He is probably one of the most well-known men in history. Even most non-Christians would have heard the name even if they did not have in depth understanding of the man and his life.
He was born in a lowly place – a manger in the small town of Bethlehem. But the Bible tells us Jesus will eventually become king of the whole earth. The capital city from which he will reign is Jerusalem.
Jesus name means “God shall save” through this “anointed one”. This article will explain who Jesus is and what his role was in God’s plan.
The birth of Jesus was predicted in Isaiah chapter 7 and verse 14:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel
God chose Mary to be the mother of His son. Mary was a Jewish girl who was a descendant of Abraham and King David of the tribe of Judah. God sent a special messenger, an angel, to tell Mary that she was to be the mother of God’s Son. The Bible tells us that Jesus was to be born of a human mother who was a virgin – she had never had sexual relations with a man. The baby was conceived by the power of God, without a human father. Joseph (her betrothed) was not the father of Jesus. However, Jesus was born like every other human baby.
Jesus therefore had two titles –“Son of God” and “Son of Man”. God was his Father, and yet at the same time, we was a descendant of Adam (the first man), so was therefore associated with mankind.
Son of man
Jesus is the “Son of Man” because he was born of a woman (Mary). As a result of being born of a woman, he inherited all the propensities, feelings and infirmities of man.
Therefore, when Jesus used the term “son of man”, he was reminding his hearers, and the readers of the gospel record, that he was born of a human mother, so that he inherited her human nature and as a result, was a mortal man. This was not a denial of his divine Father, but a reminder to himself and others that even though God was his Father, the Son of God was a mortal man, and was therefore subject to suffering and death.
Jesus experienced all the normal human weaknesses. There were periods where he was tired and needed to rest. He experienced grief when someone close to him died. He experienced temptations like we do. Yet, Jesus did not give in to the temptations like we all do sometimes He lived a perfect and sinless life. But he was not forced to be sinless but did it out of love and faithful obedience.
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:7-8
Jesus was fully aware that in his Father’s purpose he was the Lamb of God and would be slain as a sacrifice for man’s redemption. However, if he had not shared man’s mortal nature, this purpose could not have been fulfilled. If his death had not been real, his resurrection would have been a mockery. Since his resurrection from the grave, Jesus has become the first mortal person to receive immortality sharing the divine nature of his Father.
By his resurrection, Jesus became the “firstfruits” of a great harvest of mortal men and women of faith, who will receive immortality when they are raised from the dead at the return of Jesus Christ. It will be at that time that the Kingdom of God on earth is established as promised. This longed-for purpose of God was prayed for by Jesus, and is still the prayer of his faithful disciples in the word:
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10
This was the Lord’s prayer when Jesus was still the “son of man”, and it is still a good example for all mortal men and women to emulate.
Further explanation of Jesus being the “Son of Man”
The following are some verses in relation to Jesus being the son of man:
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.
As the verses say, Jesus was “sent forth” to redeem. In order for him to do this he had to be born of a woman. In other words, he had to be flesh and blood like we are.
1 Timothy 2:4-6
who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
Jesus is the mediator between God and men. After his resurrection; his receiving of immortality; and ascension to the right hand of God- he is still referred to in these verses as “the man”. He is described as the “Man” between God and Men, because he came in human nature.
Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Jesus was “made like His brethren”, so that he might qualify to save them. Jesus experienced human weakness and temptation like we do. As a result, he was able to show compassion to those who he had come to save.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus could understand our weaknesses because he was “Son of man”. Being born flesh and blood he understands the temptations which men and women experience. He experienced them once just as his brethren do now.
who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
The days of his flesh refers to the time he was on earth. However, after his resurrection (and a short time after that) he left the earth to sit at the right hand of God in glorious immortality. As he had been born flesh and blood he needed to be saved from death. His Father was the only One to be able to do that. His nature came from being flesh and blood and as a result he was subject to evil and temptation. He knew that he must be obedient to his Father but this was put to a great test because of his human nature. He had to conquer the temptations that he faced.
Son of God
Jesus is referred to as the “Son of God” because he was conceived by Mary through the outflowing of the Spirit power from God.
When a son or daughter is born, they will inherit some of the characteristics of their parents. This was the same with Jesus. He inherited some of the characteristics of his Father. As a result, he showed us what his father was like. This led him to say:
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9
This is good for each of us. We are unable to see God Himself, but we can learn what His character is like by studying Jesus his son. However, Jesus was not saying he was equal with God. This is what he said about his authority:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. John 5:19
Therefore, Jesus was not equal with God. Jesus actually said that “the Father is greater than I”. Jesus also said that “I and the Father are one”. This was not saying that they were the same person but rather that they were united in the way they thought and their purpose. In other words, they were one in mind and purpose. Jesus prayed that we should be one with God in this way as well.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, John 17:20-22
Why did God provide the ”Son of God”? God had looked at sinful state of humanity and realised that there was not one who could be perfectly obedient. There was no one who could deliver mankind from the bondage of sin and death. Therefore, God provided one so that salvation could come through him. Jesus was the man provided by God – this is why he is the Son of God. Jesus was provided as an example for mankind to look to and emulate.
