father is our God, and He created all things of the universe. Therefore, although I just refer to Him as “Jesus Christ the Son of God” when I preach to make it easier to understand, I use the expression precisely as “Jesus Christ the Son of God the Father” when I describe Him in a document. Jesus Christ is the Creator. He is God. You can never receive the precious grace of the Lord when you think of Jesus only as a human and judge Him from a humanistic perspective only.
 
 
People of This Era Are Like That
 
Our Lord God came to the world in the New Testament era, but the people from the village of Nazareth, His hometown, did not believe in the Lord as God. Rather, they looked at Jesus and rejected Him, saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” People in other villages believed the wondrous works and miracles that manifested through Jesus because they did not know Jesus well, even from fleshly perspective. However, people from the village of Nazareth were not like this at all. They consequently failed to believe in Him because they could not believe in the divinity of Jesus because they just looked and tried to perceive Him from human perspective. Therefore, you and I must look at Jesus and the Scripture Word that Jesus has spoken from spiritual perspective.
People who cannot look at the Lord or the Word of the Lord spiritually really think and do things imprudently. There are many times when I get frustrated when I ask such people to do something. Sometimes I get so frustrated watching them work that my stomach seems to growl. I calculate the work and set up an efficient system for them to work in, but there would be no way for them to finish the work even if I told them tens and hundreds of times about the work. Therefore, I just find comfort with the wishful thinking, “He would come around if I waited patiently for a long time.”
We must look at God’s work spiritually no matter what the work or the situation is. What did the people who did not look at Jesus spiritually do when Jesus spoke such a Word to them? The angry people took Jesus to the top of the hill where they had amassed earth to build a village to push him off the cliff. It says, “So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.”
Think about this situation for once. Do not only think of this Word literally, but actually think of the Word in relation to yourself also. Do you think this was not a significant situation? Our Lord went into the synagogue, opened the Book of Isaiah, and read from it.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
The Lord read this Word and then He closed the Book and said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” and He explained this Word from the Old Testament to the people. But what was the response of the people in the synagogue? At first, they liked it very much, but eventually they said, “You are Joseph’s son. What have you got that makes you so great?” and did not believe in God’s Word, and instead tried to kill Jesus. They were angry because they just looked at Jesus fleshly. However, Jesus went on and talked about General Naaman and the widow of Zarephath and pointed out directly, “There were many lepers or the starved in the days of Elijah, but only these two people received salvation. All the others did not receive God’s grace.”
Then the people understood, thinking, “He is talking about me,” and took Jesus by the collar and dragged Him to a cliff at the top of a hill. However, Jesus resisted them and walked away from them because He had supernatural authority as God. In the Scripture Word here, it is written, “They led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.” It means some people took hold of Jesus violently and tried to throw Him over the cliff. However, what did Jesus do? As today’s Scripture passage says, “Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way,” Jesus walked down leisurely without being hurt. As we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we must have correct understanding of Jesus.
“Is Jesus just a human? Or, is He God?” We must know well in our hearts and theoretically that Jesus is God. The Gospel of John chapter 1 verse 10 says, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him,” and verse 3 says, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” This Word means that the world was created by Him. It means that He created all things of the world. If we did not know clearly that He is God, Our faith would eventually become nothing even though we believed in Jesus as our Savior and also believed in Him as the Shepherd. If you do not believe that Jesus is God, then you might as well say that your life is over.
Let’s say, for example, that Buddha was our savior. Our salvation and faith is decided based on whether Buddha is God or a human. If Buddha was a human, then we could not believe him because he would be an imperfect being, and no matter how Buddha saved us, that would not be a true salvation because it was a work of a human being. However, what would happen if he really were God? That salvation would be a perfect salvation: If he created the universe, came to the world clothed in human flesh and took all the sins of humankind upon him by receiving baptism upon his body, and offered his body before the presence of God the Father as the sacrificial offering and received the judgment and resurrected from death, his work of salvation is proper and lawful. The work he had done could save people from sin since he would have the qualification because he is God and, therefore, because he has such power.
We can believe in Jesus and receive salvation from Him because Jesus is God the Creator and the Savior who has saved us. When we read the Word of the New Testament, we can see Jesus and Jews arguing often, and the reason is that people knew Jesus only from a human perspective. They knew Jesus only as Joseph’s son. “Jesus was brought up in Nazareth. What would a country fool from Nazareth know?” They could never acknowledge Jesus who is God because they just looked at Jesus fleshly.
When we Koreans want to look down upon a person, we say, “You, country fool.” It is to disrespect a person’s background. But, actually, we cannot ignore a person’s background of birth. Generally, metropolitans are cunning. However, people from countryside are mostly tactless. They may do things that would get them beaten to death, but they would not know why he is being beaten up. As such, people’s character may differ among people depending on where his or her origin is. But for a person born again, it does not matter where the person was born. That is because the born again have all been freed from the conditions of flesh thanks to the Lord.
However, the problem is that even though Jesus who is God came to this world as the Savior clothed in human flesh, people look at Jesus from a human perspective only and consider Him as a human, not God. People in the synagogue were the same. They looked at Jesus and disrespected Him saying, “Jesus was born in Bethlehem and brought up in a village called Nazareth. In addition, Nazareth is a one of the most backward countryside villages in Israel. Furthermore, Jesus is a son of Joseph from that backward village.”
There is a small town called Jinbu in Kangwon Province in Korea, and I went to that place a while ago. I stopped there because someone told me that a certain brother lived there when I passed by the town to attend Minister Jaemoon Ha’s wedding. We have some ministers from Kangwon Province, the most mountainous district in Korea, and they sometimes argue, “I used to live in a bigger city than you” even though they all came from a small town. But then one person from Jinbu among them said, “I am from Jinbu,” and they all disrespected his origin and responded, “That backward place?”
Jews were the same. They all disrespected Jesus because they knew Jesus was from Nazareth. At the time, it was over when a person said he was from Nazareth. They thought there was nothing that was worthy to gain from him. When we look at the Word here, we can see that people were angry after hearing Jesus speaking this way, and took Jesus and tried to push him off the cliff. But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went His way resolutely. This speaks about the divine nature of Jesus.
Jesus also spoke when He met the people who were demon possessed. He said, “Demon, be gone,” and the demons begged, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29) Demons were saying, “You are the Son of God and the Creator. Therefore, please let me stay here.” What is the meaning of this Word? It means that even demons know about Jesus well. That is the reason the demons tremble in fear when we command the demons to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. Demons fear because they know the authority in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our Savior, but He is also God the Creator at the same time. That is why even demons tremble in fear before His name. We must understand this very clearly. People at that time tried to push Jesus down the cliff and kill Him, but Jesus passed though the midst of them leisurely. They could not do what they wanted to, being overwhelmed by His divine authority. That is the part that shows the divine nature of Jesus.
Jesus is God, not human. Therefore, Jesus had two characteristics of God and human. Jesus is God while He is a human. He is also a human while He is God, and He is also our Savior. As the Word from the Scriptures say, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” God Almighty came to this world to save us from sin.
We must believe the Word spoken in the Scripture exactly as it is because we do not know much about Jesus. All those people tried to kill Jesus, but Jesus passed through the midst of them and went His way solemnly. The Scriptures say, “Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.” Jesus did not flee quickly from them at all. Jesus did not beg them not to kill Him or sneak away from them. Jesus was not a person who would suffer such death from humans because Jesus is God, because He is God Almighty.
Here, we can ask, “Then, why did Jesus die on the Cross?” That was the will of Jesus and God the Father. The Lord had to die on the Cross in our place because He took all our sins upon Him. We must have clear knowledge and faith about that.
At today’s morning service, I delivered a sermon about Jesus’ fasting for 40 days and being tempted by Satan. At the time, Satan told Jesus who fasted for 40 days to turn the stone into bread and eat it. Jesus actually could do this because He had the power of God. God could do this because He is God who can bring a dead person back to life and create something from nothing. However, Jesus did not do this and only took God’s Word and defeated Satan’s temptation.
You and I must believe with the clear understanding that Jesus is God. Jesus is God who created the universe, the Creator who created all things of the universe including the forsythia over there and the spider that is crawling down through the spider web from the ceiling. He is God and He is our Savior. If we believe firmly that Jesus, our God, saved you and me, then that faith dwells in us firmly.
However, what would happen if we understood Jesus only as human? It would be nothing at all no matter how much we believed. That is right. We humans must know clearly the Divinity of Jesus in order to have faith in our hearts. We must not just know Jesus as the mere Savior. We must not understand Jesus only as the Savior because there are so many people in the world who claim to be saviors. There is one God who could save humanity, you and me, from the sins of the world and from the judgment. We deserve to go to hell because we have committed sin before the presence of God, and we could receive salvation from those sins only if God Himself came as our Savior and saved us.
 
