Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Jesus: The God-Man

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." 15 He (Jesus) said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Matthew 16:13-16 (NASB).

Born between 6 BC and 4 BC, the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke both tell of the birth of Jesus. Matthew and Luke both state clearly that Jesus had a divine Father and a virgin mother named Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:27). Without a human father and without any sexual relationship involved, Jesus was conceived through a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 3:15; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:34–35; Galatians 4:4–5). Jesus’ virgin birth was a supernatural work of God inside the human womb of Mary. Thus, in both His birth and conception in the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ birth was holy and pure (Luke 1:35). The virgin birth of Jesus means He did not inherit human sin (Romans 5). Therefore, Jesus is not just a man. Jesus was a God–Man, God’s Christ (Matthew 26:63–64; Mark 14:61–62), and the Son of God (Matthew 16:15–16; Mark 1:1; Luke 22:70-71; John 8:24).

Mary was the virgin mother of Jesus; a young girl from Nazareth, she was betrothed (engaged) to Joseph, a local carpenter. Jewish custom in that day recognized a state called “betrothal,” which fell somewhere between our modern day engagement and marriage. A betrothal was more binding than an engagement, since betrothals could only be broken with an act of divorce. If a betrothed woman became pregnant, she was regarded as an adulteress (Matthew 1:18–20).

Before the marriage took place, an angel announced to both Joseph and Mary that Mary would become pregnant by the power of God’s Spirit and that she would give birth to the Son of God, also called the Messiah (Matthew 1:20–21; Luke 1:26–33). God chose Mary to bring his Son, the Savior, into the world. Humbly submitting herself to God’s will, Mary responded to this extraordinary message in simple faith. For all Christians, Mary is a model of humble and obedient submission to God’s will (Luke 1:38, 46–55).

The virgin birth of Jesus is important because, as God’s Son, Jesus had to be free from the sinful nature passed on to humankind by Adam in Genesis 3. The birth of Jesus to woman proves He was a human; but as the Son of God, Jesus was born without human sin. Thus, Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. Jesus was a sinless human. In Jesus, God and man became one unique person—fully God and fully man.

Furthermore, the virgin birth of Jesus fulfills Isaiah 7:14. Jesus was to be called Immanuel as predicted by the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14). The name Immanuel means “God is with us,” and Jesus indeed symbolized God’s presence and protection. Therefore, Jesus is God in the flesh; thus, God was literally “with us” in Jesus. Jesus is the incarnate (in the flesh) Son of God (Matthew 1:23; see also Revelation 12:5).

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