When we sing: “There is none like you, no-one else can touch my heart like you do, I can search for all eternity long and find, there is none like you”, we are singing about someone who is unique, unique in history, unique in character, unique in person. He is known by many names:
The rose of Sharon, the bright morning star, the Good shepherd, the bread of life, living water, the agent of creation, the source of life,the sustainer of all,the Bridegroom of the church, Saviour, Messiah,the forgiver of sins, Judge of all, King of kings,our High Priest,Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, the Alpha and the Omega, Image of God, Beloved Son, Lamb of God, Son of God and Son of Man.
His name is Jesus Christ and He is unique in so many ways, but the one thing that seperates Him from all other figures, gods and religions is the uniqueness of His person as both fully God and fully man, at the same time and forever. Jesus Christ is unique, no wonder He is not only first, He is called pre-eminent in Colossians:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
The word “pre-eminent” comes from the Greek word “proteuo”, is only used once in the Bible and means absolute first place. Absolute first place can only belong to One and His names is Jesus Christ.
Today we are looking at what the Bible says about the unique person of Christ and what the implications are for us as His followers.
- He is 100% fully God and 100% fully human;
- The divine and human natures of Christ are distinct;
- The divine and human natures of Christ are united in one person.
No wonder we can sing with conviction: There is none like You! There is only one who is pre-eminent, who is unique and He is the Magnificent Christ.
We will first deal with the deity of Jesus and its importance to us and then we will explore the humanity of Christ and its importance to us all.
- THE DEITY OF CHRIST
THE UNIQUENESS of Christianity is the Person, Jesus Christ, and the distinctiveness of Christ is the fact that He is the God-man. In other words, He is a divine-human Being, something unique in time and eternity. It is also a concept very difficult to understand, for we have no basis for comparison with another God-man in history nor do we get any help from our experience. Yet this is not a dogma imposed on us simply to receive without question; it is a conclusion which grows out of the evidence in the Bible. Many facts point to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is God; many others lead to the conclusion that He is truly human; at the same time we see only one Person moving across the pages of the gospels. This union of undiminished deity and perfect humanity forever in one Person is called the doctrine of the hypostatic union (that is, the union of two natures), and this is the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.
There is controversy about the doctrine that Jesus is God. The opponents to this would say that nowhere in the NT is Jesus referred to as God, or does He claim that for himself. The Jehova’s Witnesses and Mormons are cults that do not believe this – Islam also would acknowledge Jesus as a prophet, but not as God. Judaism considers it blasphemy.
But from the earliest writings of the apostles and the early church, we see that they worshipped Jesus as God. So we will look at the Book to see where and why the church affirms Jesus Christ as God.
A. Names of God that are ascribed to Jesus Christ
- God (Theos)
He is called God in a number of different ways in a variety of passages.
By far and away the most common is theos (θεός ) the Greek word for God. It is not a technical word; it is sort of like the word “god” is in English. We can talk about the god of Islam. That term god is a very generic term. That is the way it was in Greek as well but it refers to deity; it is very clear that it refers to deity.
- John 1:1–3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
Jehovah’s Witnesses translate it, “the Word was a god” in their New World translation.
1 John 5:20 Jesus Christ is referred to as the true God and eternal life
- 1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
- Heb 1:8
But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous sceptre is the sceptre of His kingdom.
This is the Father saying this of the Son. If you want one chapter of Scripture to go to in defending the deity of Christ, it is hard to beat Hebrews 1, it has so much. He quotes from Psalm 45:6 and applies this to Christ
- Titus 2:13
… looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus,
- 2 Peter 1:1
Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ:
Here you have in both of those passages (Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1) God and Saviour both referring to Christ.
- John 20:28
Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
This is really a powerful text when you realize how Jesus responds to Thomas; in comparison in the book of Acts of people who think that Peter is God and they bow down to worship him and he tears his clothes, stands up, don’t worship. And in the case of Paul when the serpent came out and bit his hand and the people think he is a god and they fall down to worship at his feet and he rents his clothes and says no, no. Now look at Jesus, the contrast, the angels will not accept worship in Revelation.
Jesus response to Thomas was
- John 20:29
Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
He endorses the statement from Thomas “My Lord and my God!”
