Day 6: Jesus is fully God

Stained Glass Depicting Jesus Christ

 

A couple of days ago we looked at the necessity of Jesus being fully man.  Now we look at the necessity of Jesus being fully God.  Why is this important for our salvation and our understanding of who Jesus is?

Throughout the New Testament there are hundreds of passages that point to Jesus being God, “the LORD”, and the Messiah.  There are at least seven passages that are undeniably pointing to Jesus as the one true God.  These passages include John 1:1; 1:18; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8 (quotes Psalm 45:6); and 2 Peter 1:1.

Old Testament passages refer to Christ as being God as well.  Isaiah 9:6 is a familiar one: “For to us a child is born, to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God…'”.

John the Baptist quotes an Old Testament passage (Isaiah 40:3) when he says of Jesus, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Matthew 3:3).

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?
Why is it necessary for us to understand Jesus’ deity? 

If Jesus was not fully God then our salvation would not be attainable.  Jonah 2:9 says that salvation comes from God alone.  No human being, no earthly creature could have carried the weight of the world’s sin.  This was a weight that only God could bear.  No human effort was capable of redeeming humanity.  Only God could pay the ransom necessary for our salvation.  Only one who was fully God could be the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), and only one who was fully God could reveal God most fully to his creation (John 14:9).

If Jesus was not fully God then salvation for us would be hopeless.  There would be no Christianity, no church, and no hope for the human race.  But because of God’s great love for us, because of his grace, he took it upon himself to do what only he was capable of doing.  And thus we have hope for freedom, through the works of Christ alone.

REFLECTION:

Spend some time reflecting on God’s great love for you.  He knows you by name.  He has counted your days.  He knows your every thought, why you shed every tear, and what brings you the most joy.

Imagine you were one of Jesus’ original twelve disciples.  Think of what your reaction would have been as you understood more each day of who Jesus actually is.  That you are walking, talking, and interacting with the Creator of the Universe.  What would that have been like?  Would you find it intimidating?  Would you have been scared?  Would there have been things you wanted to hide?  What questions would you have asked him?

Now spend some time talking to the Creator of the Universe.  He hears you.  He wants to speak to you.  Will you let him now?

Day 2: Virgin Birth

Stained Glass Depicting Jesus Christ

[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. [19] And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. [20] 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. [21] She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” [22] All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
[23] “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). [24] When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, [25] but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
(Matthew 1:18-25 ESV)

The virgin birth of Christ is essential for Christian doctrine.  It’s through the virgin birth that God is able to unite both humanity and deity in one person.  Through being born of a woman, as a baby, we are able to understand Jesus’ humanity.  Jesus was fully human and was able to experience the same things you and I experience.  Through being conceived of the Holy Spirit rather than through having an “earthly father” we are able to understand Jesus’ deity.  Jesus is fully God and he alone has the power to break the chains of sin.

Because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the descent of Adam was interrupted.  That means that the bloodline of Adam, our first father, tainted with sin, was interrupted in Jesus’ conception.  This does not mean that Mary was sinless, as there is no indication of that in Scripture, but rather the work of the Holy Spirit prevented the transmission of her sin nature to Jesus.

WHY IS THE VIRGIN BIRTH IMPORTANT FOR US?
The virgin birth is important for us because it shows us that salvation can only come from the Lord.  In Genesis 3, God promised that the seed of the woman would destroy the serpent.  But it wouldn’t be through human effort that this would happen.  The virgin birth reminds us that salvation cannot be attained through our human efforts but through the work of God himself.  He alone has that power.

Jesus walked this earth for approximately 33 years and experienced the emotions, pain, joy, and sufferings that you and I often experience.  As a human, he was capable of growing tired and weary, hungry and thirsty, becoming sad and happy.  Jesus operated in his humanity, showing us what it’s like to be completely submissive to the Holy Spirit.  Through Jesus’ life we have an example of what perfect communion with God looks like.

It was through Christ’s obedience to the Father that took Jesus to the cross.  It was his life, one perfect human life, that was traded for the freedom of humanity.  The debt that no other human could pay, Jesus paid.

