In This Lesson
Incarnation | Human Limitations | He Lived a Perfect, Sinless Life
Why Is Jesus' Sinless Life Important? | Purpose of the Incarnation | Why the Title "Son of Man"?
The word "incarnation" is derived from the Latin incarnor meaning "to be made flesh". God came to the world in the flesh. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God incarnate deity clothed in humanity.
The Virgin Birth
How could the Son of God the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, eternally-existent with the Father also be human, a descendent of Adam? He created Adam! So, how could He possibly be Adam's descendent?
In order for Jesus to be a descendant of Adam, He had to have at least one human parent. By the miracle of the virgin birth that Isaiah had prophesied, God came to live among men and be one of them. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)
Luke, the Greek physician who wrote the Gospel by his name, investigated the facts and wrote the following about Jesus' birth: "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!' But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.' And Mary said to the angel, 'How will this be, since I am a virgin?' And the angel answered her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.' And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.' And the angel departed from her." (Luke 1:26-38)
Matthew, one of Jesus' disciples, tells us what happened when Mary's fiancÚ learned that she was pregnant: "And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel' (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus." (Matthew 1:19-25)
The Apostle Paul wrote it this way: "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." (Galatians 4:4-5)
And Jesus Himself declared, "God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die." (John 3:16 CEV)
Saying that Jesus became a human does not mean that God turned Himself into a human, or that He ceased to be God when He became human. God the Son was still God. As the Son of Man, He took on a new nature, a human nature, uniting it with the divine nature in one Being and Person: Jesus Christ, true God and true man. We call this the "Incarnation".
Born without "Original Sin"
The importance of the virgin birth isn't just about fulfilling messianic prophecy. It shows us that salvation ultimately comes from the Lord, that it unites the full deity and full humanity into the Person of Christ, and that Christ did not inherit sin.
The Bible teaches that all people have what's called "original sin". This terms is used to describe the effect of Adam's sin on his descendants. And it is because of this sin nature that all humans are under the sentence of death.
"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:12-19 emphasis added)
The Bible says that, as a result of our human nature, we all are children of wrath; that is, we inherited that which would subject us to God's wrath. "...were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." (Ephesians 2:3b)
Why No Sin Nature in Jesus?
As shown above, we inherit a sinful nature from Adam. It originated with Adam and is passed down from parent to child. So, if we inherit our sinful nature from our parents, then Jesus, who had Mary as a parent, must have had a sin nature. Right? Not necessarily.
The Bible supports the idea that the sin nature is passed down through the father, not the mother. The Bible says that sin entered the world through Adam, not Eve. Eve, who was deceived, was the one who sinned first. However, sin did not enter the world through her; it entered through Adam (see Romans 5:12 above).
In the Old Testament, God repeated several times that it is the iniquity [wickedness, evil] of the father that God will use to exact punishment on future generations.
"You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the father on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me," (Exodus 20:5 emphasis added)
"...keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the father on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation." (Exodus 34:7 emphasis added)
"The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the father on the children, to the third and the fourth generation." (Numbers 14:18 emphasis added)
As you can see, the Bible clearly supports the idea that the sin nature is passed down through the father, not through the mother.
However, contrary to the false teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, this does not mean that Mary was free from inherited sin. Like all of us, she also inherited the sinful nature from her father.
But since Jesus did not have a human father, He did not inherit the sin nature which is passed on by the father. Although He was fully human, he was without original sin. Jesus had two natures: God and man. "For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." (Colossians 2:9) Jesus received His human nature from his human mother, but He retained His divine nature through the work of God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus is both God and man. He was sinless, had no original sin, and was both fully God and fully man.
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To become a real man and our representative who is able "to sympathize with our weaknesses..." (cf. Hebrews 4:15), it was necessary for Jesus to limit Himself to:
- A Human Body and Human Nature
Jesus laid aside His perfect, undefiled eternality and took on a human body with all of its weaknesses and limitations. He experienced hunger, fatigue, pain, sorrow, joy, disappointments, frustrations, and heartbreak.