As we saw above, Jesus was also the “son of man” and this meant he was tempted in the same way we are – but he overcame completely the trials that he went through. .As a result, the way was opened to salvation and life for himself (i.e. Jesus) and also for all others who would come to God through him.
Further explanation of Jesus being the “Son of God”
The following are some verses in relation to Jesus being the son of God:
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
In this case it was obvious that the natural way of conception would not apply. The conception of Christ would be brought about by special Divine power. This made Jesus unique and different from other men in that his Father was God Himself.
But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
God was the Father of Jesus. Jesus did not descend bodily from heaven at birth. He was not God descended to earth.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Back in the 8th century BC, Isaiah prophesied the Fatherhood of God. In order for a virgin to conceive has to be a miracle and could only be done by God’s Spirit. As a result, the name of the son is “Immanuel” which means “God with Us”.
God anointed Jesus
God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power. This meant that he could speak God’s words and also perform miracles.
how 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
Jesus was Immanuel which as we saw means “God with us”. He received the Holy Spirit which gave him the power to heal. God was with him. He then went out proclaiming the message of salvation.
and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. Luke 3:22
It is very clear that God approved of His son. It can be seen in the verse with the dove and then the voice. These confirmed Jesus claim to messiahship. The work Jesus did after his baptism using the power of the Holy Spirit also confirmed this.
Jesus the redeemer
Redemption and redeemer are words used in the Bible, in particular as a title for Jesus – “Jesus the Redeemer”. But what does the concept actually mean?
The word “redeem” is defined as meaning “to buy back; to liberate an estate from a mortgage”. In older days, for example, a pawnbroker who had taken in goods as security for a loan, accepted payment from their owner to “redeem” them. In our days we are more likely to be familiar with the practice of Banks, when a mortgage is allowed to be “redeemed” by payment of the outstanding loan. In both cases, they are examples of the basic meaning of redemption, and a very similar idea is attached to the word as it is used in Bible.
The Hebrew Old Testament word is gaal, which is defined as “to free by repaying”, and in the book of Leviticus it is continually used this way. For example, a slave could redeem his freedom by a payment made either by himself or on his behalf (Lev. 25 : 49); or a man who had been forced by temporary poverty to sell his land, could “redeem” it when he was able to raise the redemption price (vv. 25–27).
The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was described as an act of redemption (Exod. 15 : 3), because the nation had been “bought back” by the Lord from the bondage of Egypt by the blood of the firstborn of every Egyptian household—the price of their redemption. The Israelites own firstborn, however, were redeemed by the blood of the lamb. This act of redemption had a lot of significance later on.
In the New Testament, the deliverance of God’s nation from Egyptian bondage becomes a figure or type of our own redemption from sin, for the principles are the same. We were in bondage to sin and death. We are unable to release ourselves from the power of darkness; and Christ, the firstborn and only begotten Son of God, gave his own life to redeem ours. So Paul expresses the idea:
For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
However, Redemption in the New Testament has an additional meaning. It includes the obligation to live redeemed lives, serving our new Master. It does not mean that we can please ourselves, rather it means that we have been set free to serve him.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Cor. 6
This is why Jesus is called the “Redeemer”. This Redeemer had a mission which had two parts to it. He was to be Saviour and King.
Jesus the Saviour had a mission. His work was to deliver us from death. But to do that he had to die and then be raised form death. A dead Saviour would be no saviour at all: death would still be conqueror. He had to be raised to show that he was the conqueror of death in himself.
The salvation that Jesus the redeemer was offering was for the whole world. Jesus would be saviour for Jew and Gentile.
And now the Lord says,he who formed me from the womb to be his servant,to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him—for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord,and my God has become my strength— he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:5-6
Jesus was the saviour of the world. John chapter 4 tells the story of Jesus and the woman of Samaria. The Samaritan women had come to Jacob’s well to get water and she saw Jesus there and they started to talk. She later told the towns people what Jesus had said. The Samaritans at the town heard the testimony of the women.
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.” John 4:39-42
They believed that Jesus was the Saviour of the world. The world lies in wickedness, but the work of Jesus Christ is to save the world, not condemn it.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17
The saving power is world-embracing. No limit is placed – the only thing stopping it is human unbelief and hardness of heart. If every person living would heed and obey, there would be room. We, unfortunately know that it is unlikely this will happen. But until the world has been offered that saving word and been told of this wonderful grace then the task of believers to preach is not done,
It is all too easy for a small, struggling group of believers to look around upon a wicked world and think the task is too difficult. It is less easy for that group to realise that it must be an instrument of bearing salvation to that world.
The second mission of Jesus is to be king over all the earth. This will happen in the future when he returns to this earth.
In the Old Testament, the prophets spoke of the glory of the coming Messiah. They taught that men will worship at Jerusalem, and peace will be established throughout the earth.
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah 2: 2-4
In that day Israel will be saved and the promised king will reign gloriously in the earth.
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’ Jeremiah 23:5-6
The king will put down all oppression and evil and will bring a blessing on all nations. His kingdom will over throw all other others. Jerusalem will become known as the city of Truth. All nations will be gathered together under one rule and one religion.