- Romans 9:5
To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
One OT example of the name God applied to Christ is seen in the familiar messianic passage
- Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
2. Lord (Kyrios) = Yahwe
Sometimes the word Lord (Kyrios) is used simply as a polite address to a superior, roughly equivalent to our word sir. Sometimes it can simply mean “master” of a servant or slave. Yet the same word is also used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which was commonly used at the time of Christ) as a translation for the Hebrew, “Yahweh,” or (as it is frequently translated) “the LORD,” or “Jehovah.” The word Κύριος is used to translate the name of the Lord 6,814 times in the Greek Old Testament. Therefore, any Greek-speaking reader at the time of the New Testament who had any knowledge at all of the Greek Old Testament would have recognized that, in contexts where it was appropriate, the word “Lord” was the name of the one who was the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth, the omnipotent God.
Angel to shepherds at Bethlehem:
- Luke 2:11
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
To a 1st century Jew this would be quite astonishing that someone born as a baby was the Christ – the long awaited Messiah, but moreover that this Messiah was also the “the Lord”, the Lord God himself.
John the Baptist –says in Mat 3:3
- Matthew 3: 3
For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’ ”
In doing this John is quoting Isaiah 40:3, which speaks about the Lord God himself coming among his people. But the context applies this passage to John’s role of preparing the way for Jesus to come. The implication is that when Jesus comes, the Lord himself will come.
A particularly clear passage is found in Hebrews 1, where the author quotes Psalm 102, which speaks about the work of the Lord in creation and applies it to Christ:
- Hebrews 1:10–12
And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”
Here Christ is explicitly spoken of as the eternal Lord of heaven and earth who created all things and will remain the same forever.
Such strong usage of the term “Lord” to refer to Christ culminates in Revelation 19:16, where we see Christ returning as conquering King, and “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords.”
- Revelation 19:16
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
3. Son of Man – does not refer to Jesus’ humanity or His birth
Jesus calls himself “the Son of man.” This title is used 84 times in the four gospels but only by Jesus and only to speak of himself.
- Matthew 16:13
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
In the rest of the New Testament, the phrase “the Son of man” (with the definite article “the”) is used only once, in Acts 7:56, where Stephen refers to Christ as the Son of Man.
This unique term has as its background the vision in Daniel 7 where Daniel saw one like a “Son of Man” who “came to the Ancient of Days” and was given “dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away”
- Daniel 7:13–14
13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
It is striking that this “son of man” came “with the clouds of heaven” (Dan. 7:13). This passage clearly speaks of someone who had heavenly origin and who was given eternal rule over the whole world.
The high priests did not miss the point of this passage when Jesus said,
- Matt 26:64
Hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven
The reference to Daniel 7:13–14 was unmistakable, and the high priest and his council knew that Jesus was claiming to be the eternal world ruler of heavenly origin spoken of in Daniel’s vision. Immediately they said, “
- Matthew 26:65–66
65 … “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.
66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.”
Knowing the connection between Son of man and Daniel 7 indicating power, authority, right to rule, judgment is all contained in Son of man, Jesus uses Son of man more than anything else by far to describe Himself.
4. Son of God
Though the title “Son of God” can sometimes be used simply to refer to Israel or to man as created by God, or to redeemed man generally, there are nevertheless instances in which the phrase “Son of God” refers to Jesus as the heavenly, eternal Son who is equal to God himself
- Matthew 17:5
He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
This is especially true in John’s gospel where Jesus is seen as a unique Son from the Father
- John 1:14
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.,
- John 1:34
And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”,
- John 1:49
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
who fully reveals the Father
- John 14:9
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
As Son he is so great that we can trust in him for eternal life (something that could be said of no created being:
- John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
- John 20:31
but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
He is also the one who has all authority from the Father to give life, pronounce eternal judgment, and rule over all
- John 5:20–22
20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
As Son he has been sent by the Father, and therefore he existed before he came into the world
- John 5:23
… Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him.
- Hebrews 1:1–3
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
The first three verses of Hebrews are emphatic in saying that the Son is the one whom God “appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Heb. 1:2). This Son, says the writer, “reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp [lit., is the “exact duplicate,’) of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power” (Heb. 1:3). Jesus is the exact duplicate of the “nature” (or being) of God, making him exactly equal to God in every attribute. Moreover, he continually upholds the universe “by his word of power,” something that only God could do.
