Who is this Man?

In Galilee, the disciples witnessed Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, forgive sins, and even calm a violent storm, all performed with great authority. But all too often, his words and deeds produced confusion and the question – “ Who is this man? ” Only at his execution did someone begin to understand who this Jesus of Nazareth is.

The Cruciform Path

Jesus appeared in Galilee and began to proclaim the Kingdom of God – “ Repent, for the kingdom is at hand .” In his ministry, the reign of God began to invade the Earth in earnest. However, this realm was and is of an entirely different nature than the political systems of the nations. Moreover, on more than one occasion, the Messiah of Israel refused to embrace the kind of power that dominates the governments and ideologies of this fallen age.

The Fullness of Time

When we hear the term “ Last Days ” we naturally assume it refers to the final short period of History just prior to the return of Jesus from Heaven, a logical assumption. Yet the New Testament presents this period as the era of fulfillment that began with the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus, and the outpouring of the Gift of the Spirit. In him, the “ ends of the ages ” have come upon the Assembly, the people of God.

The Anointed Servant

The theme of fulfillment is prominent in Matthew’s gospel. In Jesus of Nazareth, the promises of God found their fulfillment and correct applications. He was the Son of God sent to redeem Israel and the nations. Peter, for example, confirmed that he was the “Messiah,” but he failed to perceive that he would undertake that role as the suffering “Servant of Yahweh” who came to “bear the sins of many.”

From This Evil Age

In his Letter to the Galatians , Paul declared that he was called as the Apostle to the Gentiles by the same God who raised Jesus from the dead and thereby “ delivered us FROM THIS EVIL AGE .” This statement anticipates his response to certain Jewish believers who were operating in Galatia as if the old era was still in effect. This same Jesus is the one who visited and commissioned Saul of Tarsus to proclaim the “ Good News ” of God’s Kingdom to the Gentiles.

Spirit and the Covenant

In his Letter to the Galatians , Paul links the “ Promise of the Spirit ” to the “ Blessing of Abraham ,” the covenant promise that God will bless the Gentiles in the Patriarch. It is the same Gift that the Galatians received “ through a hearing of faith .” Thus, the Gift of the Spirit is one of the covenant promises made to Abraham. At the conclusion of his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Peter also linked the Gift to the “ blessing ” of all the nations promised to Abraham: