Who do you think Jesus really is? (15)
Who is the savior of Israel David called ‘my savior’ or ‘my rescuer’ in his songs? The savior of Israel is the LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Although God raised Moses, Samson and other Judges to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors, these heroes are hardly called saviors. God alone is the Mighty Savior and He Himself claimed that.,
“And Jehovah saith unto the sons of Israel, `[Have I] not [saved you] from the Egyptians, and from the Amorite, from the Bene-Ammon, and from the Philistines? And the Zidonians, and Amalek, and Maon have oppressed you, and ye cry unto Me, and I save you out of their hand;” (Judges 10:11-12, Young’s Literal Translation)
If rescuing the people of Israel from physical bondages takes God Himself, then how much more will it take to deliver all mankind out of the spiritual bondages of sin and death? It won’t take anything less than God Himself.
In the same thought, after being visited by the angel Gabriel and being greeted so extraordinarily from Elizabeth, Mary said,
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47, NIV)
Under the same light, Jude, the brother of Jesus, ended the writing in his short letter as,
“to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 1:25, NIV)
as what the apostle Paul also wrote to Timothy saying,
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,” (1 Timothy 1:1, NIV)
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior,” (1 Timothy 2:3, NIV)
These verses tell us that the people of Israel from David’s time to Paul’s believed that God is the only True Savior as it has became the undeniable evidence in their spiritual lives. To them, there has never been and will never be any other Savior beside God.
But, when it comes to the good news at the birth of Jesus proclaimed to the shepherds in the field, the angle said,
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11, NIV)
If the ‘savior’ who has been born in Bethlehem that night was just a human – even an extraordinary human being, then it was a bit exaggerated to have a band of angle singing and praising God, wasn’t it? There was no point in putting a ‘Bethlehem Star’ on the night sky to lead the wise men to come, to bow down and to bring some royal offerings to this human baby boy. If Jesus is just a human Messiah, then He should not be too different from Moses and again, all prophesies seem a little too much either and the attribute ‘the Savior’ may not fit on Him. But, Moses was never called the Son of God. Jesus is the Son of God and there’s no doubt about it. So, all the glory shown above was due to Jesus’ status as the Son of God. Is the Son of God an ordinary man or ‘God in flesh?’ Those who deny Jesus’ deity and claim that Jesus is merely a man – a human Messiah, have based their argument on what they call ‘Hebraic mind’ that the term ‘Son of God’ can be applied to any ordinary human being. It doesn’t have to be used for God in flesh. If this is of the truth, then we wouldn’t find the following verse in the New Testament (NT),
“The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”” (John 19:7, NIV)
which shows that Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God has put Himself equal to God – is God. Therefore, the Jews were looking for a proper way to kill Him. They wanted to impose the old law, the law of the capital punishment for adulterers and blasphemers, on Jesus saying,
“”We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”” (John 10:33, NIV)
Thus, the Jews considered Jesus using the term the Son of God is making Himself God – a blasphemy – and therefore Jesus has to be put to death.
On the other hand, if this Son of God is a different Person from God the Father, then why would He be called ‘a Savior? Are we to accept two separate saviors now? I do not think so. The name, ‘Jesus’ means ‘God saves.’ Does this means God raises a savior called Jesus to save all the people from sin and eternal death as in the case of Moses led Israelites out of Egypt? If this so, then God can always find another name for His Messiah. Those Jews have written in their hearts that ‘God is the only Savior,’ anyways. If Isaac gives his life to save Israel from bondage, I don’t think that people are going to call Isaac ‘Abraham saves’? Abraham can unfairly sacrifice Isaac to bring glory to his – Abraham’s – name, but God will never do that. In order to have just ‘One Savior,’ Jesus and the Father should be one as He claimed in John 10:30, NIV,
“I and the Father are one.”
But, for some people it is too difficult to understand if the Father and the Son as the same Person. Although this concept is acceptable in term of ‘one Savior only,’ many have found it to be a stumbling block to these people who so much rely on their common senses. We’re left then with some question to be answered in each heart, “Is our faith an object to understand or to believe?” “Can Jesus’ resurrection fit the common sense and be scientifically or logically explained and understood?”
