History of Redemption: Blog Post 21
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel... and he will save his people from their sins.... and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Is. 7:15, Matthew 1:21, Is. 9:6 (ESV).
CHRISTOLOGY - the study of the Person and work of Jesus Christ
Who is Jesus? This is a tremendously important question, perhaps the most important question ever asked. You may think the answer is obvious, but if you have ever studied the history of Christianity, you learned that our church fathers have fought tirelessly, for hundreds of years for the true and right answer to this question. And we are now called, as Christians, to have a biblically informed, accurate and missional answer to this question. We should, as followers of Christ, pour ourselves into the study of the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
This is an exciting week for me. I confess that I have looked ahead, and read the verses that we are going to be studying in the next several weeks. They are about Jesus. Over the past twenty weeks, we have learned much about God’s love, and mercy, and faithfulness toward His people, and we have learned much about their (our) sin, and folly, and faithlessness. We have heard foreshadowings of God’s plan for our salvation. And now, we have arrived at the point in the story of God, when He announces how that plan is to be carried out. It is through the Person and work of Jesus Christ.
Our Christology is the most important study we will ever undertake. This is not to undermine “Pneumatology” (the study of the Holy Spirit), or “Paterology” (the study of God the Father), which are both massively important. But it is our understanding of who Jesus is, and what He came to accomplish, that will ultimately shape everything about our lives, in this world, and in the life to come. Our Christology is the very bedrock of our faith. For “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone” (Acts 4:11). And we, at Redeemer, believe that the ultimate truth about Jesus Christ is arrived at by humbling ourselves beneath the word of God, through a thorough, careful, prayerful and worshipful study of scripture. What do we at Redeemer believe is the answer to the question “Who is Jesus?” Our statement of faith regarding Jesus Christ reads:
“We believe in the absolute deity of our Lord Jesus Christ; His virgin birth; His real and perfect humanity; the authority of His teaching, and the infallibility of all He has stated in the Word; His work of atonement for the sin of the human race by His representative, penal, substitutionary suffering and death on the cross; His bodily resurrection, His ascension into Heaven; His present high‐priestly intercession for His people; and His lordship over His Church as its supreme Head. We believe that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. (Matthew 1:18‐25; Luke 1:26‐ 38; John 1:1; 20:28; Romans 9:5; 2 Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:21‐23; John 20:30, 31; Matthew 20:28; Acts 1:11; Romans 5:6‐8; 6:9,10; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Timothy 3:16, 1 Peter4:5; Romans 14:9; 2 Timothy 4:1, Matthew 16:27, Mark 14:62, Phil. 3:20, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, Titus 2:13, 1 Corinthians 15)” ..... this is our short answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?”.
It has been said that all religions are basically the same. We are all trying to climb a mountain to get to God, but are all using different paths. God’s word tells us differently. God’s word tells us the truth. We are not climbing up a mountain to get to God. God has climbed down the mountain, and has come to us! “The virgin birth of Christ is an unmistakable reminder that salvation can never come through human effort, but must be the work of God himself” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 530). While every other religious system in the world says you have to be “good enough” to get to God, a proper understanding of Christology tells us that we will never be “good enough”, and so God came to us! If ever there was a reason to celebrate, this is it.
The birth of Jesus by the virgin Mary, tells us much about Christ. It reminds us that He humbled Himself to come to us, for “though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:6). Can you think of anything more vulnerable than a baby? I can .... a baby born into poverty in a rural town in the Middle East, by an unwed mother, at the time when Jesus was born. Although we do not have data on infant mortality rates during the time of Jesus, I would hazard to guess they were comparable to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa today. In Sierra Leone, one out of every 4 children dies by the age of 5 (2007 data). Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born into the most vulnerable, meek, and humble circumstances one could ever imagine. This tell us much about the heart of God. Truly we worship a God who “opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). And so we, as God’s chosen people, are now called to live lives of humility and service, as Jesus humbled Himself for our sake. Thank you Jesus, thank you.
Let us today embrace the Person and work of Jesus Christ, and let us humble ourselves beneath His word, as we seek to know Him more, and to enjoy Him forever. Let us pray with the Psalmist that “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). Let us gaze upon the beauty of Jesus Christ, and let us inquire in His temple.
If you desire to seek a deeper understanding of the Person and work of Jesus Christ, I recommend reading Wayne Grudem’s book Systematic Theology, Chapter 26 (The Person of Christ).
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).