For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Who is Jesus? That’s the ultimate issue now and it was 2,000 years ago also. Seeing Christ’s marvelous deeds and hearing His exciting, authoritative teaching made people think He was a Hebrew prophet risen from the grave. It was flattering to be compared to God’s famous servants of the past, but totally inadequate to describe Jesus. Peter confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and Peter got it right because God graciously showed him the truth. Jesus declared, “You are blessed because my Father in heaven revealed this to you.”1 No one in Bible times or now is convinced that Christ is God except by the Holy Spirit’s inner calling, converting, life-changing, work.2 We are 100% responsible to believe Jesus, but we are also 100% dependent on Him to help us trust Him. That’s why we pray for God’s saving influence in our lives and in others’ lives.
Isaiah asserted that Christ is our Mighty God and Jesus rightly claimed to be God in flesh, God adding on a human nature. Christ stated: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father….I am in the Father and the Father is living in me and doing His work….I and the Father are one….I am the Son of the Blessed One….I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I AM!”3 Jesus’ high claims present us with a trilemma (a choice from three options):
1. Christ was telling the truth; 2. Christ was lying; He wasn’t God and knew it; 3. Christ was crazy; He wasn’t God but thought He was.
The Bible displays Jesus’ deity in at least three big ways that I remind us of, for our own encouragement and to help us explain what we believe to others this Christmas.
Jesus’ Sinlessness Certified that He is God. As fully divine and fully human in one person, Christ willingly allowed Himself to be tempted just like us, yet He never wronged God or people. Jesus was holy, innocent, unstained, morally separated from sinners.4 No one could find any fault with Christ, including Pontius Pilate and his wife, the dying thief, and the soldier in charge of Jesus’ execution. The centurion said, “Certainly, this was a righteous man, not guilty of the false charges brought against Him, and He has suffered wrongfully.”5 Jesus obeyed God perfectly as our representative and succeeded where the first Adam failed. Christ’s obedience takes the place of our disobedience. Jesus’ law-keeping is counted as the law-keeping of us who have faith in Him. Praise God!
Jesus’ Miracles Certified that He is God. During Christ’s earthly ministry, He touched and transformed many people, supernaturally healing the sick and handicapped, calming storms, casting out demons, and raising people from death. These divine acts aroused people’s awe and attested to Christ’s divine identity. About 40 miracles are documented by eyewitnesses in the Four Gospels. These miracles were actual historical events; if we had been there, we could have captured them with a camera or video recorder. They represent samples of the Lord’s earthly miracles and the end of John’s Gospel says: “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”6 Christ’s miracles were not meant to entertain us, but rather to attest to His divine identity so that we trust and follow Him forever. Do they have that effect on you?
Jesus’ Resurrection Certified that He is God. Christ stated, “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again.”7 The Ancient Egyptian pharaohs claimed to be gods, but they couldn’t be. We’ve seen their mummified bodies in museums. Other political, religious, cultural, social, and military leaders were influential for a while, but now they are gone; we’ve seen their graves. Jesus was dead, but now He is alive forever, never to die again. Christ’s resurrection inaugurates His kingly rule and paves the way for His Second Advent, when He will return to reclaim all His followers (dead or alive). Christ will take us home to be with Him forever in the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.8 Christ’s resurrection is evidence that His sacrificial death was accepted by God for us and that all His claims are true. Jesus’ resurrection is much more decisive proof of believers’ security than His death alone could be.
We Need Christ. Jesus’ moral purity, His wondrous works, and His victorious rising are recorded in the Bible so we may believe that Jesus is God’s Son, entrust ourselves to Him, walk with Him, and enjoy the abundant life He gives. We can live happily and purposefully in this fallen world by Christ’s indwelling power. The joy of the Lord is our strength. We need Jesus as our Mighty God because our problems are too hard, too huge, too difficult, and too daunting for us to handle alone.
Because we are weak: Financial need and uncertainty can be overwhelming; Illness, loneliness, and loss can feel unbearable; Addictions to alcohol, nicotine, drugs, gambling, pornography, food, video games, social media, shopping, and work seem unbreakable; Feelings of anger, depression, anxiety, envy, self pity, and perfectionism can cripple us; Our sins seem unforgivable and impossible to escape from.
Our troubles should drive us to ask our living, but unseen Savior for His mighty help. Scripture promises: “Nothing is too difficult for the Lord….With Him all things are possible.”9 Jesus guards our life, rescues us, and doesn’t let us be put to shame, because we take refuge in Him.10 Do your troubles drive you to Christ for help? That’s what God desires and designs them to do.
An Illustration. Imagine little Mae, asking her Poppy to help her climb a tree. Poppy lifts her to the lowest branch and Mae is scared. Poppy holds and coaches her, telling her to first kneel on one branch, then slowly stand, then step carefully to the tree’s center. Mae cries, “I’m going to fall!,” but Poppy urges, “Don’t think about slipping; think about climbing with my help.” She’s smart and ponders that truth, then her fear is lessened. She moves higher, listening to Poppy and leaning on him. The next day Mae wants to tackle the tree again. Now more confident, she depends on her grandfather more and gets further than before.11
So What? (Application). The Lord Jesus wants us to handle hard things that way. Surrendering to His counsel, letting Him support us, calling on His help to change obstacles into stepping stones along the pathway to Heaven. Situations in our past, present, and future can be scary. Obeying Christ’s commands every day seems impossible, given all the external and internal factors working against us. We worry and get emotionally paralyzed if we allow fear to overcome us. So Jesus our Mighty God calls us to think about climbing, living, following Him with His help day by day. Not to think about falling.
Christ encourages and coaches us through bad times; He keeps His everlasting arms underneath us and Christians can say by faith, “I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.”12 Jesus doesn’t just give us pills to handle our weakness and weariness. He is our Mighty God who gives us Himself as our Helper. That is all and that is enough. May Christ help us to trust and obey Him more and better!
To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24,25)
Go in peace, beloved. Walk with Christ our King today and be a blessing to others!
1 Matt 16:16,17. 2 1 Cor 12:3. 3 Mark 14:61,62; John 8:58; 10:30; 14:9,10. 4 Heb 7:26. 5 Luke 23:47. 6 John 20:30,31. 7 John 10:18. 8 2 Peter 3:13. 9 Gen 18:14; Jer 32:17,27; Luke 18:27. 10 Psalm 25:20. 11 Mae’s story adapted from Jerry Van Auken. 12 Psalm 63:8.