Whenever we address the topic of theology or apologetics, we must ask ourselves who Jesus is. If this question tends you a little bit that’s fine, it confuses most theologians too. This question really has two tenets, how Jesus was Revealed (and what we learn), and what is Jesus’s role in our salvation. I really want to encourage you to take a deep dive in this area and figure out what you believe here before going any further with apologetics. What I want to do in this post is give you a quick deep dive into the scriptures regarding these topics and some of the core thoughts around them. I have category two divided into two subcategories following the layout below:
The Revelation of Jesus26. What is the deity of Christ and why is it significant? 34. What passages show that Jesus claimed to be God? 27. What is the humanity of Christ and why is it significant? 25. What is the Incarnation of Christ and why is it significant?
Understanding Jesus’s Role31. In what ways did Jesus fulfill His role as a prophet? 32. In what ways did Jesus fulfill His role as priest? 33. In what ways did Jesus fulfill His role as king? 30. What evidence supports Jesus as the promised Messiah? THE REVELATION OF JESUS: To understand Jesus we have to understand how Jesus revealed himself as Christ and the impact that has on our religion. Jesus revealed himself as God in two major ways. While I won’t be able to cover every example of his Revelation I’ll hit the highlights and I encourage you to look into this further on your own time. For self-revelation, the one that arguably sticks out the most is the time of John the Baptist – when it was verbally said “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. You’ve heard it taught in Sunday school thirteen million times, but I want you to think about its impact for just a second. This is the first time that it was announced to anyone other than Mary that Jesus is the son of God, and the first time that it happened verbally (excluding Gabrial serving as a messenger. This one is crucial because it answers the most important question – who is Jesus practically. The second major one is when God revealed himself to Mary Magdalene. I want you to stop reading this for a second and take a look at John 20:16-17 and I want you to jot down the two things that stick out to you. First should be Jesus once again claiming that he is God, and second should be that this is the first time God revealed himself as the risen savior. Finally, we must look at the self-revelation of the ascension. Think back to Luke 24, this one is one of the most enduring promises of the gospel, “I go to prepare a place for you”. It is also a significant self-revelation, up to this point Jesus all that was known was that the Messiah would bring salvation. In this moment Jesus told the world that there was something better coming. Aside from some light hinting, this is the first time that promise, God’s master plan, was revealed to humanity. I would encourage you to go much deeper into this. I specifically recommend looking at the self-revelations in Matthew 28, Luke 24, John 20 and 21, and 1st Corinthians 15. The second major way Jesus revealed himself was through his actions. I won’t go in-depth here either, but there are categories that stand out. I divided these into a) The Public Displays of Power, b) the Prayer and Personal Conduct of Christ and c) the Public Displays of Religion. Public displays of power are essentially the numerous accounts of healing plus the flipping of tables and the ascension. While there is a ton we can glean from these, the core thing to take away is that Jesus is all-powerful. I encourage you to go through these in your personal study time and write down all the things you learn, however, if you remember the key term here you’ll do well. The Prayer and Personal Conduct of Christ is a rather narrow area yet one that bears must meaning in the grand scheme of things. What we see here is first, Jesus’ recognition of Christ the Father. The significance of this will be covered more in-depth in the post on the trinity – however, it is a significant revelation of God’s role as a part of a whole. Secondly, and arguably more important to these topics we see the value Jesus places in his relationship with God the Father – this demonstration arguably a primary reason for his humanity. Finally, within the Public Displays of Religion, we see one of the most significant answers to your questions – to teach and bring back Christ. Although the Bible we see Jesus’s humanity being used as a way that people discover Christ and Christianity. These are just two of the areas in which God revealed himself. I know it seems like a lot, however, I promise that if you dig into understanding these concepts your cards for these questions will practically write themselves. UNDERSTANDING JESUS’S ROLE: For the second category, we have to go a bit deeper into the concepts of Holiness and redemption. The concepts used here are either my ideas or root back to Grudem, Spurgeon, Tozer, or Piper. We start with the concept of the Gap of Sin. This one is a concept that has been held by the church for some time. Christians as a general rule are willing to accept that sin creates a gap between man and God. Ironically there is still disagreement within this concept, what is debated (and what might be worth studying) is whether this gap comes from God’s inability to be in the presence of sin, sinful man’s inability to be before a perfect God, or both. Back to the concept itself is in essence the idea that something prevents imperfect humans from coming before a perfect God. Due to this, we come to the concept of a necessary sacrifice. Once again, a hotly debated topic, why does it work, who needs it, these are all concepts hotly debated. I hold more strongly to the idea of these being necessary for our seeing God than him needing sacrifice to be with us. I base this primarily on the last of biblical support for these being necessary for God, and the repeated times in the Old Testament where God would hide his glory when he came to see Moses. Additionally, we see God walking amid fallen humanity through the presence of Jesus, leading me to hold primarily to the theory of these being needed for Us to be with Christ. Regardless of which side of the issue you take, it is mutually understood that the Sacrifice of Jesus was needed for the reuniting of God and Man. The second major thing to touch on here is the idea of Christ as the conduit for the Holy Spirit. Regardless of where you fall on the reunification of God and man, it must be understood that it did allow for the Holy Spirit to be given to those of us who are believers. In this way, God also fulfilled many of the roles of the Hebrew synagogue (traditional route of communication when involving God and Man) by allowing direct communication with God. In this way, he filled many roles by eliminating the need for them. You are setting out on understating one of the simplest and yet most difficult principles of theology. As you go on that journey I highly encourage you to make use of the additional reading materials I have below for you, as well as Ethos Legends and the comment box to continue discussing this material. My biggest prayer is that you will take this opportunity not just to prepare your cards, but to allow this knowledge to penetrate and deepen your relationship with Christ. RECOMENDED READING:
- Systematic Theology By Grudem
- Knowledge of the Holy trilogy – A.W. Tozer
- The Purpose of Man – A.W. Tozer
Luke is a freshman at Dallas Baptist Univeristy in Dallas Texas who plans to persue a carrer in the legal field. An acomplished debater Luke comptes on his colleges debate and mock trial teams as well as coachs and teaches debate at a local academy. To here more about Luke or get started with your first session click the links below. Full Bio Book a Session
This was so insightful. The comprehensive writing and all of the recommended resources and verses were truly helpful for apologetics!
Thank you so much Jala!