- "Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I have come to this hour." (John 12:27 emphasis added)
- "After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.'" (John 13:21 emphasis added)
- Jesus had a full range of human emotions. He wept at the death of Lazarus. John 11:35
He marveled at the faith of the Centurion. Matthew 8:10
- "In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears..." (Hebrews 5:7)
- Conditions of Everyday Life among Men
The Creator of the universe voluntarily stripped Himself of His power and became a helpless baby.
- The Source of all wisdom and knowledge went to school and learned to read, write and study God's Word. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:52) He went through a learning process just as all other children did in His time.
- He callused His hands and scuffed His knuckles working as a carpenter.
- He felt hunger, fatigue, and pain. Do you remember the story of Him sleeping in the boat during a violent storm? He must have been very tired to be able to sleep while the boat was being tossed about by the waves. (cf. Matthew 8:24-26)
- He left His throne in glory where the angels all worshipped Him unceasingly, and took the place of a servant scoffed at, ridiculed, humiliated giving His life in service and sacrifice for others. "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him." (John 13:3-5)
- Writing to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul describes how Jesus voluntarily humbled Himself to become our Savior and how God has honored Him and will honor Him for it: "Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God (possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God), did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained; but stripped Himself (of all privileges and rightful dignity) so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form He abased and humbled Himself (still further) and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! Therefore (because He stooped so low), God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue (frankly and openly) confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:6-11 Amplified Bible)
He Lived a Perfect, Sinless Life
Jesus demonstrated that He was sinless in His life, through His words, and His actions; and this truth was also affirmed by other people, such as Pilate. "Pilate said . . . 'I find no guilt in him.'" (John 18:38) When Jesus asked the Jews who opposed Him, "Which of you convicts me of sin?" in John 8:46, he received no answer.
"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." (Hebrews 4:15)
Was Jesus Capable of Sin?
Could Jesus have sinned? Did He have a choice like we do? This is a very emotionally-charged point of discussion and disagreement among God's people.
Some say that God cannot be tempted by evil (cf. James 1:13), and since Jesus is God in the flesh, then He could not sin. That begs the question, that if He could not sin, then how can we say He was tempted in all points as we are? How could Satan's temptations in the wilderness be real temptations?
Some people believe Jesus had to have a sinful nature in order for Him to be tempted. Not only does this flawed theology contradict Scripture, as we've previously shown, but it is not a logical assumption. Adam did not have a sinful nature and yet he was tempted and fell. Jesus did not have a sinful nature [because He didn't have a human father]. He was tempted and He did not fall. So, Jesus not having a sin nature does not mean He could not be tempted.
No doubt, some who read this will disagree with our conclusion. And if you can show us Scriptural evidence for your point of view, by all means, please contact us. But we are not here to discuss opinions or certain churches' traditions. We must seek at all times to align ourselves with God's Word, even if it feels uncomfortable or goes against our traditions. God's Word is the standard against which all truth is measured.
So, let's examine some facts:
- We have established that Jesus Christ and God the Father are eternally co-existent.
- Even though He was born into a human body, Jesus did not inherit the sin nature, which means He was fully God while also being fully human.
- God hates wickedness (cf. Psalm 45:7).
- God prophesied that a sinless Savior would suffer and die to atone for our sin debt...
God cannot lie and He accomplishes what He purposes. "God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?" (Numbers 23:19)
- "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15)
- "...they have pierced my hands and feet." (Psalm 22:16)
- "After the sixty-two weeks the Anointed One [Messiah] shall be cut off..." (Daniel 9:26)
- "Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed . . . He was oppressed, and he was afflicted . . . By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?" (Isaiah 53:4-5, 7-8)
"...God cannot be tempted with evil..." (James 1:13)
- God prophesied that the sinless Messiah would die for the sins of mankind;
- God is omniscient [has perfect knowledge of the past, present and future];
- God cannot be tempted by evil;
- Jesus is God in the flesh;
- God cannot lie; and
- God accomplishes everything He says He will do...
...then it is reasonable and Scriptural to conclude that Jesus, as God in the flesh, could not sin.
Think of it this way...
