Sermon: Selected Texts: Jesus Christ – His Person

Old Testament Reading: Hosea 11

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. They shall not return to the land of Egypt, but Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them because of their own counsels. My people are bent on turning away from me, and though they call out to the Most High, he shall not raise them up at all. How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. They shall go after the Lord; he will roar like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west; they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord. Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit, but Judah still walks with God and is faithful to the Holy One.” (Hosea 11, ESV)

New Testament Reading: Matthew 2:13-15

“Now when they [the wise men] had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’” (Matthew 2:13–15, ESV)


The title of this advent sermon series is, “The Wonder of the Incarnation”, but we’ve actually devoted two of the four sermons, not to the incarnation, but to the doctrine of God, answering the question, “who is God as he has existed for all eternity?”

We have confessed that there is only one true God who exists eternally in three persons, or subsistences – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Concerning the triune God we confess that he is incomprehensible, a most pure spirit, self-existent, infinite, unchanging, and simple. Concerning his communicable attributes we confess his goodness, holiness, and righteousness.

So much more could be said about God! But these few points were made in order to set our minds in the right direction concerning him. Also, these points were made in order to prepare us to finally think about Jesus Christ, the God-man, with precision and care.

And so we are ready, now, to turn our attention to the wonder of the incarnation. We are now ready to think, not about God as he is for all eternity, but about God with us, that is Jesus Christ, the God-man. We are to think now of the immaculate conception and the virgin birth. We’re to set our eyes upon the babe in the manger, and fix our thoughts upon the boy Jesus who grew into the man Jesus, who suffered and died in the flesh for you and me, raising again on the third day to earn our salvation.

There are some, I am sure, who would object to a sermon series such as this. Their complaint would be that I am saying way too much about God, and about Jesus. Too much detail, is perhaps the complaint of some. Let us alone so that we might simply love God and love Jesus. Spare us the details, they say. None of you are like this, as far as I know, but I raise the objection knowing that this is the spirit of our age. We will have God, and we will have Jesus, but spare us the details about them both!

Imagine for a moment a grandfather and a grandson. Imagine that the grandson loves the grandfather very much, but the grandfather passes away before the child is grown, before he has an opportunity to know the grandfather well. And one day, after the child has grown a bit, grandma sits down with the grandson and says, do you remember your grandfather, the one that you loved so much? Let me tell you about him. And then she goes on to describe him in ways that the grandson had never heard before. Would a grandson ever say to his grandmother, spare me the details, I would rather just remember him as I knew him as a child.

Actually, I can image a situation like that arising. If the grandfather was in fact a bad person I could understand why a grandson would prefer to know less and not more. But assuming he was a good man, what grandson would not want to know more about his grandfather. Surely his love would grow for him, and not diminish.

And so it is with God. When we begin in the Christian life our knowledge of the Heavenly Father is probably very limited, and perhaps even a bit skewed. We know him in an authentic way. And we love him sincerely. But our knowledge of him is small at the beginning. The same can be said about our knowledge of and love for Jesus. It is authentic and true from the beginning, but it is something for us to grow in.

What a blessing it is to grow in the knowledge of God, and of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Listen to the way that Paul prays for the Ephesians:

“Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” (Ephesians 1:15–21, NKJV)

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is that they would grow in wisdom and in the knowledge of God, and of Christ.

And that is my prayer for you as well; that each one of you would forever grow in wisdom and in the knowledge of God, and of Christ Jesus or Lord. My hope is that you would fall more deeply in love with him day by day as your understanding of him grows.

This is why we are taking the time to focus in upon the doctrine of God. And this is also why we are now turning our attention now to the doctrine of Christ.

The question we are asking today is, what are we to think about Jesus? How are we to talk about him? Who is he, exactly? More to the point for todays sermon, what is he? What is his nature like?

Jesus is Divine

The first thing to be said about Jesus is that he is divine.

Notice, first of all, that Jesus is called God in the scriptures.

Many scriptures could be referenced, but these three will suffice to support the point:

In Jeremiah 23:5-6 we read this prophesy concerning the coming of the Christ: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’” (Jeremiah 23:5–6, NKJV) Clearly this passage refers to Jesus Christ. And what did Jeremiah say his name would be? The LORD. It the hebrew it is YHWH.

In Romans 9:3-4 Paul says, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4–5, ESV)

And do you remember what Thomas called the risen Lord after he touched his wounded side and his nail pierced hands? Did he not refer to Jesus as “My Lord and my God”? (John 20:28, ESV) And notice that he was not rebuked for saying such, but rather commended.

Jesus is called God throughout the scriptures.

Notice secondly that Jesus is said to be eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent. These are attributes that belong to God alone.

