Jesus’ Conception of Himself and His Mission – Part 1

Sermon Notes of
Reverend Harvey Alford Matney
(1868 – 1951)
March 14, 1926 – Glenwood UMC (Tyler), Texas


A major challenge Jesus faced during His time on earth was appealing to the many competing views on the Messiah’s purpose. Jesus came to do God’s will for His life and demonstrate God’s love to the world. For many, a loving, healing, problem-solving, burden-bearing, sin-removing Savior was not what was expected.

In John 10, Jesus makes a bold statement that His sheep would “hear his voice.” This fact was made clear in encounter after encounter as many struggled to fit Jesus into their preconceived expectations for the Messiah. Unfortunately, many did not “hear His voice” and never would. — Harrison Woodard

Matthew 12:1-8 KJV

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Matthew 12:29-30 KJV

Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

Jesus’ Conception of Himself and His Mission – Part 1

Preliminary Concealment of Messiahship

Jesus’ task was to modify fundamentally ideas of religion that seemed God-given. He was not willing to be the kind of Messiah they expected Him to be, so He must work out His problem without their cooperation.

Did He Really Conceal His Messiahship, or Were They Unable to Grasp His Identity?

Did anyone but John and Jesus understand, “Thou art my beloved Son” spoken at the baptism to be the divine announcement that the Messiah had come?

The first preaching of the twelve that “men should repent” (Mark 6:7-13); has no proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah.

Late in his ministry the friendly element considered him only a prophet.

A) “Whom do men say I am?” (Mark 8:27-29) “John the Baptist, or one of the prophets.” – “Whom do you say I am?” (Peter) “You are the Christ.”

B) If Jesus had definitely announced himself as the Messiah it would have been necessary to accept him as such, or to reject him as an imposter.

C) It would be impossible to consider him Elijah, for Elijah would not claim to be the Messiah.

His favorite title “Son of Man” was not considered a claim to be the Messiah.

When they brought the man with the palsy, Jesus healed him; “The people glorified God that had given such power to man” (Matthew 9:2-8)

Yet He said and did many things that indicated that He was preparing the people for the announcement that He was the Messiah.

“Passing through the corn fields the hungry disciples began to eat; the Pharisees accused them under the law.” (Matthew 12:1-8) Jesus said, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

They accuse Him of casting out Satan by Satan, He answers; “How can one enter a strong man’s house and destroy his goods unless He first bind the strong man.” (Matthew 12:26-30)

He was tearing down Satan’s work, destroying it.

Evidently, the people did not understand that He considered himself the Messiah, but to His disciples, He makes much stronger statements. His disciples were part of the family and He put them in possession of the family secrets.

But when the wonderful, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” was declared, He bade them to, “tell no man of Him.”

Nicodemus saw in Jesus nothing more than a teacher come from God. (John 3:1-2)

John the Baptist seems to see Him as the Messiah, but fails to get his vision across to others.

Jesus asserts that his conduct had made clear He was the Messiah, but their (the Jews in the Temple) moral vision was not clear enough to see it. (John 10:25-26)

There is no reserve in His claim to the woman of Samaria. (John 4:25-26)

Jesus speaks of himself as the “Son” and of God as the “Father” in a way that indicated that He was the “Son of God”. But they (the Pharisees) seem not to understand what He meant. (John 8:19)

They (the Jews) say it is the raving of a lunatic. (John 10:20) They charge Him with blasphemy for claiming equality with God. (John 10:30-33)


So the problem still exists – Get them to see and believe.

This topic is of fundamental importance.

How could He with standards of conduct and aims so much higher than those of men to whom He proposed to come so close, adjust Himself to them? What would He have in common with them? How could He make Himself known to them? How could He transform their ideas without repelling them?


The problems that center in Jesus are not personal, but general. They concern the world.

How we judge Him is vital to our religion. In Him, the Christian ages have seen the manifest God. They have seen the Eternal living in time. They have seen the Infinite within the limits of humanity.


End of Part 1



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