Lesson 01 - Introduction

Lesson 01 - Introduction

Lesson for January 8, 2006

The Life of Christ

Introduction

Jesus Christ is the unique person of all history. Christ is unique in that He is both God and a man. Jesus Christ is the only person in history to be born without a sin nature and the only person to live a sinless life. His life, His death and His resurrection were foretold by the prophets of God thousands of years before His birth. Even the place of His birth was foretold. When studying the life of Christ, it is important to consider everything the Bible says about Him.

There are over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament regarding Jesus Christ. These prophecies outline in detail His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection. Jesus Christ fulfilled all of these prophecies and is without question the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

When He began His earthly ministry, Jesus chose twelve men to be His closest disciples and traveling companions. They observed His daily life, ate with Him, learned from Him and ultimately some of them wrote of Him. In the New Testament we have four books that we call The Gospels. These books are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and these books record the life of Christ in Hypostatic Union (the coming together of His divine nature and His human nature) while here on earth.

We will begin our study of the Life of Christ by tracing Him from the very first book of the Bible through the very last book of the Bible. What we will see is a progressive revelation of Jesus Christ that is woven harmoniously throughout the Word of God. We will examine the prophecies concerning Him and we will study the fulfillment of these prophecies found in the four Gospels. By comparing the four accounts of Christ and the events recorded about His life, we will gain a greater understanding of and an appreciation for the Lord Jesus Christ. (Luke 24:25-27; John 5:39-46)

The first verse of the Bible reveals Jesus Christ as the creator of the universe and all that is in it, including human beings. When Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” it is a reference to the Trinity, but it is God the Son, Jesus Christ, Who is the Creator. From the first verse of the Bible to the last verse (Revelation 22:21) we see Jesus Christ. (John 1:1-3: Colossians 1:16-17)

The historical record of the birth of Christ is well documented both Biblically and secularly. Most of us are familiar with the story. It is safe to say that no other person in history has changed the world in the way that Jesus of Nazareth changed it. (Matthew 1:18-25; Isaiah 7:14)

More than a mere human being, Jesus Christ is the God-man, being fully divine and fully human. In theology we call this union, “The Hypostatic Union.” This term is derived from the Greek word for same essence, “hupostatis.” Jesus Christ is the essence of God, being Himself fully God. He is also the essence of man, being fully man. Jesus Christ is the unique person of the universe. This union of deity and humanity uniquely qualifies Christ to be the only mediator between God and mankind. (John 10:31; 12:45; 14:7; 15:24; Colossians 2:9)

His birth was also unique because it was the only virgin birth in history. This meant that Christ was born without a sin nature. Without a sin nature and under the control of God the Holy Spirit, Christ was not able to sin and able not to sin. In His deity, He could not sin and in His humanity He was able not to sin. Deity remains deity and humanity remains humanity. Therefore, Jesus Christ is both God and man in one person forever. (Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 1:19)

The hypostatic union of Christ is personal in that a new person came into being at the virgin birth. Christ was not merely in harmony with God nor did He merely indwell or possess the humanity of Jesus. Jesus was born a man, in the same way that we are born, yet He remained deity. This is why He is so unique! (John 14:18-21; Romans 8:9-10; II Corinthians 13:5; Ephesians 3:17-19; Colossians 1:27; Revelation 3:20)

The hypostatic union is eternal in that Christ will never cease to be a member of the human race. We are told that Christ is seated in the place of honor at the right hand of God the Father. This, of course, is a testimony to the fact that God is completely satisfied with Christ’s execution of the plan of salvation for mankind. We must also remember that it is the humanity of Christ that is seated at God’s right hand. Deity is omnipresent and does not sit. (Acts 5:31; Hebrews 1:3)

The fact that Christ was sinless uniquely qualifies Him to be our mediator with God. Unlike Jesus, we are born with a sin nature that has been passed down to us genetically. It is sin (violation of God’s law) that separates us from God and keeps us from having a relationship with Him. Created in the image of God, man was designed to have a personal relationship with God. It was an act of

disobedience against God that caused this separation to exist. But God in His grace had already designed a plan to solve this problem. (Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24)

