Summary: What we know of God, we know through Jesus.
First Presbyterian Church
Wichita Falls, Texas
April 3, 2011
WHO JESUS CHRIST IS
Jesus Christ -- The Center of Our Faith: Part 1
Hebrews 1:1-3 (NIV)
1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Every summer when I was a child, my family would make the trip from Texas to New Jersey to see my dad’s parents. They lived in a fascinating two-story house in which all the bedrooms were upstairs. The room I slept in had a single bed, and above the bed was a picture of Jesus. You may have seen this particular print. In it, Jesus is shown full stature, wearing a scarlet tunic and a white mantle. In one hand, he holds a shepherd’s staff and in the other, close to his heart, a lamb.
As a child I took great comfort in gazing at this picture, and it helped me feel safe and secure, as though Jesus, the Good Shepherd, were watching over me as I slept. In some ways, I suppose, I thought of myself as that lamb, tucked under the arm of our Lord. Of course, no one knows what Jesus really looked like, but we can know a great deal about him and what he was and is like.
Over the next several weeks, I want us to get a ‘picture’ of Jesus -- not a visual image, of course, but a clearer understanding of what Scripture says about him. The difficult part will be limiting what we say, there is so much to be said. But, for today, let it be enough to say this: What we know of God, we know through Jesus. We see this through two fundamental claims the Scriptures make about our Lord.
I. Jesus Christ Is God the Son
First, Jesus is God the Son. This is the same thing as saying that Jesus is God, but it is more specific. When we say that Jesus is God the Son, we are saying that he is the second person in the Trinity. There is the Father. There is the Son. And there is the Holy Spirit.
The Athanasian Creed, which dates back to the sixth century, tell us: ‘In this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal.’
In other words, God the Son did not begin his existence on the night the angels appeared to the shepherds, ‘keeping watch over their flocks by night.’ No, since he is God, there has never been a time when he did not exist. ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ we read, ‘and the Word was with God, and’ -- listen to this part -- ‘the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made’ (John 1:1ff.).
Jesus himself testifies to this. In John 8:58, he says, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!’ And, again, in John 10:30, he says, ‘I and the Father are one.’ And in John 14:9, he says, ‘...Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’ In Hebrews 1:3, part of our text for today, we read, ‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.’
The witness of Scripture is plain: Jesus Christ is God the Son. He is divine. He is God. That’s the first affirmation of Scripture about our Lord.
II. Jesus Christ Is the Son of God
The second affirmation is that he is human. He is not only God the Son; he is also the Son of God. When the angel announced to Mary that she had been chosen to give birth to the Savior, he said to her: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’ Matthew and Luke then go on to tell us how Mary, although a virgin, carried in her womb the One whom the ancient prophet called ‘the Desire of ages’ (cf. Haggai 2:7).
Joshua Harris, in one of his books, puts it this way. He says, ‘God the Son, existing for all eternity, now became dependent, floating in the amniotic fluid of a female womb. The One by whose power the whole world is sustained, now nourished by an umbilical cord. The God-man would have a bellybutton’ (Joshua Harris).