Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Born of the virgin Mary, He sustains a special relationship with God and a special relationship with man. He is both Son of God and Son of Man. Having this unique nature, He is able to serve as mediator between God and mankind. He is a "daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both" (Job 9:33). Jesus is without sin. In His purity and perfection, He is able to do what no other individual can do. He alone is qualified to be the bridge between God and man.
I. Jesus in God's Eternal Plan
Jesus had His origin in the mind and plan of God. His life and work were foreknown and planned by God from the beginning of time. "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18). Devised by His wisdom, prompted by His love, and performed through His power, God's plan of salvation finds its center in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 1:9, 10; 3:11.)
Before Adam sinned or was even created, God knew that the human race would need a Saviour. The Lamb of God, therefore, "verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world" (1 Peter 1:20). His sacrifice was so certain and such an important factor in God's plan of salvation that He is described as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). This is an example of God's calling "those things which be not as though they were" (Rom. 4:17). Jesus did not exist as a person until He was born at Bethlehem. Nevertheless, He existed in the mind and plan of God from eternity. With this thought in mind, Jesus referred to "the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5), and He said, 'Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).
Gospel benefits made possible by Christ's sacrifice were known to God from the beginning and were included in His plan of salvation. Hope of eternal life was promised "before the world began" (Titus 1:2); the Kingdom was prepared "from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34); and saving grace was given in Christ "before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9).
Jesus Christ is the focal point of all divine works. Everything God has done in relation to man and the earth has been performed with Christ in mind. All things were created "for him" (Col. 1:16). God has appointed His Son heir of all things and through Him has prepared the ages. (Heb. 1:2.) When God created our planet, He knew that some day His Son would be born here, give Himself as man's Sacrifice, rise from the dead, ascend to heaven, and later return to rule over all nations. It is God's intention that redeemed sinners will be " conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). He plans for His Son to stand at the summit of His works "that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Col. 1:18). He is "the beginning, the firstborn from the dead" (Col. 1:18), "the firstborn of every creature" (Col. 1:15), and "the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev. 3:14). Many men lived before Jesus was born, but He is superior to them all. As the last Adam, Jesus is superior to the first man Adam. (1 Cor. 15:45, 46.) Although younger in age, Jesus is superior to John the Baptist. (John 1:15, 30.) Although Abraham was father of the faithful and founder of the nation, Israel, Jesus is superior to any position that Abraham ever occupied. (John 8:58.) "He is before all things" (Col. 1:17) ; no man is greater than He.
II. The Humanity of Christ
Jesus is the Son of Man. He possesses true humanity. During His earthly ministry, He was like all other men except He lived without sin and maintained a supernatural, unique relationship with God. Through His vital relationship with mankind, Jesus identified Himself with the problems, sorrows, and sufferings of the human race. (Heb. 2:14-18.)
Although Jesus had a miraculous conception, He had a human birth. (Gal. 4:4; Luke 2:7; Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:1; Rom. 1:3.) He had an earthly mother but not an earthly father. Through His mother, His ancestry is traced to Adam. (Luke 3:23-38.) Through her, He is the son of Abraham and the son of David. Being the descendant of Abraham, He came to fulfill God's covenant with Abraham. Being the seed of David, He came to fulfill God's covenant with David.
Jesus had a normal human development. "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him" (Luke 2:40). "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52).
Jesus had the physical appearance of a man. He had a real body. (Matt. 26:12; John 2:21; Heb. 10:10; John 1:14; Col. 1:22; Heb. 2:14 - 17.) He was made in the likeness of men. (Rom. 8:3; Phil. 2:7.) Before His resurrection to immortality, He was mortal and was subject to the sinless infirmities of man's mortal nature. He became hungry (Matt. 4:2; 21:18), thirsty (John 19:28), weary (John 4:6). He was tempted (Matt. 4:1; Heb. 2:18; 4:15); He wept (John 11:35) ; He slept (Matt. 8:24) ; He suffered (Heb. 2:9, 18; Isa. 53:3,4) ; He died (John 19:30, 33). When Jesus died, the breath of life left His body and returned to God who gave it. He was buried and remained unconscious in the grave until His resurrection. After His resurrection, He showed the disciples that He had a real, literal, material body in immortality. (Luke 24:39-43.)
Our Lord was repeatedly called a man in the New Testament. (John 1:30; 8:40; Acts 2:22; 13:38; Rom. 5:15; 1 Cor. 15:21, 47; Phil. 2:8.) As the Mediator, He is "the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). He will return to earth as a man (Matt. 16:27, 28; 25:3l; 26:64), and as a man will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31).
The importance of Christ's humanity can be seen in that He is able to reveal God's character to mankind, to represent man as the Second Adam, to be man's Kinsman-Redeemer, to be a "merciful and faithful high priest," to be the example and pattern for His people, to be Head of the new creation, and to sit on David's throne.
III. Christ's Divine Relationship
Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9.) He has a unique relationship with God. This relationship is one which no other man has experienced. Christ's life among men was a revelation of God's character. He reflected God's holiness, love, and truth; He showed what God is like. (John 1:18; 14:9.) Christ is an expression of God's ideal for mankind. He is the living Word, the embodiment of the divine Idea. His spotless life revealed man's sinfulness. The character of Jesus is the moral standard for mankind.
1. The Son of God. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the Son of God. Our Saviour referred to God as His Father and to Himself as God's Son. Among the many witnesses who declared that Jesus is the Son of God are: God (Matt. 3:17; 17:5) ; Jesus Himself (John 9:35-37; 10:36); Gabriel, the archangel (Luke 1:32, 35) ; John the Baptist (John 1:34); Nathanael (John 1:49); the disciples (Matt. 14:33); Peter (Matt. 16:16); Martha (John 11:27); the centurion (Matt. 27:54); John (John 20:31; 1 John 4:15); and Paul (Acts 9:20; Rom. 1:4; 2 Cor. 1:19).
2. Importance of His Divine Sonship. Christ's divine sonship gives infinite value to His sacrificial death. This fact explains Christ's ability to be a Substitute for many sinners. One silver dollar is smaller in number than ninety-nine pennies, but it is of greater value. Jesus is only one person, but His death is of greater value than the deaths of an infinite number of sinners. As the Son of God, Jesus is able to be God's authoritative spokesman and to reveal the divine will for mankind; He has the authority to forgive sins, to judge mankind, to raise the dead, and to give eternal life. His divine sonship entitles Him to be heir of all things; it gives Him the right of sovereignty over the nations. Our Lord's unique divine relationship enables Him to serve as the sinner's Mediator and High Priest.
As the Son of God, our Lord is worthy of man's trust, obedience, adoration, and praise. "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" (Phil. 2:9-11).
(Adapted from Systematic Theology, by Alva Huffer, published by Church of God General Conference, Oregon, Illinois 61061, U.S.A.)
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