A little boy named Jimmy said to his mother one day as he looked at his puppy. “Mother, I wish I was a puppy.” His mother said, “Why on earth would you ever want to be a puppy, Jimmy? He said, “Because I love my puppy so much that if I was a puppy, I could tell him how much I love him.”
The only way God could ever tell us how much He loved us was to become like us. And so it was, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh,…” (2 Timothy 1:16). “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
And so it is: “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
It is hard to believe that over two thousand years after our blessed Lord Jesus Christ walked the dusty roads of Palestine, men are still asking the question that he asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”
First I think it is important to notice that He was interested in knowing who His disciples thought that He was. And who they believed He was determined their eternal destiny and not only theirs but that answer seals the destiny of every other person on this earth. “And they said, Some say John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, one of the prophets.” But He pressed them, “But whom say ye that I am?” Peter who couldn’t restrain himself, cried out, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
When Peter declared Him to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, he was declaring the Lord Jesus Christ to be God of very God or the God man. The word Christ, the anointed one means that he was declaring him to be the promised “Seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of all of the O.T. prophecies concerning the coming Jewish Messiah. When he said “Son of God”, he didn’t mean in the sense that all men are “sons” of God by creation or “sons” of God through the New Birth, etc. He meant “The only Begotten Son of God” referring to the Virgin Born Son in that the “Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). The Hebrews writer said, “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:” (Hebrews 10:5). How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man” (Jeremiah 31:22). This prophecy relates to the Virgin Birth of Christ.
When the Lord Jesus said, “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” He was confirming what Paul would write later to the Corinthians declaring that, “…no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost” (I Corinthians 10:3).
We must pray that God will open the eyes and ears of people to see who the Lord Jesus Christ really is. If God doesn’t open their spiritual understanding, mere intellectual arguments will not convince them as to His true identity. The Lord Jesus said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Who is it that He wants men to believe that he is and what will happen to them if they believe Him? He wants them to believe that He is God incarnate, God clothed in flesh and that He came to make an atonement for our sins, on the cross of Calvary, was buried in a tomb for three days and three nights, and then rose bodily from the grave, ascended into heaven and is coming again to judge the quick and the dead. If men believe this they will not die in their sins.
But Who Was He?
He was the God Man, the Son of Man, the Son of God.
First, He was the Son of Man. But He was a special kind of man. He was Begotten of His Father God. He had no earthly father, only an earthly mother, Mary of Nazareth. “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS” (Matthew 1:25). From Mary’s flesh, we know that He had all of the nature of a man. He called Himself a man. The term Son of Man is mentioned eighty-eight times in the New Testament and is the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy of Daniel 7:13, 14. He possessed the essential elements of human nature (body, soul and spirit). He experienced all of the five essential senses of the flesh. He hungered, thirsted, became weary, He became indignant, frustrated, exhibited love, concern, sorrow, pain and finally death itself. And although He was “…tempted in all points as we are”, He had no sin.
Even though He was a man, he was a Supernatural man. He was free from both hereditary depravity and actual sin. He never prayed for forgiveness nor suggested that he needed the new birth. He threw the gauntlet down to His enemies to convict Him of sin and had no takers. He was the essence of holiness. In a moment, He could make himself invisible to large crowds, or he could walk on water or still the storm. He had power over disease, demons and Death. He could with five loaves feed five thousand. He was a man, but He wasn’t an ordinary man. But He wasn’t just a showman, because John said, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30, 31). In fact John closed out this book by making this incredible statement, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:25)
He was also the Son of God, meaning that He was very God of very God in all of His essence, an equal member of the Godhead with the Father and the Holy Ghost. John the beloved apostle said that He was. John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” John states it again in his first epistle in another way, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1 John 5:7). When there was nothing in all of the universe there was the Godhead, not three Gods but one. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” (Deuteronomy 6:4, I Timothy 2:5).
The best example we have in nature to explain the Godhead is H2O, the chemical ingredients of water, which can be liquid, ice, or steam, but it is still H2O, the same chemical makeup. However it is three distinct things. There are not three Gods that make up the Godhead, but one, but yet God is manifested in three, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. These three are one in every possible way. They cannot be separated but they have three different functions, but each functions in the same way, the same as H2O has three different functions but it is still H2O. Even though this is an illustration, the belief in the Godhead is a mystery and must, like creation be accepted by faith.
Our Lord told Nicodemus at (John 3:12) “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” In other words, if you don’t have common sense to understand natural law truths, how can you understand spiritual laws?
The scripture says that the Lord Jesus Christ is God in creation as the “beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14) or the one who created all things in the beginning as it says at (John 1:3) “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” And as Paul said at (Colossians 1:16-17) “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
God the Father declared Him to be the very God. “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Hebrews 1:8).
Jesus Himself said, over and over that He was God. (John 14:8-9) “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
He also said, “I and my Father are one” ( John 10:30).
His power to forgive sins was evidence of His deity. The Pharisees believed it to be blasphemy for Jesus to claim to forgive sins, because only God can do such as that. (Mark 2:9-10) “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)… Arise, and take up thy bed,”
This is one of the reasons that the Religious leaders sentenced Him to death -- because of the sin of blasphemy. “The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God” (John 19:7).
The Apostle Paul believed and taught that Jesus was God. He wrote to his protégé Titus and told him the believer’s blessed hope is the fact that it is not just the Lord Jesus that we are to look for but God Himself.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13).
He could have not been more clear than the following words.
Phillipians 2:5-11 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The Centurion who pierced His side, along with those who crucified Him confessed that he was the Son of God.” “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).
Why is This Issue Important?
It is important because where you spend eternity depends on what you believe about who Jesus is. Jesus said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” John 8:24
“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).
John also gave a solemn warning concerning this matter of Christ’s identity at 2 John 1:7-11 “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
As God Jesus Christ Will Judge the World
“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:” (John 5:22)
A story is told of a young lawyer years ago, when our country was young, who ran out into the city street to rescue a little boy who had run from the arms of his mother and was soon to be trampled by some stampeding horses. As fast as lightning, he scooped the lad up into his arms, and literally fell and rolled out of their way with the little one in his arms, safe from the pounding hoofs. Many years later the lawyer became a famous judge and the little boy grew up to become an infamous criminal to appear before the judge to be sentenced for his terrible deeds. As the judge pronounced the terrible decree, the man said, “But sir, don’t you recognize me? I’m the one that you saved as a little boy from the stampeding horses.” The judge said, “Yes, I recognize you. Then I was your savior; today I am your judge.”
The first time the Lord Jesus came two thousand years ago, He came as the Savior of mankind, but the next time he comes, he will come back as the Judge. If you have not received Him as your Savior, as your sin bearer on the cross of Calvary, who was raised from the grave for your justification, it will be too late when He returns to judge the world. “Now is the day of Salvation, now is the accepted of time.”
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).
By Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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