At the center of Christianity is not a philosophy or a list of rules to obey. At the center of Christianity is a person. Jesus doesn’t ask us to believe in his teachings, or say that he is pointing the way to God. Jesus calls us to believe in him and that he is the way, the truth and the life. Who exactly is Jesus? What do Christians believe about Jesus? What if God became one of us? And what does that mean for all of us?
What if God became one of us?
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi,
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist;
others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
At the center of Christianity is not a PHILOSOPHY but a PERSON.
- DEITY: Jesus is fully GOD.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord,
The Trinity: One God, in three distinct persons. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Coeternal, coequal, uncreated “neither blending their persons, nor dividing their essence.” [Athanasian Creed]
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. [Nicene Creed]
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and 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. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
- HUMANITY: Jesus is fully MAN.
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
The Incarnation: Jesus is fully God and fully man, “without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only- begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ.” [Chalcedonian Creed]
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
- HISTORY: Jesus died by ROMAN CRUCIFIXION.
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.
“I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”
-H. G. Wells
“I think we need have no doubt that given Jesus’ execution by Roman crucifixion he was truly dead.”
- James Tabor [Chair of Religious Studies at UNC, Skeptic]
- VICTORY: Jesus defeated the GRAVE and is ALIVE.
He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead;
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
1 Corinthians 15:14
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-56
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
- SOVEREIGNTY: Jesus is LORD of ALL.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
and He will come to judge the living and the dead.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The Question: Who do you say Jesus is?