These passages combine to indicate that the title “Son of God” when applied to Christ strongly affirms his deity as the eternal Son in the Trinity, one equal to God the Father in all his attributes.
5. Lord of Glory
- 1 Corinthians 2:8
None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
This is probably a reference to Psalm 24:7-10 in which the Lord of glory clearly is YAHWEH.
- Psalm 24:7-10
Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Psalm 24:8 Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Psalm 24:9 Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Psalm 24:10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.
6. The First and Last
- Revelation 1:8
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
- Revelation 1:17 -18
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
Clearly connected with
- Isaiah 44:6
6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
that refer to God as the first and the last indicating that there is no time He does not exist, no time that He is not God; the first and the last. We use a phrase like “from a to z” which means everything; that is kind of the idea of it.
B. Evidence that Jesus Possessed Attributes of Deity
Jesus asserts his eternity when he says,
- John 8:58
Before Abraham was, I am,
I am the Alpha and the Omega
Unchangeableness of God’s character and existence and promises
- Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Stilled the storm with a word, multiplied the loaves and fish and changed water into wine – not just miracles done by Holy Spirit power, but it manifested His glory. It was the authority of Jesus himself by which Jesus did the miracles
- Philippians 3:20–21
20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
- Matthew 8:26–27
26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
27 And the men marvelled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
seen in Jesus’ knowing people’s thoughts and knowing from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
not affirmed during his earthly ministry. However, while looking forward to the time that the church would be established,
Jesus could say,
- Mat 18:20
Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them
Moreover, before he left the earth, he told his disciples,
- Mat 28:20
I am with you always, to the end of the age
That Jesus possessed divine sovereignty a kind of authority possessed by God alone, is seen in the fact that he could forgive sins (Mark 2:5–7).
Unlike the Old Testament prophets who declared, “Thus says the LORD,” he could preface his statements with the phrase, “But I say to you” (Matt. 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44)—an amazing claim to his own authority. He could speak with the authority of God himself because he was himself fully God.
He had “all things” delivered into his hands by the Father and the authority to reveal the Father to whomever he chose (Matt. 11:25–27). Such is his authority that the future eternal state of everyone in the universe depends on whether they believe in him or reject him (John 3:36).
C. Works of God done by Jesus
- John 1:3
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
- Colossians 1:15-16
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
- Hebrews 1:2
Hebrews 1:2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
This is the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, creation out of nothing. We can create with things, with wood I can make a candle holder; yes, I have done that. Can you create that out of nothing? No, we cannot do that. Only God can do that. Only God can bara (ברא) create is the Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Bara (ברא) is uniquely used with God as the subject. It refers, at least in some of its usages, creating out of nothing that takes place.
Not only does Christ create the world as an agent of the Father He also preserves the world.
- Colossians 1:17
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
- Hebrews 1:3
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
3. Giver of eternal life
Only God can do this. How often we have felt the angst over an unconverted person to whom we would love give eternal life; a mother, or a father, or a close friend, or a child. But we are incapable of doing that. Only God can give eternal life. Christ gives eternal life.
- John 10:28
… I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
- 1 John 2:25
This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
4. Forgiveness of sin
Only God can forgive sins.
- Matthew 1:21
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
- Mark 2:5–12 – Paralytic through the roof
5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts,
7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts?
9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’?
10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic—
11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
- Luke 7:47–49
47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?
These are two passages in Scripture that are remarkable. The paralytic dropped down through the roof and they want him healed and He (Christ) says you sins are forgiven.
Isaiah 43:25 is a cross reference to this concept. This makes clear that God is the One who forgives. This is a mark of deity; not the only one. But it is a mark of deity. I do this, no one else can do this; can wipe out your sins, remove your transgressions from you.
- Isaiah 43:25
“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.
5. Jesus Christ’s resurrection confirms His deity
- Romans 1:4
and He was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
- Acts 2:36
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
D. Worship is given to Jesus
Jesus accepts worship
He is worshipped right at the very beginning, at His birth, when the wise men come and worship Him.