The plan, formulated in eternity past, called for a sin-bearer to “bridge” the gap between God and man. This sin-bearer had to be uniquely qualified, however. He had to have no sin of his own, he had to be equal with both parties involved and he had to be willing to bear the sin of the entire human race. Jesus Christ volunteered to execute the plan. Therefore, Jesus Christ became a man, lived a sinless life and became our sin-bearer. (Romans 5:8; II Corinthians 5:21)

Foretold for thousand of years throughout the Old Testament by prophets, priests and kings, the virgin birth of Christ was an event of epic proportion. For those who knew and understood the Scriptures, this event was a fulfillment of all that they had been taught with regard to the coming Messiah. The place and manner of His birth had long been prophesied by Jews and Gentiles alike. His birth caused kings to fear, wise men to rejoice and angels to sing.

From humble beginnings, this unique person of the universe grew to manhood and began an amazing journey. His journey from age thirty to age thirty-three was recorded for us by four of His followers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We are very fortunate to have been given this record. It is this record of Christ that not only teaches us how we are to treat one another, it also records the greatest love story of all time. (Genesis 3:15; II Samuel 7:5-17; Isaiah 7:14)

This love story is between the Creator of the universe, Jesus Christ and His creations, mankind. “Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friends.” Because of His great love, Jesus Christ laid down His life for you and me. However, the story of Christ’s death on the cross is not the end. Not willing that anyone would perish and spend eternity separated from God, Jesus Christ voluntarily became our sin-bearer. Isaiah declared this fact in chapter 53, verse 6, when he said, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him (Christ) the iniquity (sin) of us all”. This entire chapter is a detailed description of the life and death of Jesus Christ. (John 15:13)

We need only to study the record that God has given us of His Son to discover His uniqueness. Like four different people observing the same event, the four Gospels give us four different but harmonious accounts of the life of Christ. As we study these four books we will learn that each writer viewed Jesus Christ in a different manner.

These views do not contradict one another, but rather give us a much broader scope of the reality of Jesus Christ as a man. His life, His purpose and His victory on our behalf have been recorded for our benefit.

We must remember that Jesus Christ is coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He voluntarily subordinated Himself to the Father’s plan of salvation. This means He also deprived Himself of the exercise of His divine attributes. At no time did Christ “empty Himself” of His deity. He was never less than God. He simply restricted the use of His divine attributes voluntarily. (Colossians 2:9)

Jesus was born as a man and had to learn the Scriptures the same way that we do, under the control of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the one who empowered Him and sustained Him throughout His life on earth. As a man, Christ suffered in the same ways that we suffer but much greater, of course. The ultimate humiliation was suffering the divine judgment from God for our sins. (Matthew 24:36; John 8:56, 16:14; Philippians 2:8)

Christ remained free from the three categories of sin: the sin nature, Adam’s original sin and personal sins. The sin nature is passed down genetically from the father, but Christ had no human father. The virgin birth of Christ assured that He would have no sin nature. (I Corinthians 15:22) Without a sin nature, Adam’s original sin could not be imputed to Christ since it had no home or target like in the rest of humanity.

Jesus Christ should become your best friend. “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24) This means that we are becoming fully aware of Christ in every area of our lives and that we are staying in fellowship with Him a maximum amount of time. It means that we are thinking Divine Viewpoint based on our knowledge of His Word and that we are applying that knowledge to our circumstances. We should have no higher goal in life than to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ in our thoughts, in our attitudes, in our words and in our actions. (“Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” - II Corinthians 10:5) Our minds are to be saturated with His mind. (“But we have the mind of Christ” - I Corinthians 2:16b) The apostle Paul is a great example of a person occupied with Christ. (“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is profit” - Philippians 1:19-21.)