Was he just a teacher?
Was he a prophet?
Was he just a good person?
Is he a spirit-creature?
Is he God?
Who was exactly Jesus?
This has been a hotly debated topic ever since the time of Christ. The widely accepted answer within Christian theology is that He is fully divine, yet also fully human. That when He was born as a man, He became two distinct natures, yet one person. He was not equally split, not one a little more than the other, not exclusively divine one moment and merely human the next, not two people, and not a mixture of both.
The purpose of this post isn’t to give you a lengthy theological dissertation or history lesson on apologetics. But the reality is that my faith hinges on this mind-boggling mystery – on the belief that Jesus is both God and Man. And because this belief is so crucial to my faith, it begs the question: why is this so important?
I love what how Matt Perman describes the implications of these two distinct natures of Jesus in his article, “How can Jesus be God and man?”. Here is a chart to paraphrase what he says,
Because Jesus is God
- He is all powerful.
- He cannot be defeated.
- He is the only adequate Savior.
- Believers are safe and can never perish.
- We have security.
- Believers will be empowered to do what He asks of us.
- People will be accountable to Him when He returns.
Because Jesus is man
- He can identify with us more intimately.
- He can come to our aid as our sympathetic High Priest.
- We can relate to Him.
- He is not far off and uninvolved.
- He knows what we are going through, because He experienced it first-hand.
These implications are so important because if Jesus is both God and man, then we have everything we will ever need in Him. We have a complete and perfect Savior.
If Jesus is not both God and man, I do not have a perfect sacrifice for my sins. If Jesus is not both God and man, as He claimed to be, then I am following either a liar or a lunatic. If Jesus is not both God and man, then the Christian faith is foolish and futile.