God the Son
By David B. Smith
To succeed in politics, you really have to watch your step and your words. An ambitious party man named Jang Song-Thaek was high in the inner circle of North Korea’s mercurial boy prince, Kim Jong Un. But the fast-rising deputy was careless with his comments; he once applauded the beloved leader with less than obvious enthusiasm, he lost six million state dollars in high-stakes games of chance. So in December of 2013, soldiers dragged the admitted “despicable political careerist and trickster” off to prison; a few days later he was summarily executed.
Did the same scenario play out with an inexperienced flash-in-the-pan folk hero named Jesus? Was He executed simply for luckless political blunders and for threatening the Jewish power structure of A.D. 27? On the contrary, the Bible tells us that Jesus came to our world as God in the flesh with the express mission of sacrificing His own life for our sins. No one took Christ’s life from Him; He voluntarily laid it down on our behalf. Jesus spoke openly about His upcoming sacrifice on the cross (Mark 8:31); at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, His cousin John announced: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). What’s more, this was a redemptive gift planned even before the creation of Earth. “And this was no afterthought,” Peter writes. “Even though it has only lately — at the end of the ages — become public knowledge, God always knew He was going to do this for you” (Message paraphrase).
Both God and Man: It is a philosophical and mathematical conundrum — but glorious news for sin-weary humans — that Jesus Christ is two things at once: 100% man and 100% God. Jesus was born in our world as a fully human baby; His mother was a Jewish girl named Mary. He grew up with a physical body; He got hungry and tired just like all other men. He had a flesh-and-blood body that could be destroyed on a cross. Lucifer considered his human adversary to be vulnerable to sin and temptation, harassing Him mercilessly while Jesus was in our world.
Yet for the same 33 years, Jesus was absolutely and completely God; He was Deity. He had no earthly biological father, but a virgin was overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). He was eternal, existing forever in heaven with God the Father and the Holy Spirit before descending in a generous act of self-sacrifice to be born in our world, what we call the Incarnation. John 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God. . . . The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”
How can Christians be confident in the complete God-state of our Savior? There are many clear evidences.
1. Jesus had divine attributes and ministry objectives. He forgave sins (Mark 2:5), something only God has a right to do. He permitted His followers to worship Him (Matthew 14:33), an act of blatant blasphemy for any being who is not God. He had healing power, resurrecting power, omniscient (all-knowing) power. The Bible tells us Jesus was the active God-agent in the creation of our world (John 1:3).
2. Jesus had divine names and titles. Others called Him Master, Lord, the Christ, Son of God, Son of Man. He openly and humbly spoke of Himself in these same terms, telling the listening crowds: “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).
3. Even much of the secular world accepts that Jesus was resurrected from the tomb on Easter morning, a miracle validating His claim to be the Messiah. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus’ victory over death is the pivotal truth, the core foundation, of the Christian faith.
4. Jesus was pure and sinless, the “spotless Lamb,” “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Despite Satan’s deceptions, Jesus confidently said once: “The prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on Me.”
5. He is alive today and forever; the Word of God proclaims Him to be our faithful and sympathetic High Priest (Hebrews 4), representing our acceptance of Calvary in the great throne room of Judgment, and offering His perfect life and death as a sacrifice on our behalf to satisfy the claims of the divine law.
The myth of the “Good Teacher”: Many Christians smile when they hear about the “poached-egg”; C. S. Lewis borrowed the colorful metaphor in pointing out that it is nonsensical to praise this Jerusalem guru as simply a good teacher. There are really only three logical choices about Jesus, he writes. Either a) He was an extravagant liar and con man, b) He was a demented lunatic, mentally unstable, “on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg,” or c) Jesus was exactly who and what He claimed: the Son of God. No other plausible choices remain.
King and Lord: On Friday evening, November 22, 1963, a horrified world was learning that President Kennedy had just been shot. A county treasurer in Dallas was dragging himself home in the stunned Texas gloom, his heart breaking. A little neighbor boy out on the sidewalk came up to him and said nicely, “Mr. Harding, I’m sorry your President died.” The man was surprised and then managed to add: “Well, son, he was your President too. He was everybody’s President.” The boy shook his head. “He wasn’t ours. My mom and dad didn’t vote for him. He didn’t mean anything to us.” Biographer Theodore White recounts the scene in amazement — that an American family could say with such impunity, “We don’t acknowledge that person’s right to be our leader.”
By contrast, there is a wondrous, galactic scene depicted in Philippians, where a deserving Jesus is crowned Lord of the entire universe. 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. When the sin issue is finally resolved, God’s everlasting kingdom will be filled with grateful subjects who are willing and eager to have the resurrected Jesus as their Lord and Ruler.
Without any doubt, this will be a defining salvation issue: are you and I ready to accept Jesus, not only as our only Savior and Sin-bearer, but as our undisputed Lord for all eternity?
View related article: King Forever
David B. Smith writes from California. (3 of 28) His web page is Copyright © 2014. Click here for content usage information. Biblebay