At the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem – people were shouting their Hosannas praising Him as the son of David, as the King who comes in the name of the Lord. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to rebuke his disciples/crowds for they knew that worship was only for God.
In John 20:28-29 – Thomas doubting Jesus, then Jesus shows him the marks of His crucifixion – he falls down with “My Lord and my God “– Jesus accepts this expression of worship.
Another clear attestation to the deity of Christ is the fact that he is counted worthy to be worshiped something that is true of no other creature, including angels (see Rev. 19:10), but only God alone. Yet Scripture says of Christ that
- Phil 2:9–11
God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
Similarly, God commands the angels to worship Christ, for we read,
- Heb 1:6
When he brings the first-born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him
John is allowed a glimpse of the worship that occurs in heaven, for he sees thousands and thousands of angels and heavenly creatures around God’s throne saying,
- Rev 5:12
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!
Then he hears “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying,
- Rev 5:13
To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might for ever and ever!” ’
Christ is here called “the Lamb who was slain,” and he is accorded the universal worship offered to God the Father, thus clearly demonstrating his equality in deity.
E. Jesus claimed deity for Himself
- Jesus says He is I AM
Absolute “I am” statements John 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 18:5
John 8:58 has got to be one of the most astonishing things ever uttered and uttered by Jesus
- John 8:58
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”
If there had been any uncertainty about Jesus’ identity in other passages where he said, “I am” (e.g., 6:35; 9:5; 11:25), there was no confusion here because Jesus is claiming to be the one who was alive before Abraham was, that is, more than 2,000 years earlier. Jesus does not simply say, “Before Abraham was, I was,” which would simply mean that he is more than 2,000 years old. Rather, he uses the present tense “I am” in speaking of existence more than 2,000 years earlier, thus claiming a kind of transcendence over time that could only be true of God.
The words “I am” in Greek use the same expression (Egō eimi) found in the Septuagint in the first half of God’s self-identification in Ex. 3:14, “I am who I am.” Jesus is thus claiming not only to be eternal but also to be the God who appeared to Moses at the burning bush. His Jewish opponents understood his meaning immediately and they “picked up stones” to stone him to death for blasphemy
- Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
We express that with the term YAHWEH or Jehovah, at it has sometimes been called when you conflate the vowels of Adonai with consonants of YAHWEH. YAHWEH, Jehovah of the Old Testament is what Christ is claiming to be; before Abraham was I am.
- John 6:20
But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
- John 8:24
24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am [he] you will die in your sins.”
- John 8:28
So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [he], and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.
- John 18:4–6
4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”
5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am [he].” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 When Jesus said to them, “I am [he],” they drew back and fell to the ground.
Metaphorical “I am” statements
- I am the bread of life John 6:35, 48, 51
- I am the light of the world John 8:12; 9:5
- I am the door of the sheep John 10:7, 9
- I am the good shepherd John 10:11, 14
- I am the resurrection and the life John 11:25
- I am the way, the truth, and the life John 14:6
- I am the true vine John 15:1
2. Jesus equals himself with the Father, and as a result the Jewish leaders accused him of blasphemy:
- John 5:17–18
But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God
- John 10:30–33
I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. … The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God
- Mark 14:61–64
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” [a reference to Daniel 7]. And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death
- Pre-existence of Jesus
As some of our scriptures – John 8:58 in particular, indicated Jesus existed a s the eternal Son of God before the world began. He was creator of all things
- Colossians 1:17
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
- John 17:5
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
2. Angel of the Lord – In the OT we see references to the Angel of the Lord where there is strong indication that it was a Pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus. Eg.
Jacob wrestled with an angel in Gen 32
An angel accompanies the children of Israel into the Promised land in Ex 23:20 – Paul interprets this as Jesus that was with them in 1 Cor 10:1-5
3. Incarnation – God came in human flesh.
Scripture clearly asserts that Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother Mary by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and without a human father. The sinful nature of man was not inherited by Jesus – the line of descent with Adam was broken.
- Mat 1:18
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit
- Luke 1:35
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
that through the absence of a human father, Jesus was not fully descended from Adam, and that this break in the line of descent was the method God used to bring it about that Jesus was fully human yet did not share inherited sin from Adam.
