God, the son
God, the Son, is the second person of the Godhead, created by the Father ages ago. He is the word and likeness of the Father through him and God created all things for him. It was sent from the Father as Jesus Christ, God, revealed in the flesh to enable us to attain salvation. He was received by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, he was all God and all man, united two natures in one person. He, the Son of God and Lord of Everything, is worthy of honor and worship. As the prophesied savior of mankind, he died for our sins, was raised from the body and went up to heaven, where he acts as a mediator between man and God. He will come back in glory to rule over all nations in the kingdom of God as king of kings. (John 1,1.10.14; Colossians 1,15-16; Hebrews 1,3; John 3,16; Titus 2,13; Matthew 1,20; Acts 10,36; 1 Corinthians 15,3-4; Hebrews 1,8; Revelation 19,16)
Who is this man?
The question of identity that we are dealing with here was asked by Jesus himself to his disciples: "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" For us it is still relevant today: Who is this man? What power of attorney does he have? Why should we trust him? Jesus Christ is at the center of the Christian faith. We have to understand what kind of person he is.
Very human - and more
Jesus was born in the normal way, grew up normally, got hungry and thirsty and tired, ate and drank and slept. He looked normal, spoke everyday language, walked normally. He had feelings: pity, anger, amazement, sadness, fear (Matthew 9,36:7,9; Luke 11,38: 26,37; John; Matthew). He prayed to God as people have to. He called himself a human being, and he was addressed as a human being. He was human.
But he was such an extraordinary person that after his ascension, some denied being human (2 John 7). They thought Jesus was so holy that they could not believe that he had anything to do with meat, with the dirt, the sweat, the digestive functions, the imperfections of the meat. Perhaps he had only appeared as a human being, as angels sometimes appear as human, without actually becoming human.
By contrast, the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus was man in the full sense of the word. John confirmed:
"And the Word became flesh ..." (John 1,14). He "appeared" not only as meat and did not "dress" only with meat. He became meat. Jesus Christ "came into the flesh" (1 John 4,2). We know it, says Johannes, because we saw him and because we touched him (1 John 1,1: 2).
According to Paul, Jesus had become "like people" (Philippians 2,7), "done under the law" (Galatians 4,4), "in the form of the sinful flesh" (Romans 8,3). The author of the letter to the Hebrews argues that he who came to redeem man had to become man essentially: «Because the children are now flesh and blood, he accepted it equally ... Therefore, he had to become the same as his brothers in everything » (Hebrews 2,14: 17).
Our salvation depends on whether Jesus really was - and is - human. His role as our advocate, our high priest, depends on whether he has really experienced anything human (Hebrews 4,15). Even after his resurrection, Jesus had flesh and bones (John 20,27:24,39; Luke). Even in heavenly glory, he remained human (1 Timothy 2,5).
Act like God
"Who is he?" Asked the Pharisees when they witnessed Jesus forgiving sins. "Who can forgive sins as God alone?" (Luke 5,21.) Sin is an offense against God; how could a man speak for God and say your sins are erased, extinguished? It's blasphemy, they said. Jesus knew what they thought about it and still forgave sins. He even hinted that he himself was sinless (John 8,46). He made some amazing claims:
- Jesus said that he would sit on the right hand of God in heaven - another claim that Jewish priests felt was blasphemy (Matthew 26,63: 65).
- He claimed to be the Son of God - this was also blasphemy, because in that culture it practically meant being God (John 5,18: 19,7).
- Jesus claimed to be so perfectly in agreement with God that he only did what God wanted (John 5,19).
- He claimed to be one with the father (John 10,30), which the Jewish priests also considered blasphemy (John 10,33).
- He claimed to be so godlike that everyone who saw him saw the father (John 14,9: 1,18).
- He claimed to be able to send out God's Spirit (John 16,7).
- He claimed to be able to send angels (Matthew 13,41).
- He knew that God is the judge of the world, and at the same time he claimed that God gave him the judgment
to hand over (John 5,22).
- He claimed to be able to raise the dead, including himself (John 5,21:6,40; 10,18;).
- He said that everyone's eternal life depended on their relationship with him, Jesus (Matthew 7,22: 23).
- He said that the words of Moses were not enough (Matthew 5,21: 48).
- He described himself as Lord over the Sabbath - over a God-given law! (Matthew 12,8.)
If he were only human, it would be presumptuous, sinful teachings. But Jesus backed up his words with amazing works. «Believe me that I am in the father and the father in me; if not, believe me for the sake of works » (John 14,11). Miracles cannot make anyone believe, but they can be strong "evidence".
