For the past few months we have been preaching a series of sermons on Christology, or the key doctrinal beliefs we as followers of Jesus hold about the person and work of Jesus. These beliefs are 2,000 years old, taught in the Scriptures, held and passed on by the early church, and affirmed in the creeds and confessions of the faith through the centuries. A recent Tweet from Dr. Al Mohler states, “It is not an overstatement to say that the entire Christian faith rests on the validity of Christ’s person and work.” At the core, our faith rests in a person who lived in history, whose life, death, and resurrection accomplished our redemption. But doctrine should do much more than give us a list of theological ideas. All theology should lead to doxology. In other words, the more I understand the doctrines of Christ, I should grow to love Him more dearly and worship Christ fully.
When I was a kid my parents took me to the Santa Rosa Blue Hole. Basically it is a huge underground cave with multiple rooms, but also an artisan spring that pumps 3,000 gallons of water an hour into the cave completely filling it. I, like most who have experienced it, saw the beautiful blue hole from the surface. And it was amazing and memorable. Yet, for those who put on divers gear and were able to explore the various caverns from inside the cave, seeing the different rooms and passages, they found something that was way bigger, way deeper, and held a more amazing beauty and wonder than could be seen from the surface. And, as far as I know, nobody has actually reached the very bottom of the hole (even though there have been divers who actually died seeking it). Our journey through these doctrines has been an attempt to bring us to the rock wall at the edge of glorious truths that are like the Blue Hole. We have brought people to the edge of the pool to look into each of these core ideas about Jesus and observe them from the surface. From the surface these great truths about Jesus Christ are glorious and beautiful. Yet, we should spend our lifetime studying and seeking to understand each of these doctrines in deeper ways, and what we will find is that each of these infinite truths about Jesus is filled with majesty, but there is no way to get to the bottom of each truth and no way we will ever see all the wonder any one of these great truths. Furthermore, we will see that these truths are deeply interconnected in ways that should blow our mind and leave us with nothing except awe and the desire to worship.
So I want to end this series with a synopsis of these key beliefs so we can see them simply and hold them closely. But I also want to encourage a life-time of diving deeper into each of these truths as we pursue greater knowledge and understanding of our glorious Lord.
- Jesus is God – the story of the life of Jesus in the Gospels as well as the testimony of all Scripture consistently demonstrates that Jesus is fully, wholly God, equal to the One True and Living God revealed in the Old Testament.
- Jesus is human – The absolute and full humanity of Jesus is revealed in the Gospel narratives, showing Jesus to have all human needs and attributes. He was hungry, had emotions, built human relationship, was hurt by friends, and so much more.
The doctrine that Jesus is fully God, and fully human is called the doctrine of the “incarnation”, which means “in the flesh”. Jesus was one person with two distinct natures, that of God and man. This is a deep and glorious mystery, but was necessary for the salvation of humanity.
- Jesus is Messiah – He was the fulfillment of all of the Old Testament prophecies, pictures, patterns, and promises pointing to one individual who would bring us redemption.
- Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King – In His earthly life and ongoing work Jesus perfectly fulfilled the three great roles given by God to Israel in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament story these leaders were God’s gift to His people pointing to aspects of His own character. But their sin and inadequacies pointed to the need for a true and better representative in all three roles.
- Prophet – God’s spokesmen who brought the very Word of God. Jesus is the true and better prophet who is God’s ultimate revelation and speaks as God, not just for God.
- Priest – The mediator going between people and God by offering sacrifices and fulfilling religious duties. Jesus is the true and better High Priest who is both the offerer of the ultimate sacrifice for our sin, but is also the sacrifice itself.
- King – Israel’s kings were to rule on God’s behalf. Jesus is the true and better King who ushered in the Kingdom of God with His coming, defeating all enemies and gathering a people. He will come again to rule as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
- Jesus is perfect – Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, completely fulfilling the Law of God. He did this as our righteous representative, and thereby God is able to credit His righteousness to the account of the one who has faith in Him.
- Jesus is our sacrifice – Jesus death on the cross was a substitutionary death in our place, for our sin, absorbing God’s just wrath, making God’s mercy and grace available to sinners.
- Jesus is alive – Jesus visibly, bodily rose from the grave on the third day defeating sin, death, hell, and the grave.
- Jesus is coming – His message about the Kingdom of God stressed both an now and not yet reality. His Kingdom is present now because of Jesus’ first coming, and is advancing through the mission of the church. But the promise of His Second Coming will bring all things to their climax, ushering judgment to all enemies of God, and bringing resurrection for His people and restoration to creation.
- Jesus is exclusive – Salvation is found only through our repentance of sin and placing our faith in this Jesus. The Christian faith is not a religious pursuit of reaching God through a moral system or set of religious duties, it is the embracing of a person, the person Jesus Christ, who is God come to us. The bridge from us to God is not spanned by our effort or works, it was bridged in the person of Jesus.
May we continue to drink deeply from the well of Jesus, seek to know Him more so we will love Him more. And may we make Jesus known to all.