It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that Jesus was conceived, born, lived, died, and resurrected.  It is the work of God alone that saves you and me from the sins that seek to destroy our souls.  The virgin birth reminds us that we cannot attain our own salvation.  No human effort, no amount of work, resources or money can deliver us from the hands of destruction.  But Christ, who is rich in mercy, he alone has the power over sin.  It’s through our surrender that we are redeemed. Our surrender from being our own god.  Our surrender of trying to be “good enough”.  Our surrender of working our way to salvation.  We surrender to the redeeming work of Christ, understanding that he is enough and the wrath of God was satisfied in his death.

REFLECTION
In what ways do you still seek to attain salvation on your own?  Where do you still seek to be your own god?  What areas of your life are you unwilling to surrender to Christ and allow him to have his own way in you.  How may you begin surrendering completely to what Christ has done?  “Jesus’ blood is enough”: How may you begin to make that statement reality in your own life?

Day 9: Do Not Bear False Witness

TEN DAYS OF AWE- DAY 9

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Exodus 20:16

This is one command that most of us struggle with more than any other.  Often we assume and even read this command as simply, “Do not lie.”  But the actually words are, “Do not bear false witness.”  What is false witness?  It’s saying something or testifying against what you know to be true.

In reality, this command has more to do with our we live our lives than it does with the words we say.  If we understand what God has done for us, who He is, and who He has created us to be… than why do we live our lives as if he doesn’t exist?  Why do we live our lives as if He doesn’t matter?  Why do we give a false testimony of who God is to those around us?  If we are to imitate who Jesus is and represent him to the rest of the world… why sort of Jesus do they see in us?

Throughout these commands we can see a system that God has created.  A system that works if followed.  There’s light and there’s dark.  In creation we see that on day 1 God made a distinction between the two.  The light he called day, the dark he called night.  We chose the darkness.  When God was inviting us into the light, we chose the dark.  Why?  Because the darkness conceals who we are, what we’re capable of.

Over and over again God has called his people to come out of the darkness and step into the light.  To expose the darkness and be healed in the light.  He’s called the church to shine the light into the darkness because the darkness cannot comprehend it, it cannot understand it, and it cannot overcome it.  We do this by recognizing who we are, embracing the gospel of Christ and all that he has redeemed us from, confessing the darkness within and being healed.

This is what the church’s response should be.  Instead we continue to hide in the darkness out of shame, guilt, pride, or even our own love for sin.  The church has become a place where we misrepresent and bear false witness to one another of who we are and who God is.  God is calling us to love one another, bear one another’s burdens, and build bridges of healing to one another.  May we step into the light and out of the darkness.  May we embrace the gospel in our lives and understand what Christ has truly accomplished on the cross.  May we no longer judge one another for our sin but love one another and see that we are capable of the same things.

Spend some time confessing to Jesus the parts of your heart that is still hiding in darkness.  Ask him to heal you.  Repent and turn from evil.  Step into the light and shine through the darkness.  Represent to the world the love and grace that is our God.

Day 4: Sabbath

TEN DAYS OF AWE- DAY 4[8] “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, [10] but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
(Exodus 20:8-11 ESV)

The fourth word is one that is difficult for me when I begin to really dissect what this really means.  Most of us have grown up hearing about the Sabbath Day.  On this day we go to church, and then, if we we’re good Christians we would go home and eat so we wouldn’t have to make the people at the restaurants work. We would make sure we cut the grass on Saturday so we didn’t have to do it on “the Lord’s day”.

Is that what this command is really getting at?  Maybe.  In my heart I really think it goes much deeper than not going to restaurants on Sundays or making sure the only work you did was turn the TV on to watch the Saints’ game while your kids play in the backyard.

What was the Lord really wanting from his people?  Why is he COMMANDING them to rest?

In our culture today I think this command is more important that we might think.  Most of us define ourselves by what we do.  Some of us may have well paying jobs or a high status job that gives some position of authority or stature.  Some of us may be full time moms or dads and we define ourselves by how well of a parent we might be.  Some of us may be artists or musicians.  Some of us may work just so we can have the material things that define us (a nice house, car, the right phone, etc.).

