See our "How to Make Friends for God" lesson index plus extra resources on our 2020 Third Quarter Index
Lesson 2 *July 5-11
Read for This Week’s Study: Matt. 24:30; Dan. 7:13-14; Matt. 11:27; Luke 5:17-26; John 8:58; Matt. 20:28.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be
served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark
After more than two years of public
ministry, Jesus asked His
Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?
(Matt. 16:13, NKJV). It was not difficult for them
report what they had heard people saying about Jesus. More challenging,
however, was Jesus’ next question:
But who do you say that I
am? (Matt. 16:15, NKJV).
Now it became a personal issue. Jesus did not ask their opinions about
His external appearance or about His character traits. His question,
instead, went to the essence of Jesus’ very being. It required the
disciples to express their individual conviction and faith.
Sooner or later, everyone has to answer this same question. Each has to decide, individually, who Jesus is. It doesn’t help to repeat what other people say or believe; the answer must be genuinely our own personal belief. And, of course, on that answer the destiny of every human being hangs.
This week we will seek the answer on the basis of what Jesus
Himself said and did. Our aim will be to arrive, by faith, at the same
response Peter gave:
You are the Christ, the Son of the
living God (vs. 16, NKJV).
*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, July 12.
Sunday July 6
the Son of Man, was Jesus’
favorite designation for Himself. He referred to Himself as Son
of Man more than eighty times. Other people never addressed
Him that way. He, of course, selected this special designation for
Himself with a purpose in mind.
This idiomatic expression was common in the Old Testament. With just one exception, it always referred to a human; thus, Jesus used it in order to emphasize His humanity.
Scripture presents Jesus as a true human being. He was born as a baby, grew up as a child (increasing in wisdom and in stature [Luke 2:40, 52]), and had sisters and brothers (Matt. 13:55-56). He ate (Matt. 9:11), slept (Luke 8:23), was tired (John 4:6), and suffered hunger and thirst (Matt. 4:2, John 19:28). He also experienced sorrow and distress (Matt. 26:37).
To the casual observer, Jesus seemed to be a common man who walked among the people as one of the multitude. Many of His contemporaries did not recognize in Him anything more than a man (John 7:46). People treated Him as one of them; they laughed at Him (Luke 8:53), criticized Him (Matt. 11:19), even mocked and beat Him (Luke 22:63). To them, He was just another human being.
Unfortunately, they failed to perceive that there is more to be found in this title. According to Daniel 7:13 and 14,
One like the Son of Man came
with the clouds of heaven
to the Ancient of days,
Read Matthew 24:30, 25:31, 26:64. What elements in Jesus’ words recorded in these verses are reminiscent of Daniel 7:13-14?
Why is it so important for us to know that Jesus was fully human? What implications does His full humanity have for our salvation? What implications does it have for our daily lives, especially in our battles with temptation and sin?
Monday July 7
Son of God was used not only by
Gabriel (Luke 1:35) but also by several people when
Jesus (Matt. 14:33, Mark 15:39, John 1:49, 11:27).
He accepted that title but was very careful not to apply it directly to
Himself, lest He be stoned to death. Nevertheless, the Bible does
reveal in different ways His special relationship with the Father.
The Father acknowledged Jesus as His Son at His baptism (Matt. 3:17); the same as at the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:5).
Their Father-Son relationship is unique. Christ is the only Being in the universe who enjoys that kind of relationship, because only He is of the very same nature as the Father. As believers, we have been granted the privilege of becoming children of God. But Jesus always was, is, and will be the Son of God.
What do the following texts reveal about the perfect unity of the Father and the Son? Matt. 11:27, John 3:35, 5:17, and 10:30.
The complete unity of Jesus and the Father includes a mutual
and perfect knowledge of each other: a unity of will, purpose, and
objectives. Moreover, it includes a unity of nature. The Son and the
Father are two persons (
I and the Father ) but of
the same nature (
are one ), a fact emphasized by the
neuter pronoun one (compare with 1 Cor.
We have to be aware, however, that because He came to live as a man, Christ while here voluntarily subordinated Himself to the Father (Phil. 2:6-8). This limitation was functional but not part of His essence Himself. Jesus subordinated Himself for a specific purpose, a specific goal.
