Sunday, July 31, 2011

Getting to know Jesus Christ - An Overview

Hebrews 12:2-3 states - " 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

As we look at the above passage, we are struck by the fact that the only way to anchor one's Christian walk is to intentionally focus upon the person and work of Jesus Christ. In this next series of blogs, my aim is to do that very thing - getting to know Jesus Christ.

UNDERSTANDING WHAT IS MEANT BY THE STUDY OF CHRISTAnytime we aim to know the Person and Work of Jesus Christ we refer to the term "Christology".  Christology is simply the study of Jesus Christ.  Throughout Church history two approaches have been done when beginning to think on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The approaches stem from the two central truths of the Study of Christ - that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. 

TWO SUGGESTIONS OF WHERE TO BEGIN - CHRIST'S HUMANITY OR DEITYThe approaches go something like this: We must begin with Jesus the man and work our way through his virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death on the cross, burial, resurrection and ascension to final consideration of His full Deity.  The second approach is to begin with His exalted Deity as One with the Father, Creator, Redeemer and then end with consideration of His humanity.  The first approach is called "Christology from below", since it begins with Christ's humanity and ends with His Deity.  The second approach is called "Christology from above" due to the fact it begins with Christ's Deity and ends with His humanity.

THE BIBLE FOCUSES ON BOTH HIS DEITY AND HUMANITYWhen we look at the New Testament records, we frankly find support for either approach.  Matthew, Mark and Luke begin with Christ's humanity and gradually bring into view His undiminished Deity.  John's Gospel begins with Christ's Deity, as the Word who was with God in Eternity, and gradually brings into view his full humanity.  The Bible does not present Jesus Christ as half man, half God - rather He is presented as 100% man and 100% God. 

Passages such as Philippians 2:5-11 and 1 Timothy 3:15-16 both begin with Jesus Christ, the Divine Son of God, who came into this world and became man.  The wonderful book of Hebrews in Hebrews 1:1-7 and 10:4-5 also takes the same approach.  However in Hebrews 2 we see the focus shift to considering Jesus the man sharing in humanity and living a sinless life. 
Revelation advocates both approaches.  In Revelation 1 we see a magnificent "Christology from above", with reference to  40 Divine names for the Savior.  However when we come to Revelation 5 we clearly see Jesus Christ's full humanity as the "Lamb who was slain".  Tomorrow we will continue exploring further the magnificent person and work of Jesus Christ.  May God richly bless you dear reader as you fix your eyes upon Jesus Christ. 

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