Who is Jesus
- Written by David Traxler
Who is this Jesus? Who is this, who by His appearance, displays the wonderful and matchless love of His Father and at the same time satisfies the righteousness and justice of the Father?
Who was Jesus while He was on this earth? The Bible teaches that while Jesus was on earth He developed the same traits and the same character as His heavenly Father and was committed to the mission and purpose of His Father. We often see children who have developed the same traits and the same character as their parents, so it was with Jesus.
Note: Supplement with all corresponding scriptures can be downloaded here, printed out and used side by side with core article.
Introduction: "For a little while" (NASB) and "In the days of His flesh."
The Bible teaches that Jesus set aside His god-form to accomplish a very special mission and a mission that could only be accomplished with Jesus being wholly man.
So, some of the questions that should be asked are:
- As a man, did Jesus actually accomplish what He was sent to do?
- If Jesus was a man, can we use Him as our example to help us fulfill our purpose in God's design?
- Can we, as man, live a life that is reconciled and in harmony with God as Jesus did while on this earth?
- Does it make a difference to me, if Jesus was wholly man or a god-man?
- Does it matter that much?
To explain the need for Jesus to set aside his god-form, while he was here on Earth, let’s examine the example of the broken coffee mug.
A coffee mug has a purpose. Its sole purpose is to hold coffee or any liquid. When the coffee mug is complete and functional, it fulfills its purpose; it is perfect. Let’s compare ourselves to this coffee mug. We are here, capable of fulfilling our purpose with the life that God has intended for us.
When the coffee mug gets broken, it can no longer fulfill its purpose. It is the same with man. When we get broken, we are no longer able to fulfill our purpose. We are shattered with sin and indifference.
With special glue a coffee mug can be made whole again and will go back to fulfilling its purpose – to hold coffee or any liquid. It is the same with man. We do break. We sin against God, Sin alienates us from God. God has provided the means to turn our life around to make us whole and to go back to fulfilling our purpose. We must be mended. A broken cup cannot mend itself. Neither can we.
Jesus set aside his god-form “for a little while” to walk in our shoes as man to show us the way. “I am the way…” (John 14:6).
Some teach, and will insist, that man is inherently evil and incapable of being what God designed him to be. If you believe that statement then the conclusion must be that Jesus could not have been "just" a man. He must be something "more" than a man. To believe this, one must set aside that man is marvelously made and capable of learning and responding to God through His confirmed and written Word. Even though we know that each person along the way of life may fall short or "miss the mark" of his god-given potential; we also know that God has created a remedy for human frailty and fallacy.
If Jesus lived His life as a man in complete favor with God, is that a valid example to us as man, so that, we, too, can choose the path of obedience that Jesus chose? Is Jesus the only means through which that can be achieved?
We suggest a diligent study of God's Word which is meant for us to understand and respond to. Otherwise, what value is it to us? The following teaching, with a careful reading of the scriptures provided, will adequately support that Jesus was man and not a god-man in the "days of His flesh."
THE TEACHINGS OF HEBREWS
It is truly amazing what Jesus accomplished as a man while here on earth. To prepare our thoughts for the journey through the Book of Hebrews, we need a springboard to get us there. The springboard is Philippians 2:5-9 (NASB).
Summarized, it teaches that Jesus let go of His equality with God to become equal with mankind. Think of the depth and all encompassing value of that thought! Jesus was NOT ashamed to become just like man.
However, there is a hindrance to clear vision. It is the prevalent view of the nature of man. The hindrance is the dogma of "original sin."
The dogma of "original sin" produced the doctrine of total heredity depravity, which is the teaching that because of Adam's transgression, all men are dead in sin from the moment of conception.
This doctrine is generally attributed to "Saint" Augustine who lived in the latter half of the 4th century. It is likely that he was only the promoter, not the originator, of the idea.
But the dogma and doctrine of "original sin" is the most noxious seed ever sown in the soil of the Christian faith. It is the dogma that forces the doctrine of the trinity. It begins with the dogma of the depravity of man and then leads to the idea that if man is depraved then Christ could not have been wholly man. A depraved man has no capability to respond rationally to God.
Every branch of the Christian doctrine of salvation has subsequently been corrupted. This corruption reaches all the way to the English translations. In some instances the translations are tilted toward this bias. This does complicate matters. Our intent in this article is to bring focus to the big picture. It is to bring us toward clear vision.
The doctrine of original sin logically leads us to "man is inherently evil." Therefore, Jesus could not have been "only" man. To be what God desires him to be, he must be more than man...thus the theological curse takes root.
