Friday, March 21, 2014

140323 Jesus, Son of God

We begin with the traditional Christmas story as recorded by Luke when the angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would have a child who would be called the son of the Most High. Mary’s response was amazement. She was a virgin and had no intention of changing that until she was married. Listen while I read Luke 1:35-38. And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Last week we saw that Jesus often called himself the Son of Man. This seemed to be the term he preferred for himself. There is no doubt that the baby, born of Mary, was fully human and, at the same time, fully God. Jesus did not temporarily become man but his divine nature was permanently united to his human nature. He lives forever not just as the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, but also as Jesus, the man who was born of Mary, and as Christ, the Messiah and Savior of his people. Jesus became human in every respect and at the same time he is God, blessed forever. We’re going to look at several passages of Scripture that show us, without a doubt, that Jesus is God or that he is divine.
First let’s see what his disciple John had to say because…
John, in his Gospel, affirms the divinity of Jesus. We will look at two passages. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This is a very strong statement. There is absolutely no doubt that the term “Word” applies to Jesus and that the passage “the Word was God” affirms the deity of the word. In fact, in the original Greek the word order is: “God was the Word”.
Now let’s look at 1:18. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
The one who is in the bosom of the Father has made God known. But look at what John tells us about this one. This one he speaks of is the only God. There are several other passages in John that uphold the deity of Jesus. I believe these two are sufficient to show us that the Son of Man is also the Son of God in the understanding of John the disciple.
In one of many Old Testament examples written seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied his divinity. Listen while I read Isaiah 9:6. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
There is no doubt that Isaiah was speaking of the Messiah who would come into the world. In this passage he speaks of a child being born for us. This child would be one who would bear the burden of government for the benefit of all who would put their faith and trust in him. This child was to be far more than a man. His titles include: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Jesus came into the world as the Messiah fulfilling this prophecy. The prophecy clearly asserts that he is the Mighty God! Isaiah may not have known the name Jesus but he certainly knew that when the child given for us was to be born he would be God Himself!
On the night of his birth…
The angels recognized him as God. Listen while I read Luke 2:8-11. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
In this passage is the word “Lord” is used three times. Twice, it is clearly used for God the Father and the last time the word is combined with “Christ” who is called “the Lord”. In the ancient Greek Old Testament, called the Septuagint, translated about 300 years before Jesus was born, the same Greek word we find here is used 6,814 times to translate the Hebrew word for the name of God. Luke would have clearly understood that applying the Name to the Messiah designated him as God!
There is no doubt in my mind that the angels proclaimed that the Christ, born that day in the city of David, was the same as the one promised by Isaiah. This helpless baby was the Mighty God!
Not only did the angels recognize that Jesus was God…
Even before he was born Elizabeth recognized him. Listen while I read Luke 1:39-43. In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Perhaps we should say that the baby, just beginning his third trimester, recognized the presence of the baby who was the Mighty God! But it was Elizabeth, Mary’s relative, who is able to speak the words, “why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Again, we find the word, “Kurios”, that is the Greek word used to translate the Hebrew word for the name of God, being used. Elizabeth was the wife of a priest who was high enough in rank to have entered the holy place in the temple. Certainly she would have known the meaning of the words she spoke!
John the disciple affirmed the deity of Jesus. Isaiah, the Prince of Prophets, predicted that the one who would come as Messiah would be, “The Mighty God”! Before he was born Elizabeth realized who he was and called him “my Lord”!
John the baptizer recognized him. Listen while I read Matthew 3:1-3. In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’ ”
In verse three John is quoting Isaiah 40 verse 3 which speaks about the Lord God himself coming among his people. Yet, the context applies this passage to John’s role of preparing the way for Jesus to come. The implication is that when Jesus comes, the Lord himself will come. John knew who he was preparing the way for. And when he baptized Jesus he said I need to be baptized by you not you by me. Again the application was that Jesus was the Lord himself. John also told his disciples that Jesus was, “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world”. No doubt Jesus was recognized by John as God.
After Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection…
“Doubting” Thomas recognized him. Thomas had said that he would not accept the idea that Jesus had been raised from the dead unless he could see his scars and touch his body. Let’s look at the account given by John the disciple found in John 20:24-29. Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Thomas was a skeptic. He was one of those people who would not believe anything until they saw it for themselves and even then would question the truth of it. Yet, when Jesus came into their midst and stood before them he turned to Thomas and said, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas did not need to do any of those things to recognize who Jesus was. Not only did he use the word, “Lord” but he also used the word “God”! There is a religious group around who do not believe in the deity of Jesus. When confronted with this passage of Scripture they say that Thomas did not call him “God” but instead, Thomas blurted out in amazement, “O my God”. Like a person might do on Facebook when they type “OMG”. In other words, Thomas was simply expressing surprise. There is no doubt in my mind that Thomas recognized Jesus, perhaps for the first time, as the Lord God Himself.
John, the disciple, affirmed the deity of Jesus and Isaiah prophesied his divinity. Elizabeth recognized him as God and John, the baptizer, and Thomas the disciple proclaimed him to be God. Also…
Jesus himself taught that he was the Son of God. There are several passages that show us this let’s begin with Matthew 22:41-45. Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet” ’?  If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” Jesus clearly identifies himself as the sovereign Lord of the Old Testament. The force of his statement, found in verse 44, is that “God the Father said to God the Son sit at my right hand…” The Pharisees knew that he was talking about himself and identified himself as one worthy of the Old Testament title “Lord”.
The Jewish religious leaders accused him of being demon possessed. Jesus’ reply caused them to challenge him even further. We find Jesus’ answer in John 8:54-58. Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews 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, I am.” Jesus could have demonstrated his eternal existence by simply saying, “Before Abraham was, I was.” Instead he said, “before Abraham was, I am.” In this he combined two statements that, on the surface, are senseless together. He spoke of something in the present (I AM) happening before something in the past (Abraham was). But this was not nonsense to the Jewish leaders. In their eyes it was blasphemy! When Jesus said “I am” he was claiming for himself the title God used to identify himself to Moses. Jesus claimed, in this statement, that he is the eternally existing One who created the universe and always has been and always will be. So they took up stones to throw at him but Jesus hid himself and left the temple.
During Jesus’ trial he was challenged by the high priest this challenge is found in… Matthew 26:62-64. And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
There is no doubt that Jesus, during his trial, confessed to the charge that he had claimed himself to be the Son of God. Anyone who denies the deity of Jesus needs to hear the words of C. S. Lewis, taken from his book Mere Christianity: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says that he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising [sic] nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Jesus was who he said he was or he was either a liar or a lunatic. Not only did Jesus himself claim to be the son of God…
God the Father proclaimed him to be the Son of God. As Jesus was preparing to go to Jerusalem to be offered for our sins he went aside with three of his disciples to pray. Listen while I read Matthew 17:1-5. And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
When God presented himself to Israel and Egypt, and for 40 years in the wilderness, he was seen as a cloud of glory. Here, God the Father overshadowed Jesus in a cloud and proclaimed Jesus to be his Beloved Son with whom he was well pleased. Jesus was the heavenly, eternal Son who is equal to God himself. We don’t have to rely on words alone to understand that Jesus is the Son of God. We can look at what he did because…
Jesus’ actions showed him to be the Son of God. I want to share with you two passages that show this. The first is Matthew 8:26-27. Jesus and his disciples were in a boat on the lake of Galilee and while he was sleeping a storm came up they awaken him and he responded to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” His actions demonstrated that he was the eternal Son of God.
