Christology: Who Is Jesus?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, February 1, 2021 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Just over 7 years ago, I wrote a blog post titled “Who Is Jesus?” which focused on the humanity and divinity of Jesus. The nature of who Jesus is has not changed, of course, but for today’s post, my focus will be more on the study of Christology. Christology is the study of who Jesus Christ is - His person and work, the relationship between Jesus and the Trinity as a whole, the two natures of Christ, and the roles of Christ.

We know Jesus to be the person who walked on the earth a few thousand years ago, but Jesus actually existed before the creation of the world (John 1:1-3). Jesus did not exist in a human body until He was born on earth, but because Jesus is God and God does not change, Jesus always existed as a human in some way and had awareness of His human nature. This is one of those areas that we can’t comprehend well with our human minds, how Jesus was human yet not yet human at the same time. We don’t know how the Word was made flesh; we just need to believe that He was.

Some believe that Mary had to be sinless in order for Jesus to be born from her and also be sinless. However, Mary was a regular human person born of sinful parents, so how could she be sinless? (Last week, I wrote about hamartiology, the study of sin; refer back to that post for more on the sinfulness of humanity.) To reconcile this, Reformation theologian Martin Luther believed that the Holy Spirit purified Mary in the moment of conception so that Jesus would not inherit the poison of sin, even though Jesus would inherit the human nature that gave Him the potential to sin. Again, the details of how this actually worked remain a mystery to our finite human minds.

The person of Jesus is both fully human and fully God. How does that work? The theological name for this teaching is the hypostatic union, which was developed at the Council of Chalcedon in the year 451. This doctrine states that Jesus has a “rational soul and a body, being of one substance with us in relation to his humanity, and is like us in all things apart from sin.” Jesus’ divine and human natures are without confusion, change, division, or separation. This, again, is a paradox to our human minds. We are unable to fully understand how any person can fully be two things that are in tension with one another; perfectly God yet fully human with the potential for sin, all at the same time.

Jesus is a full person of the Trinity, as I discussed previously. Even though we commonly refer to Jesus as the “second” person of the Trinity, there’s no hierarchy among the Godhead. What is true of God the Father is also true of Jesus the Son and also true of the Holy Spirit. They are all distinct persons with distinct functions, yet still one united God. Even though Jesus ascended to heaven and is no longer on this earth in bodily form, He did not cease to exist. His presence still resides with us. Jesus still has his human body, yet He is still a full part of God in the Trinity. As seems to be the theme of Christology, this, too, is a paradox that our minds can’t fully understand.

The main work of Jesus Christ is salvation for humanity through His death and resurrection. These events fulfilled the prophecies made about Him in the Old Testament as well as the prophecies He made of Himself as recorded in the Gospels during His earthly ministry. After His resurrection, Jesus began His reign on the throne of heaven over all nations, and He is the one high priest who reigns over all the world.

The primary roles of Jesus coming to earth were to serve as the mediator between God and mankind and to bring us salvation. Our sin separated us from God, and we need Jesus to bridge that gap in our relationship. Jesus is shown to be our mediator in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus shows His dual role of mediator and bearer of our salvation in Hebrews 9:15: “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

Who is Jesus? Jesus is the Christ. He is the one who is both fully God and fully human at the same time, who lived a life without sin, who willingly died for us to bridge the gap that we created between ourselves and God with our sin. Put your faith in Jesus today so that you can experience the reward of what Jesus has done for us - eternal life with Him forever!

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