Who Do You Say that He is?
Nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus asked the question, “What do you think of the Christ? Whose Son is He?” (Matthew 22:42). A person’s answer to that question can determine his or her eternal destiny.
The Apostle John declares Jesus’ preexistence in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus says He is “the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 1:8). Jesus reigns eternally and exists before all things (see Hebrews 1:8, Colossians 1:17).
Jesus did not become God—He always has been God (John 5:18) and is a Person of the Trinity. (Also see: “What We Believe: The Trinity.”) Referring to His deity, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). The preexistence of Jesus Christ and the deity of Jesus Christ are inseparable. You cannot accept one and deny the other.
The word incarnation means “in flesh.” It denotes the act in which the Son of God took to Himself the nature of humanity through the Virgin Birth (see Matthew 1:23). John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). In the Incarnation, God the Son became the God-man. Therefore, Christ was one person with two natures—divine and human (see John 1:1–18). To put it another way, Jesus was fully God and fully man. He always was God and nothing less, but He expressed this truth within the time and frame of human structure.
For Jesus to represent sinful humanity, He had to become a man. His Virgin Birth, which was essential for Him to be sinless, was prophesied long before it occurred (see Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:18, 23; Luke 1:34–35; and Galatians 4:4). Jesus shared in the human experience even to the point of death. However, unlike us, Jesus was without sin (see Hebrews 4:15).
The penalty for our sins is death (see Romans 6:23). Jesus died in our place and paid our penalty (see Matthew 20:28; John 10:17–18; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18). Jesus’ death on the cross laid the foundation for a righteous God to pardon guilty and sinful people without compromising His righteousness in any way.
Jesus’ resurrection assures us of our future resurrection. Because of His victory over death, we have victory as well. Without the Resurrection, there would be no gospel message. Christ’s resurrection is proven through fulfilled prophecies, His empty tomb, and the appearances of the risen Christ (see Matthew 28:5–8; John 20:27–28).
Jesus’ Ascension and Exaltation
After His resurrection, Jesus visibly departed from His disciples into heaven (see Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9). His ascension and exaltation were necessary to complete the redemptive work of God (see Mark 16:19; Philippians 2:9; Ephesians 1:20–21; Hebrews 1:3).
Jesus’ Second Coming