Thursday, December 10, 2015
How the incarnation enables us to speak of Jesus in two ways
Isaiah 9:6-7 "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah the prophet wrote these words over 750 years before the events of Christ's birth recorded in Matthew and Luke's Gospel. In this one verse we discover two towering truths about Jesus Christ: first, that He would be born and second, His eternal pre-existence. What may seem at first to be a contradiction is actually central to identifying the person of Jesus Christ. How so? Let's discover!
Jesus was virgin born as a true human being
Anytime we talk about Jesus Christ, we speak of Him in one of two ways. The first was is by speaking of Him as a human being and the second way is to speak of Him as fully-Divine along with the Father and Holy Spirit. Prophecy in the Old Testament and the explanations of what Jesus came to be and do are consistent in this dual-way of talking about Jesus.
Isaiah first of all identifies Jesus the Messiah as One who would take upon Himself true humanity - hence as man, he would have a beginning. In another passage, Isaiah 7:14, we discover that the beginning of Jesus' experience as a human being would start with the virgin birth/conception.
This unusual detail of the virgin/birth conception is a cornerstone of the Christian faith for a couple of reasons. First of all, it was a man who had broken God's law in the garden of Eden, and so a man would have to pay for the damages done by the giving of his life. Unfortunately when God cursed humanity and the earth, all of humanity inherited the sin nature from Adam.
Which leads us to the second important truth about the virgin birth of Jesus - that Jesus would not inherit the sin nature. According to 1 Peter 1:18, the sin nature of Adam is transmitted down through the father's side of the human bloodline. Since Jesus did not have a human father, He could not inherit the sin nature. This is vital, since a sinless Savior is required to represent sinful man before a Holy God.
Thus "Jesus" refers to Jesus Christ as truly man. He would be "a son" given, "born" and having a beginning as it touches his humanity.
Christ is Eternal God
As we noted already, in the Bible we can speak of Jesus in one of two ways: as truly man and then in a second way described by Isaiah wherein the Son is also truly God. When we speak of "Jesus", we speak of His full humanity. When we speak of "Christ" we are referring to Him being fully God. Thus before Jesus Christ became a human being, He had pre-existed from all eternity. Each title given here by Isaiah points us to this truth:
1. As Wonderful, Christ is shown to be beyond human comprehension.
2. As Counselor He is God full of wisdom
3. The Mighty God is referring to His Divine Nature
4. Everlasting Father speaks to Him sharing the same nature as God the Father
5. Prince of Peace speaks to His Deity revealed through His humanity
Jesus Christ as God is equal in importance to Him being the virgin born man. Why? Only as God could the Son provide salvation (Isaiah 43:10-11). Therefore in one verse - Isaiah gives us the entire sweep of the Bible's teaching on the identity of the one who was to be born in Bethlehem. He as One person was truly God and truly man. He who has always been would become born and thus having a beginning. Without this event of the incarnation, salvation and the truth of God's word would had been jeopardized.