The Nature of Jesus Christ
How does God deal with sin? By Jesus Christ. This was His plan from the beginning. There was so plan B or backup plan. There was no alternate path. There had to be atonement and this was the perfect plan to achieve that.
But what is atonement? It is the act of cleaning the slate of all sin, wiping it all clean, purifying. Atonement had to be perfect. The Israelites used a perfect lamb in their atonement sacrifice. It had to be without blemish. It HAD to be perfect. Our atonement had to be perfect. Only Jesus could fill that role. He was without blemish. He was sinless. He was the lamb chosen for the atonement sacrifice.
Jesus was God in human form. John 14: 6-11 says...
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. (NIV)
He was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18-25). He had to be. If He had been born the normal route, He would have inherited man's fallen nature (as discussed in the hub titled The Nature of Man). He stood apart (like the atonement lamb) from the very beginning.
He suffered and died like that lamb to cleanse all of those around Him. Only through His death could perfect atonement be achieved. The difference here between Him and the traditional lamb is that since He was God He had ultimate power over Death. He conquered death for us all by physically raising Himself from the dead.
How can you summarize who Jesus was? In today's world we like to see summaries and synopses. Here is one way of summarizing it:
- Jesus is God in the flesh (completely human AND completely God)
- He was sinless
- He was set apart as the atonement lamb
- He died a physical death
- He rose from the dead - physical resurrection
Heresies are those teachings that go contra to the foundational teachings. The main heresies about Jesus are those that address the summary points above.
- Jesus wasn't really sinless - many movies and books try to show that this is the case.
- Easy for Him to be sinless since He was God - don't forget that he was also man.
- He didn't really die, he just fainted - All evidence points to actual death. There were the eye witnesses, the blood AND water flowing from the ruptured heart, and the sealing of the tomb.
- He wasn't really human after his resurrection, more like a ghost - Last time I checked ghosts don't eat breakfast with their living friends.
- The resurrection did not happen; his body was stolen - there were guards over his tomb, the stone would have been too big for them to move, they all willingly died horrible violent deaths for a myth?
- Jesus was really an angel - even He said that He was God, "I AM".
Jesus as the Bridge
A very common way of explaining who Jesus was is the illustration of the Bridge.
We are on one side of the abyss. God is on the other side. It is a very large abyss. Humanly impossible to get across or build anything to reach the other side though we might try over and over. It takes Jesus who acts as the bridge or mediator to bridge that gap. Now, there is a direct line and connection between man and God. There is a perfect bridge to connect the two.
He is planning on coming again. When? If anyone says that they know the day and hour, don't believe them. He will come like a thief in the night (you never know when they will appear).
He will come and gather all of those who have believed AND accepted Him as their personal savior and the LORD of their lives. He will also sit as judge against those who have cursed His name and rejected Him. Only someone perfect can do that and do it purely and justly.
What does that mean to us? Eternity.