Christians are often guilty of taking Jesus for granted and neglect asking hard questions about who Jesus Christ really is:
- Why does the Bible talk about “God the Son” and “God the Father” if they’re equal in glory… shouldn’t that mean the “Father” is older and more important than the “Son?”
- If Jesus was “born” in 3BC, what was God the Son doing before then?
- Is it really that important to believe that Jesus is really fully God and fully human?
The Nicene Creed says: “We believe… in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made.” This is a strong (but wordy) statement teaching that Jesus Christ is God. Some people claim that Jesus never meant to be worshipped as God and that it wasn’t until he was dead when people started saying that he was God, but take a look at what the Bible says (and keep in mind that it was all written so soon after Jesus’ death that if what was written about Jesus wasn’t accurate there would have been plenty of eye-witnesses to say “Jesus never said/did that!”).
Here are a number of Biblical passages that all clearly support and affirm that Jesus Christ is both God and man:
- The biblical stories of Jesus’ birth (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-21)
- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John. 1:1, 14)
- “I and the Father are one.” (John. 10:30)
- “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
- “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” (Colossians 1:15–17)
- “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:5–7)
The Nicene Creed says that Jesus is “of the same substance” as the Father. That comes from the Greek word “homoousias” (pronounced: homo-oo-see-ahs), which also can mean “of the same essence.” Jesus Christ is the Son of God, 100% God (that’s what “very God of very God” means), he was not created by God, but rather, he even participated in Creation (see John 1 & Col. 1, both referenced above).
Remember the tough question above about God the Son and God the Father? My answer: God is referred that way because the the best analogy to their relationship that we have. A human father has a human son, a fish father has a fish son, a panda father has a panda son… God the Father has God the Son; not because He created the Son, but because they are of the same “essence” and belong to each other.
There are two HUGE reasons why all this is extremely important for Christians to understand the Person of Christ (who Jesus is):
- We need to know who we’re worshipping and whether or not He’s worthy! I love what Athanasius (one of the most influential theologians during the Council of Nicaea) said, “If Jesus Christ the incarnate Son is not true God from true God, then we are not saved, for it is only God who can save; but if Jesus Christ is not truly man, then salvation does not touch our human existence and condition.” If Jesus isn’t 100% God, then he didn’t have the authority to forgive our sins through the cross; but if he isn’t 100% Human then he couldn’t have been our substitute on the cross. We need to know who we are worshipping when we worship Jesus Christ!
- We are encouraged because Jesus really understands us! Jesus is God, but he also lived in our shoes. As Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”