- Matthew 1:22–23
22 All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: (Isaiah 7:14)
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Summary sentence of Incarnation: “Remaining what he was (God), He became what he was not (human). Jesus did not give up any of his deity when he became man, but he did take on humanity that was not his before.
Christ Is Fully Divine. The New Testament, in hundreds of explicit verses that call Jesus “God” and “Lord” and use a number of other titles of deity to refer to him, and in many passages that attribute actions or words to him that could only be true of God himself, affirms again and again the full, absolute deity of Jesus Christ.
- Col 1:19
“In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell”
- Col 2:9
“in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily
IMPLICATIONS THAT JESUS IS GOD
We must insist on the full deity of Christ, not only because it is clearly taught in Scripture, but also because
(1) only someone who is infinite God could bear the full penalty for all the sins of all those who would believe in him—any finite creature would have been incapable of bearing that penalty;
(2) salvation is from the Lord (Jonah 2:9 NASB), and the whole message of Scripture is designed to show that no human being, no creature, could ever save man—only God himself could; and
(3) only someone who was truly and fully God could be the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), both to bring us back to God and also to reveal God most fully to us
Thus, if Jesus is not fully God, we have no salvation and ultimately no Christianity. It is no accident that throughout history those groups that have given up belief in the full deity of Christ have not remained long within the Christian faith but have soon drifted away.
“No one who denies the Son has the Father” (1 John 2:23).
“Anyone who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).
- THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST
2.1 The virgin birth
- Jesus had God as Father, but an earthly woman as mother. One of the main reasons we believe in the doctrine of the virgin birth is that this is what the Bible teaches quite clearly.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
(See also Matthew 1:20 )
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and this is recorded in:
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 And the angel answered her, “The
Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child
to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
- The virgin birth makes Christ’s humanity possible without inherited sin. All human beings inherited a sinful and corrupt nature from their first father, Adam, but Jesus did not descend from Adam in the same way that all other humans did. The Divine God was His true Father. That is why Christ, as human being could die on behalf of human beings, having identified with us fully, yet He was without sin.
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
He was the spotless Lamb of God slain for us.
- The virgin birth was the means God used to unify full deity and humanity in one Person. God could have created Jesus as a full human in heaven and sent Him to earth, but then it would have been difficult for us to identify with Him as human. On the other hand God could have caused Jesus to be born to an earthly father and mother, but then we would have found it difficult to believe that He was truly God.
- The virgin birth ultimately shows that salvation could only ever have come from God. This is what Paul writes to the Galatians in:
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
1.2 Human weakness and limitations
- Jesus had a human body. He was born like all other human babies are born (Luke 2:7).He cried like all other babies do whether in cots, beds or mangers. Not “Away in a manger, no crying He makes”. He grew up from baby to child to young man, just like all other humans do.
40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
Like any other Jewish boy He grew up reading the Scriptures.
- He grew tired, just like we do (John 4:6).
- He became thirsty, just like we do (John 19:28).
- He became hungry and ate,just like we do (Luke 4:2; 15:2)
- He was at times physically weak(Matt 4:11).
- He wept, like we do (John 11:35).
- He died, just as we will one day (Luke 23:46).
- He rose from the dead in a physical, human body, though one that was made perfect and was no longer subject to weakness, disease or death (Luke 24: 39).This is our portion one day too(1 Corinthians 15:53).
- He ate food with His resurrected body (Luke 24:42).
- Jesus continues to exist in His perfected human body in heaven. He became one of us forever:
11and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time, yet He was without sin and never committed any sin. Soon after His baptism in the river Jordan, the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness where He fasted for 40 days. When he was at His weakest, the devil came to tempt Him and yet He was able to rebuke the devil at every temptation by quoting the Word of God in reply in proper context. (Luke 4:13)
- The most basic definition of sin is “missing God’s mark”. Jesus never missed “God’s mark”.
