Friday, June 23, 2006

God Made Flesh

Matthew 1:21 says, "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

Lehman Strauss writes, "On that first Christmas day when Mary’s babe was born in Bethlehem, divinity was clothed upon with the garb of human flesh, the Infinite and the finite came into inseparable union in the Person of Jesus Christ, the God-man. Therefore Jesus is divine because He is God. Throughout the New Testament we find it repeatedly stated that Christ possessed the attributes of deity and these divine attributes ascribed to Him are applicable to God alone" (The Second Person, p.23).

We see this truth clearly throughout the Scriptures. Paul even says of Jesus that in "Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col.2:9). Let’s see the elements of deity in the Scriptures as it refers to God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

First we see that God is Savior. Isaiah 43:11 says, "I, even, I, am the Lord; and there is no savior besides Me." But in Luke 2:11 we read of Jesus, "For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Either God is lying or Jesus is of the same essence as the Father (see John 10:30). Notice another attribute of God the Father. Malachi 3:6 says, "For I, the Lord, do not change." The writer of Hebrews says the same thing about Jesus when he writes, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever" (Heb.13:8). Exodus 9:16 says God is omnipotent when it says, "But, indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth." Hebrews 1:3 attributes omnipotence to Jesus when it says, "And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power." What about Genesis 6:5 which teaches that God the Father is omniscient? It says, "Then the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." God knew the hearts of every man. This is also true of Jesus. Matthew 9:4 says, "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?’"

Every characteristic of God can be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is Savior, immutable, omnipotent, and omniscient. Matthew 28:20 also says He is omnipresent. When speaking to His disciples and giving them the Great Commission to go into all the world and make disciples, He promises "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." If you read Psalm 139:7-8 you’ll find that God the Father is also omnipresent. But probably the greatest attribute of them all is the one you and I can receive only in Jesus and that is forgiveness. Isaiah 43:25 says of God the Father – "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins." In Matthew 9:2 Jesus utters those similar words: "Take courage, My son, your sins are forgiven."

Who is Jesus? Jesus is God. No other conclusion can be reached. "Some say He was just a good teacher, but good teachers don’t claim to be God. Some say He was merely a good example, but good examples don’t mingle with prostitutes and sinners. Some say He was a madman, but madmen don’t speak the way He spoke. Some say He was a crazed fanatic, but crazed fanatics don’t draw children to themselves or attract men of intellect like Paul or Luke to be His followers. Some say He was a religious phony, but phonies don’t rise from the dead. Some say He was a Phantom, but phantom’s can’t give their flesh and blood to be crucified. Some say He was only a myth, but myths don’t set the calendar for history. Jesus has been called the ideal man, an example of love, the highest model of religion, the foremost pattern of virtue, the greatest of all men, and the finest teacher who ever lived. All of those descriptions capture elements of His character, but they all fall short of the full truth. The apostle Thomas expressed it perfectly when he saw Jesus after His resurrection, and exclaimed, ‘My Lord and My God!’ (John 20:28)" [John MacArthur, God with Us].