To show that he had authority to forgive sins, Jesus healed a paralytic (Luke 5, 17-26). His miracles prove that what he said about himself is true. He has more than human power because he is more than a human. The claims about themselves - in every other blasphemy - were based on truth in Jesus. He could speak like God and act like God because he was God in the flesh.
Jesus was clearly aware of his identity. At twelve he had a special relationship with Heavenly Father (Luke 2,49). When he was baptized, he heard a voice from heaven saying: You are my dear son (Luke 3,22). He knew he had a mission to accomplish (Luke 4,43; 9,22; 13,33; 22,37).
To the word of Peter "You are Christ, the living God of Son!" Jesus answered: «Blessed are you, Simon, Jonah's son; because flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven » (Matthew 16, 16-17). Jesus was the son of God. He was the Christ, the Messiah - anointed by God on a very special mission.
When he called twelve disciples, one for each tribe of Israel, he did not count himself among the twelve. He stood over them because he stood over all Israel. He was the creator and builder of the new Israel. At the Lord's Supper he revealed himself as the foundation of the new covenant, a new relationship with God. He saw himself as the focal point of what God did in the world.
Jesus boldly turned against tradition, against laws, against the temple, against religious authorities. He demanded of his disciples to leave everything and follow him, to place him first in their lives, to keep his absolute faithfulness. He spoke with the authority of God - and spoke at the same time with his own authority.
Jesus believed that Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in him. He was the suffering servant who was to die to redeem people from their sins (Isaiah 53,4: 5-12 and 26,24; Matthew 9,12:22,37; Mark 24:46; Luke;,). He was the prince of peace who was supposed to move into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9,9-10; Matthew 21,1-9). He was the Son of Man to whom all power and violence should be given (Daniel 7,13: 14-26,64; Matthew).
His previous life
Jesus claimed to have lived before Abraham and expressed this "timelessness" in a classic way: "Truly, truly, I tell you: before Abraham became, I am" (John 8,58). Again the Jewish priests believed that Jesus was consuming divine things and wanted to stone him (V.59). The phrase "I am" sounds like Exodus 2:3,14, where God reveals his name to Moses: "This is how you should say to the sons of Israel: [The] 'I am' sent me to you" (Elberfeld translation). Jesus takes this name for himself here.
Jesus confirms that "before the world was" he already shared glory with the Father (John 17,5). Johannes tells us that he existed at the beginning of time: as the word (John 1,1). And also in Johannes you can read that "all things" are made by the word (John 1,3). The father was the planner, the word the creator, who carried out the planned. Everything is made by and for him (Colossians 1,16:1; 8,6 Corinthians). Hebrews 1,2 says that God "made the world" through the Son.
In Hebrews, as in the Colossians, it says that the son "carries" the universe, that it "exists" in him (Hebrews 1,3; Colossians 1,17). Both tell us that he is "the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1,15), «the image of his being» (Hebrews 1,3).
Who is jesus He is a god who became flesh. He is the creator of all things, the prince of life (Acts 3,15). He looks just like God, has glory like God, has power like only God has. No wonder the disciples came to the conclusion that he was divine, God in the flesh.
Worth the worship
Jesus' conception took place in a supernatural way (Matthew 1,20; Luke 1,35). He lived without ever sin (Hebrews 4,15). He was flawless, without flaws (Hebrews 7,26; 9,14). He committed no sin (1 Pt 2,22); there was no sin in him (1 John 3,5); he knew of no sin (2 Corinthians 5,21). No matter how strong the temptation was, Jesus always had a stronger desire to obey God. His mission was to do God's will (Hebrews 10,7).
People worshiped Jesus on several occasions (Matthew 14,33; 28,9 and 17; John 9,38). Angels cannot be worshiped (Revelation 19,10), but Jesus allowed it. Yes, the angels also worship the Son of God (Hebrews 1,6). Some prayers were addressed directly to Jesus (Acts 7,59-60; 2 Corinthians 12,8; Revelation 22,20).
The New Testament addresses extraordinarily high praises to Jesus Christ, with formulas that are normally reserved for God: «Glory to him from eternity to eternity! Amen" (2 Timothy 4,18;
2. Peter 3,18:1,6; Revelation). He has the highest ruler title that can be awarded (Ephesians 1,20: 21). If we call him God, that's not too much.
