“Vindicated in the Spirit”

Tall claims!

Jesus made some outstanding (or as His detractors would have said, “outrageous”) claims for Himself during His ministry.

He claimed to be divine, to fulfill Old Testament prophecy, to be the only way to God, to have the authority to forgive sins, to be without sin, to raise the dead someday, and to judge the world.

Either these claims are true or they are false.

He was crucified for making such claims as these.

The Vindicator

How could He be vindicated of the slanders His enemies made against Him—that He was a deceiver, a blasphemer, in league with Satan, a mere man, a glutton and a drunkard?

Who would vindicate the one who was so unjustly arrested, mocked, slapped, spat upon, reviled, and executed as a criminal?

Jesus, Paul said, was “vindicated in the Spirit” (1 Timothy 3:16). How?

The Spirit enabled the prophets to predict Jesus’ death and glorification (1 Peter 1:10-12).

The Spirit descended on Him at His baptism (John 1:31-34; Matthew 12:18).

The Spirit empowered Him to preach and work miracles (Luke 4:14-21; Matthew 12:28). These miracles proved His claims (Luke 5:24; John 3:1-2; 5:36; 10:25, 38).

The Spirit powerfully endowed the apostles on the Day of Pentecost, as Jesus had predicted—thus proving the message Peter proclaimed, that Jesus is indeed “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 1:4-5, 8; 2:1-4, 33, 36).

Jesus now sits enthroned beside the Father—supremely victorious, fully vindicated.

earth-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Accused!

Guilty as charged?

What would you think of someone who was a subject of persistent rumor? How would you feel if you heard that this person ate and drank to excess? And that he was demon-possessed and in league with Satan? And that he was guilty of deception?

What if you heard that he was a law-breaker? And that he advocated not paying taxes?

Who was this person? Jesus!

By reading the accounts of His life as recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we keep running into accusations leveled against Him. John especially emphasizes the undercurrent of controversy swirling around this carpenter/teacher/healer from Nazareth (John 7-10).

Slander without substance

But would the charges stick? Once Jesus challenged His critics, “Which one of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46). They could accuse Him all day long, but where was the evidence?

They absolutely hated Him! Highly motivated to find fault where there was none, they tried to turn as many against Him as they possibly could.

The rumors flew but never hit the mark. Jesus was innocent. Unlike His accusers, He had never sinned—not even once (Hebrews 4:15).

True, His opponents did succeed in having Him executed. But did they have the last word?

Jesus was able to use the cross as the altar for sacrificing Himself for the sins of the world.

And then God raised Him from the dead and exalted Him to the place of supreme authority and glory He now occupies—as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Even to this day

But the story doesn’t end there. Those who follow Christ today may also be faced with unfair accusations. As He said to His apostles, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you . . .” (John 15:20). A certain degree of opposition from the world is to be expected (2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 2:12; 3:16; 4:3-5).

But what a blessing there is in it! (Matthew 5:10-12; 1 Peter 4:14)

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Accused

Slandered

He was a constant subject of rumor. They said He drank too much, was demon-possessed, in league with Satan, a deceiver, a blasphemer.

The rumors flew but never hit the target. He was not guilty—in fact, had never sinned!

Although His enemies succeeded in executing Him, their “triumph” was short-lived!

Vindicated!

Jesus used his cross as the altar for offering himself for the sins of the world. Three days later, God raised Him from the dead.

He now reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords.Those who follow Him share in His sufferings (1 Peter 4:13). But what an honor, what a glory! (Acts 5:41; Matthew 5:10-12)

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