“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
In this series of devotions, the primary focus is answering the question as an individual, ‘Who is JESUS?’
In Matthew 16:13-17, Christ asks two all-important questions:
1) To men: “…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matthew 16:13)
2) Then Jesus turned to His new followers, the twelve Apostles, and asked them, especially Peter: “…But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
The answer to the first question reveals the problem with men. Peter’s answer shows that the only solution to this problem is through the revelation of God Himself to men.
1) Men answered: “And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14).
2) But Simon Peter answered Him saying: “…Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
Then Christ spoke to Peter and the other disciples:
“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17)
Therefore, the title of these devotions: ‘Who is JESUS?’ The first devotion is ‘The Reality of JESUS by the Revelation of His Incarnation.’
The principle is, unless God reveals Himself to man, Jesus Christ is only another man; not God at all, but a man who had a beginning in the womb of Mary, His earthly mother, and Joseph, his earthly father.
But with revelation by God, He is the Son of the Living God, as Peter replied in Matthew 16:16 to Christ’s question. God must Himself validate that Jesus was God in the flesh, or the term ‘incarnate,’ God with us in a human body, “yet without sin.” He was the God-man, not the man who became God.
God validated Jesus by revealing that His written Word is the Truth concerning the Incarnation of Himself in a body prepared by God, whose name is Jesus.
The revelation of God is a Sovereign Act of God to an individual. There is no work of man, nor merit of man, that causes God to reveal Himself as Jesus in the flesh; but only the Eternal Purpose of God in Christ.
Until this revelation comes from God, the account of the Virgin Birth of Jesus – using Mary as a vehicle, as a place for the Spirit to form the body that housed God – is a story that flesh and blood cannot understand or believe.
To understand (or perceive) that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, in the town of Bethlehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2), as is recorded (Matthew 1:16-25; 2; Luke 1, 2) – an individual must be given “Faith”:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith is literally Christ, The Faith (Galatians 2:20).
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)
“Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:9)
This ability to perceive who Christ is, as a Person, Christ Himself – is a gift, which can come only from God.
Notice that Zacharias and Elisabeth, the parents of John the Baptist, are good examples of the need of revelation to know who Jesus is. See Luke 1:11-22; the angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias as he carried out his priestly duties in the temple, and foretold of the conception and birth of his son John, who would be the forerunner (or messenger) of Jesus Christ. In Luke 1:64-79, Zacharias was revealed that his son John would be the prophet of the Highest, to prepare the people for Jesus to come:
“And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.” (Luke 1:64)
“And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.” (Luke 1:65)
“And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.” (Luke 1:66)
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,” (Luke 1:67)
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,” (Luke 1:68)
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;” (Luke 1:69)
“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:” (Luke 1:70)
“That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;” (Luke 1:71)
“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;” (Luke 1:72)
“The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,” (Luke 1:73)
“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,” (Luke 1:74)
“In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:75)
“And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;” (Luke 1:76)
“To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,” (Luke 1:77)
“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,” (Luke 1:78)
“To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:79)
Notice especially verse 67; Zacharias was first filled with the Holy Ghost, and then he prophesied. There is no revelation apart from the Holy Ghost.
The same was with Elisabeth. She conceived and was carrying her child when Mary (who was carrying in her womb the Body of God, which was conceived by the Holy Ghost) came to stay with Elisabeth for a space of time. Notice Luke 1:41-45:
“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:” (Luke 1:41)
“And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” (Luke 1:42)
“And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43)
“For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:44)
“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)
Elisabeth was first filled with the Holy Ghost (verse 41), and then she prophesied, “And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (verse 43).
There are many examples of this same truth – such as with Joseph (Matthew 1:19-21) and Mary (Luke 1:28-38), an angel from God revealed to both Joseph and Mary the same truth. And read of Simeon (Luke 2:25-32):
“And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (Luke 2:26)
“And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,” (Luke 2:27)
“Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,” (Luke 2:28)
“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:” (Luke 2:29)
“For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” (Luke 2:30)
Read of Anna (Luke 2:36-38). Read even of John the Baptist himself (John 1:29; 3:27); the woman at the well (John 4:1-41); the blind man (John 9); and on and on. There are many examples of this truth.
But in every case, the enlightenment of the individual who confessed that Jesus was the Christ of the Old Testament, even Emmanuel, God with us – came only through Divine Revelation by the Holy Ghost.
Therefore, note what the written Word of God has recorded for us who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
The Bible states:
1) He is the God-man; meaning that God was housed in a human body, yet without sin. Theologians use the term ‘incarnation’; which simply means that God dwelt in a human body, yet without sin (Matthew 1:17-23; John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16).
2) God housed a specially prepared body in the womb of Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18d, 20; Hebrews 10:1-18).
3) This means He had no earthly father. He was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Ghost:
a) “…before they came together…” (Matthew 1:18c);
b) “Behold, a virgin shall be with child…” (Matthew 1:23) (reference to Isaiah 7:14);
c) “And (Joseph) knew (ginōsko; which is to know by experience) her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:25)
This miraculous conception and birth is called ‘the Virgin Birth’ by theologians.
The Virgin Conception and Birth of Jesus is an essential doctrine of the Christian Confession. All truth hinges on the Virgin Birth. If Jesus was not God before He came in bodily form, if Jesus had an earthly father – then He is not God, and then He is not eternal. If the account of the Virgin Birth of Christ is not a truth – then the Bible is a lie and cannot be trusted to be the Truth.
Belief in the Virgin Conception and Birth of Jesus is proof of who Jesus is. The Bible says that He, the Eternal Logos (the Eternal Word), became flesh (John 1:1-3, 14). It does not say that flesh become God; No, No! He was God before He came in a human body. He did not begin, for He is the Beginning, being God (Genesis 1:1).
Therefore, He (Jesus) is the God-man; not the man-God. A man did not become God, No! God became a man, yet without sin (John 1:1-14; Colossians 2:9).
If Jesus was not as Isaiah prophesied in 800 B.C. (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7); then Jesus was not “Emmanuel” or “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). This would also mean that we have no Substitute, no Sacrifice, and no Savior; for only God could be a perfect Sacrifice and satisfy Himself on the Cross in His Atonement for sinners. Only God is Pure, Perfect, Righteous, and completely Holy. And only God could be the perfect Sacrifice and Substitute for sinners:
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 53:10)
“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11)
If Jesus is not God, then we have no hope – because then He was not raised from the dead. But 1 Corinthians 15:1-22 states Christ was raised from the grave; as was the testimony of the 11 Apostles, the 500 brethren, and those chosen to see Him (Acts 10:41) – for they saw the Resurrected Christ, and they saw Him ascend into Heaven with the promise to return to judge, rule, and reign in His Holy Temple, His Body, the Holy City, New Jerusalem, even the Church. (Read Revelation 21, 22; Ephesians 3:21.)
(This was originally posted on August 18, 2014)