Who is this man?

Jesus himself asked his disciples the question of identity that we want to face here: "Who say the people that the Son of Man is?" She remains up-to-date for us today: who is this man? What authority does he have? Why should we trust in 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, became hungry and thirsty and tired, ate and drank and slept. He looked normal, spoke slang, went normal. He had feelings: compassion, anger, bafflement, grief, fear (Matthew 9,36, Luke 7,9, Joh 11,38, Matthew 26,37). He prayed to God as humans must do. He called himself human, and he was addressed as a human being. He was a human.

But he was such an extraordinary person that after his ascension some denied his humanity (2, Joh. 7). They thought Jesus so holy that they could not believe he had anything to do with flesh, dirt, sweat, digestive functions, imperfections of the flesh. Perhaps he only "appeared" as a human being, as angels sometimes appear as human beings, without actually becoming human.

By contrast, the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus was man in the full sense of the word. John confirms, "And the Word became flesh ..." (John 1,14). Not only did he "appear" as meat and he did not "dress" only with meat. He became meat. Jesus Christ "got into the flesh" (1, Joh. 4,2). We know it, says John, because we saw him and because we touched him (1, Joh. 1,1-2).

According to Paul, Jesus had become "like man" (Phil. 2,7), "done under the law" (Gal. 4,4), "in the form of the sinful flesh" (Romans 8,3). He, who came to redeem man, had to become essentially human, argues the author of Hebrews: "Because now the children of flesh and blood, he has also assumed it ... So he had to become like in everything his brothers "(2,14-17).

Our salvation stands and falls with whether Jesus was truly human - and is. His role as our Advocate, our High Priest, depends on whether he has truly experienced humanity (Heb. 4,15). Even after his resurrection, Jesus had flesh and bones (John 20,27, Luke 24,39). He also remained human in the heavenly glory (1, Tim 2,5).

Act like God

"Who is he," the Pharisees asked, as they witnessed Jesus forgive sins. "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" (Luke 5,21.) Sin is an offense against God; How could a man speak for God and say your sins have been erased? That's blasphemy, they said. Jesus knew how they thought about it and still forgave sins. He even hinted that he was sinless (Joh. 8,46).

Jesus said he would sit at the right hand of God in heaven - another claim that the Jewish priests felt was blasphemous (Matthew 26,63-65). He claimed to be the Son of God - another blasphemy, it was said, because in that culture it was practically meant to rise to God (John 5,18, 19,7). Jesus claimed to be so in perfect agreement with God that he only did what God wanted (John 5,19). He claimed to be one with the Father (10,30), which the Jewish priests also considered blasphemous (10,33). He claimed to be so godlike that everyone who sees him sees the Father (14,9, 1,18). He claimed to be able to send out God's Spirit (16,7). He claimed to be able to send out angels (Matthew 13,41).

He knew that God is the Judge of the World, and at the same time claimed that God had given him judgment (John 5,22). He raised the claim of being able to raise the dead, including himself (John 5,21, 6,40, 10,18). He said that everyone's eternal life depended on the relationship with him, Jesus (Matthew 7,22-23). He considered the words of Moses to be in need of supplementation (Matthew 5,21-48). He called himself Lord over the Sabbath - over a God-given law! (Matthew 12,8.) If he were "only human," that would be presumptuous, sinful teaching.

But Jesus underpinned his words with amazing works. "Believe me, that I am in the Father and the Father in me; if not, then believe me for the sake of works "(Joh.14,11). Miracles can not force anyone to believe, but they can be strong "circumstantial evidence". To prove that he had the 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 human. The claims about himself - with 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.

His self-image

Jesus was clearly aware of his identity. At the age of twelve, he had a special relationship with the Father in Heaven (Luke 2,49). At his baptism he heard a voice from heaven say: You are my dear son (Luke 3,22). He knew he had a mission to fulfill (Luke 4,43, 9,22, 13,33, 22,37).

To the word of Peter, "Thou art Christ, the living Son of God!" Answered Jesus: "Blessed are you, Simon, Jonah's son; for 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 for 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 polemicized against traditions, against laws, against the temple, against religious authorities. He demanded of his disciples to leave everything and follow him, to put him first in their lives, to keep absolute loyalty to him. 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 and 12, Matthew 26,24, Mark 9,12, Luk 22,37, 24, 46). He was the Prince of Peace who was to move in on a donkey in Jerusalem (see 9,9-10, Matthew 21,1-9). He was the Son of man to whom all might and might be given (Dan 7,13-14, Matthew 26,64).

His life before

Jesus claimed to have lived before Abraham and expressed this "timelessness" in a classical formulation: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am" (John 8,58). Again the Jewish priests believed that Jesus was getting divine and wanted to stone him (verse 59). In the phrase "I am" sounds 2. Moses 3,14, where God reveals his name to Moses: "So shall you say to the sons of Israel, [He], I am 'has sent me to you" (Elberfelder translation). Jesus takes this name for himself here. Jesus affirms that he shared glory with the Father "before the world was" (John 17,5). John tells us that he existed at the beginning of time: as the Word (Joh. 1,1).

And also with John is to read that "all things" are made by the word (Joh. 1,3). The father was the planner, the word of the creator, who carried out the planned. Everything is created by and for him (Col. 1,16, 1, Cor. 8,6). Hebrews 1,2 says that through the Son, God "made the world".

