The Deity/Humanity of Jesus
The story is told of Daniel Webster, when he was dining with a company of literary men in Boston. The conversation turned to the subject of Christianity.
Mr. Webster affirmed his belief in the divinity of Christ and his dependence upon the atonement of the Savior. One seated at the table asked of Webster, “Can you comprehend how Christ could be both God and man?”
Mr. Webster said, “No, sir, I can not comprehend it. If I could comprehend Him, He would be no greater than myself. I feel that I need a super-human Savior.”
The deity and humanity of Jesus Christ has from the beginning of the church, been a subject of constant debate in various circles.
False teachers, cults and the world at large, has questioned the deity of the Lord, as well as His humanity. This debate however has no Scriptural support.
However, the God-man, Jesus Christ has more than the support of the Scriptures. Only Jesus as the God-man is what makes salvation possible.
If Jesus is not fully God, then only a man died upon the cross, leaving mankind with no hope that He could bear our sins; since He Himself is a sinner.
As well, if Jesus was not fully a man then, how could He accurately represent man before God? Only the God-man can fully represent the sinfulness of man and the holiness of God at the cross.
· From His birth, Jesus being God, He had no sin nature to make Him guilty of sin and thus the death He died on the cross was the just for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). And then only by being God; Jesus was able to do the works (or miracles) of His Father.
· From His birth, Jesus being made in the likeness of a man, was subject to the feelings of our weaknesses. Jesus grew hungry, he became tired, felt pain both emotionally and physically, Jesus move over could literally die.
So from out text, John gives to us:
I. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS (John 1:14)
This verse is possibly the most important verse in all of Scripture; as it reveals the significance not only of Jesus, but also of our faith.
“The Word became flesh…” links the all powerful creator God from vv. 1-5, to the testimony given of the light and life that has come to us on a personal level.
Here we have God becoming man, eternity entering into the fabric of time, and the creator becoming created.
The word for “flesh” can often times imply a negative moral connotation. But here, the implication is simply to a physical body being prepared.
Prior to the incarnation, Jesus did not have a physical body to limit Him. Like that of the rest of the Godhead, Jesus was an invisible spirit being.
But with the incarnation all of that changed: John says of the God-man, He “dwelt among us.” To dwell is to tabernacle, meaning to live in a tent. Yet this in no canvas covering pitched in the ground.
This tent is Christ’s humanity, His physical body; suddenly God is embodied in flesh, blood and bones. The significances of such change for Jesus we can only guess at; but for you and I such change anticipates Calvary.
Now the glory they beheld, was not some radiant light emanating from Jesus as He walked. Though to be sure upon the Mount of Transfiguration, yes Peter, James and John they saw Jesus shine as the sun in all of His glory.
Still, Jesus hid the physical glory He possessed as God. On a day-to-day basis, the glory they beheld was absolute perfection personified. This was not simply a good man, but a perfect man, as intended from creation.
From v.5 this was “the light” that shinned in darkness. They saw in Jesus the perfection that would have been true of Adam and Eve, if they never sinned.
The disciples saw in Jesus: wisdom, love, grace, knowledge, peace, joy, faith, patience, kindness, temperance and above all holiness.
Now when John speaks of Jesus as “the only begotten of the Father…” He is not speaking of His origin, to imply Jesus is less than God, having a beginning and thus is not eternal.
John is describing Jesus as being unique, or as being one of a kind. No one else was ever (or ever will be) like Jesus, a person that was “full of grace and truth.”
Here we see Jesus’ mission, by revealing two qualities about Jesus that are an essential part of salvation. Without the “truth” of the Gospel message, no one would see their need of Christ.
And with “grace,” God would not offer such salvation to sinners. Again, both grace and truth points to the need of the God-man to save us.
II. THE TESTIMONY ABOUT JESUS (John 1:15,16)
During the time this account of John’s Gospel was written, about some 60 years after Christ had died at Calvary; there were still followers of John the Baptist. In Acts 19:1-4, Paul wins some of them to the Lord.
So the Apostle gives to us a brief summary of John’s testimony concerning Christ; which will be expounded later. John the Baptist was a voice crying in the wilderness, proclaiming the coming of the Messiah.
As God, Jesus was “preferred” above John, as only God can save us. But John in showing the worth of Jesus says, “for He was before me.”
In human terms, John was 6 months older than Jesus; he also began his ministry prior to Christ. Yet Jesus was before John with the understanding or from the vantage point of eternity.
That’s the testimony of the fullness we are to receive by grace and we are to continue daily to receive by grace each day.
III. THE STRENGTH OF JESUS (John 1:17,18)
Under the Jewish faith, the Law was supreme, it was absolute. The Jews even tried adding to God’s Law with their own list of rules by their traditions.
It’s hard to know one’s heart, but it seemed some may have had a greater faith in the Law of God, than in God Himself. Then again, that might be true of some today.
Yet in Romans 7:12, even Paul acknowledged “The Law is holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good.” Even so, the Law is unable to save anyone; it can only convict you of sin.
The Law proves we are all sinners that fall short of the righteous standard of God and are in need of a Savior. For the Law will do more than convict, it will pass judgment.
The Law did serve a purpose as Paul points out in Gal.3:24, “The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
The strength of Jesus is how in Him, we find grace triumphing the Law. In Phil.3:9, Paul speaks of himself as being in Christ “…not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through faith of Christ…”
Mind you, Moses was only a servant of God, as he gave the Law; but Jesus was and is God. In Jesus Christ, we experience the grace and truth of God that brings to us the freedom of our salvation.
Lost man lives in spiritual darkness while God is light; and as a spirit being, no one saw Him when He came. Nevertheless, in Jesus, God was made visible when that light was given.
This was not some new list of rules to live by. God revealed Himself to us, in Jesus. The image of the invisible God, is now revealed.
Jesus explained this to His disciples in John 14:7-11, to say He and the Father are one.
Back in our text at the end of v.18, Jesus “hath declared Him” or declared the Father by the life He lived. From the Greek word for “declared” we get our English word “exegesis.”
Exegesis is a method for interpreting the Scriptures. Only Jesus is uniquely qualified to interpret God to man, since no one but God hath seen Him.
There was an artist painting a picture of a winter scene at twilight. The trees were heavily laden with snow and ice; it was cold and dreary looking outside.
Nestled within the trees was a dark, lonely and desolate cottage. You could almost hear the howling of a Nor-Easter buffeting the house.
Everything looked bleak and sad; until, the artist with a yellow crayon put a light in a window of the cottage. That single touch transformed the scene to give a sense of warmth and hope.
That is what God did when He sent His only begotten Son into the world as the light of life. Suddenly there is hope and peace in the touch of the master artist.