If Jesus' human nature existed by itself, apart from the divine nature, then like us, His normal human nature would have been capable of sin. But, Jesus' human nature was not separate from His divine nature, which is morally pure and incapable of sin. Thus, we can say that Jesus was able to be tempted in His human nature, but not in His divine nature. In the one Person of Christ, there dwells two natures: God and man (cf. Colossians 2:9). Scripture does not clarify for us exactly how these two natures relate to each other in one Person. However, as you can see, it is possible for Jesus to be divine and be tempted at the same time because He was both God and man.
In order to be tempted, Jesus had to be human. Yet, since there is nothing in God that has even the remotest tendency to do wrong, then there can be nothing presented from without to induce Jesus, in His divine nature, to do wrong.
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Why Is Jesus' Sinless Life Important to Us?
We have all been taught and have believed that Jesus' sinless life is important to us and necessary for our salvation. But why is it so important?
He Is the Ideal Priest and Mediator between God and Man
The Old Testament priest was the person who represented the people to God. He sacrificed animals for their sins and prayed for them. Therefore, it would be helpful, even essential, that our priest be able to identify and sympathize with whatever we're going through.
The Bible teaches in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus was tempted like we are, that He knows what we are going through, and that He understands our weaknesses. He experienced first-hand the same problems we experience and some that most of us will probably never experience. This is why the writer of Hebrews tells us we can "approach the throne of grace with confidence..." (Hebrews 4:16 NIV) because we have a compassionate and understanding High Priest.
Since Jesus remained sinless and undefiled, He does not need to offer sacrifices for His own sins as the other priests must do. "Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself." (Hebrews 7:25-27)
Our sins separate us from our holy God, so He will not hear us when we pray. "...your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear." (Isaiah 59:2) But since Jesus committed no sin, He is able, as our perfect High Priest and Mediator, to communicate with God on our behalf. "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5)
He Is the Perfect Sacrifice for Sin
Under the Old Testament sacrificial system, the animal to be sacrificed had to be completely free of any blemishes [defects]. "...When any one of the house of Israel or of the sojourners in Israel presents a burnt offering . . . it shall be a male without blemish, of the bulls or the sheep or the goats. You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable for you. And when anyone offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD . . . it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. Animals blind or disabled or mutilated or having a discharge or an itch or scabs you shall not offer to the LORD or give them to the LORD..." (Leviticus 22:18-22)
As the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (cf. John 1:29), Jesus had to be completely free from any defect, free from anything that would defile Him and cause God to reject His sacrifice. "...knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." (1 Peter 1:18-19
"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." (1 Peter 3:18)
In order to represent us and bring us to God, Christ had to suffer as the just for the unjust. Although He was innocent, He suffered and died as our spotless sacrifice so we could go free, even though we were guilty. To do this for us, He had to be sinless ["without spot or blemish"].
No sinful person could ever pay the price for anyone else's sin. Jesus Christ could suffer in our place only if He committed no sins for which He would have deserved to be punished.
Christ saves us, not by living a sinless life in our place [the false doctrine of imputation], but by suffering the punishment of sin for us. His life is not substituted for our life; rather, His death was substituted for our punishment and death.
The sinless life of Jesus was essential to our salvation because it was necessary to qualify Him as the sacrifice for our sins.
It Was Jesus' Mission to Live a Perfect Life
Jesus living a perfect life as the "Son of Man" was also part of His mission. As our representative of the human race, He had to keep every law of God. Thus, although He was already an eternal Being, He also earned the right to all the blessings promised to those who keep God's laws eternal life and happiness in God's home. He qualified as our perfect Substitute, to:
- take our guilt and die for our sins, and
- give us His righteousness [right standing with God] and all the blessings promised to those who keep God's laws.
Satan tried to make Jesus sin and turn Him aside from His mission. But Jesus rejected all temptation and carried out His mission to save us. Jesus' goodness was not just negative [the absence of evil], it was a positive commitment to God's perfect will. He not only refused to do wrong, He was dedicated to doing right. He was love incarnate. Think of it! Jesus loved us so perfectly that He didn't know how to hate another human being! Sure, He hated sin and hypocrisy and anything that would replace God in our lives and our hearts, but He loved the sinner. He was known as a "friend of sinners". Yet, He never sinned. Instead of His association with sinners changing Him, He changed sinners!
