I heard something very troubling on TV this past week. You may think some story about Covid 19 caused my dismay, but as disturbing as those reports may be, what I heard was far more troubling. You may think some new video showing the unrest on our streets and the rising crime rates are what disconcerted me so, but you would be wrong again because what I am referencing is more distressing by far. You may think I’m referring to hearing some news about brain eating amoebas, the quick rate of developing tropical storm systems this year, or the presence of Asian murder hornets in America; but as much stress or nervousness as those subjects may induce, what I heard was infinitely more a reason for concern. I listened as a well-known media personality made the statement that, “Jesus, admittedly, was not perfect.” Why is this more troubling than all those other issues I mentioned? Because all of those other factors, even at their worst degree, could only take a person’s physical life (and this physical existence, no matter how many years one may know on this earth, is only temporary). However, believing the heresy that “Jesus, admittedly, was not perfect” will doom a person’s spiritual life for eternity!
Now, it is not unusual nor unexpected to hear unbelievers make such a statement, and this media personality certainly could be classified as an unbeliever. However, when he used the word “admittedly” it leads me to believe that this famous reporter doesn’t even know that Christians and the Bible teach and believe otherwise. Further thickening the plot is that less than 5 years ago this same media personality who stated that “Jesus, admittedly, was not perfect” revealed that his hero was a famous tv preacher because this minister delivered a sermon entitled “My Dream” that caused the man to believe that he could succeed in the field of broadcasting. I’m not giving out the names of the famous news personality or the name of the famous preacher that he admires, or at least once admired, but I do want to point out something that concerns me greatly. Anyone listening to messages from contemporary Christianity (perhaps especially the most popular brand of American Christianity) is often more likely to hear man-centered sermons about our dreams, our success, and how great we are instead of sermons derived from the Bible which confront our sin, tell us of salvation that’s found in Christ alone, and speak about how great Jesus is! I can’t control what the media personality says (though I sincerely pray that he repents and puts trust in Christ) or what the famous tv minister preaches (though I sincerely pray that he would preach Christ and Him crucified ) but what I can do is make the point that JESUS IS PERFECT for the rest of this devotional article.
John 8:1-11 tells the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. Jesus is teaching the people and is interrupted by a rude group of religious leaders hurling this sinful woman before Him. The accusers declare that Moses instructed that this woman be stoned and ask Jesus, “what do You say?” Now, these Pharisees and Scribes didn’t care so much about the adulteress and her sin one way or the other (as evidenced in part by the fact that the man she was caught with was not brought before the Lord), they were just trying to entrap Christ so that they might accuse Him. In their corrupt minds (and hearts), if Jesus says to let her go, then they will level the charge that He doesn’t follow the Law of God. However, if Christ says to go ahead and execute the woman, then they will accuse Him of not being gracious. Either way, the religious leaders think they’ve got Jesus cornered and His response will no doubt cause Him to fall out of favor with the people. The Lord, of course, is smarter than they are. He gives them no immediate reply but instead stoops and begins writing on the ground with His finger. The religious leaders persist in demanding some form of answer. So He gives them one, but not one that they anticipated. Jesus delivers the famous statement, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one, beginning with the elders, the crowd drops their rocks and leaves the scene until only Christ and the adulterous woman remain. Jesus asks the woman, “where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She replies, “No one, Lord.” Christ then graciously declares, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” Why did Jesus stay at the scene when everyone else left? How could Jesus declare her to be un-condemned, in effect forgiving her? Because He is the only One ever to walk the face of the Earth with a zero-balance sheet when it comes to sin. What do you call Someone who has never sinned? Perfect! JESUS IS PERFECT!!!!