In Hebrew, as in Colossians, it is said that the Son "carries" the universe, that it "insists" in it (Hebrew 1,3, Col. 1,17). Both tell us that he is "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1,15), "the likeness of his nature" (Heb. 1,3).

Who is Jesus? He is a god that 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 as God only 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 sinning (Heb. 4,15). He was without fault, without blemish (Hebrew 7,26, 9,14). He committed no sin (1, Petr. 2,22); in him was no sin (1, Joh. 3,5); he did not know of any sin (2, cor. 5,21). However strong the temptation, Jesus always had a stronger desire to obey God. His mission was to do God's will (Hebr.10,7).

On several occasions, people worshiped Jesus (Matthew 14,33, 28,9, and 17, Joh. 9,38). Angels are not worshiped (Rev. 19,10), but Jesus allowed it. Yes, the angels also worship the Son of God (Heb. 1,6). Some prayers were addressed directly to Jesus (Acts. 7,59-60, 2, Cor. 12,8, Rev. 22,20).

The New Testament makes extraordinarily high praise to Jesus Christ, with formulas normally reserved for God: "To Him be glory for ever and ever! Amen "(2, Tim 4,18, 2, Petr 3,18, Rev. 1,6). He carries the highest ruler title that can ever be forgiven (Eph. 1,20-21). If we call him God, that's not too high.

In Revelation God and the Lamb receive equal praise, which indicates equality: "To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be praise and honor, and honor and glory forever and ever" (Revelation 5,13). The son must be honored as well as the father (Joh. 5,23). God and Jesus are alike called Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of all things (Revelation 1,8 and 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 notable is this passage about worship:
"That is why God lifted him up and gave him the name which is above all names, that in the name of Jesus all the knees, which are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, should bow, and confess all tongues, that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father "(Phil 2,9-11, which contains a quotation from Isaiah 45,23). Jesus will receive the honor and respect that, according to Isaiah, God should bestow.

Isaiah says there is only one Savior - God (Isaiah 43, 11, 45,21). Paul clearly states that God is a Savior, but also that Jesus is a Savior (Titus 1,3, 2,10, and 13). Is there now a Savior or two? Early Christians concluded: 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 persons.

Several other New Testament passages call Jesus God. John 1,1: "God was the Word." Verse 18: "No one has ever seen God; the native, who is God and is in the Father's womb, has proclaimed it to us. "Jesus is the God-person who lets us know the Father (he). After the resurrection, Thomas recognized Jesus as God: "Thomas answered and said unto him, My lord and my God!" (Jn. 20,28.)

Paul says that the ancestors were great because of them "Christ comes after the flesh, who is God above all praised for ever. Amen "(Roman 9,5). In the letter to the Hebrews, God himself calls in quotation the Son "God": "'God, your throne lasts forever and ever ...'" (Heb. 1,8).

"For in him [Christ]," said Paul, "the whole fullness of the deity dwells bodily" (Col. 2,9). Jesus Christ is totally God and still has "physicality". He is the exact image of God - God, made flesh. If Jesus were only human, it would be wrong to put our trust in Him. But since he is divine, we are commanded to trust him. He is unconditionally trustworthy because he is God.

However, it can be misleading to say, "Jesus is God," as if the two terms are simply interchangeable or synonymous. For one thing, Jesus was a human being, and secondly, Jesus is not the "whole" God. "God = Jesus", this equation is flawed.

In most cases, "God" means "the Father," and that's why the Bible rarely calls Jesus God. But the term can rightly be applied to Jesus, because Jesus is divine. As a son of God, he is a person in the triune deity. Jesus is the God person through whom the connection God-mankind is made.

For us, the divinity of Jesus is of the utmost importance, for only if he is divine, can he truly reveal us to God (John 1,18, 14,9). Only one God person can forgive us our sins, redeem us, reconcile us to God. Only one God person can become the object of our faith, to the Lord, to whom we have unrestricted faithfulness, the Savior, whom we worship in song and prayer.

All human, all God

As can be seen from the cited references, the "image of Jesus" of the Bible is distributed in mosaic stones throughout the New Testament. The picture is consistent, but is not collected in one place. The original church had to be composed of the existing building blocks. From biblical revelation she drew the following conclusions:

• Jesus is essentially God.
• Jesus is essentially human.
• There is only one God.
• Jesus is a person in this God.

The Council of Nicaea (325) recorded the divinity of Jesus, the Son of God, and its identity with the Father (Nicene Creed).

The Council of Chalcedon (451) additionally declared that he was also human:
"Our Lord Jesus Christ is one and the same Son; the same perfect in the Divine, and the same in perfect humanity, wholly God and all mankind ... received from the Father ages ago concerning His Divinity, and ... received by the Virgin Mary as far as his humanity is concerned; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, indigenous, made acquainted in two natures ... whereby unification in no way levels the difference between natures, but preserves the qualities of each nature and fuses them in 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.

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.

Further, he shows us what God is capable of. He is capable of becoming part of his creation. He can bridge the gap between the uncreated and the created, between the sacred and the sinful. We may think it impossible; it is possible for God.

And finally, Jesus shows us what humanity will be in the new creation. When he returns and we are resurrected, we will look like him (1, Joh. 3,2). We will have one body, like his transfigured body (1, cor. 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 weakness; because he is God, he can speak effectively to God's right for us. With Jesus as our Savior, we can have confidence that our salvation is safe.

by Michael Morrison


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