The Person of Jesus Christ
Ready for week two of “Your life in Christ”?!
Last week we explored 4 truths that tell us how God cares for us.
He created us, He is present and knows us, He loves us and He has adopted us into His family.
This week it’s all about Jesus!
How we view Christ is how we view and approach Discipleship.
The poorer our vision of Christ, the poorer our discipleship will be.
The richer our vision of Christ, the richer our discipleship will be.
We look to the world and find many visions of Jesus.
We have the capitalist and socialist Jesus.
The Republican and Democrat Jesus.
Jesus the vegan and Jesus the glutton.
How can we forget the musical Jesus’ - Jesus the clown in Godspell or Jesus Christ Superstar.
New age Jesus and so much more!
We can find so many versions of Jesus, however they are all counterfeit.
The only true vision of Jesus can be found in Scripture.
John Stott, in His latest book titled “The Radical Disciple” says this:
“Nothing is more important for mature Christian discipleship than a fresh , clear true vision of the authentic Jesus.”
In order for us to understand Jesus, it’s completely necessary to explore His deity and humanity.
Many religions and false teachings have and still exist from how people interpret Christ’s deity.
So, today we will look at what God’s Word says regarding this truth, and hopefully all walk away more confident in who Jesus was and is, and in our faith.
The incarnation of Jesus is the central of history and our faith!
There are often those with a lot of faith and just trust God’s Word and don’t need much explaining.
I admire those people!
Then there are those who question, research, fact check and double check all sources for the truth.
I fall into that category, and so some questions that often arose for me about our topic today were:
How has Jesus always existed, and what was He doing before He came to earth?
Why was it necessary for Him to come to earth, and would it have made a difference to us either way?
How was Christ, on earth living out His humanity and deity at the same time?
Did He have His own will or two wills? Or no will?
I’ve heard Christ was a prophet and a great teacher but by what basis? And He’s a priest? And a King?
And when Christ came to earth did He truly give up His deity altogether?
And that’s just before I’ve had coffee.
Ask Alisha, I think way too much before bed at night and before coffee in the morning. :)
Let’s first look at what Christ was doing before He came to earth.
The important fact we must know is that Christ was preexisting before He was born in Bethlehem.
If Christ came into existence at the time of His birth through Mary then there would be no eternal trinity.
And if Christ was not preexistent then He could not be God because God is eternal.
Lastly, if Christ was not preexistent then He would be a flat out liar.
We need to know that Christ first came from heaven...
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.
Christ also was involved in creation so we must know that He existed before creation.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Christ also claimed in John 10:30 that He and the Father are one.
In John 17:5 Jesus claims that He has equal glory with the Father.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
We see here in Colossians that Christ contains the fullness of deity.
So, from these passages we can see the evidence for His preexistence.
We see He came from heaven.
He was involved at creation.
We see His equality with God which leads to His fullness of Deity.
In addition to His preexistence we need to understand more about His eternality.
Because as we heard before if He was not eternal then there would be no eternal Trinity, no Deity and He would’ve been a liar.
His relationship with God and that He was there at creation speaks volumes of His eternality but wait… there’s more!
In addition to creation His role looked a bit different than you might expect.
Christ was also referred to many times as the angel of the Lord or angel of Yahweh.
The angel of Yahweh in Scripture speaks as God, identifies Himself with God and claims to carry out the same agenda as God.
First we see the angel of the Lord appear to Hagar in the wilderness in Genesis 16:7-14, later we see the angel of the Lord appear to Abraham in Genesis 22.
God commanded Abraham to sacrifice His oldest son and led Him up to the place He wanted it done, as Abraham was about to do it- it was the angel o the Lord that stopped Him, on behalf of God.
Later the angel of the Lord appears to Jacob and then to Moses in the form of a burning bush.
Throughout other passages in the Old Testament Christ appears as the angel of the Lord.
The distinction between God and the angel of the Lord is clear as Scripture mentions that the angel of the Lord was sent by God.
One example of this is in Genesis 24:7 when Abraham mentioned that the promises the Lord made to Him would be carried out by the angel of the Lord.
As the angel of the Lord, Christ, often acted as a messenger, He guided and protected Israel, He was an instrument of judgement and an agent of refreshment as in the case with Elijah in 1 Kings 19:5-7.
Christ was very involved before His incarnation, and played many roles, but His most personal miracles to us was at His incarnation.
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 10 further reveals who the angel of the Lord was during the Old Testament times.
Now that we have opened pandora’s box and are diving into the depths of Christ, we mine as well keep going and look into the actual incarnation of Christ...
INCARNATION OF CHRIST
The word incarnation does not actually appear anywhere in Scripture but we get the concept from these passages, among others:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
An important aspect to the incarnation is that there was a prediction of it in Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Immanuel means “God with us” and that is the whole concept of His incarnation.
That Christ came dow to us from heaven, literally in the flesh.
The virgin birth was the means for His incarnation.
He wasn’t born into the world like… well you know… that night when your mom and dad… well never mind...
The Holy Spirit put a seed into Mary and she was the surrogate, no part of her or Joseph other than the importance of their genealogies.
In the book of Matthew He lists the family line on Joseph’s side, and in Luke He gives Mary’s side.
Matthew traces Jesus back to Abraham and Luke traces Jesus back to Adam.
Next week we will talk more about the purpose of the incarnation as we look at the specific work of Christ.
DEITY OF CHRIST
As we look back at Christ’s claim to containing full Deity it is important to realize that there are several evidences to support this.
He possesses attributes that only God has
His eternal nature as we discussed before.
