Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Do You Know the God-Man?

We often hear the question, “Who is Jesus to you?” Depending on who you ask, the answers will vary, ranging from “a friend” to “a great leader” to “a good moral teacher” to “my Savior.” As good as it is to know what we personally think of Jesus, this isn’t the only—or even the most important—question to ask. There’s a more fundamental starting point: Who is Jesus?

We must begin with Jesus Himself, not merely with our own views about Him. After all, we’re human, and we’re bound to get mixed up. Even if we have some of the truth about Him, it’s easy to miss the big picture of who He is. So, we need a source that is more reliable than we are: God’s written Word. And one of the best places to start in the Bible is John 1.

Christ’s Deity

The prologue of John is remarkable, providing a wealth of understanding. These 18 verses give a biblical vision of the mystery of the incarnation (Jesus taking on human flesh). From the very first verse, we see that the deity of Christ is undeniable: “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 NASB). Many of us might struggle with this. After all, it is easy to accept a historical Jesus—evidence abounds regarding the life of the man. But that’s not where the book of John begins.

John starts with “the beginning,” which probably causes your mind to jump back to the first words of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). And yet, amazingly, this first verse in John precedes Genesis 1:1 in its chronological telling! The apostle is giving us a glimpse of the eternal Lord in His preincarnate state. Jesus is the Word, the One who spoke all things into being. He is the second Person of the divine Trinity.

Immediately John gives us a picture of our triune God—coequal, coeternal, one God but three persons. The word “Trinity” may not be found in our Bibles, but the reality of it is seen here (among other places in Scripture). John shows that Jesus is not just a man, but the eternal Son of God—the eternal God-man. This ought to move us to worship because it is beyond the grasp of our full understanding.

Christ’s Humanity

The great mystery of our salvation is that our loving God would come to us in a sovereignly new way—in human skin. The second person of the Trinity “became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NASB). Jesus, the Son of God, took humanity into Himself with undiminished deity.

Why did He do it? He came to die, to be a ransom for us. The basis for our salvation is that He came to take our sins upon Himself (John 1:29). The second person of the Trinity became the God-man in order that He might die for us. But that death wasn’t final. Instead, He rose to life again and conquered death so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16).

Do You Know Him?

Understanding who Jesus is leaves us with a question: Do you know and love this Jesus? Not some likeness of Him that you’ve created in your mind, but Jesus Himself. We can’t curate Christ, keeping the parts of Him that we like or understand and tossing out the rest. If we do, we’re not loving and worshiping the real Jesus, but a false image we’ve made of Him. The Bible does not give us the option to do that (see Exodus 20:4).

At the end of the day, we will either receive or reject Jesus. We can go through life trying to ignore the One who died for us, but we can’t put Him off forever.  

As we approach Easter, may we worship along with John the Baptist, declaring with joyful reverence, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NASB).

Copyright © 2020 Ken Boa, used with permission. 

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