Jesus, The Christ
By J. R. Ensey
Jesus divides history into two distinct sections—B. 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 person—Jesus, the Christ—rather 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 Christ’s life and death. Faith transcends history—either 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 was—but 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 decides.

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 experience—apostolic 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 Mediator—He 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 revelation—“Who 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 answers—certainly 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 fullness—not 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 Christ—the Christ of the Gospels, the Christ of history, the crucified and risen Christ, the divine-human Christ—is 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.
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