In an attempt to remove the idea of the curse from our thinking, we must return to the teachings of scripture. Travel with us as we go from adventure to adventure. It is risky. But the rewards aresatisfying to the soul and spirit of man.
The book of Hebrews teaches that Jesus, as a man (as one of us), takes charge of the important and critical matters that He was sent from the Father to accomplish. These are the matters that when accomplished can restore mankind's harmony with God. All that we look to Jesus for, He accomplished as one of us. These accomplishments are the substance of amazing grace.
Here are the accomplishments...
THE MATTER OF DYING.
Made lower than the angels "for a little while" enabled Jesus to experience death and death for all (Hebrews 2:9). The death of Jesus has no perceived value to us if He was NOT a man. He had to be one of us to die and to die in our place to satisfy the righteousness and justice of God. His death as a sacrifice appeased the wrath of God's justice against mankind. All of mankind had wavered from the high purpose of God. Missing the mark for life and its purpose demonstrates itself in iniquity and transgression. Those things separate us from a righteous God (Isaiah 59:1-4). Jesus, as a man, appeased that wrath and separation for mankind. Read with care John 11:47-53.
THE MATTER OF EQUALITY.
Both Jesus and mankind were made a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:6,7,9). That is so that Jesus could die. But that isn't all. Since Jesus is not ashamed to call mankind "brethren," we have family equality with Him (Hebrews 2:11). Then, those who choose to partake of the divine nature with Jesus through learning and responding to the truth (2 Peter 1:3,4), have a common origin. "Divine" is what proceeds from God. It comes to man through the Word and is called, "sanctification." Truth sanctifies (John 17:17). The equality of Jesus was with man "in the days of His flesh." To deny that is the spirit of the antichrist (2 John 7). We can be participants in the nature of the character of God. That is what we mean by kinship.
THE MATTER OF SATAN.
Thoughtfully read... (Hebrews 2:14). The writer of Hebrews is very clear. Jesus must have been as one of us to render Satan powerless. That is some task! It must be done on the human level. A noble cause indeed! Why then does Jesus need to be anything other than a man, if as a man, he could render satan powerless? What was God's tool? The tool was Jesus being man, a man fully obedient to His Father. He did what Satan said he could not do as man. Whose side are you on? A man with free choice. "Not my will, but thine be done."
So, if Jesus was more or something other than man, then Satan did not lose any power! God could have punched Satan out at any time but it took a man, Jesus, to make it meaningful to mankind. For Satan to be defeated by a man issues a true defeat! If Jesus was, "in the days of HIs flesh", other than a man, then there was no defeat at all.
THE MATTER OF SUFFERING.
Jesus, as a man, was perfected through sufferings. Those sufferings mean nothing to us if He was not like we are, one who could be subject to sufferings. He was the perfect man. A man who is our example of “normalcy”. Jesus shows us the way to live, we can follow in his footsteps. We can choose a “higher” self. In Jesus. Anything less than Jesus is abnormal (Hebrews 2:9,10; 5:7-9).
THE MATTER OF INTERCESSION.
Jesus must have been man to become our high priest to intercede for us; the one who could direct reconciliation between God and man. The function of the High Priest is to appease and make favorable a sinning man to God. It took a man without sin to accomplish that; mankind sins and is, therefore, separated from God. A man had to be the solution. (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15; 5:10; 1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus resolved the sin issue as a man (I Peter 2:21,22). The Holiness and the perfection of God (Matthew 5:48; 1. Peter 1:15, 16) can be approached by a qualified mediator.
THE MATTER OF SALVATION.
AS one of us He became the source of salvation. If Jesus was not a man, there is NO salvation (Hebrews 5:8,9). If Jesus had held on to what he let loose of (Philippians 2:7), his crucifixion would have been of NO value to mankind, resulting in the whole of Jesus' life on earth a terrible tragedy and a huge joke on all of us!
THE MATTER OF BLOOD.
Blood belongs to flesh and to mankind. The blood of an innocent man had to be shed to give to the non-innocent a means of cleansing their conscience. At the Lord's table we remember the manhood of Jesus by partaking of His Body and His Blood. If Jesus was other than man there would be no blood to shed and no prescription for a cleansed conscience. We would still be alienated from God with no hope (Hebrews 9:14).
THE MATTER OF BODY.
The new agreement between God and man was established by Jesus as a man. Jesus had to offer His human body as a sacrifice for all mankind.
That He did, once. That satisfied God. It will never need to be offered again. If Jesus was something other than a man, there is no new covenant and we are all without hope. (Hebrews 10:9,10). A human sacrifice had to be offered. The new and living way is provided through His flesh (Hebrews 10:19,20). What more could there possibly be?
THE MATTER OF EXAMPLE.