Jesus began His public ministry at 30 years of age. He taught people about God and how they could have a part in His kingdom. He was the greatest Prophet and Teacher the world had ever known. With only a touch or a command, He healed hundreds of sick people. Sinners came to Him and received forgiveness, peace, cleansing from sin, and a wonderful new life filled with His love. "...God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him." (Acts 10:38)
But the religious leaders of Jesus' day were jealous of Him. Although they read the Scriptures, they didn't understand them and He didn't fit their idea of what the Messiah ought to be. So, they refused to accept Him as the Messiah. They falsely accused Him and had Him crucified [just as prophesied through the Prophet Isaiah and King David]:
"He was hated and rejected; his life was filled with sorrow and terrible suffering. No one wanted to look at him. We despised him and said, 'He is a nobody!' He suffered and endured great pain for us, but we thought his suffering was punishment from God. He was wounded and crushed because of our sins; by taking our punishment, he made us completely well. All of us were like sheep that had wandered off. We had each gone our own way, but the LORD gave him the punishment we deserved. He was painfully abused, but he did not complain. He was silent like a lamb being led to the butcher, as quiet as a sheep having its wool cut off. He was condemned to death without a fair trial. Who could have imagined what would happen to him? His life was taken away because of the sinful things my people had done. He wasn't dishonest or violent, but he was buried in a tomb of cruel and rich people. The LORD decided his servant would suffer as a sacrifice to take away the sin and guilt of others." (Isaiah 53:3-10 New Century Version)
"All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; 'He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!' . . . I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; . . . I can count all my bones they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots." (Psalm 22:7-8, 14, 17-18)
He was crucified like a common criminal, between two criminals. And the people He had come to save mocked and spat on Him while He died. In spite of this, Jesus still loved them and prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)
Jesus' perfect life did not end in the grave. He arose from the tomb on the third day just as He had prophesied He would do: John 2:19
And after forty more days on earth, He ascended back to Heaven, where He is now seated at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest (see Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14,15; 5:1,5,10; 6:20; 7:1,26; 8:1,3; 9:7,11,25; 13:11). Write at least two verses from this list about Jesus being our High Priest:
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Purpose of the Incarnation
Why did God become man? Why did He add a human nature to His divine nature? Why was the incarnation necessary? We can sum up the answer in four words:
- Jesus lived as a man in order to show us, on a level that we could comprehend, exactly what God is like. We can see the character of God demonstrated in Him. By knowing Jesus we can know God.
- The Son of God became a man to show us what perfect manhood can be. We see in Jesus' perfect life and character the pattern, the potential, and God's plan for mankind. He is our example. He is the standard by which our words, thoughts, and actions are measured. He shows us the kind of life we can have when He lives in us and makes us sons of God.
"...until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13)
- Jesus' life established His qualifications for His mission. His sinlessness showed that He was worthy to be our Substitute. His power, wisdom, and love prove that He is qualified to be our King.
- Jesus' life as a man was necessary preparation for His mission. His experience gave Him an understanding of human nature that prepared Him to be our Representative and our Judge.
- Jesus had to become a man in order to be our Priest. He has shared our weakness. He understands our problems.
- He learned the cost of obedience through His own suffering. Jesus prayed for His followers while He was on earth. And now with a deep familiarity and personal identity with our need He prays for us in heaven.
"Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (Hebrews 2:17-18)
"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 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 4:14-16)
- Jesus' experience as a man prepared Him to rule over men. The Son of Man the perfect Representative of Adam's race will one day be our Sovereign Ruler. He will be a perfect King because He knows just what we need. He understands us. And because He died for us, He has the right to govern our lives. Now He is King in the lives of those who accept Him. Some day He will rule the world for which He died.
"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:13,14)
Jesus did more than take our place on the cross, though. He rose from the dead and offers to all who accept Him a place in His eternal kingdom. He unites us with Himself so we can share all His rights as His brothers and sisters.