The theory of relativity of Albert Einstein is just too much for certain people. Quantum theory of Max Planck can be an impossible subject to many other. But, no one has ever stood up to claim that these two theories are wrong. But, when it comes to Jesus being equal to God, then many will stand up to bring many arguments to deny it, though they seem to result from the lack of understanding the nature of the Spirit, which clearly stated in the NT as,
“But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.” (1 Corinthians 2:14, Amplified Bible)
Anyway, the same apostle Paul who once addressed Timothy that God is the Savior would show a new perspective of this matter when he wrote to Titus saying,
“and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” (Titus 1:3-4, NIV)
where he put ‘God our savior’ and ‘Christ Jesus our savior’ in consecutive verses. Paul did not intend to tell us that there are two distinctive Saviors. It seems to me that Paul understood and believed the there should be ‘One Savior’ as Jesus once proclaimed in John 10:30.
Secondly, to the same recipient Paul also wrote,
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,” (Titus 3:4-6, NIV)
where he did not only put the Father and the Son as one identical savior but also incorporated the Holy Spirit, in the salvation process which are the washing of rebirth and the renewal of man which lead us to the essence of baptism of repentance. We will have some discussion on the Holy Spirit separately, and now let us set our focus back on our main theme – Who is the Savior?
We know that the coming of the Messiah had been prophesied since the beginning in Genesis 3:15. While some of these prophesies had lead most of the people of Israel to expect a human deliverer and restorer – a great king like David, some others contained an implication that the coming Messiah is God Himself. The famous prophesy concerning this is found in Isaiah 9:6-7, where the Messiah will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” and “of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” An honest person would surely find this as impossible to be applied to any human Messiah or any human king.
A same kind of prophesy is also found in Isaiah 35:4-5 (New Living Translation), which says,
“Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.”
And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer,
and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!….. “
Therefore, Jesus pointed the reality of these verses when John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to get the confirmation about ‘the promised one’ in Matthew 11:2-6. It has been foretold that God Himself will come to save His people. Of course God would not show Himself as He is for no one can stand alive before His presence. He wouldn’t appear as a Spirit for no one would be able to see Him. God the Savior took a certain form that would be seen and perceptible by all human being without endangering their lives. He took the form of a human being known as the Son of God, Jesus Christ – God in the flesh, with divine characteristics such as ‘sinless,’ that is impossible for any human being.
This is the only way to understand the message of Gabriel to Mary about the Son of God that,
“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.” (Luke 1:35)
and to Joseph that,
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20)
This is the only way where ‘Jesus’ means ‘God saves.’ This is the only way to see that there is ‘one Savior’ – God Almighty. And this is the only way where the message of the angles, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord,” appears to be meaningful. One important development I’d like to pint out to you is that according to these verses, “the Son of God” is equal to “from the Holy Spirit” or in other words, “The Son of God is also the son of the Holy Spirit!”
Under this divine illumination, did the apostle John wrote in 1 John 5:20 that,
“And we know, that the Son of God came in flesh, and gave to us wit, that we know him very God, and be in the very Son [Jesus] of him [and be in the very Son Jesus of him]. This is very God, and everlasting life.” (Wycliffe New Testament)
or as is defined as,
“And we know that the Son of God came so we could recognize and understand the truth of God—what a gift!—and we are living in the Truth itself, in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. This Jesus is both True God and Real Life.” (1 John 5:20; The Message)
Let us prevent ourselves from asking some meaningless question such as “If Jesus is God then why did He pray?” We can see this prayer of Jesus from a more important aspect is that while He also prays, Jesus never used the part,
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,” (Matthew 6:12)
He taught His disciples to pray. Looking at Jesus’ prayer in John 17, some people would raise another meaningless question as, “If Jesus is God, then how could God send Himself? They rely on their physical understanding of God and want to fit it in the spiritual truth of Jesus. What we could do is to find more important thing revealed in this following prayer.
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3),
If I can paraphrase this verse then it would sound like, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and that they may know Jesus Christ, whom you have sent,” or “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and this is eternal life: that they may know Jesus Christ, whom you have sent,” where Jesus placed ‘knowing Himself’ as another requirement of eternal life besides knowing God. Any decent person can see that it is not important to argue about the sender and the sent, but to uncover the truth that Jesus is equal to God or in better words, “Jesus is God!” If the deity of our Messiah can be denied with some shallow questions like, “If Jesus is God, then God was talking to Himself when He said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased?” (Matthew 3:17), then to whom God was talking to when He said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, ….” (Genesis 1:26)?
In the end, it goes back to each of us to believe or to disbelieve that Jesus is God in the flesh. This is all I can say. I can only hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will lead each truth seeker to see the truth of Jesus the Messiah as He has led me and many others like me to know Jesus in every single day of our spiritual life – our love relationship with God. The more we praise Jesus, the more we know Who He really is. Jesus and the Father are One in Spirit as He had said!
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14, NIV)