Tag Archives: Jesus

Jesus, the King

Who is Jesus?

Ephesians 1:20-21 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Long ago, God’s people asked Him for a king to rule over them (I Samuel 8).  Though they were warned against such a thing, they still demanded to be ruled by a king.  God granted their request, but the history of Israel is full of men who let them down, kings who couldn’t live up to the expectations placed on them.  Many of these men did not even follow God.  But that was under the old covenant.

Today, God’s people live under the new covenant of Christ.  Jesus was appointed our King and His reign will never end.  He will never disappoint because He is fully God.  He will never lead us astray because He knows all things and He is good.  He will never fail because all things have been placed under His dominion.  His kingdom will know no end.  At the very name of Jesus, every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).

He came to this earth, not to establish an earthly kingdom (though He could have), but to grant access to His heavenly kingdom – where nothing can destroy what He has created.  To what king do you pledge your allegiance?

Jesus, the Creator

Who is Jesus?

John 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus, the Savior of the world, the One who was sent to redeem mankind, is the Creator of mankind.  How so?  If there is only one God and He exists as three persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and He has existed from eternity…then how is Jesus not the Creator?

The apostle John comes right out of the gates with his theology.   No lineages, no birth story in a manger in Bethlehem – right to the point – Jesus is God.  “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus, the logos), and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” (emphasis and parenthetical point mine) Wait, it gets even more clear:  “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Don’t believe John?  How about Paul?  “For by Him (Jesus), all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…” (Colossians 1:15).

How does it change your view of God to think about how the God who created us is the very same God who came to save us?  Our Creator is our Redeemer.  The One who holds all things together is the One who gave His life that we might be with Him.  How’s that for love?  Does it change how you see Jesus?  He’s not just some baby we celebrate on Christmas or just some guy with a beard who taught good moral lessons.  It all began with Him.  And it all ends with Him.

Jesus, the Son

Who is Jesus?

Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

God exists eternally in the form of three equal, but distinct persons: The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.  Often when we talk about “God” we’re referring to God the Father.  But how can God, who is spirit, and exists outside of time, be a father?  And how can three be one?  The answer to these types of questions are not easy to explain, but the Bible does help us understand.

All three persons of the Trinity have existed since before time (John 1).  No one gave birth to the Son, He’s always existed.  Not until He came to dwell on the earth as a man was He birthed of a woman, and even then by choice.  Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are all equal, of the same substance (John 10:30).  His place as Son is not lesser than the Father, so verses like John 14:28 speak to purpose and not to rank.  Jesus’ purpose is to glorify the Father, just as the Spirit is to bring glory to Jesus.

Further, His place as Son gives us a picture of just how God wants us to be.  God sent His only Son with the purpose that we also might become His sons, and if sons then heirs to everything Christ is entitled to.  This word sons isn’t gender related and doesn’t exclude women, it does the opposite.  There’s power in using the word sons because traditionally sons have received a greater inheritance.  By including females as His “sons”, God has granted all the same rights to His riches.  By accepting Christ, we became sons of God.  And Jesus is the “firstborn” among us.

Jesus following God’s will

God’s will

Luke 22:41  And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

All throughout the earthly ministry of Jesus we see Him obeying the Father’s will.  Not once did Jesus ever go against the master plan set out by the One who sent Him.  Though it would cost Him His life, He followed through to the end, carrying out every single step that had been ordained.  He took His obedience to the cross, dying for the sins of man.  And He’s our example.

We can never be perfect, never get it all right.  We’ll never be sinless like Christ, following the Lord’s will in every single thing He calls us to do.  But that’s the point.  We can’t do it, so Jesus did.  We were never going to be able to live perfectly within God’s will, but Christ has enabled us to seek after God’s will in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Everything Jesus did, all that’s recorded in Scripture and all that’s not, was for the greater plans of God.  He knew that even though it was painful to bear, the will of the Father was for the good of all mankind.  He gave up His will for the Father’s.  And aren’t you glad He did?

There’s a way out

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

So you know by now that sin is bad and that you should choose to stay away from it.  But it isn’t always just that simple, is it?  Sometimes the temptation to sin is great and just knowing that it’s wrong isn’t enough.  It can be overwhelming.

But there’s good news!  God is looking out for you.  If you belong to Him, He’s on your side and He provides a way fro you to stay true to Him.  The Holy Spirit working in you will not only nudge you to let you know when something is sin, He’ll point you to a way of escape from the temptation.

No matter how massive the temptation you’re facing, God has seen it before, Jesus has faced it before (Hebrews 4:15), and the Spirit has dealt with it before.  You’re not alone and you don’t have to face any sin or any temptation without help.  The truth is, you have the greatest help ever available because God Himself is cheering for you to win.  Find assurance in that.

Christ’s body

The Church

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

The Church – we are many, but we are one – united in Christ.  Though the Church is made up of many individuals, each has his or her own part in making up the body of Christ.  Each member is like a part of a body, fulfilling a specific purpose to the greater purpose of the body as a whole.

