Summary: This message answers this question asked by the crowd on Palm Sunday: Who is this guy? We will see some important answers about who Jesus was, who he became, and who he is.
WHO IS THIS GUY?
Today is Palm Sunday, named in honor of the day Jesus entered Jerusalem amidst a noisy crowd, hailing him with palm branches. It marks the beginning of the last week before his death. Let’s review the scene, as I read Matthew 21:1-11 (quickview) .
Did you notice the end? The whole city is stirred up, and they ask, “Who is this guy?”
That’s a pretty good question. In fact, I don’t think there is a better question, a more important question for you to answer. Especially this week…
Our text today answers this question. In our text today we will see some important answers about who Jesus was, who he became, and who he is. Turn with me to Philippians 2 (quickview) , beginning in verse five. As I read Philippians 2:5-6 (quickview) , notice what this text says about who Jesus was.
These first two verses say some very important things about who Jesus was.
A. He existed before his birth
The first thing to take note of is that the subject of these verses is Jesus Christ. And these verses are talking about Jesus’ existence before he was born. That little word ‘being’ in verse 6 means ‘existing.’
Unlike you and me, he existed before he was born. Unlike us, his birth was not his beginning. This is not talking about reincarnation or some ‘previous life.’ This is stating something significant about Christ as a person – that his existence pre-dates his birth.
B. He existed as God
The nature of this existence was that of deity. He existed in the very nature, the text says, as God. This phrase literally means “in the form of God.” And it refers to the outer manifestation of his inner nature. His essence, his nature, is that of God.
The NLT says it plainly: “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God…”
Phil 2:5-6 NLT
The end of verse 6 mentions something else: equality with God. Now our text will describe some important things about Jesus’ reaction to his equality with God, but here it is enough to say that he possessed equality with God – he was equal with, equal to God. This is a description of deity.
Notice how else Paul says this:
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
The nature of Jesus continues to be debated.