Jesus claims to be eternal in John 8:58 when he says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58, ESV) I

His omniscience is highlighted in Revelation 2:23 when he claims to be the one “who searches mind and heart, [giving to each one] according to [their] works.” (Revelation 2:23, ESV)

His omnipotence is mentioned in Philipians 3:20-21, which says that it is the “Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:20–21, ESV)

These are attributes that belong, not to man, but to God alone, and yet Jesus Christ is said to possess them. He is said to be eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent.

Notice thirdly that it is Jesus who is said to have created the heavens and the earth, upholding them even still.

John 1:3 tells us that “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3, ESV) This verse is referring to the eternal Word of God who became flesh and dwelt among us – Christ  Jesus our Lord.

Paul says it in a most beautiful and direct way in writing to the Colossians, saying,“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15–17, ESV)

Notice fourthly that Jesus is to be honored, worshipped, believed, feared, and served. These are things that only God deserves, and yet we are to give to Jesus!

In John 5:22-23 we hear Jesus saying these words: “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” (John 5:22–23, ESV)

In Hebrews 1:6 we learn that “all [of] God’s angels worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6, ESV)

And in Revelation 5:13-14 John tells that he “heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb [Jesus Christ] be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’ And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.” (Revelation 5:13–14, ESV)

God alone is to be worshiped by angels and men, and yet Jesus is rightly worshipped, for he is truly divine.

Jesus is Human

The second thing to be said about Jesus is that he is human.

Notice, first of all, that Jesus is time and again called a man in the scriptures.

Not only is he the Son of God, but his favorite title for himself was Son of Man.

In Romans 5:15 we read, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” (Romans 5:15, ESV)

In 1 Corinthians 15:45 he is called the “last Adam”, and in 1 Timothy 2:5 we read, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5, ESV)

Secondly, it is important to recognize that Jesus had a true human body.

In Hebrews 2:14 we read, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself [that is , Jesus] likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil…” (Hebrews 2:14, ESV)

In Luke 24:39 Jesus spoke to his disciples saying, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24:39, ESV)

Jesus had a true human body.

Thirdly, it also must be confessed that he had a true human soul.

This, I think, is often forgotten. It is not only that Jesus had the body of a man, but also the soul. He was fully human. You and I are made up of body and soul. This is what it means to have have a human nature – we consist of a human body and a human soul. And this is what Jesus had – not only a human body, but also a human soul.

Did Jesus not say to his disciples in the garden, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death”? (Matthew 26:38, ESV) God does not have a soul, much less one that can be troubled. He is a most pure spirit, without body, parts, or passions. Jesus was referring to sorrow within his human soul.

Fourthly, remember that Jesus, as a man, was subject to various human emotions and afflictions, yet without sin.

He was hungry (Matthew 4:2), thirsty (John 19:28), and sorrowful (Matthew 26;38). He wept (John 11:35), was glad (John 11:15), and was tires (John 4:6). The divine does not experience these things, but Jesus did, because he was truly human.

Fifthly, do not forget that Jesus was born of woman, being the seed of woman, and the seed of Abraham and David.

Listen to the words of Wilhelmus Á Brakel as he reflects upon this point. He says that,

“[Christ] did not bring this human nature with Him from heaven; it was not created out of nothing, nor from some matter as some Anabaptists insist. He is man out of man, in order that he would have the identical nature (not merely a similar nature) which He would would redeem. This is confirmed in the Old Testament by way of prophesy, and in the New Testament by way of fulfillment.” (Á Brakel, The Chritsian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 1, pg. 500)

His point is this, Jesus was truly born of a woman in that the way that you and I were born of woman. He was man out of man, or humanity out of humanity. He had a nature, not similar to ours, but the same as ours, so that he might redeem us from our sins, serving as our substitute, our representative, our mediator.

The Old Testament everywhere makes mention of the salvation that would come by the seed of the woman, or, the seed of David. Genesis 3:15 and 2 Samuel 7:12 two examples out of many. And the New Testament picks up this theme and shows time and again that Jesus Christ is that seed. Read Matthew 1 and Luke 3. Read Galatians 3:16 which says, “Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‘And to offsprings,’ referring to many, but referring to one, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16, ESV)

The point is this, though it is true that Jesus is divine, it is also true that he is human. Both of these truths are essential and of equal importance. He could not be the Christ, the Mediator between God and man, if we lacking one of these natures or the other.

Jesus is Fully Human, and Fully Divine

The third thing to be said about Jesus is that he is fully human, and fully divine.

Three errors have commonly arose throughout the history of the church concerning Jesus. Some have denied the divinity of Christ, believing him to be nothing more than a man. Others have denied his humanity, claiming that he only appeared to be man. And others have managed to deny both the full humanity and the full divinity of Christ by imagining that the divine and the human natures were somehow mixed, or confused, within the person of Jesus Christ.