Why do we gather as a church?  To carry out the work of Christ in the world.  To bring glory to God.  He has commissioned us to go out and do His will and bring about His purposes.  When we unite as one, we have strength in numbers, we have unity, we have a greater plan.  In our unity, God works in us and through us, just as He works in and through us as individuals.

In each of us, He gives skills and abilities.  In the corporate body He puts those skills to work, directing us right where He wants us.  Often we pair with someone whose skills complement our own and our effectiveness is doubled, as two strands of rope are far stronger than one (even better with a third – God).

United as a body, we are an unstoppable force in the world for the cause of Christ.

 

Christ’s bride

The Church

Ephesians 5:25-27  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Of all analogies given in Scripture to describe the relationship between God and man, maybe one of the most peculiar is that of husband and wife. Christ is the groom and we (collectively, as the Church) are His bride.  Why is this comparison used to speak of our relationship with Jesus?

First of all, any analogy that tries to capture God within human understanding fails.  God is not just like anything we have knowledge of.  But He is kind of like a husband who loves his bride and would do anything (DID everything!) for her.  The best attempt we have at coming close to understanding God’s love is a healthy marriage relationship where there is mutual love.  Christ gave everything, His own perfect life, for His bride.  He sacrificed it all that we might be reconciled to God.

We, His bride, are made spotless (here’s the white dress) to be presented at the marriage (Christ’s return).  He’s made a covenant with us that will never be broken and He remains faithful.  His love never falters, never fails.  His love is true.  And His love is for us.  We await the perfect wedding day to come.

Three in One – God revealed

The Trinity

Deuteronomy 29:29  The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Anyone who’s ever tried to understand the triune nature of God knows that it’s a difficult task.  It’s even harder to describe than it is to understand.  People have attempted many different ways of describing God over the centuries and all of them fall short.

The water analogy (God is like water:  it exists as liquid, solid and vapor) fails to capture the nature of God because H2O cannot exist as water, ice, and steam simultaneously and each of these three has different properties.  God is simultaneously Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Each contains the same essence.  The candle analogy (Father=candlestick, Son=light, Spirit=flame) is even worse as each fail to coexist with each other in a way that would even come close to a picture of the Trinity.  Likewise analogies like the courtroom (which gives a good idea of the roles of the Trinity in judge, bailiff and defense attorney) cannot capture the triune nature of God because saying that all of these make up “one court” is nothing like the oneness of our God.  Analogies fall short because God is above our understanding.

We have a tendency to think that we need to figure everything out, that there is somewhere out there a perfect analogy to show just what our God is like.  But God is not like anything in creation.  He is God.  And it’s ok to not understand the mysterious things about Him.  But when He reveals something about Himself, it’s worth taking note.  Through the Scriptures, God has revealed that He is Three in One, and we do well to believe it to be so.  All of the details of this fact may remain a mystery, and we need to be willing to accept that God is more complex than we could ever understand with our finite minds.  If He wasn’t, He wouldn’t be much of a god.

Three in One – Calling

 

The Trinity

Matthew 3:16-17  And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;  and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

What we see at the baptism of Jesus is the Father confirming the ministry He was sent for and the Holy Spirit empowering Him by coming upon Him.  Jesus, being God himself, is at all times filled with the Holy Spirit, but the picture we get here as believers is that when God calls us to something, He empowers us to do it.  We have the blessing of the Father, the authority given by the Son (Matthew 28:18), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to carry out God’s mission.

All three persons of the Trinity are at work as we carry on with what God has called us to do and each plays a part in their own respective roles along the way.  As finite humans who are quite incapable of fully understanding how God works, we may never know exactly how God is working in a given situation, but we can know that He is working and that He is simultaneously acting in the distinct persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  These three are one and they equip us to do what we’re called to do.

Three in One – prayer

The Trinity

1 Timothy 2:5  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

Ephesians 6:18a  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

One aspect of Christian belief that does not often make its way into devotions or teaching on how to apply biblical truth to daily living is the Triune nature of God.  We neglect to focus on the nature of God as three persons in one as part of our view of God in daily life.  But it’s essential that we remember who God is as we seek to know Him more, as we petition Him, as we carry out His will.

As we pray, we are in fact engaging with all three distinct persons of the Trinity.  We speak to the Father, asking Him for our needs to be met, giving Him praise, interceding for the needs of others, and giving Him thanks.  We do this through the Son, who is our mediator.  Were it not for the role of Jesus Christ standing in the gap between man and God, we would have no access to the throne and our prayers would go unanswered.  Since God himself is spirit, we must act in the Holy Spirit to communicate with Him.  All three persons of the Triune God are present and active as we pray.

We can’t neglect any part of God’s nature as we seek Him.  If we forget that He is good, we will have an unnatural fear of Him.  If we forget that He is all-powerful, we will tend to pray without expecting results.  If we forget that He is all-knowing, we may fear that we won’t quite say the right thing and that God will answer our prayers incorrectly because we didn’t get our message across right.  The fact is that God is all of these things and He is present in our lives as our Father, as Jesus the Son, and as the Holy Spirit.