In Revelation God and the Lamb are given equal praise, which indicates equality: "To the one who sits on the throne and the Lamb be praise and honor and praise and violence from eternity to eternity!" (Revelation 5,13). The son must be honored as well as the father (John 5,23). God and Jesus are equally called Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of all things (Revelation 1,8 & 17; 21,6; 22,13).
Old Testament passages about God are often taken up in the New Testament and applied to Jesus Christ. One of the most remarkable is this passage about worship: «That is why God exalted him and gave him the name that is above all names that is in the name of Jesus
bend all those knees that are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and all tongues to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God the Father » (Philippians 2,9-11, a quotation from Isaiah 45,23). Jesus is given the honor and respect that, according to Isaiah, should be given to God.
Isaiah says there is only one Savior - God (Isaiah 43:11; 45,21). Paul clearly says that God is Savior, but also that Jesus is Savior (Tit1,3; 2,10 and 13). Now is there a Savior or two? Early Christians concluded that the Father is God and Jesus is God, but there is only one God and therefore only one Savior. Father and son are essentially one (God), but are different people.
Several other New Testament passages also call Jesus God. John 1,1: "God was the Word." Verse 18: «Nobody has ever seen God; the native, who is God and is in the father's lap, has proclaimed it to us. » Jesus is the God person who lets us know the Father. After the resurrection, Thomas recognized Jesus as God: "Thomas answered and said to him: My Lord and my God!" (John 20,28).
Paul says that the ancestors were great because of them, “Christ comes after the flesh that is God above all, praised forever. Amen" (Romans 9,5). In the letter to the Hebrews, God himself calls the son "God": "God, your throne lasts forever ..." (Hebrews 1,8).
"For in him [Christ]," said Paul, "all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in person" (Colossians 2,9). Jesus Christ is all God and still has "body" today. He is the exact likeness of God - God incarnated. If Jesus were only human, it would be wrong to put our trust in him. But since he is divine, we have to trust him. He is unconditionally trustworthy because he is God.
For us, the divinity of Jesus is of crucial importance, because only if he is divine can he correctly reveal God to us (John 1,18: 14,9). Only a God person can forgive us our sins, redeem us, reconcile ourselves to God. Only a God person can become the object of our faith, the Lord, to whom we have unlimited faithfulness, the Savior, whom we worship in song and prayer.
Truly human, truly God
As can be seen from the cited references, the “Jesus image” of the Bible is spread across the entire New Testament in mosaic stones. The picture is coherent, but is not found in one place. The original church had to be composed of the existing building blocks. She drew the following conclusions from the biblical revelation:
- Jesus, the Son of God, is divine.
- The Son of God became truly human, but the Father did not.
- The Son of God and the Father are different, not the same
- There is only one God.
- The Son and the Father are two persons in the one God.
The Council of Nicaea (AD 325) established the divinity of Jesus, the Son of God, and his identity with the Father (Nicene Creed). The Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) added that he was also human:
"[So following the holy fathers, we all teach in unison that our Lord Jesus Christ is one and the same son to confess; the same is perfect in the deity and the same perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly human ... Before the times born of the deity according to the deity ... from Mary, the Virgin and Mother of God (theotokos) [born], he is one and the same, Christ, Son, Native, unmixed in two natures ... The diversity of natures is by no means abolished for the sake of unification; rather, the peculiarity of each of the two natures is preserved and connects to one person ... »
The last part was added because some people claimed that the nature of God pushed Jesus' human nature into the background in such a way that Jesus was no longer really human. Others claimed that the two natures had joined to a third nature, so that Jesus was neither divine nor human. No, the biblical evidence shows that Jesus was fully human and totally God. And that's what the church has to teach.
How can this be?
Our salvation depends on the fact that Jesus was and is both, man and God. But how can the holy Son of God become man, take on the form of the sinful flesh?
The question arises mainly because the human, as we see it now, is corrupted. But that's not how God created it. Jesus shows us how the human can and should be in truth. First, he shows us a person who is completely dependent on the father. So should it be with humanity.
He also shows us what God is capable of. He is able to become part of his creation. He can bridge the gap between the un-created and the created, between the sacred and the sinful. We may think it is impossible; it is possible for God. Jesus also shows us what humanity will be in the new creation. If he returns and we are raised, we will look like him (1 John 3,2). We will have one body, like its transfigured body (1 Corinthians 15,42: 49).
Jesus is our pioneer, he shows us that the way to God leads over Jesus. Because he is human, he feels with our weaknesses; because he is God, he can work for us in the right hand of God. With Jesus as our Savior, we can have confidence that our salvation is safe.