29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”
(See also John 15:10)
- When Paul speaks of Jesus coming as a man, he does not say that He took on “sinful flesh”, he says:
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh
- 1 Peter 2:22
22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. ( See also 1 John 3:5)
- The writer of the letter to the Hebrews affirms that Jesus was tempted, but that He never sinned:
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
(See also 1 Peter 3:18 , 1 John 2:1 and 1 John 3:5)
- Herein lies the power of Christ’s humanity! This is what is recorded for us in Hebrews:
18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
However, it needs to be borne in mind that in the incarnation of Jesus, in His humanity and deity lies a mystery that we are not able to fully understand. On the one hand the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was tempted in every way (Heb 2:18 and Heb 4:15), yet on the other hand we also read in:
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
Jesus Christ was 100% God and 100% man at the same time.In the perfect Son of God and the perfect human being we can find such great comfort in the truth of what the scriptures say and teach. They say that He was tempted in every way, just like we are. He proved it in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed to Father God to let the cup of suffering pass Him by and in the deepest agony of His humanity, He sweated blood in resisting temptation.
4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
2.4 Why was Christ’s humanity so important?
- In love He identified with us fully, yet was without sin (See 1 John 1:1-3);
- He understands every temptation we ever go through and is able to help us because he resisted temptation and sin even to the point of death. There is a difference between sin and temptation. Jesus was able to resist all temptation and therefore never sinned.
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
- He was resurrected in a glorified body and this holds the hope and promise for us that we too will one day be resurrected in glorified bodies when our spirit unites with our bodies at the final judgement.
- Jesus was our representative and obeyed on our behalf, just like Adam disobeyed and failed on our behalf as our representative. This is why Paul calls Jesus the “last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45. Jesus could only have been our true representative in His life if He was fully human.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous
Because Jesus is truly human, His perfect life of obedience and overcoming all temptations, even unto death, can take the place of human rebellion and failure.
(A brief word on the “kenosis” controversy in:
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
The words “emptied himself” , translated in the King James Version as making “himself of no reputation”, comes from the Greek word “kenoo” which is defined as: “to make empty, that is, (figuratively) to abase, neutralize, falsify: – make (of none effect, of no reputation, void), be in vain.”
Some scholars in the past have taught that by this “kenosis” or emptying, Christ temporarily relinquished his divine attributes during His earthly ministry. Over and above the fact that there are many examples where Christ did supernatural miracles demonstrating His deity, this interpretation of the meaning of the word “kenosis” is not correct if one looks at the context of Philippians 2.
Paul is not saying that Christ became anything less than God and does not even touch on the subject as to whether Christ was fully omnipotent or omniscient. In the context Paul is saying that Christ, Who had all the privileges that were rightly His as King of the Universe, gave them all up to become an ordinary Jewish baby with a destiny towards the cross. The “kenosis” or “emptying” consisted of His becoming human, not of His giving up any part of His deity.)
- Jesus became our substitutionary sacrifice
If Jesus had not been a man, He could never have died in our place and paid the price for humanity’s sin.
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
- Because of His humanity, He could become our mediator between God and man.
1 Timothy 2:5
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
- He is our ultimate example of how to live a life fully pleasing to God.
1 Peter 2:21
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
2 Peter 1:3
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
The person of Christ, as fully God and fully human at the same time, makes Him unique, pre-eminent above everyone and all else. There are several passages where the deity and humanity of Jesus are demonstrated at the same time. In Matthew 8 Jesus in His humanity is asleep in the bottom of a boat during a storm on the sea of Galilee. When the disciples wake Him, in His divinity He calms the wind and waves with a mere command. In Matthew 26 in the Garden of Gethsemane Peter resists the servants of the High Priest sent to arrest Jesus and cuts off the ear of one of the servants. In His deity Jesus heals his ear but then He says:
53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
In obedience to the salvation plan of God, Jesus does not call for twelve legions of angels, but heads to a mockery of a trial, to be spat on, ridiculed, whipped, humiliated and crucified. God chose to become man in Jesus Christ and was both fully God and fully man, chose to die on a lonely cross on our behalf. Jesus Christ, the God-man, unique, one of a kind, 100 % God and 100% man in the same person.
“It is by far the most amazing miracle of the entire Bible—far more amazing than the resurrection and more amazing even than the creation of the universe. The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God could become a man and join Himself to human nature forever, so that infinite God became one person with finite man, will remain for eternity the most profound miracle and the most profound mystery in the universe”(Wayne Grudem).
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
The Divinity of Jesus Christ, a lecture in the Systematic Theology II Course (www.biblicaltraining.org)
ESV Study Bible notes