Just for Catholics

JESUS OUR REDEEMER

The Lord Jesus, the mediator of the covenant, is both God and man. It is necessary that the Redeemer should be human because we need a man like us to act as our representative before the Father, and who was able to suffer and die as a sacrifice for our sins. It is necessary that our Saviour should be God because no one else could save us from sin: ‘I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior’ (Isa 43:11).

Christ Is Man

Christ is truly a man since he has human qualities as we do. He was born in Bethlehem around two thousand years ago. His mother was a Jewish woman called Mary. Like other children, Jesus grew up mentally and physically. He was brought up with Joseph and Mary in Nazareth, and was obedient to them. He learned Joseph’s skill and worked as a carpenter. When he was around thirty years of age he engaged in public teaching. Once, being exhausted with travelling, he sat down by a well to have some rest; on another occasion he fell asleep in a boat. He admitted that nobody except the Father knew the day of his return. He experienced hunger and thirst; he had to travel from one place to another in order to preach in different towns. When he was by his friend’s grave, he wept. In the garden of Gethsemane, he confessed to his friends, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.’ He felt the sufferings of his passion, and, as the climax of his mission, Jesus died on a Roman cross. Jesus ‘in all things He had to be made like His brethren’ (Heb 2:17); in brief, he is even now, ‘the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Tim 2:5).

Christ Is God

The Bible also teaches that Christ is God since he has the attributes of God, is called by divine titles, and does things that only God is able to do.

Divine Attributes

The Son is eternal; he was with the Father before the creation (John 17:5). As a man, Jesus had a beginning when he was conceived in Mary’s womb; but he existed as God before he came into this world. The prophet proclaimed that he is ‘from everlasting’ (Micah 5:2) and the apostle says that he is ‘eternal life’ (1 John 1:2). Jesus is omnipotent, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End ... who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’ (Rev 1:8). He openly said he had the same power as the Father: ‘whatever [the Father] does, the Son also does in like manner’ (John 5:15-19). Since he can accomplish all things as the Father does, he must be omnipotent like him. He is omniscient. The apostles prayed: ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all’ (Who except God knows the human heart?); and earlier they simply confessed: ‘Now we are sure that You know all things’ (see Acts 1:24; 1 Kings 8:39; John 16:30). The Lord Jesus is omnipresent and thus could promise his disciples that he will be with them even though physically he ascended back into heaven: ‘And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matt 28:20). The existence of so many Christian assemblies all around the world are a witness of his omnipresence: ‘For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them’ (Matt 18:20). The Lord Jesus is also immutable, that is, he doesn’t change. ‘You are the same ... Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever’ (Heb 1:12; 13:8).

Divine Titles

In the New Testament, Jesus is repeatedly called the Lord. Now we know that there are many masters, many lords; but we also know that there is only one Lord over all lords, only one Lord of the Sabbath, only one Lord of all people (Rev 19:16; Matt 12:8; Acts 10:36). The same title, Lord (Kurios), identifies Jesus with Yahweh, the name by which God was known among the children of Israel (compare Isa 40:3 with Matt 3:3; and Joel 2:32 with Rom 10:13). Furthermore, the Bible specifically calls him God. The angel announced that the son of Mary was to be called Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’. John opens his Gospel with a simple yet profound declaration: ‘The Word was God.’ The apostle Thomas addressed him: ‘My Lord and my God.’ The apostle Paul writes that Christ is ‘the eternally blessed God’ and, ‘our great God and Savior’. The apostle Peter calls him, ‘our God and Savior’. Finally, God the Father himself addressed the Son: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever’ (Matt 1:21-23; John 1:1; 20:28; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet 1:1; Heb 1:8; cf. Ps 10:16; 45:6, 7).

Divine Work

The Lord Jesus performs such work as only God can perform. The Bible teaches that the universe was created by Christ, the Word of God: ‘All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.’ ‘You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands’ (John 1:1, 3; Heb 1:8-10). Jesus is presently caring for his own creation: ‘upholding all things by the word of His power (Heb 1:3). Even greater than the work of creation is the salvation of man. Scripture declares that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world; he is the Savior of the body (the church); he is our Lord and Savior (see John 4:42; Eph 5:23; 2 Pet 1:11). Who but God can be the Saviour? At the consummation of the world, the Lord Jesus will judge all people since he ‘was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead’ (Acts 10:42), and ‘we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ’ (2 Cor 5:10). Who except God is competent to judge all mankind infallibly?

Divine Glory

Christ affirmed his Deity by claiming to be equal with God (Jn 5:18; 10:33) and calling himself ‘I am’ just as Yahweh did in the Old Testament (Jn 8:58; cf. Isa 41:4; 43:10; 46:4). Christ’s enemies did not believe in him, of course, but they certainly understood his claims and wanted to kill him for blasphemy. Whereas his disciples, believing that Jesus is truly God, trust their salvation in his hands and worship him (Lk 24:52). It is the Father’s will that that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father; he commands all the angels to worship him, and indeed, everyone in the universe will bow the knee at the name of Jesus.

Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!
(Rev 5:12-15).

Every creature will ascribe eternal glory to God, and the same exact glory to Jesus Christ.

So, Scripture teaches that the Lord Jesus is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and immutable. His name is Yahweh, God and Lord. Creation is his work; he is the Saviour and Judge of the world. The biblical evidence points to one irrefutable conclusion: Jesus Christ is God in the same sense as the Father is God, ‘the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person’ (Heb 1:3). Perceiving his divine glory, it is our joyful duty to worship Christ as God.

The Incarnation

The Son is eternally God; in time he also became man when he was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary by the power of the Spirit. Since then he continues to be both God and man forever. The child who is born is also the Mighty God (Isa 9:6, 7); the branch of David is Yahweh our Righteousness (Jer 33:14-16). In the beginning of the gospel, John describes Christ as ‘the Word’ and declares that the Word was God. He proceeds by announcing that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is fully God and fully human, or, in the words of the apostle Paul, ‘In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily’ (Col 2:9). Theologically this truth is expressed by saying that Christ has two natures – divine and human – and yet he is one person.

Before coming into the world, the Son was eternally with the Father in glory. In order to fulfill the plan of redemption, the Son humbled himself, became man, lived under the law, died and was buried. ‘The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45). After going through this state of humiliation, God the Father glorified him by raising him from the dead and exalting him above the heavens.

Meekness and majesty, manhood and Deity,
In perfect harmony, the Man who is God.
Lord of eternity dwells in humanity;
Kneels in humility and washes our feet.

© Dr Joseph Mizzi. 2008. Permission is given to reproduce and distribute this article in any format provided that the wording is not altered and that no fee is charged. Please include the following statement on distributed copies: Copyright Dr Joseph Mizzi. Website: www.justforcatholics.org. Used by permission.