With this concept in mind we can understand why Jesus said:
Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do
(John 5:19, NKJV);
because I do not seek
own will but the will of the Father who sent Me (John
NKJV). From this functional point of view, He could say:
Father is greater than I (John 14:28,
Jesus was fully God and fully human. What does this amazing truth tell us about the close link between heaven and earth? What comfort can we draw from this close connection?
Tuesday July 8
The deity of Christ is the foundation of our faith. A human being could never be our savior, no matter how extraordinary his life may have been. Throughout the entire New Testament, we have evidence of His divinity. We will focus on what Jesus Himself taught about this subject.
It was, for starters, not a simple matter for Jesus to explain who He was. His mission required Him to make known that He was the Messiah, God in the flesh; however, there is no record of Him saying publicly, I am God or I am the Messiah. Had He done so, His life could have immediately been taken. Therefore, He chose to hint at His divine nature and indirectly led His hearers to know His deity.
As Jesus gradually revealed His divine nature, most of His
hearers understood Him but refused to accept His claim because it
didn’t fit with their preconceived idea of the Messiah. This is evident
by their request:
How long do You keep us in doubt? If You
are the Christ, tell us plainly (John 10:24,
NKJV). Unfortunately, the context shows that their question
was not sincere.
As we saw yesterday, Jesus made many references to His special relationship with His Father. This was one of the methods He used to reveal His deity. Many understood clearly that when He said that God was His Father, He was making Himself equal with God (John 5:18).
Read Luke 5:17-26. In what very powerful ways did Jesus here reveal His divinity without openly saying it?
It required nothing less than creative power to
restore health to that decaying body. The same voice that spoke life to
man created from the dust of the earth had spoken life to the dying
paralytic. — Ellen G. White, The Desire
of Ages, pp. 269, 270.
Jesus claimed the divine prerogative to forgive sins. He also
said that He Himself
will sit on the throne of His glory
(Matt. 25:31, NKJV) and judge all the nations,
the eternal destiny of each one, something that rests on God’s
authority alone. How much more could He have done here to reveal who He
Think about how hard-hearted some of these leaders were toward Jesus. And these men were supposed to be the spiritual guardians of the people? How can we make sure we don’t become hard-hearted in our own ways, as well?
Wednesday July 9
Jesus declared and demonstrated that He had the same power as
the Father to overcome death.
As the Father raises the dead
and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will
(John 5:21, NKJV). Only God can state:
the resurrection and the life (John 11:25,
Another clear indication of His divinity is found in His
assertion to preexistence. He
came down from heaven
(John 3:13, NKJV) because the Father sent Him (John
Then, again, He reaffirmed His preexistence:
And now, O
Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had
with You before the world was (John 17:5,
Why is John 8:58 one of Jesus’ more direct and profound statements about His deity? See also Exod. 3:13-14.
In contrast with Abraham, who came into being
(which is the literal meaning of the Greek root ginomai,
translated here as
was, Jesus announced Himself to
be the self-existent One. He was not only there before Abraham’s birth
but existed eternally. I am implies continuous
existence. Furthermore, I AM is the title of Yahweh Himself (Exod.
The leaders understood, unmistakably, that Jesus claimed to be the I AM
revealed in the burning bush. For them, He was guilty of blasphemy and
they took up stones to throw at Him (John
The Gospels show that Jesus, without showing disapproval,
accepted worship from others. He knew very well that, according to the
Scriptures, only God deserves man’s adoration, for He said to Satan:
is written, (Matt. 4:10,
NKJV). Therefore, by accepting worship from others, He was
revealing His divinity. The disciples on the sea (Matt. 14:33),
the blind man healed (John 9:38), the
women at Jesus’ tomb (Matt. 28:9) and the
disciples in Galilee (Matt. 28:17) all
worshiped Him openly, recognizing His deity. Thomas’s words to Jesus,
You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only
you shall serve.
Lord and my God! (John 20:28, NKJV) would
not have been spoken by a Jew back then unless he clearly understood
that he was talking to God.
Read John 20:29. What are things that you have not seen, yet believe in? What are the implications of your answer for the whole question of faith?
Thursday July 10
After considering who Jesus was, we are in a better position to understand what He came to do for us.
