Have you ever wondered what kind of impact your life is having on others? At some point, we all probably give that question a thought. The truth is, we all have an impact on each other. Sometimes we're good influences, other times we aren't. Sometimes we impact others in ways we never fully realize, but every life can be impactful.
When we take a quick look over the course of history, we can observe the impact of some very influential people. There are people who made an impact in all areas, including, the military, the arts, the sciences, theology, architecture, and social culture. But there is no life we can point to that has had a greater impact on each of these areas and more, than Jesus Christ.
The earthly ministry of Christ has made a dramatic impact on this earth. We measure time in reference to when He walked among us. His teaching and example influences how we treat one another, how we conduct ourselves in marriage, how we show mercy and compassion, how we care for those who cannot help themselves, how we respond to those who hate us, how we look forward to the future, and how we spend the time we've been blessed with in the present.
When Jesus came to this earth, He came with the goal of accomplishing all that was necessary for our salvation to become a reality. History prior to His coming looked forward to His arrival. History since His coming has been looking back at what He accomplished while also looking forward to His return. In fact, I believe that the key to understanding what the Bible is communicating is to ask, "How does this Scripture point me to Jesus?"
There are many people who understand exactly who Jesus truly is, and plenty who still struggle to accept Him and what He taught. So, who is Jesus and what work is He accomplishing?
I. The Son's role in the Trinity
From eternity past, Jesus has always existed as the Son of God, or we could likewise refer to Him as God the Son. He has always existed in perfect relationship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. His role as the Son is not just a title that He adopted during the course of His earthly ministry, but a key aspect of His identity that always was and always will be.
When Jesus came to this earth, took on flesh, and walked among us, there were many people who debated who He was. Some people considered Him to be the son of a carpenter. Others thought He was a troublemaker. Some thought He was a prophet and a worker of miracles, but Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was. Peter, who would often be the first person to speak up in the group, answered Jesus and testified that He was "the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus affirmed the accuracy of this statement and He also stressed that the reason Peter understood this was because God the Father had revealed it to Him.
I think that brings up an interesting point that we should consider as well. If you and I come to believe that Jesus is God, we do so because that truth was divinely revealed to us. Naturally speaking, it's much easier for us to think of Jesus as merely a teacher or historical figure. If you believe He is the Christ, the Son of the living God like Peter did, it's only because your eyes have been opened to see that truth.
1 Corinthians 2:14 - "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."
Not long after Christ's earthly ministry and the New Testament Scriptures were complete, believers took the time to clarify who they believed Jesus to be, based on what was revealed through His life and the Scriptures. The Nicene Creed, written in 325 A.D., is one of the clearest statements that the early church formulated. It states, "We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end."
Scripture teaches that Jesus is divine in nature. His role within the Trinity is one of eternal Sonship, and He came to this earth as the long-promised Christ, Messiah, and Savior.
II. The union of His divine and human natures
One of the most fascinating aspects of Jesus to contemplate is His nature. By nature, He is divine, but He willingly chose to also take on a human nature when He submitted to the Father's will and was born on this earth as a man. Now, He has two natures. He is 100% God while at the same time He is 100% man. Theologians refer to this union of two natures as the "hypostatic union."
Jesus has always been God, but He hasn't always been human. There are several places in Scripture that stress His eternal divinity while also speaking of His humanity.
John 1:1-2, 14 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God..... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 8:57-58 - So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Likewise, during the course of Christ's earthly ministry, He would often operate within the limits of humanity as an act of humility, submission to the Father, and with the goal of fulfilling all righteousness on behalf of mankind.
Philippians 2:5-7 - Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
Just like the concept of the Trinity can be challenging to wrap our minds around, so too are the dual, forever inseparable, natures of Christ. We accept this fact as true based on what the Lord has revealed to us, but it is fascinating to contemplate and isn't immediately easy to wrap our minds around.
III. The work the Son accomplishes
Not long ago, I was trying to accomplish some outdoor projects in a short amount of time. I needed to fit them in around my work schedule and an impending rainstorm. Summer break had just begun for my kids, so I invited my son to join me in the work I was doing. While it would have been tempting for him to loaf on the couch doing nothing all day, he agreed to help me and we got a lot accomplished. I was happy to see him doing something productive instead of wasting the day.
Jesus, the Son of God, has a work He is joyfully accomplishing as well. Scripture tells us multiple things about His work, including what He has already accomplished, what He's currently doing, and what He promises to do in the future.
One of the earliest aspects of Christ's work is in regard to creation. Scripture tells us that all things were created through Him. In addition to creating all things, He also upholds His creation by His powerful word.
Colossians 1:16 - "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him."
Hebrews 1:3a - "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power."
Another key aspect of Christ's work is His atonement for our sin. Through living the perfect life on our behalf and then experiencing death on the cross in our place, Christ paid for our sin. He took our condemnation upon Himself.
1 Peter 3:18 - "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,"
Following His atoning death, Jesus rose from the grave. In His resurrection, He defeated sin, Satan, and death, and He offers the forgiveness of sin and eternal life to all who will trust in Him as Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 - "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,"
After Christ's resurrection, He appeared to people in bodily form for forty days. Then He ascended back to Heaven where He's preparing a place for those who trust in Him. In the future, He will likewise be returning to take those who trust in Him to be with Him.
John 14:3 - "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."
At present, Christ has a ministry of intercession and advocacy. Satan is referred to in Scripture as an "accuser". He points out our sin and casts shame and blame on God's people. But Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father and pleads our case like a defense lawyer. We are defended from accusation by Jesus our Advocate who testifies to the fact that our sin has been atoned for by His shed blood.
Romans 8:34 - "Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us."
1 John 2:1 - "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
Jesus also made it clear that during this era, He is building His church. Millions and millions of people are being rescued from sin and condemnation through faith in Him. He is raising up leaders, opening up doors for ministry, and blessing those who trust in Him with His power.
Matthew 16:18 - "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
The word of God also tells us that the day will come when Christ will return to this earth to rule and reign. He will show Himself to be the King of kings and Lord of lords, and His kingdom will have no end.
Revelation 11:15 - Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
We're also told that the day is coming when Christ will sit on His throne and judge the nations.
Matthew 25:31-32 - “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats."
It's fascinating to consider the work Jesus has done, is doing, and will do. It's also important to recognize that while we have the privilege to serve with Him as He empowers us, we cannot do this work for Him. He accomplishes what we never could, and as we serve Him, He also invites us to confidently trust Him to take care of what He promised He would.
IV. Salvation is found in no other name
There's one other thing that I think we should recognize right now and that's the fact that salvation can be found in no other name than the name of Jesus Christ. Christ created us. Christ upholds us. Christ paid for our redemption, forgives our sin, and offers us eternal life through faith in Him. If we're trusting anyone or anything else to save us, our trust is misplaced. Only Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can offer us the gift of salvation because He's the only one who has paid for it.
Acts 4:12 - "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Have you experienced the salvation that Christ delights to offer you? Are you walking in the power and wisdom of Christ daily? Is your outlook toward the future joyful because of the hope Christ has secured for you?
© John Stange, 2018