“Who do you think Jesus really is?” (16)
Many people in the world refuse to accept Jesus’ divine nature. They argue that the divinity of Jesus is made up by His followers who are greatly influenced by all wonders and miracles He performs, while such claim never comes out from Jesus’ own mouth. Jesus never directly said that “I am God,” but in many occasions He did and said something that has led people to that direction. One of such statements of Jesus is found in John 13:13, which sounds,
“You call Me the Teacher (Master) and the Lord, and you are right in doing so, for that is what I am.” (Amplified Bible)
It’s been often heard that these people also underlying their claim that Jesus is merely a man by the facts such as, ‘God is immortal but Jesus have once died,’ ‘God cannot be tired but Jesus was tired,’ ‘God never hungry but Jesus needed the food,’ and so on and on. Are we to assume that God looks exactly like Jesus for Jesus once said that, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (see John 14:9). Are they only able to percept the physical side of Jesus? We can have a separate discussion about this carnal understanding of Jesus, but for now let’s see one of the extraordinary characteristic of Jesus that is impossible for any man to posses.
Let us look at the well know characteristic of man that had cause so much agony on Jesus who surrendered His life on the cross for, as was defined by the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament (OT) as,
“All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6, New Living Translation)
This is an undeniable evident of all mankind as the apostle Paul also put it in the New Testament (NT).
“For all men sinned, and have need to the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23, Wycliffe NT)
This sinful nature of mankind is also clearly described through the apostle Paul as,
“Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned.” (Romans 5:12, Amplified Bible)
There has never been a single sinless man walking on this earth and there will never be one either. There is no exception for any human being when it comes to the sinful nature and no one is able to free oneself from the power of sin which is death. The very natural characteristic of man is sinful.
This truth about human nature has once been used by Jesus to confront the scribes and the Pharisees who were readily to punish a woman adulterer by stoning her to death. Jesus’ statement,
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
had turned each and everyone of them, began with the eldest. Jesus had put them before the mirror that they came to realize their own sinful nature. After everybody has left, but Jesus and the woman, Jesus said to her,
“Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11, Darby Translation)
This statement come out from Jesus the Jews found to be sinless. He, therefore, had the right to punish the woman or to let her go unpunished, for there had never been any objection from the scribes and Pharisees when Jesus forgave the woman. No one dared to confront Him with the question, “Who gave you the right to forgive sin?” That compassionate statement of forgiveness was then followed by an authoritative one as He said, “go, and sin no more.”
The NT documented another circumstance when Jesus challenged the Jews to give the reason for such disbelief. He said,
“Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?” (John 8:46, NIV)
It was amazing, wasn’t it? Jesus had the scribes and the Pharisees stood in silence for the second time when it comes to denying His sinless life. It was amazing to realize that this sinless Jesus was mingling with the tax collectors, prostitutes and other sinners without being influenced by their sinful way of lives. Had He never said any bad words they used to say? Or, had He never even thought about anything this sinful people liked to think? The rightful Jews couldn’t even raised this evident of Jesus’ association with the transgressors to point a single little tiny spot of His life. He seemed to be untouchable by sin! Would any human being be like that?
The sinless nature of Jesus was also acknowledged by the writer of the book of Hebrews – supposedly Paul, when he wrote,
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV)
Any wise and decent person would not highlight the clause “who has been tempted” solely to support his argument that Jesus is merely a man for he can be tempted, for it is obvious that if God can be tempted then anybody else can. If God cannot be tempted then why should there be God’s rule saying, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God?” (“Matthew 4:7, Deuteronomy 6:6, NKJV) Please be advised that this is not related to the result in God’s side but to the action from man’s side. Since God cannot sin, then He cannot fall into temptations. In this discussion, we’d better underlying the second half of the whole verse to read, “who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin,” which reveals the natural characteristic of Jesus no man can ever has.
Later on in the same book of Hebrews, Jesus’ sinless was brought forth once again saying,
“how much more the blood of Christ, which by the Holy Ghost offered himself unwemmed to God, shall cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve God that liveth [for to serve to living God]?” (Hebrews 9:14, Wycliffe New Testament; unwemmed = not blemished; undefiled; pure – Lexic.us.)
This can be a good reference for those who keep insisting that Jesus is not God for God cannot die but Jesus did. Think about their other argument to distinguish the Father from the Son which is taken from part of John 17:3: “and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” If the Father did sent Jesus as we experience and understand in our human lives, then everything Jesus did had to be based on God’s instruction. Therefore, whether Jesus was willing or He was not, He had to surrender His life according to God’s command, had He not? If this is true, then we would not read words like “offered himself.” These two words imply that the sinless Jesus did that on His own free will. Still not convinced yet? Read the following verse carefully!
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:17-18, NIV)
God will never give this kind of power to any human being or an angel. No one has control over his life but God alone. Yes, Jesus had died once but not because He was killed as it looks to many eyes of unbelievers but because He voluntarily laid it down for our sake! Does it make sense that the One Who commands the rotten Lazarus to come out alive from his tomb, can be that easily apprehended, tortured and crucified? No one, no soldier and no king can ever take Jesus’ life away from him.
One important thing to notice in Hebrews 9:14 above that “Jesus offered His life trough the Holy Ghost – the Holy Spirit.” This is to demonstrate that God the Father has never worked alone. Anywhere in the Bible, we could find the work of the Father, the Word Who became flesh and the Holy Spirit also known as the Spirit of God or the Spirit of the LORD. This will be another interesting topic to discuss.
Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, Peter who had shared a short but very precious period of his lifetime with his Master, wrote that,
“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” (1 Peter 2:22, NIV)
This kind of statement has never been given to any human being and will never be either. The only sinless ‘person’ man could ever know is Jesus Christ, Who is the Perfect Image of God. Each one of us is left with only two choices to decide, whether we believe that Jesus Christ is God in flesh Who is called Immanuel, or we don’t believe in Jesus at all. There is no middle position to get into. We might have repeatedly read or hear this very clear and distinctive statement of Jesus found in John 14:6, which says,
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If we take our eyes off the picture of a role of a single representative or a single agent in our daily business transactions, then we would be able to see that the above statement can only meaningful if Jesus is God in flesh. If we said that we are His followers but are reluctant to abandon our worldly perception of Jesus, then the following Words of Jesus to Philip are applicable to us.
“Have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know Me yet, Philip? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say then, Show us the Father?” (John 14:9, Amplified Bible)
Please read and reflect the next two verses from John 14:9 (vv. 10 & 11) and maybe you will be able to see His truth. I surely hope and pray that the Holy Spirit may abide in all of us that we may be able to see Jesus as Paul and Peter did. God bless you all!