His omnipresence- He claimed to be everywhere
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
His omniscience- He displayed knowledge of things that would show He knows all.
John 4:29 (The Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well.)
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
His omnipotence- He contained power that was not of the world.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
John 11:38-44 when Jesus raised His friend Lazarus from the dead
Or in Mark 4:35-41 where there is a storm and He is on a boat with some of His disciples and He commands that the wind and the waves calm down and they did.
There are so many other stories we can read in the New Testament of Jesus’ omnipotence, His power.
In addition to Him containing attributes that only God would have, he also performs works that only could could do (We will get into more of that next week)
Christ also was given names and titles of Deity.
Have the congregation name some.
Son of God
Lord and God (He is called Yahweh in the New Testament which spoke of His preexistence and authority .
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
King of kings
Lord of lords
Lastly His Deity is confirmed by the fact that He claimed to be God.
The most supportive occasion of this was during the Feast of Dedication when he said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)
The other side to Christ, aside from His Deity was that He was clearly a human being.
HUMANITY OF CHRIST
There are four distinctions that qualify Him to be human.
His human body (Most obvious)
Even though his conception was supernatural, He was born with a human body that grew and developed.
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
His humanness was complete with a soul and spirit.
Before His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to some of His disciples in Matthew 26:38, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”
And then in Luke 23:46 He refers to His spirit saying...
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
As humans, in addition to our bodies we contain a soul and spirit and Jesus did as well.
In addition to Jesus’ human body, soul and spirit, He showed characteristics of a human being:
Hungry (Matthew 4:2)
Thirsty (John 19:28)
He grew weary (John 4:6)
He experienced love and compassion for His friends and others (Matthew 9:36)
He wept (John 11:35)
He was tested (Matthew 4 and Hebrews 4:15)
Lastly, He was often called by human names
His favorite reference to Himself was “son of man” (more than 80 times)
He was also the Son of David which linked Him to His ancestor David and the royal promises to be fulfilled by the Messiah.
Paul also called Him a man in 1 Timothy 2:5
It is clear through Scripture that we can see Jesus as having the fullness of Deity, as well as a human nature.
But where it gets muddy for some, and often interpretations that lead to false teachings, is the union of His Deity and humanity.
As Charles Ryrie points out- “Jesus was always aware of Himself with respect to His Deity and He grew in self-consciousness in regard to His humanity.”
We read from Luke 2:52 earlier but we can also look to...
Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Reading through the rest of this passage we can see that Jesus is explaining who He is to some Jews, clearly to an angry mob, and the conversation explains His humanity and Deity, and that is why His audience wants to stone Him.
The crowd wasn’t angry that He was claiming to be human, but because He was claiming to be God saying “I am.”
Some of the early false teachings about Christ were:
That He was only a man
Denial of the Deity of Christ, saying He was just the human son of Mary and Joseph until His baptism when He was united with the eternal Christ
That Jesus had no eternal nature and He had a beginning
That Christ had a human body and soul but His spirit was divine, not human.
That Christ was really two persons, not one
There are so many other passages that we could’ve explored regarding His Deity and humanity today, but I hope that this got your wheels turning, and helped you be more confident in who Jesus was and is.
Going back to our original thought- Jesus was either eternal and contained the fullness of Deity or He was a liar.
As we close today, I would like to read 4 passages with you that I believe speak for themselves regarding what we’ve talked about today.
Grab your Bibles and open up to a few passages as we read about His deity. (In your bulletins, have people read from microphone)
If someone asks you who Christ is, you can start here…
READ John 1:1-5
READ HEBREWS 1:1-4
READ Colossians 1:15-20
READ 1 John 1:1-4
Write on the white board what we gather from these passages about who Jesus is!
(John 1:1-5) Jesus is the Word, the beginning, God, always existent, with God, made all things, life, light of mankind,
(Hebrews 1:1-4) God’s son, heir over all, radiance of God’s glory, exact representation of God, sustains all things, purify’s sin, sits at the right hand of God, superior to angels, name is superior,
(Colossians 1:15-20) image of God, firstborn overall creation, head of the church, beginning and first born among the dead, fullness of God, reconciler,
(1 John 1:1-4) resurrected from the grave, offers fellowship and salvation.
Jonathan S Campbell (Theologian and author) wrote this:
“Wandering in a sea of relativism (belief there is no absolute truth), we find there is truth, and the truth is Jesus. Jesus not only preached the good news; he is the good news. The truth is not religious dogma, an institution, or even religion. Truth is a person. We gain hold of what is true through grabbing hold of Jesus, the author of truth.”
And I love what John Piper says in His book titled “Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ”
“When Christ came into the world, all nature bowed to His authority. He commanded the wind and it obeyed. And when the disciples saw it they wondered. And then worshipped.”
After reading through Scripture today and hearing about who Jesus is and claimed to be, are you just in wonder or have you taken the next step to truly worship the God who knows and loves you?
Have you submitted to His authority in your life?
Knowing what you know now about Jesus, what will you do with it- will you live different, share it with others more confidently or pretend you never heard it?
The incarnation of Christ, the Deity of Christ and humanity of Christ is central to history and our faith.
It is what separates religion from relationship and doctrine from false teachings.
Go, and be confident that the God who created the universe is closer to you than you could ever imagine, and lives in you if you have put your trust and submitted your life to Him.
Go, and then come back next week as we dive into the work of Christ!
Scripture memory verse this week is… “Jesus wept” (J/K!)
It’s… Colossians 1:19 “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,”
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,