Satan made accusations against God. In order to meet those
accusations, Jesus came to represent the Father’s character, and to
correct the false concept that many had developed about the Godhead. He
wanted us to know God, because to know Him is indispensable in order to
have eternal life (John 17:3). However,
we need more than knowledge to be saved. We need God to provide us a
Savior, which is precisely the meaning of the name Jesus:
Yahweh is salvation (Matt. 1:21). Jesus
described His mission in very clear terms:
the Son of Man has
come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke
NKJV). In Eden, humans lost their relationship with God, lost
their holiness, lost their home, and lost eternal life. Jesus came to
restore everything: He reestablishes our relationship with the Father (John
He forgives us our sins (Matt. 26:28); He
gives us an example how to live (1 Pet. 2:21); and,
of course, He gives us eternal life (John 3:16).
How did Jesus define the essence of His mission? John 10:11, Matt. 20:28.
Why did Jesus have to die? It was because He voluntarily took our place and bore the punishment of our sin. We are all sinners (Rom. 3:10-12) and, as such, deserve eternal death (Rom. 6:23). The price for our salvation was so high that only the life of the Son of God was enough to pay for it.
The broken law of God demanded the life of the sinner. In all the universe there was but one who could, in behalf of man, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen man from the curse of the law and bring him again into harmony with Heaven.— Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 63.
Look around at our world and the fate of us all in this world. If everything ended in the grave, what hope would we have? We would have none at all, were it not for the plan of salvation. How, then, can we show our gratefulness to God for what He has done for us in Christ?
Friday July 11Further Study: Ellen G. White,
Divine-Human Saviour,pp. 1126-1128 in The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5.
While God’s Word speaks of the humanity of Christ
when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding His
pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal
Son of God, in union and oneness with His Father. . . . The world was
made by Him, — Ellen
G. White, Selected
Messages, book 1, p. 247.
and without him was not any thing made that was
made (John 1:3). If Christ made all things, He existed before
things. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one
need be left in doubt. Christ was God essentially, and in the highest
sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed
forevermore. The Lord Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, existed from
eternity, a distinct person, yet one with the Father.
In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. — Ellen
G. White, The
Desire of Ages, p. 530.
that hath the Son hath life. 1 John 5:12. The divinity of
Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.
the Holy One of God(Mark 1:24, NKJV),
the Son of God(Mark 3:11),
Son of the Most High God(Mark 5:7, NKJV). See also James 2:19. Why is this kind of acknowledgment not enough for our salvation? How can we avoid the trap of being satisfied with a mere intellectual acceptance of Jesus?
Truly this man was the Son of God(Mark 15:39). The best place to understand Jesus is at the foot of His cross. How often do you go there? When was the last time you were there? Why don’t you take a moment, right now, to meditate on the infinite sacrifice He made for your salvation?
Believers in western Russia work together to win their neighbors—and sometimes thieves—to Jesus. They write the names of people for whom they are praying in a book at church. Then they deliver tracts or newsletters to those people during the week.
One woman who owns a goat farm asked God who to pray for, and
God showed her in an unusual way. The woman noticed that her goats were
disappearing. Then she found a man lifting one of her goats from its
pen. She stopped him.
My family is hungry, the man
If I sell the goat, they can eat.
The woman asked the man to put the goat back into its pen while she prepared food for his family. She gave him the food and some missionary tracts as well. The man’s family read the tracts. The man now works as a goat herder for the Adventist woman, and his family worships with the Adventist congregation in town.
Three sisters were praying for an apartment to rent. An old woman offered to rent them an apartment, and the sisters moved in.
Then they discovered that their landlady spoke to the spirits. The sisters prayed for the woman, but they were afraid to speak to her about her alliance with the devil. Instead, they left some Bible tracts on the table where she would find them. The woman picked up the tracts and read them. One of the tracts dealt with the devil’s skillful lies. While reading it, the landlady realized that her alliance was with the devil. The landlady has asked the sisters for more tracts and a book about God.
Through their faithfulness in sharing their faith, a congregation has grown. But the members had no church in which to meet. The nearest church was several miles away in another town. They struggled to raise money for a church until the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped make their dream a reality. Today a simple church stands in this town in western Russia, a lighthouse and a testimony to the power of many working together as one to finish God’s work.
Members celebrate their new church in Temryuk, Russia.
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