Those Who Saw
“You have the words of eternal life”
By Jon W. Quinn
What perceptions did people who
actually saw Jesus have about Him? Today there are varied opinions expressed
about Him. But often those opinions are formed with little or no
investigation. Many have already determined to live in ways that they know He
condemns. They are not likely to welcome these observations from those who
were actually there with the Lord.
The Gospel of John, was written for the purpose of producing belief that Jesus
is the Christ, the Son of God. John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote a book
which accomplishes its purpose in several ways. This article is going to
consider the things that were said about Jesus by people who actually saw Him
and knew Him.
The Earliest Disciples
"..and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!'
And the two disciples heard him speak. and they followed Jesus... 'We have
found the Messiah...'We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the
prophets wrote...'Rabbi, you are the Son of God; You are the king of Israel."
(John 1:35-37;41;45;49). There are actually four disciples mentioned in this
context; Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael. Their first impressions are the
result of the prophet John's identification of Jesus as the Lamb of God. Of
course these first impressions are going to be tried over the next three years
and beyond. Jesus has His work cut out for Him if He's going to keep these
fellows convinced that He is who they think He is if He isn't! They will be
with Him as they travel and work together for over three years and twenty-four
hours a day. They will see things in Jesus that will either cause these
initial first impressions to grow or to be disproven.
What they see and hear during this time cause these initial impressions to
grow to where each of these men gives the rest of his life to preaching the
gospel; and when the time comes, they willingly face execution for their
faith. During the days and nights they spent with Jesus, they saw nothing to
cause them to doubt that He is the Son of God. In fact, everything they saw
reinforced their belief in Him.
Mary, Jesus’ Mother
"His mother said to the servants, 'Whatever He says to you, do it." (John
2:5). Mary’s intervention became the catalyst for Jesus' first miracle (vs
11). Mary knew who her Son was. It had been thirty years since the angel had
appeared unto her and announced her role in God's plan to save man. The Old
Testament had prophesied concerning the seed of woman who would defeat Satan
(Genesis 3:15). She was that woman. Later, as she beheld Jesus' crucifixion
and heard the mocking "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!"
she remained silent. She knew what had to be. She knew who He was.
Nicodemus the Ruler
"This man came to Him by night, and said to Him, 'Rabbi, we know that you have
come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that you do unless
God is with Him." (John 3:2). Here is a man who spends three years walking a
tight rope. He has seen things in Jesus which make Jesus' identity clear. But
on the other hand, Nicodemus is one of the rulers, among whom is a growing
resentment and hatred for Jesus. Pressure on Nicodemus to conform with the
majority of the rulers must have been great.
Later, Nicodemus will make a small defense of Jesus in a council meeting and
be silenced by the others (John 7:50-52). It is only after the crucifixion
that he and another "secret" disciple, Joseph of Arimathea, come and seek to
give the body a decent burial. Nothing Nicodemus had seen convinced him that
Jesus was not from God.
"...'It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have
heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world."
(John 4:29, 42). Jesus convinces not only the woman at the well, but her whole
village that He is the Messiah. He did this by showing Himself in possession
of knowledge that He could not have known by only natural means. The
outstanding thing about all this is the fact that Samaritans hated Jews and
Jews hated Samaritans. The evidence that Jesus provided had to break down a
barrier that had existed for generations. These Samaritans would not be easily
convinced, but convinced they were!
"As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with
Him anymore. Jesus therefore said to the twelve, 'You do not want to go away
also, do you?' Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have
the words of eternal life. And we have believed and come to know that You are
the Holy One of God." (John 6:66-69). The reason that many disciples walked no
more with Him was because they were hoping He would miraculously feed them
again. When Jesus sought to redirect their interests toward spiritual things,
they left. They were not interested in redemption or eternal life. They wanted
the miracle but not what the miracle signified.
Peter and the apostles, however, were more convinced than ever that Jesus was
the Holy One of God. Peter said that they had believed but now they had come
to know Jesus' identity. Peter, too, after spending these three years with
Jesus would spend and give his life for the Holy One of God and the One who
has words of eternal life.
Mary and Martha
"Martha therefore said to Jesus,' Lord, if you had been here, my brother would
not have died"... "She said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are
the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world." (John
11:21,27). Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus were very close friends of
Jesus. The things they had seen in Jesus convinced them of His identity.
Shortly after Martha's statements quoted above, she would receive her living
again brother, raised from the dead by Jesus, into her arms. Try and convince
Mary and Martha that Jesus is not who He claimed to be!
Perhaps the best way to sum it all up is to quote a doubter who became
thoroughly convinced by the resurrection of Jesus. It was Thomas, who upon
seeing Jesus and having all doubt removed, said to Him, My Lord and My God!
From The Bradley Banner 8/4/2013
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway