By J. R. Ensey
Jesus divides history into two distinct sectionsB. C. and A.
D. Time is reckoned from His birth. Throughout the world, calendars
are printed to reflect how far we have come from that night when the
angels sang, For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
Having made such an impact upon the world, one might think that all
humanity would know about Him, could call His name, or could at least
explain His mission on earth. Alas, it is not so. The vast majority
of the world is cloaked in spiritual ignorance. It is said that one-half
of all living have not even heard of Him. Even among those who claim
to know Him, controversy swirls as to His person and work. They dissect
His words, weigh His inflections, and question His authority. If His
own disciples are unclear on the basics, how shall the world understand
who He is or what He is about?
Christianity is about a relationship with a personJesus, the
Christrather than a philosophy. It cannot be deduced or reasoned
out. It defies logical conclusions. The natural laws of physics don't
apply. He was beyond all that. Our limits were not His. He was
in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him
not (John 1:10). Who can comprehend the virgin birth? His prodigious
wisdom? His resurrection and ascension? No human terms can adequately
explain those facts and events.
Only faith can grasp the full meaning of Christs life and death.
Faith transcends historyeither secular or biblical. It lifts
Him out of the pages of the past and into the present, and projects
Him into the future. "Before Abraham was, I am (John 8:58)
are the words of Jesus Himself. Not I was, or will
be. Am is always in the present tense. Confucius was; Buddha
was; Muhammad wasbut Jesus said, I am! That put
Him in a category all by Himself. Yet history alone cannot substantiate
all His sayings nor prove His deeds. That is left to faith. The Bible
records and affirms; experience enfleshes and confirms; finally, faith
Among philosophers, historians, and those who are Christian in name
only, the question of the ages still is: Who was Jesus Christ?
Drawing on the biblical revelations, two thousand years of history,
and personal experienceapostolic Christians can emphatically
affirm that He was God manifest in the flesh. While questions remain
that will only be removed when we are face to face with Him, we do
have the advantage of nineteen centuries of debate and viewing Christ
from every conceivable angle. He was unique in all the universe, man
and yet God; God and yet man. He was God's means of redeeming mankind
who had fallen from his estate through sin.
Christ the Son of God was made to be indwelt by the Almighty God (I
Cor. 5:19; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 10:5). He spoke as God (Jn. 7:46) and He
spoke as man (Jn. 19:28). He knew why He was in the world (Luke 2:49)
and completed the work for which He was sent (Jn. 17:4; 19:30).
Christ qualified perfectly as the mediator between God and men. Paul
speaks of "the man Christ Jesus" (I Tim. 2:5), then calls
Jesus the only wise God (I Tim. 1:17). A man could not
mediate between a horse and a monkey because he has the nature of
neither. Nor could he mediate between a horse and a man because he
does not have the nature of both. A true mediator must have the qualities
of both entities. That's why Jesus fully qualifies as our MediatorHe
has the attributes of both God and man!
As Bishop Morris Golder says, There is none like Jesus! He came,
but He was already here. He went away, but He never left. He became
a man, but He didn't cease to be God. He was the Creator who became
the creature, but didn't cease to be the Creator. He was the first
who became the last, but didn't cease to the be the first. Indeed,
Paul makes virtually the same assertion in Philippians 2:5-11: [Christ]
made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men...He humbled himself....
Not that God ceased to be God because He was "found in fashion
as a man, but that in yet another way He revealed Himself as
a loving Savior and Redeemer (Psa. 113:6; Isa. 43:3-11; I Tim. 2:3;
II Tim. 2:10; Psa. 78:35; Isa. 63:16). The flesh was a veil for the
shekinah (Heb. 10:20), a shroud for His glory. The self-humbling was
not an abdication but a revelationWho being the brightness
of his glory, and the express image of his person (Heb. 1:3).
God is sovereign. He has the prerogative to represent Himself in any
way He should desire. Sovereignty means that He can take any course
of action whatever without remorse of conscience, as long as it does
not conflict with His divine nature (Num. 23:19; James 1:13).
How can Jesus be both the Father and the Son (Isa. 9:6)? In the same
way He can be both the Lamb and the High Priest; both the purchaser
and the price; both the root and the offspring of David! That is the
marvel and wonder of the incarnation.
Paul wrote these poignant words to Timothy: Remember that Jesus
Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to
my gospel (II Tim. 2:8). These two points were the extremes
which had been joined together in Christ: He is a true man, descended
from David, but He is also God since He rose from the dead as He had
foretold. Most doctrinal controversies which have arisen about Christ
since then have been rooted in the emphasis of one of these points
at the expense of the other. Many questions can be raised for which
there are no concrete satisfactory answerscertainly no unanimity.
The late Frank Ewart, twentieth century Oneness advocate, used to
say that even though we know whom we have believed, there
yet remains a certain measure of wonder about Him. For now, it is
enough to humbly proclaim with Thomas, My Lord and my God
(John 20:28). One day, however, all our questions will be forever
answered when we see Him face to face. We will be able to comprehend
Him in His fullnessnot limited by our present finite minds:
For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face;
now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known
(I Cor. 13:12).
Truly Jesus Christthe Christ of the Gospels, the Christ of history,
the crucified and risen Christ, the divine-human Christis the
most real, the most certain, the most blessed fact of history. He
is the only solution to the terrible mystery of sin and death, the
only inspiration to a holy life of love to God and man, and the only
guide to happiness and peace. Systems of human wisdom will come and
go, kingdoms and empires will rise and fall, but for all time Christ
will remain the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
History is crowded with men who would be God; but only one God who
would be man.
Excerpted from the book Biblical Christology: Jesus the Christ, available
from Advance Ministries.