A little later there would be a much more powerful demonstration of who he was while he was on this earth. Listen while I read Matthew 14:16-21. Let me set the scene for you first. Jesus arrived at the lake shore and found a large crowd of people. He had compassion on them and healed their sick. Then as it came towards the evening the disciples came to him and ask him to send the crowd away because they needed to eat. But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
If they were amazed, and obviously they were, when he calmed the sea they must have been really astonished when he took a lad’s lunch of five barley loaves and two small fish and fed 5000 men as well as a large number of women and children. After that he sent them away by boat and came to them walking on the water. At that point they worshiped him saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Not only did Jesus’ actions show him to be the Son of God also…
Jesus’ knowledge showed him to be the Son of God. Jesus healed a man who had been brought to him by four friends. However, before he healed him he said to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” And immediately the scribes who were sitting there began to think, “This is blasphemy.” We find Jesus responding in Mark 2:8-11. And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” Please note that Jesus knew what they were thinking and responded to them accordingly. Jesus knew what they were thinking while they were thinking. This was not some kind of trick this was God showing Himself through the Son.
John records another example of this kind of knowledge when Jesus met Nathaniel. Listen while I read John 1:48-49. Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus saw Nathaniel before Philip spoke to him. But this wasn’t some kind of parlor trick he was pulling on Nathaniel. As God, Jesus knew all things that he needed to know while he was on earth. John also tells us that Jesus knew from the very beginning who it was that would betray him.
One time the Pharisees accused Jesus of exercising his power by Beelzebul, the prince of demons. Matthew tells us that Jesus knew their thoughts and responded to them in the strongest terms. He said that every kingdom divided against itself would fall. He warned them that they must not speak against the work of the Holy Spirit because those who do this will not be forgiven either in this age or the age to come.
Jesus, as the God/Man, was proclaimed to be worthy of worship. Not even the angels are to be worshiped, only God is worthy. Yet Scripture tells us that “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11) Is he your Lord? I hope so, and you better hope so too! Put your trust in him!
All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Friday, March 14, 2014

140316 Jesus, Son of Man

Mark 2:1-12 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
Matthew, Mark, and Luke seemed to be in agreement that this event was the first time that Jesus used the term Son of Man to describe himself. In fact, it appears that Son of Man is the term Jesus preferred. I believe he did this because he wanted it understood that he was totally identified with humanity. The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man in one person, and will be so forever. There is a massive amount of scriptural evidence to support this truth. We are going to look at several different passages of Scripture that teach us about the humanity of Jesus. Next week we will look at the divinity of Jesus and the following week how the two natures combined in one.
How do we know Jesus was human? Does his humanity make any difference? How should his being human affect me? It is difficult to know exactly what order all this should be in. So, I will just take it as it comes to mind and pray that God sorts it out for each one of you who listen or who read this message.
Jesus was born of a human mother. We have read this passage a number of times because I believe it is very important to understanding who Jesus was and how he came into the world. Listen while I read Galatians 4:4-5 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
At the right time God sent forth his Son. And then the words are added “born of a woman”. How might Jesus have come into the world? Some have suggested that God could have had Jesus simply appear on the scene in a fully adult body. That simplistic approach misses several things that are very important biblically. First of all, in Genesis 3:15 we are told that the “seed of the woman” would ultimately destroy the serpent. In order to fulfill that prophecy Christ had to be born of a woman. Second, Jesus had to have been born of a woman in order to unite humanity with divinity. Jesus was protected from fallen human nature because he had no human father descended from Adam. From Mary he received his humanity and from the Holy Spirit he received his deity. Without this his death on the cross would have been meaningless. We must remember that Jesus was born of a human mother and…
Jesus had a human body. Throughout the Gospels there is adequate evidence that Jesus had a fully functioning human body. We are told that he grew in stature and in favor with God and man. Growth in stature would require a fully human body that changed over the years. Jesus had human limitations in that he was hungry, thirsty and tired at various times. The greatest evidence that he had a human body is the fact that he died on the cross. If he was somehow pretending to be human he would have had to pretend to be dead. While that might answer the concerns of some critics it certainly doesn’t fit with our biblical understanding. After his resurrection from the dead he showed them evidence of his fully functioning human body. This recorded in Luke 24:36-43. As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.
Earlier, he had appeared physically to Mary and then to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. In this scene Jesus, knowing their questions, proved his humanity by asking them to touch him and look at his scars. Then he added the question, “Have you anything here to eat?” Later, he would meet with them at the seashore and cook a meal for them. All of this proves that his body was, and still is, fully human.
