Part 6 – The Man Jesus
Image: (Greek word eikon, English word icon), “the very substance or essential embodiment of something or someone.”
To help us understand our new identity when we are born again, we must first understand who Jesus is and how He lived on the earth. We will only understand who and what we are in light of who Jesus truly is and how He lived. Specifically, did Jesus live as God or did He live as man? Did Jesus preach, perform miracles and die on the cross as God? Or did He do all those things as a man empowered by God? These are very important questions that we must clearly understand if we are going to understand our own identity. Let’s consider the following scriptures.
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 1 John 4:2-3
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 2 John 1:7
According to these passages, it is possible to know the difference between the Spirit of God and the antichrist spirit (the spirit that is not from God). Continuing from 1 John 4 verse 6, “By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” How are we going to know the difference? The answer is above in verses 2 and 3: “every spirit that confesses that Jesus came in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” It is important to understand the phrase “confesses that Jesus came in the flesh.”
Every major religion believes that Jesus was a man who lived on earth. There is too much historical proof to believe otherwise. The issue, however, is who they believe He was. Some will say He was a good man, and others even say He was a prophet. However, not all believe He was the Messiah, Son of the living God. Heck, not even the Jewish leaders believed it when Jesus was standing right in front of them! Then there are different beliefs within the Christian community. Many Christians believe Jesus was actually God in the flesh. Some say Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time. Others have no idea how to answer.
Therefore, for someone to confess that Jesus came in the flesh as a man on earth cannot be enough to distinguish between truth and error. However, there is more to the phrase, “Jesus came in the flesh,” than just believing that Jesus was a man. The word “flesh” means to be human with all of the limitations and weaknesses that are associated with being human. Which means Jesus was susceptible to all the same challenges, temptations, confusion, loss, fears, inadequacies, cuts, bruises, hunger, tiredness, sickness, diseases, etc. as we are. 1 John 4:17 says, “As He is, so also are we in this world.” In other words, Jesus came to earth fully human with all human weaknesses and limitations just as we are, even though He is the Son of God. And, just like us, He was completely dependent upon God for everything. Philippians explains it this way;
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8
Jesus willingly laid aside His privileges and power as Deity to become a man limited by human weakness, dependent on His Father. It was required that Jesus come to earth as a man since God gave delegated authority over the earth to man (ref. Genesis 1:28, Psalms 115:16). Jesus could not even command angels directly. He needed to ask His Father. “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53).
Everything Jesus did, whether miraculous or not, was done as a man filled with the Holy Spirit in complete obedience to His Father. That is why we can do what He did!
Excerpt from my latest book; “Now Who Are You?”