The Israelites knew what it meant to have your worth defined by what you produced.  For 400 years they were enslaved to Egypt, producing crops, making bricks, etc.  In one account of the Old Testament, Pharaoh makes it clear that these slaves are only worth what they are able to produce.  This is what they did, all day long, every day… make bricks until you die…

[10] So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. [11] Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’” [12] So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. [13] The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw.” [14] And the foremen of the people of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not done all your task of making bricks today and yesterday, as in the past?”
    [15] Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? [16] No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.” [17] But he said, “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’ [18] Go now and work. No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks.”
(Exodus 5:10-18 ESV)

Here is a moment when God’s people are desiring to worship, so they ask for time to do this.  Pharaoh’s response: “If you have time to worship then you must not be busy enough”.  Now he requires them to make more bricks with less materials.  They knew what it meant to be defined by what you did.

What defines you? 
In a world where we are more prone to define ourselves by external things (careers, status, children, money, etc.), think about what has defined you.  What do you live for every day?  What is worth so much to you that you couldn’t live one day without it?

Has your work replaced God?  Is it your work that sustains you?  God desires to be those things for us.  He desires to be what sustains us.  He tells us to rest and focus time each week on him.  Thinking of the things he’s done, who he is, and how he has sustained us.  He desires to be the thing that defines us.  Not only do we need rest, he created us to need to rest, we also need him.  What does it say about us that we work all day long, every day, think about it when we get home, dream about, think about it when we’re eating dinner with our families?  What does it say about the priorities in our lives?

Take some time to stop.  Think about the things that God has done in your life.  Take some time to rest in him.  Put the work aside… it will always be there when you get back.  Stop defining yourself by what you produce and begin to define yourself the way God does… a child of the King.

Day 2: No Idols

TEN DAYS OF AWE- DAY 2[4] “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. [5] 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 fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, [6] but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.   
(Exodus 20:4-6 ESV)

The Second Word or Command is one we often think, “I got this.  I don’t bow down to idols or golden calves or my G.I. Joe dolls… err… action figures.”  But if we really think about this one, this may be the one we struggle with the most.

What was the Lord asking his people to do?  He said, “Don’t make any representation of me, an image, anything that is supposed to represent who I am.”  Why did he ask this of them?  Because it is literally impossible to make anything that could contain who He is.

Think about this… In Exodus 32 Moses is on the mountain waiting on God to speak… he’s been there a while and the Israelites are getting a little worried.  Their solution… make an image that would represent God.  They bring all their gold and jewelery together, melt it down, and fashion a golden calf.  This golden calf was there to represent God.  The problem… it only represented one part of who God is.  The calf represented God’s strength and protection.

The people fashioned this image to represent a characteristic of God that they liked… it didn’t represent his wrath, nor did it really represent his grace… it represented his protection.  Their desire for protection led them to do exactly what God told them not to do.  Their idol… protection.  Their desire was not for God and who he is… their desire was for what he could do for them.  If they could find protection in this golden image they created then that was all they really needed.

What do we desire?
How are we like the Israelites in the wilderness?  We may not have a problem bowing down to our jewelry or our stuff… but what do we really desire?  Do we really desire who God is or do we desire the parts of him that gives us what we want?

When the Lord gave his name to Moses, he gave him the name “YAHWEH“.  This is translated, “I AM THAT I AM” or “I AM WHO I AM”.  In other words, “Moses, I am who I am and I don’t need your help to be who I am.”

So God’s name defines who he is.  It tells us immediately that we don’t get to define who he is.  Nothing we can fashion, nothing we can create, nothing we can conjure up in our imaginations can contain who God is.  He is far beyond what our hearts can comprehend.  We must take him for all that he is and trust that or not take him at all.

God cannot be contained in our tiny views of him… he cannot fit into the boxes that we attempt to place him in… we must search the Word of God, and see him for who he is… not who we prefer him to be… or even who we think him to be.

So, how do we know who God is… we look at his son.  Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son 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.”
Colossians 1:15 says, He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”

How have you attempted to fashion God into something that you would prefer Him to be?
How have you not trusted Him to be who He is and know that is all you need?

Read Romans 1:21-22 and Jeremiah 2:5.  Scripture tells us that we become like what we worship.