Not only was Jesus born of a woman having a fully functioning human body but also…
Jesus had a human mind. I’m sure that Luke wrote a lot of his gospel based on the memories of Mary, Jesus’ human mother. These words found in Luke 2:52 would surely have been from her. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Jesus increased in wisdom and that tells us that he had mental limitations based on his humanity because he had to “grow up” in knowledge. He had to learn to walk and talk. He had to learn how to read and write as well as how to be obedient to his parents. I’m afraid we don’t think very much about this period in Jesus’ life because we are told very little but Scripture is very clear that that was exactly what happened. We have no idea when Jesus became aware that he was more than just a man but it happened at or before his 12th birthday. At that time he stayed behind in the Temple because it was his “Father’s house”. So surely he knew and understood a great deal about who he was by that time. But he still had to acquire knowledge the same way we do through study and experience.
Jesus had human emotions. There are many examples that show us Jesus’ human emotions. Probably the clearest picture is found in John 11:33-38. Jesus has arrived at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus, John tells us what happened when he saw Lazarus’ sister. When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.
When Jesus witnessed the mourners at Lazarus’ funeral he was deeply moved and greatly troubled. There is no explanation in John’s Gospel as to exactly why Jesus was moved and troubled. It might have been the fact that he was going to call Lazarus back from heaven to earth. However I believe his love for Lazarus caused him to experience the same emotions as the other people were experiencing around him.
We know that he felt compassion on the crowds when they were hungry or tired. We know that he expressed some level of frustration when he said things like, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you?”
Jesus was born of a woman, having a fully functioning human body, and he also had a human mind. Without a doubt Jesus had human emotions but unlike us Jesus had no sin of his own. In fact
Jesus was sinless. There are a number of scripture passages we can turn to in support of Jesus’ spiritual perfection. Since this is such an important concept I want to read several of them. First, Hebrews 4:15, For 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. Our high priest, Jesus Christ, can sympathize with us because he was tempted as we are. At the same time, our high priest, Jesus Christ, was without sin. Now let’s look at 1 Peter 1:17-19.  And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. We were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ. Since he had no sin of his own he could become sin for us and be the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. Further in 1 Peter 2:22 we find these words He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. No sin and no deceit was found in him. And then John wrote in 1 John 3:5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.
Jesus could take away sins because in him there was no sin.
I have heard someone argue that surely Jesus must have sinned because he became angry in the Temple when he found it turned into a place of merchandise and a den of thieves. Remember, he overturned the money changer’s tables and took a whip and drove the livestock out of the Temple area. I have no doubt that Jesus was angry but that was not sin. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that we could be angry and sin not. There are a great many things in life that should cause us to be angry. I’m afraid that we are too insensitive to the concept of right and wrong today. When we do get angry it is usually about the wrong thing and at the right time we fail to get angry.