 
We Must Learn about the Righteousness of Jesus Correctly
 
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). This is the basics of faith and the backbone of faith. This is the backbone of Christian faith. Our spiritual life of faith is over if we do not know this clearly. We cannot know and believe in Jesus just by professing, “I believe in Jesus the Son of God the Father.” We must believe with clear understanding that Jesus is God. The Scriptures says, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him.” As this Word tells us, the entire universe was crated by Jesus. You and I were also created by Jesus.
Jesus who created us came to this world for a short while in human flesh to save us when we fell into sin, and actually saved us from sins. Then He ascended to Heaven again after saving us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit perfectly. We must believe with clear understanding of the ministry of salvation Jesus, God the Creator, had done.
Do you know the reason why so many theologians throughout the entire world and so many Christian pastors and believers do not bear the fruit of faith and come under the curse of sin? It is because they do not know and believe clearly that Jesus is God. They try so hard from their standpoint because they do not have such faith; but all their efforts are done in vain. Therefore, you and I must believe with clear understanding through today’s Scripture passage that Jesus is God the Creator and also our Savior. The Lord revealed some of His Deity through today’s Scripture passage.
Humans can never be God. A human can never be God no matter how he pretends to be holy and spiritual. All those people who purport to believe in Jesus but do not smell like a human, people who deify himself or herself, are all of cults. Even among the pastors and ministers, if anyone does not smell like a human, then he is demon-possessed or clearly of a cultic sect. They are 100% hypocritical people. However, many people in this era are deceived by such people, saying, “He is so holy.” Would it be good if a pastor became a god of mountains? A pastor who is like a god of mountains is not a pastor. He is just a swindler, not a servant of God.
Jesus is God. Jesus is God who created the universe. Do you believe Jesus is God? Do you believe Jesus is God who created this universe? Jesus is God who created the universe and created each one of us. He is God Almighty who saved us perfectly from sins. Furthermore, this Jesus has become our God, our Savior, our Shepherd, our Friend, and our Groom. Jesus is our groom spiritually and He is our all because He will take us to the Lord’s Kingdom and live with us eternally.
Jesus is perfect because He is God. He is absolutely perfect. We must know this aspect clearly and also believe it. All of us must become true Christians who believe in God with our hearts, and not just with our head.