Jesus had to be one of us in order to be a worthy and real example. If He was not one of us, He is no example and of no value to us (Hebrews 4:14-16; I Peter 2:21).
What remains for Jesus to accomplish? Doesn't that about do it? All of these matters were accomplished dependent upon Him being as one of us. If Jesus is made some kind of God/man, the foundation of all His accomplishments is destroyed. His life becomes mere pageantry - all show and no substance.
The love of God is real. It is real because of the risk He took in sending His own Son, Jesus, to earth as a man to solve the sin problem by providing redemption to man. There is little or no risk if Jesus had been God...thus no genuine love.
If Jesus "in the days of His flesh" had been God and then resurrected, of what value is that to me? There is NO hope for me in the resurrection of a god. I can’t follow in those footsteps (I Corinthians 15:21)!
As a man, Jesus accomplished everything that he was sent to do. It was all done "in the days of HIs flesh." Jesus was "one of us" "For a little while." Man can be what he ought to be as shown by the example of Jesus. That is the purpose of revelation (The Bible). The Word is given to man and it is understandable to man and man is held accountable to that word.
The chart illustrating the three time frames applying to Jesus.
Download the chart here: The_Truths_about_Jesus.pdf
IN AND AROUND THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
AS A MAN HOW DOES JESUS PERFORM HIS MINISTRY?
Could Jesus have performed and fulfilled His ministry on the merits of being a man and only a man? Because He was a man, there was supernatural assistance provided to Him to perform His ministry; the same was true with the Apostles of the early church. Acts 2:22 - A supernatural message had to be and was confirmed by supernatural evidence (Hebrews 2:1-4).
If Jesus were God He could have done and said everything without any outside help. That is not the way it was.
In what ways was Jesus aided? How was His message confirmed? How did Jesus do what He did as a man?
First, there is a TRANSFER. John 3:35 everything pertaining to His ministry was provided from the Father. The Father was the sender and the provider. If Jesus was God, Why? So that Jesus, as a man, could accomplish His work (John 4:34). Is it reasonable to think that Jesus, if he was part God, would need anything provided by someone else? If that is how you think of God, it isn't the God of the Bible.
Second, notice the DEPENDENCY. John 5:30 God is not dependent (Acts 17:24,25). Jesus says that He, Jesus, was dependent.
When it came to the fulfilling of His ministry that required more than what He was, He was dependent. Like Him we are dependent; we need His Word to teach us to be what we must be. That is why the miracles are recorded as the Word’s confirmation; that is the purpose of the miracles to confirm the message.
What else did Jesus do? HE TAUGHT. He used an understandable language. The people understood Him. He appealed to their minds, intellects, hearts and emotions (John 7:16-18; 12:50; 14:10). Where did those words come from? You guessed it. He spoke just what the Father told Him. He didn't alter a word. His teachings and His Words all came from the Father. Does your God have to be told what to say?
Fourth, even the DISCIPLES had been given to Him (John 17:12). As a man Jesus needed the Father's help and resources in so many ways to document His origin and to fulfill His purpose and mission.
Another one is pertaining to the JUDGMENT GIVEN to Jesus. This authority was given to Him as the Son of man. His judgment of the Jewish nation. (John 5:22,23; 5:26,27) All judgment is given to the Son. It came from somewhere. It came from the Father to the Son. Never co-equals. If they were co-equals, they could have reversed the roles!!! "I'm not going, but I'll send my equal!" How foolish! And yet, that is where Christendom puts itself in the old traditional Trinitarian doctrine of the Dark ages.
One more. John 17:11 “Name” is the full disclosure or identity of a thing or a person (John 1:18); it represents all of what one is. It is the description of that thing or person; it is the nomenclature. Jesus asks that the disciples, who were later to be apostles (John 17:6), “to be kept in the Father's Name” and that it was the same name given to Jesus.
In conclusion, everything (2 Peter 1:3,4) has now been given to us in order that we can all be “partakers of the divine nature.”
We have that capability because of the example of the man, Jesus. Now the tools are available to us all, through the Word, to be as Jesus was, “partakers of the divine nature”.
The word "divine" means “that which proceeds from God”. To be divine, even as Christ was divine, is one in whom the characteristics of God resides. Those characteristics constitute the Name! The identity.
The gospel of John confirms that Jesus was man and only man while He was here "In the days of His flesh." Any teaching that makes Him other than man "In the days of His flesh" is in violation of the Book of Hebrews and the Gospel of John and makes the human life and sacrifice of Jesus null and void.
Jesus’ life demonstrates the value and capability of mankind. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Will you, too, believe in Jesus as He was and now as He is? Therein rests our relationship to God.