Who is Jesus?

This is the primary question of our faith.  The answer separates us from other religions.  The answer makes a difference.

Two thousand years of church history has centered on one fact: Jesus is God.  He has come to bring us to Himself.  Just because He took on Himself humanity does not lessen the fact that He is God.  This has been argued for centuries and the conclusion, in all Christian denominations, is that Jesus was God, is God and always will be God.

He told us Himself that He is one with the Father.  There is great mystery in that, but the truth of it is clear.  What you say about the Father is true about Jesus.  Today some speak of a kenosis, the teaching that Jesus gave up His divine attributes to become man.  Neither the Scriptures nor the Church have ever affirmed this.  Jesus, when He walked this earth, was fully God (Colossians 2:9).

Perhaps the best summary of Christian belief about Jesus comes from the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end. 

The definition of Chalcedon took things further to address issues raised in the church of that day:

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

But so what?  What does it mean to me in my life today that Jesus is God?  It means everything!  All that can be said about God is true about Jesus because Jesus is God.  Power, wisdom, majesty, love—all are His.  He is not some weak, but nice, guy.  He is not some teacher who sacrificed Himself for a good idea.  He is God in human flesh. 

I believe that one of the reasons God took on humanity was so that we would connect with Him.  He wants a relationship with us.  He created that opportunity and offers it to us in the person of Jesus.  When I think of how I am accountable to God for my sin, I remember that I come to God in Jesus and He loves me.  The Judge of all the earth is Jesus and He loves me.

The heart that sent Jesus to the cross to wash away my sin is the heart of Jesus for me today.  The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power of Jesus for me today.  He is my Creator, Redeemer, Provider, Protector—and my Friend.  The almighty, all-knowing, ever-present God loves me. 

When I think of the old song, “Jesus Loves Me,” I remember that this is God Himself in human flesh.  Jesus loves us because the Father loves us (John 16:26), and He and the Father are One.  God loves me.  In spite of my sin and weakness, God loves me.  He loves me so much that He came to me when I could not, would not, come to Him.  He made the way. 

Jesus is everything to me.  Thomas looked at Him that day after the resurrection and said, “My Lord and my God!”  I don’t have to understand to believe and enjoy.

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Filed under grace, heart, Relationship, Theology and mystery

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