Tuesday, July 03, 2012

walking through the gospel: Jesus, God in the Flesh



Like two weeks ago, this week we get to talk about one of my very favorite people {okay, that's a bit of an understatement!}.

This week is about Jesus- I'm beyond thrilled to tell you about my Lord. 

I think that everyone generally accepts that there is a God, but so many diverge on the topic of Jesus.

It's so important to know who He is. 

So again, let's start from the beginning.

1. Jesus is the Son of God.

This is where the rubber meets the road. Many religions believe in God, but few believe in Jesus being the Son equal to His Father, God.

Over and over throughout the New Testament {Matthew- Revelation}, Jesus refers to God as His Father, and even tells us to refer to Him as that. Jesus also refers to himself as the Son: 

We find it here in John 10:22-38:

0I and the Father are one.”
31The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”

And in here: Matthew 3:16-17.

And here in 1 John 2:23
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.


2. Jesus existed before the foundation of the world.

From the very beginning, Jesus existed. We come back to the eternity line- those things that are hard to imagine for our finite brains. :D But from the very beginning Jesus was present, and created the world with God Himself. He is known as the "Word," the very essence of God. Here in the book of John, it gives us the scoop on Jesus:

John 1:1-4:
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life,a and the life was the light of men. 

and in Colossians 1:15:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.


3. Jesus became human and lived on this earth.

Here is Jesus as Word again:
And the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 
John 1:14 
I'm sure you've heard about this before ;), but Jesus was born of a virgin. Her name was Mary- and she had never known a man. {read more here}

Jesus was born to Mary in a manager in Bethlehem, and her husband was Joseph. 

Jesus lived a boy's life, and grew in favor with God and man. We don't have many verses about his first thirty years- we just know that his public ministry began at the age of 30 or so. 

Now this is purely speculation, but I have a feeling that Jesus was a very normal human as a youngster, because when He came to minister to His hometown, they rejected Him, because they knew He was just Joseph the carpenter's son. {I can so see how they would remember that strange kid that belongs to Joseph, and think He is the Messiah?}

Phillipians 2:5-8:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,a 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,b being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


But what made Jesus different from other people that lived?

4. Jesus lived without sin.

Jesus was the perfect human- he faced the same temptations we do- and did them without sinning! It says here in Hebrews 4:14-15:


14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


Now, this is very, very important to believe. We will talk more about why we need Jesus next week, but for now we will say that His sinless life was the only reason that we get to believe and receive eternal life in Him. Jesus' sinlessness and death paid the debt that we owed to God for our own sin.

5. Jesus was crucified and rose again in three days.

Jesus was perfect, and He is the light in the darkness of this evil world. His light brought exposure to the darkness- or uncovered the evil that people had in their hearts. The religious people then {and still happens now} were pretty and spotless on the outside, but were full of deceit and wickedness on the inside. Jesus called them out because He was God and knew the state of their hearts.

When Jesus brought their evil deeds to light, He left no doubt that God despised their hypocrisy. And so the religious people {called the Pharisees} desperately wanted Jesus dead. What's even more amazing is that Jesus drew regular people to Him- people who were broken, and hated, and ugly, and diseased. 

The poor of this world sought out the light as their hope- while the religious hated Jesus for calling Himself the Son of God because He {their Messiah/rescuer} was nothing like they had thought He'd be. They thought that Jesus would come to the earth to rescue them from the Romans who ruled them, and that He would come in with trumpets and defeat everyone and set up His kingdom.

Instead, they saw the son of a poor carpenter from a despised city, who claimed He was the Son of God. Again, you can almost see why they didn't believe. But He did great works in front of them, and these Pharisees had the nerve to say He was of the devil. Oh my goodness, right?

So they had Him put to death. In the middle of the night they call a secret council meeting and arrest Jesus because they know the people would be outraged if they found out about His arrest.

They had hardened their hearts against the Holy God of the universe and they put Him through torture and hung Him on a cross between two thieves.

There is so much more we could talk about when it comes to the specifics of the crucifixion, but it was nothing short of amazing. We will talk about it all another day. :D

He died on the cross, a sinless, innocent person, and was buried in a tomb. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to many people for 40 days.

6. Jesus is the mediator between God and man.

Hebrews 4:14:
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.


Because Jesus put on flesh and lived on the earth as both God and man, he became the mediator between God and man.  Without Jesus, we could never stand before God. 

God is holy, and perfect, and our sinful flesh could not stand before His presence- but because Jesus lived a sinless life and died in our place, He now stands before God as our mediator. He is at the right hand of God, and intercedes on our behalf- which means He brings us before God as holy like He is.

This is craziness. Sheer, amazing craziness- we have access to God because Jesus paid our debt, and presents us as Holy before Him. Ahhhhhhhh…..!!!!!!!!

This sacrifice is a miracle. Seriously- because Jesus became man and suffered like us, He knows our weakness, and goes to God on our behalf so that we can stand before the Holy and amazing God.

I can't get over this- really it gets me every single time!!!!! Oh, God who are you that you care so much about our sinful selves?? Thank you Jesus!! 

I can't wait to tell you more next week about this sacrifice I'm talking about! 

Q: Do you know Jesus? How does knowing Jesus was sinless and died make you feel?

next week: the perfect sacrifice

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previous posts in the walking through the gospel series:

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