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, 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; Luke 7,9; Joh. 11,38; Matthew 26,37). 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, as angels sometimes appear as human without actually becoming human.

In contrast, the New Testament makes it clear: Jesus was human in the full sense of the word. John confirms: "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” (Phil. 2,7), "done under the law" (Gal. 4,4), "in the form of the sinful flesh" (Rom. 8,3). The author of the letter to the Hebrews argues that he who came to redeem man essentially had to become a man: "Because the children are now flesh and blood, he accepted it equally ... Therefore, he had to become the same as his brothers in everything " (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 (Heb. 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 Tim. 2,5).

Act like God

"Who is he?" Asked the Pharisees when they witnessed Jesus forgiving sins. "Who can forgive sins than 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).

Jesus said that he would sit on 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 - 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 (10,30), which the Jewish priests also considered blasphemy (10,33). He claimed to be so godlike that everyone who saw him saw 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 angels (Matthew 13,41).

He knew that God was the world judge and at the same time claimed that God had given him judgment (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 considered the words of Moses to be supplemented (Matthew 5,21-48). He described himself as Lord over the Sabbath - over a God-given law! (Matth. 12,8.) If he were "only human", that 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 the 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 (Luk. 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 - with every other blasphemy - were based on truth with 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 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).

In response to Peter's word, “You are Christ, the living God!”, Jesus replied: “Blessed are you, Simon, Jonah's son; because flesh and blood didn't reveal that to you, but my Father in Heaven ” (Matth. 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 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 (Isa. 53,4-5 and 12; Matth. 26,24; Mark. 9,12; Luk. 22,37; 24, 46). He was the prince of peace who was supposed to move into Jerusalem on a donkey (Sach. 9,9-10; Matth. 21,1-9). He was the Son of Man to whom all power and violence should be given (Dan. 7,13: 14-26,64; Matthew).

His life before

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 (Verse 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 (Col. 1,16; 1 Cor. 8,6). 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 (Heb. 1,3; Col. 1,17). Both tell us that he is "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1,15), "the image of his being" (Heb. 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 (Heb. 4,15). He was flawless, without flaws (Heb. 7,26; 9,14). He committed no sin (1. Petr. 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 (Heb 10,7).

People worshiped Jesus on several occasions (Matth. 14,33; 28,9 and 17; Joh. 9,38). Angels cannot be 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 Corinthians 12,8; Rev. 22,20).

The New Testament addresses extraordinarily high praises to Jesus Christ, with formulas that are usually reserved for God: “Glory to him from eternity to eternity! Amen" (2 Tim. 4,18; 2. Petr. 3,18; Rev. 1,6). He has the highest ruler title that can be awarded (Eph. 1,20-21). If we call him God, that's not too much.

In Revelation, God and the Lamb are praised equally, which indicates equality: "To the one who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be praise and honor and praise and violence from eternity to eternity!" (Rev. 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 (Rev. 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 exalted him and gave him the name that is above all names, that in the name of Jesus all those knees who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth should bow, and should confess all tongues, that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God the Father ” (Phil. 2,9-11; it contains a quotation from Isa. 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 (Isa. 43, 11; 45,21,). Paul clearly says that God is Savior, but also that Jesus is Savior (Titles 1,3; 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 in the father's lap, has proclaimed it to us. ”Jesus is the God person who gives us the father let (he) know. After the resurrection, Thomas recognized Jesus as God: "Thomas answered and said to him: My Lord and my God!" (Joh. 20,28.)

Paul says that the progenitors were great because of them, “Christ comes after the flesh, which is God above all, praised forever. Amen" (Rom. 9,5). In the letter to the Hebrews, God himself calls the son "God" in quotation: "God, your throne lasts from eternity to eternity ... '" (Heb. 1,8).

"For in him [Christ]," said Paul, "all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in person" (Col. 2,9). Jesus Christ is all God and still has "body". 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.

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 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.

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) established the divinity of Jesus, the Son of God, and his identity with the Father (Nicene Creed).

The Council of Chalcedon (451) added 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. 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 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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