1) Jesus existed before his birth
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. … And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him, and cried out, saying, 'This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me''." (John 1:1-15)
This passage makes it clear that Jesus was there with God in the beginning. This could explain why God says "Let us make man in our image" instead of "Let me make man in my image" in Genesis 1-2. There is also another passage that speaks of the existence of Christ before his birth:
"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (Micah 5:2)
This was a prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-6). Notice the affirmation that Jesus existed from "the days of eternity."
" 'Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.' The Jews therefore said to Him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.' " (John 8:56-58). Jesus was around before Abraham. He didn't say I was, but I am.
2) Jesus is God
This is a difficult concept to grasp. How could Jesus be God? The Bible teaches that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:1-3). Does this mean there is more than one God if Jesus is God too? The answer is no. According to Ephesians 4:6, there is "one God and Father over all . . .". But notice in Ephesians 4:5, it says that there is "one Lord . . .". Is this talking about one and the same thing? The answer is no. The term Lord was often used in the New Testament as a Title for Jesus. The term "Father" is never used for Jesus. Jesus and the Father are one, but they are not the same. Consider the following passages of scripture:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. … And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him, and cried out, saying, 'This is He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me." (John 1:1-3, 14-15) This passage tells of the "word" who was with God and was himself God. He created the universe and later became "flesh" and lived among us. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Word that had become flesh.
"No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him" (John 1:18); "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." (John 14:7); "...You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world." (John 8:23); "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30); "...He who has seen Me has seen the Father…" (John 14:9). Jesus, the "only begotten God" has explained God in his life. The word became "flesh", and if man wants to know God, they must know Jesus. Jesus is God become flesh, but he is not the Father.
"But of the Son he says 'Thy Throne, O God, is forever and ever…" (Hebrews 1:8) The first chapter of Hebrews is talking about how Jesus is better than the Angels. The term here used of Jesus is "God".
After the resurrection of Jesus, he appeared to Thomas who had been doubting that Jesus was risen. When Jesus proved to him that he was indeed Jesus be having him touch the wounds of the crucifixion. Thomas reaction - "Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (John 20:28-29). In every instance, when a heavenly being appeared to a human, the humans always fell down to worship them. The humans were then corrected and told to get up, because they were not God. Notice that Jesus did not correct Thomas when he called him Lord and God.
"...Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped…" (Phillipians 2:5b-6). This passage affirms that Jesus was equal with God, but did not grasp (cling to) it. The passage continues on to say how Jesus was willing to give it up. He emptied himself taking the form of a bond servant, a mere man.
"...according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form." (Colossians 2:8b-9) This passage answers the question, "Did Jesus cease to be God when he emptied himself?" He did not. The fullness of Deity (divinity or all mighty "God-ness") dwells in Jesus in "bodily" form. Jesus did not cease to become God. What he poured out was his position, not his divinity.
"And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." (I John 5:20) This passage explicitly says that Jesus in the true God and eternal life. Enough said.
3. Jesus was Human
Even though Jesus was God and the world was made through him, he was also human. Various heresies through the years have both denied his divinity and his humanity. "The word became flesh" (John 1:14); and "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9) both indicate the humanity of Jesus.
A title that Jesus is referred to is the "Son of God", which indicates that he came from God. In a sense, he also came from man. Jesus refers to himself numerous times as the "Son of Man" (examples in Matthew 18:11; Mark 10:33; Luke 9:22; John 7:22; 12:23). Jesus was affirming that he himself was human as well.
"But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, … Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; … Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted." (Hebrews 2:9-18)
"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with out weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)
According to these passages, Jesus was so human that he himself was tempted in the same way as every other person, but did not sin. He was perfect. Since he was tempted, he can sympathize with out weakness, and as our high priest, can plead with God on our behalf.
"But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, " (Galations 4:4) This passage affirms Jesus was born of a woman. He was a human baby, just as the narratives of his birth in the Gospels affirm.
