Summary: This sermon discusses both the divinity and humanity of Jesus and why he came to earth. It speaks of the virgin birth and why it is important as well as the resurrection.
Series: What is Christianity #1
Who is Jesus? Why Did He Come?
INTRODUCTION: Today people have a lot of opinions as to who Jesus is and why He came. There is even a lot of controversy within the church, and much effort is made to “explain away” the various aspects of His claims. People want to deny the miraculous events that brought Him into history and to express unbelief toward His plan of salvation. We need to know what scripture says so that we may be strengthened in our faith.
The scripture in Philippians gives us quite a bit of information about Jesus as pre-existent before He came to earth. It is believed that this scripture was an early hymn that Paul incorporated into this letter to the Philippians. Others feel that he wrote it himself. He starts out by telling the Philippians that their attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus and then Christ’s pre-incarnate status is described here.
Part I: Let’s take a look first at the question, “Who is Jesus?”
1. He is God--verse 6 says, “Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” He had equal status with God before He came to earth, but when the time came, He laid it aside in order to take on humanity. He laid aside the full privileges of deity to take on the form of man. Many people have difficulty reconciling the divine nature and the human nature. The “form” of God means the outward manifestation of God. He was in very NATURE God. He changed his form to come to earth in HUMAN FORM, however, He didn’t cease to be God when He did. He is still God even though he came in the form of a human. He merely laid aside some of His privileges.
Vs. 7 says, “He took on the form of a servant, and was made in the LIKENESS of man.
When He did this He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death even the despised death of the cross. He made himself of no reputation.
On commentator says, “He emptied Himself, stripped Himself of the insignia of majesty” (Lightfoot) but when occasion demanded it, He exercised his divine attributes.” (Morehead).
We know that he CONTINUED to be God when He came to earth. How do we know this? He took on the form of a servant which does not imply an exchange but rather an ADDITION to what He already is. The NATURE of God couldn’t be given up for GOD cannot cease to be God. Christ became a part of humanity being made in human LIKENESS. The word LIKENESS stresses similarity, but leaves room for difference. Paul is telling us that Christ became a genuine man but there were certain ways in which he was ABSOLUTELY like other men. He was God plus fully human. He did not empty himself of being God but of His manner of existence as equal to God. For one thing, He laid aside His independent use of His divine attributes. You will remember that he would always say, “I seek to do the will of my father, not my own.”
Outwardly Jesus looked like any other human.
Another scripture that points to his deity is in the book of John. This book gives more emphasis on his deity whereas the book of Mark focuses more on his humanity.
John 1:1-5 describes His preexistence before He came to earth. Jesus is described as the Word. “In the beginning was the Word (logos) and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (vs. 1). He was with God in the beginning. Verse 10 says he was in the world and though the world was made by him, the world did not recognize him. Verse 14 speaks of the Word--the Word became flesh (human) and dwelt among us.
When John used the Word--the Greek word logos--meaning Word, he was endeavoring to bring out the full significance of the incarnation to the Gentile World as well as to the Jewish world. Jesus had UNIVERSAL rather than just LOCAL significance and He spoke with ultimate authority. He was pre-existent, involved in the very act of creation, and superior to all created beings.
The Word was WITH God indicates both EQUALITY and DISTINCTION of identity along with co-existence with the Creator. Throughout scripture His preexistence is confirmed many times.
John 8:58 says, “Jesus said, before Abraham was born, I AM.”
Colossians 1:15, 16, “He is the image of the INVISIBLE God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth visible and invisible.
2. The Virgin Birth--How did Jesus come to earth? There are a lot of people who deny this about Jesus. You might say, “Why does it matter one way or another? What difference does it make?”