Jesus was born of a woman, having a fully functioning human body, and he also had a human mind. Without a doubt Jesus had human emotions but unlike us Jesus had no sin of his own. In fact, Jesus was sinless so that he could take our sins on our behalf. You see…
Jesus’ humanity allowed him to represent us. Since the wages of sin is death mankind is desperately in need of a representative to stand before God on our behalf. Adam was the representative head of the human race and his sin falls on us all. Listen while I read Romans 5:17-19. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
Death reigned through the sin of one man our ancient ancestor, Adam. When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night he was told that he had to be “born again”. You see, we are all born wrong! Spiritually, all mankind are born dead having inherited from Adam a sin nature and then having our own trespasses and sins. Adam was the representative head of the human race. We need to be removed from the spiritual lineage of Adam and brought into the spiritual lineage of Jesus Christ. One trespass led to condemnation for all men. The many were made sinners by Adam’s disobedience and the many will be made righteous by the obedience of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was born of a woman, having a fully functioning human body, and he also had a human mind. Without a doubt Jesus had human emotions but unlike us Jesus had no sin of his own. In fact Jesus was sinless so he could take our sins on our behalf. Jesus’ humanity allowed him to represent us but more than that…
Jesus’ humanity allowed him to be a substitute for us. In order to deliver us from sin Jesus needed to become our substitute. Listen while I read Hebrews 2:16-18. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Now there’s a lot going on in this passage. I don’t begin to have enough time to unpack it all. Suffice it to say that the writer of Hebrews, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, chooses not to say, “he helps the offspring of Adam”, and instead says, “he helps the offspring of Abraham”. Abraham is the father of all those who come to God by faith. Jesus came into the world to pay the price for the sin of all those who are saved by grace through faith. Jesus’ humanity did what his deity could not do — he identified with us so completely that he could become our substitute. Praise God that is true! Jesus turned away God’s wrath over the sins of the people so that we could come to him in faith for salvation. That’s what propitiation means! Turning away the wrath of God. God is pure and holy and cannot look on sin. Man cannot stand in the presence of God without some kind of protection. Jesus became our protector to stand between us and the righteous frown of the Father. There is an old folk hymn that teaches this truth for us. It goes like this:
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul, what wondrous love is this, O my soul! What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul!
When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down, when I was sinking down, sinking down; when I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown, Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul, Christ laid aside his crown for my soul!
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on! And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, throughout eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, and through eternity I’ll sing on!
It is amazing to think that the creator of the universe came to represent us and to become our substitute. Jesus’ humanity made that possible. That allows us to have salvation rather than condemnation. But the benefits of his humanity doesn’t end with salvation it goes on into the Christian life…
Jesus’ humanity allowed him to be our Mediator. This passage of Scripture is filled with meaning. I’ll unpack part of it. Listen while I read 1 Timothy 2:5. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
That there is one God is pretty easy to understand. And the separation between God and man is so great that we have a need for someone to stand between us. This is not just for salvation but for everyday needs. A mediator is someone who is able to understand both parties in a situation and interpret to each of them what the other thinks or feels. Jesus, who had from eternity past been face-to-face with God the Father, came to the earth in human form, and as Paul wrote to the Philippians, humble himself to the point of death even death on a cross. He came to represent us, to be our substitute and he lives today to be our mediator. During the days long before Christ’s birth, Job recognized this need when he said, “There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both.” But later he would say, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth”. Faith tells us that Jesus ever lives to make intercession on our behalf before the throne of God. We cannot come to God in our own righteousness but we can come with our mediator and dressed in his righteousness make our appeal before God. Please note that Jesus is called “the man Christ Jesus”. He lived eternally with the Father and now lives forever after as a man in a resurrection body. There’s so much more I would like to share with you. Suffice it to say that when he appears we shall be like him. Meanwhile…
Jesus’ humanity allows him to sympathize with us. Listen while I read Hebrews 4:15-16.  For 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. Let 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.
It is tremendously encouraging to know that God, and Jesus Christ, is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. The strongest of us suffer from weaknesses that we really cannot control. We may hide our weaknesses or cover them with excuses but that is never enough to meet God’s conditions.
We have a high priest who lived on the earth as a man. He was born of a human mother the same as we were. He grew up in a working-class home and worked with his hands for at least 20 years. He was tempted more than we ever could be because he never gave in to the first temptation. He knows by experience everything that we go through and stands before the Father on our behalf sympathizing with our weaknesses. This allows us to have confidence when we come before the throne of grace in prayer. We know that with such a mediator we will receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
It is amazing to think of the fact that Jesus did not give up his human body after his death and resurrection. When he appeared to his disciples, even though he was in a resurrection body, he looked as he did before except for the print of the nails in his hands and the scars on his back and side. When he ascended into heaven, after spending some 40 days with his disciples on earth, he ascended in bodily form so that they could see that his resurrected human body went into heaven with him. I praise God that Jesus’ incarnation, including his death and resurrection, was not some kind of charade. Jesus did not temporarily become man instead his divine nature was permanently united to his human nature. Have you put your faith and trust in him? Today is the day of salvation!

All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.