There have been those that have denied Jesus was human, thinking it foolish that God could have come in the flesh. To this, the Bible says, "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist." (2 John 7)
4. Jesus is the Promised Deliverer and King, to rescue the world from sin
Isaiah prophesied a lot about Jesus. The later half of Isaiah prophesies about Jesus in detail. Chapter 53 give a graphic account of how he would deliver the people from their sins. A summary of this passage: The deliverer will bear punishment on behalf of the sins of the wicked, he will know pain and anguish, he will be numbered with the sinners, and he will not cry out, as a lamb led to the slaughter.
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zechariah 9:9)
Most of the prophets alluded to a future time of restoration, a rebuilding of the kingdom, and a future kingdom. Here is an example: "And in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people, …" (Daniel 2:44).
When Jesus came, he said "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15). God's plan was coming together, and Jesus was going to establish his kingdom. However, this kingdom was not to be an earthly kingdom. Jesus said "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36), and also said "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say 'Look here it is!' or 'There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20-21). The Kingdom is God's reign which doesn't have physical boundaries, it is where God rules. Therefore, the Kingdom of God with Christ as the King is in each individual subject if Jesus is truly their Lord. To get into the Kingdom, Jesus said one must be born of both water and spirit (John 3:1-21).
It is interesting to note that throughout the New Testament, the church and the "kingdom" are used synonymously. One who is saved is in the kingdom, and therefore in the church. In the end, the Bible says that Jesus will "deliver up the kingdom to the God and Father…" (I Corinthians 15:24)
5. Jesus is the Atoning Sacrifice for sin
Some Bible translations say that Jesus is the "propitiation" for our sins, which means that he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (I John 2:2; 4:10). The idea behind "propitiation" is to appease wrath with a sacrifice.
"for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say of His righteousness at the present time, that might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:23-26)
Here is the key to "the blood": "The life of the flesh is in the blood and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement". (Leviticus 17:11) Jesus' life was offered up for us. He died "for our sins" (I Corinthians 15:3). The passage in Romans says that God did this so he might be just AND the justifier of those who have faith in Christ Jesus. Because God is just, justice had to be served. But God "so loved the world" (John 3:16), he didn't want to just exercise judgement and all men be lost. So "he have his only begotten son" . This way justice is served, and he justified (balanced the account against the faithful) those who "have faith in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:26)
6. Jesus inaugurated the New Covenant & forgiveness with his own blood
When God made a Covenant (which is sort of like a treaty, only in this case God spells out the terms and we accept) which the children of Israel, it was made with the shedding of the blood of an animal. Part was sprinkled on the altar, part on the people: "So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, 'Behold, the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words." (Exodus 24:8). The making of a covenant was a serious event. It usually involved a sacrifice or death of some sort.
At the last supper, Jesus "when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying 'Drink from it all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured our for many for forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:28) Jesus knew of that Judas had betrayed him and that the time of the crucifixion was at hand. He was about to offer his own blood to bring in a new covenant, a new "law".
One of the most solemn days of the year was the Day of Atonement. The Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant, upon which was the "Mercy Seat", which is where God "communed" with his people. That spot represented where God sat. (Exodus 25:22) The High Priest would go into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle with the blood of the sacrifice for the Day of Atonement, and offer it at the Mercy Seat on behalf of the sins of the people. (Leviticus 16)
Jesus came and changed all that: "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:11-12)
"But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. … When he said "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete." (Hebrews 8:6, 13)
So, with the sacrifice of Jesus came both the possibility of forgiveness and salvation, and the setting aside of the former covenant. This is why there is no longer any sacrifices, burning of incense, etc. as there was under the old covenant.
7. Jesus is Lord
The New Testament consistently calls Jesus "Lord" one example is "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Romans 5:1), and "...know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ - this Jesus whom you crucified." (Acts 2:36). According to scripture, you cannot have Jesus as your savior if you don't have him as your Lord: "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;" (Romans 10:9). Too many people want the Savior Jesus, but not the Lord Jesus.
8. Jesus is coming back
"so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." (Hebrews 9:28)
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
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