Jesus Only!

Published 8:51 am Friday, March 2, 2018


As the world reflects on the life of the evangelist Billy Graham, one thing stands out to me throughout his ministry: his message never changed! From the beginning of his ministry until the end, he preached Jesus Christ crucified, and the importance of a relationship with him! Billy Graham knew the solution to the problems in the world was Jesus; a fact that is still true today. All we need is Jesus! This leads me to a unique story from the Bible I would like to share with you in this column.
In Matthew chapter 17, we read about the transfiguration of Jesus when God reveals something important to us. When Christ was here on earth, He was without His glory. He left His glory in heaven. He lived here, for the most part, in an humble state and He surrounded Himself with men who were humble in possessions and status. Occasionally, there were glimpses of His glory: at His birth, at His baptism, at His temptation, and at His death. But His public ministry began in humiliation and continued that way. Here in the midst of His ministry Peter, James and John are privileged to see the greatest display of His glory.
It was six days after Jesus told them about his coming death when he took Peter, James and John to a private place on an unnamed mountain. He took three because that was the number that could legally, according to scripture, testify to what they saw. Scripture states, “For out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
The three disciples saw something spectacular. They saw Jesus transfigured; “His face did shine like the sun.” In John 1:14 it says, “we beheld his glory, even as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The light shown from within Him, rather than upon Him from the outside, like a spotlight. The word transfigured is the word metamorphosis, which means “a change of form or structure.” The little wooly caterpillar will sometimes become a beautiful butterfly by the process of metamorphosis. Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him (Matt. 17:3). Moses represented the Law, and Elijah represented the prophets. Moses had died, and Elijah had left this world in a chariot of fire. Now, they were talking with Jesus. Luke tells us that they were discussing His coming death in Jerusalem.
It was at this moment that Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Matt. 17:4). Peter put his foot in his mouth once again. He should have kept still, but he couldn’t resist saying something. He tried to place Jesus on the same level as Elijah and Moses, and God himself rebukes him as we shall see. Luke tried to explain his rashness by stating, “…not knowing what he said” (Luke 9:33). Peter wanted to create three tabernacles which meant that all three men deserved to be worshipped. However, we know only one should be worshipped, the Son of God! There are a lot of people today who talk without knowing what they are saying. They are placing many ideas, opinions, convictions, and beliefs equal with Jesus!
While Peter was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matt. 17:5). Only Jesus spoke, because what he says is important. What the prophets had said in the past was very important, but from this point Christ is the source of all revelation. The cloud then came down from heaven and covered them. In the Old Testament, a cloud was the visible sign of God’s presence. He came down on Mount Sinai in a cloud (Ex. 19:9), and He appeared to Moses in a cloud (Ex. 34:5 and Num. 11:25). He took possession of the tabernacle in a cloud, and afterwards of the temple. Both the Old and New Testament dispensations had tokens of God’s presence, but in the Old Testament dispensation there was darkness, bondage and terror; Christ brought light, love and liberty.
God spoke from the cloud. He said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” The disciples also heard God speak at Jesus’ baptism. It was the same message, but this time He added “hear Him.” Matthew 17:8 states, “And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” God removed Moses and Elijah proving to Peter, James and John that the only one that mattered and should be reverenced was Jesus!
The world needs to hear about Jesus, and see only Jesus in our lives as Christians! The world does not need our opinions, ideas, convictions, or our politics! They need to hear the same message that Billy Graham preached. In fact, oftentimes folks tried to get Billy Graham to speak about politics and other hot button issues but he declined to do so. Here is what he said, “I’m trying to stay out of it and just keep preaching the Gospel, because there’s nothing coming out of Washington or any of those places that are going to save the world or transform men and women. It’s Christ. I’m just going to preach the Gospel and am not going to get off on all these hot-button issues. If I get on these other subjects, it divides the audience on an issue that is not the issue I’m promoting. I’m just promoting the Gospel.”
The stance Billy Graham took speaks volumes to me! We should keep speaking about the solution: JESUS! The world has tuned Christians out because we have aligned ourselves and pledged our allegiance to many things other than the cross of Christ. Our Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, and our daily conversations should declare the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ! Let’s begin to share Jesus only to a world needing hope because Jesus plus nothing is everything!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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