John 1:29-34 records John the Baptist seeing Jesus and declaring, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” We’re going to look at a few phrases in this statement. First, Jesus is THE Lamb of God who TAKES AWAY THE SIN of the world. I am uncertain how many thousands, perhaps even millions, of lambs were slaughtered throughout the course of the Old Testament. However, each one of those lambs was “A” lamb, only Christ is “THE” Lamb. Each lamb had to be inspected by men to meet certain qualifications of purity. Jesus was inspected not just by men who at His trial could not find witnesses against Him whose testimonies were in agreement, but by God the Father Who was well-pleased with His Son! The multitude of sacrificial lambs could never take away sin, but only cover sin (by faith) until the next sacrifice. Jesus, however, is THE Lamb Whose sacrifice would take away sin! What do you call Someone Who passes the Father’s inspection and Whose sacrifice can take away sins? Perfect! JESUS IS PERFECT!!!! Christ called John the Baptist the greatest one ever born of woman, yet in our passage John declares that Jesus “has a higher rank than I.” What do you call Someone Who is greater than the greatest? Perfect! JESUS IS PERFECT!!!! John the Baptist goes on to say that Christ “existed before me.” Now, if you know the timeline of the gospels (especially that presented by Luke), then you will be aware that, according to the flesh, John was 6 months older than Jesus. So, how could it be said that Christ existed before John? Because the Second Person of the Trinity not only existed before John the Baptist, He existed before King David, He existed before Abraham, He existed before the Fall of Adam and the Fallen World, in fact He existed before Adam’s Creation and the forming of the world itself; indeed there has never been a time when Jesus has not been! What do you call Someone Who has always existed? Perfect! JESUS IS PERFECT!!!!
(Matthew 3:11-17 recounts more interactions between John the Baptist and Christ.) “REPENT, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” was John’s basic message. To tell someone to repent means that you’re assuming that they are a sinner who has sin to repent of. John never backed off of this message no matter who he was speaking to, even if doing so would endanger his own life (as was the case when he called out Herod Antipas for the sin of taking his brother’s wife—this eventually would lead to John being imprisoned and beheaded). Unlike many evangelists of our day, John would even question the sincerity of repentance in those who came forward. He called Pharisees and Sadducees who came forward for baptism “a brood of vipers” who needed to actually bear fruit in keeping with repentance. All of this to say that John would strongly tell people about their sin. However, when Jesus came to him to be baptized in Matthew 3:11-17, John declares that Christ had no reason to be baptized. Why did the Lord have no need for baptism? Because to be baptized was seen to be a recognition of sin, and Jesus NEVER sinned. Some may say, “well, Jesus ended up being baptized didn’t He.” Yes, He did, but not as an admission of sin, but that all righteousness might be fulfilled. “All righteousness being fulfilled” meaning that Christ would give us a pattern to follow, and that in His baptism He was foreshadowing the time when He would die on the cross for the sins of mankind (not for His sins, for He never committed any transgression nor harbored any iniquity) and rise again with powerful forgiveness for those who would put their trust and faith in Him! Indeed, Christ was tempted in every way such as we are, yet WITHOUT SIN (Hebrews 4:15)! What do you call Someone Who never sinned? PERFECT! JESUS IS PERFECT!!!!
1 John 1:1-5 ends with this truth, “this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” At the end of John 8 the people are picking up stones in order to try to kill Jesus. Why? Because He just told them, “Before Abraham was born, I AM.” Now, if we heard a 30-year-old on our street corner say that they had been around before a person who had died 2000 years ago, we might call for straight jackets and a paddy wagon, but we wouldn’t want to kill the man. However, the Jews who heard Jesus’ statement that day understood that Jesus was fully sane and was claiming to be God by referencing the I AM Name of God from the Old Testament. Fast forward now to John 20. Jesus has risen from the dead and appeared unto all of the disciples except for Thomas. Thomas hears the reports but refuses to believe until he can see the Lord for himself and put his hands in Christ’s wounds. A week later Jesus graciously does appear unto the disciples again, but this time with Thomas present. The once doubting disciple is overwhelmed and worships Jesus declaring, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Trinity! And as 1 John 1:1-5 says, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all!” No downside, no imperfection, no impurity, no unrighteousness, no sin, no fault, no shortcoming—NO DARKNESS AT ALL—PERFECT! JESUS IS PERFECT!!!!