- Jesus was born so He could die. The whole human race had sinned and was condemned to die eternally every single one of us, no exceptions, from the best of us [e.g., the Pope, Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, the virgin Mary, or anyone you can name] to the worst of us [e.g., Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, or anyone else you can name]. The only way to save us was for God Himself to take our punishment. But as God, He could not die. So He became a man to die in our place and save us from our sins.
"But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers . . . And again, 'I will put my trust in him.' And again, 'Behold, I and the children God has given me.' Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." (Hebrews 2:9-11, 13-15)
Since the "children", as He calls us, are flesh-and-blood humans, Jesus himself became like us and shared our human nature. He did so that through his death he might destroy the power of Satan who had the power over death, as He told the Apostle Paul when He first called him: "...to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." (Acts 26:18)
And as He Himself testified, "...He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed." (Luke 4:18)
Mediation [A negotiation to resolve differences]
- In Bible times a mediator was appointed by the court to represent a bankrupt person and take charge of all his affairs. The mediator was responsible to see that all the creditors were paid in full.
If what the bankrupt person owned was not enough to pay his debts, the mediator himself paid them. What a beautiful picture of Jesus! He is our Mediator before God. His death covers all our debt of sin, and in Him we are free from the sin and guilt that separated us from God!
- Jesus became a man in order to bring God and man together. Sin had opened an impassable chasm [a deep gap] between a holy God and corrupt, rebellious man. But God's love found a way to bridge the gap and bring man back to Himself. Jesus came to be the Mediator of a new covenant or agreement between God and man.
1 Timothy 2:5
- The tree on which Jesus died bridges that gap. He gives us a new nature His nature and makes us true children of God. By taking our human nature, Jesus reaches us and lifts us to a better world. The Son of God became the Son of Man so we could become the sons and daughters of God!
1 Peter 3:18
All throughout the New Testament we find passages that tell us about God's purpose for us. God's Word helps us understand why Jesus became the Son of Man. Jesus Himself sums it all up in one sentence: "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was the lost." (Luke 19:10 KJV)
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Why the Title "Son of Man"?
As we learned in the lesson "Who Is Jesus: The LORD", this title, "Son of Man", clearly indicated His assertion of being divine. The Prophet Daniel had used this phrase to describe One who "came to the Ancient of Days and . . . was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him..." (Daniel 7:13-14)
Jesus referred to Himself as the "Son of Man" more than 80 times, not to merely identify with the human condition, but to make the point that He was both divine and human, that He was, in fact, that One whom Daniel saw in his vision. If there was any question about that fact, just look at some of the assertions He made when using the title "Son of Man":
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- The command to keep the Sabbath was given to the nation of Israel by God Himself. He sternly commanded: "Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death." (Exodus 31:15) And yet, when the Pharisees accused Jesus' disciples of breaking the Sabbath, Jesus declared: "For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:8) A bold statement, indeed, for one who is only human!
- In answer to the High Priest's question at His trial, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?", Jesus answered, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." (Mark 14:61-62)
- In answer to the disciples' question in Matthew 24:3, "when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?", Jesus told them in verse 30:
- Knowing that the Pharisees were accusing Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub [Satan] in Matthew 12:24, Jesus responded in verse 32:
- And in response to the Pharisees' outrage and accusation of blasphemy for telling a paralytic that his sins were forgiven, Jesus said, "But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." (cf. Luke 5:20-24)
- (See also Matthew 8:20; 10:23; 11:19; 12:40; 13:37,41; 16:13,27-28; 17:9,12,22; 18:11; 19:28; 20:18,28; 24:27,30,37,39,44; 25:31; 26:2,24,45,64; Mark 2:10,28; 8:31,38; 9:9,12,31; 10:33,45; 13:26; 14:21,41; Luke 6:5,22; 7:34; 9:22,26,44,58; 11:30; 12:8,10,40; 17:22,24,26,30; 18:8,31; 19:10; 21:27,36; 22:22,48,69; 24:7; John 1:51; 3:13,14; 5:27; 6:27,53,62; 8:28; 9:35; 12:23,34; 13:31.) Write at least two more verses from this list of Scripture references where Jesus refers to Himself as the "Son of Man":
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