I’m not too worried about the first or second errors existing within our churches. It’s hard to imagine a Christian who has the Word of God as their authority for truth, and takes the Word seriously saying, no, Jesus was not a man, or, no, Jesus was not divine. 

But it is possible, I think, for this third error to exist within our churches. It is not that Christians set out to deny the full humanity, or the full deity of Christ – they are not doing so intentionally, and they would never say so directly – but many stumble into this error, I think. There are many who manage to slip, or drift into it, for a variety of reasons. And so they, for one reason or another, have in their minds a Jesus who is neither fully God, nor fully man, but is some kind of mixture of both. He is a third thing. He is God-ish. He is human-ish.

There are some in our churches who have a difficult time thinking of Jesus as a real human.

There are some, for example who, when thinking of Jesus, imagine that he has existed in his humanity for all eternity.

There are some, I’m sure, when they think of of Jesus imagine that God the Son did, when the fulness of time had come, take upon himself, the body of a man, but not the soul.

And there are some who, when they think of Jesus, would say, yes, Jesus was a true man, body and soul, but the divine nature so overpowered the human that little or nothing of the human nature remained. In other words, the attributes of the divine nature were in some way communicated, or given to the human nature, the end result being that human nature was overrun by the divine and became more than human.

More examples could be given, I’m sure. But the point is that we can find ourselves saying that Jesus is fully God and man while actually believing that he is something other than true man.

So what about his deity? There are undoubtedly some within our churches who have a difficult time thinking of Jesus as being truly divine.

I think the trouble here arrises when we try to visualize what the scriptures mean when they say that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). We understand that the Word, or the Son, is the second person of the Holy Trinity. We understand that he is fully God, of the same substance of the Father and Spirit, being fully divine. But what are we to think when the scriptures say, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

It seems that some, when they read the word, “became” imagine God turning into manThe Word was divine, they think, but 2,000 years ago the Word was transformed into humanity. This is wrong.

The Eternal Word of God did not change from being divine to human. He did not transition from being Creator to the creation. No, what the scriptures mean when they say that the Word became flesh, is that he took on flesh – he assumed a human nature in the person of Jesus Christ. The divine nature was inseparably joined together with the human nature in the person of Christ, but the divine nature was in no way converted into the human, nor the human into the divine.

Tell me church, is it possible for God to change into man?

This was one of the foundational things about God that we discussed two Sundays ago – God is unchanging. “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6, ESV) It is not possible for the Eternal God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – to undergo change. He is immutable. The scriptures make this clear.

The eternal Son of God did not change, or transform, or convert into humanity. No, he took on humanity. He assumed humanity. But he himself did not undergo change. This concept has historically been summarized in this way:  The eternal Word of God, the second person of the Trinity, became something he was not without ceasing to be what he always way. He assumed humanity. He did not transform into it.

This what our confession is getting at when it says that the Son of God “did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin.” A bit later the confession says that this happened in such a way “that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.” (London Baptist Confession 8.2)

Brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. In him are inseparably joined two natures, the divine and the human. The human was not overrun by the divine, and the divine did not morph into the human. No, the two natures remained whole and perfect and distinct united forever in the one person Jesus Christ.

Jesus is One Person

The fourth thing to be said about Jesus is that he is one person, and not two.

Jesus did not have a split personality. No, the divine and human natures of Christ were perfectly united in the person of Jesus Christ. The personality of Jesus was drawn from the person of the Son of God.

So unified are the divine and human natures within the person of Christ that, from time to time, attributes that belong properly to one nature are said said to belong to the other nature by virtue of the attribute being communicated to the person.

He is what I mean. When Jesus stood before the Jews in John 8:58 and said, “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58, ESV), how are we to understand this? Notice that Jesus did not say, before Abraham was my divine nature was. He did not make a distinction between his divine and human nature as he spoke. No, he spoke as the one person, Jesus Christ. But nevertheless this is what he meant – he existed prior Abraham in his divine nature, but certainly not in his humanity. Jesus did not exist prior to the immaculate conception as the God-man, but he did exist prior to the incarnation in terms of his divinity.

The point is this, due to the fact that the human nature and the divine nature are so united in the one person of Jesus Christ, the scriptures often speak of the person of Jesus both in terms of the divine and the human nature.

Charles Hodge explains it this way:

“[Christ] is finite and infinite; ignorant and omniscient; less than God and equal with God; He existed from all eternity and He was born in time; He created all things and he was a man of sorrows. It is on this principle, that what is true of either nature is true of the person, that a multitude of passages of Scripture are to be explained…”

For example, listen to Acts 20:28, which says, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28, ESV) Does God have blood? He does not. But Jesus spilt his blood for the church, and in the person of Jesus were united the divine and the human, and so it is said that the church was purshased with the blood of God.

Did God die for you? Properly speaking, no. But we speak this way. