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By Elder James Groce
Pastor, Calvary Apostolic Tabernacle
The question, “What think ye of Christ?”, presents a dilemma to any thinking person. If Jesus Christ was not all that He claimed to be, He was the greatest deceiver of all time. Either we must accept Him as God made manifest in the flesh or reject him as the one who claimed to be what he was not, and to accomplish what only God could do.
John declared of Him, “. . .He that cometh after me is preferred before me for He was before me” (John 1:15). John has set before us a paradox. One cannot be both a predecessor and a successor. Yet there was One who was exactly that—Jesus Christ. John the Baptist owed his existence to his parents. Jesus Christ, however, came into being by His own power and volition. John was stating that Jesus Christ is the First One, the Beginning of all things, the Creator of all things.
As the “Son” He came later than I, says John, but as God, the Eternal Logos, He was before me, existing as the One and Only True and Living God. John also states in his writings that before there was a creation, God existed as Creator. And wonder of wonders, the Creator became the Creature of Mary’s womb! (John 1:1-4).
“And the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). John uses the term “flesh,” he does not say, “And the Word was made a body.” The word “flesh,” sarx in Greek, denotes a human bodily manifestation. It shows that God became fully man except for sin, for if He were a sinful man, He could not possibly atone for sin. The term “flesh” means that God in His human manifestation had a true human body that was capable of emotions, feelings, and all the limitations of the human flesh physically. He was conceived in the womb of a human mother (Luke 1:1; Matt. 1:18). He was brought forth in birth by her as the Supreme Sacrifice of God—the sinless Lamb! “God shall provide Himself a sacrifice.”
He, the Eternal One, was made fully man who possessed a natural human body and went to Calvary as the Lamb of God. He, who was made flesh, and walked among us, continued at the same time to be God Eternal in the heavens. The verb “was made” indicates an historical event in the past. It points back to Bethlehem, when the Son of God was born in a manger. Micah prophesied hundreds of years beforehand saying, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth …that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been of old, from everlastings” (Micah 5:2). “Of old” is the very word used in John 1:1 which is translated “beginning.” This, of course, could only be in reference to the One and only True and Living God. Jesus Christ is Jehovah of the Old Testament!
When God came to the earth, He took upon Himself the form of a man, because that was the only way He could be seen of our physical eyes—“God was manifest in the flesh.” But that does not mean that He ceased to exist as Spirit, nor was God as Spirit in His totality limited to the human form of Jesus Christ. John declares that the Father and the Logos, the “Word,” Jesus Christ, are of one and the same nature, the one is no less God than the other, irrespective of the fact that God took upon Himself a limited form so that He could be made visible to us. He was nevertheless God.
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