“18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” 24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. —Matthew 1:18-25
From beginning to end, in all its various phases and aspects and elements, the Christian faith and life is determined by the person and the work of Jesus Christ. It owes its life and character at every point to Him. Its convictions are convictions about Him. Its hopes are hopes which He has inspired and which it is for Him to fulfill. Its ideals are born of His teaching and His life. Its strength is the strength of His spirit. —James Denney, The Great Doctrines of the Bible, Enl. ed. /. Chicago: Moody Press, 1998, c1974.
Who is this man named Jesus?
The Scriptures reveal two distinct qualities about His essential nature, which help us answer this question…
1) The Humanity of Christ…
—He had a human parentage—he was born of a virgin named Mary (Matthew 1:18 & 25).
—He grew and developed as an ordinary human (Luke 2:41-52).
—He was an ordinary appearing man (Luke 24:13 & John 20:15).
—He had essential human nature—body, soul and spirit (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14; and Luke 23:46).
—He had ordinary human appetites and desires (Matthew 4:2; John 19:28; John 4:6; Matthew 8:24; John 11:35 and Hebrews 4:15).
—He consistently claimed to be the “son of man” and accepted other human “names and titles” (Mark 10:45; Luke 19:10; Matthew 1:21; and Acts 2:22).
2) The Deity of Christ…
—Divine names are given to Him– John 1:1.
—Divine worship is ascribed to Him– Philippians 2:10.
—Divine qualities and properties are possessed by Him– John 8:58.
—Divine offices are ascribed to Him– John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16.
—Divine attributes are possessed by Him– Matthew 28:20; John 16:30.
—Christ’s name is coupled with that of the Father– Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38.
—Jesus’ self-awareness of His divine nature– Matthew 7:21.
Again, we ask:
Who is this man named Jesus?
“13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” —Matthew 16:13-16
Think about it…
If you take away the name of Buddha from Buddhism and remove the personal revealer entirely from his system; if you take away the personality of Muhammad from Muhammadanism, or the personality of Zoroaster from the religion of the Parsees, the entire doctrine of these religions would still be left intact. Their practical value, such as it is, would not be imperiled or lessened. But take away from Christianity the name and person of Jesus Christ and what have you left? Nothing! The whole substance and strength of the Christian faith centers in Jesus Christ. Without Him there is absolutely nothing. —Sinclair Patterson.
Three truths to treasure:
1) God entered our world in human form in the person of Christ…
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. —Philippians 2:5-7
2) God entered our world in human form in the person of Christ for the purpose of revealing Himself…
—No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. —John 1:18 (ASV)
—No one has ever seen God. But his only Son, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart; he has told us about him. —John 1:18 (NLT)
3) God entered our world in human form in the person of Christ for the purpose of revealing Himself and redeeming sinners…
—“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” —Mark 10:45
—“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” —Luke 19:10
—“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” —Philippians 2:8
© Bill Williams
October 15, 2007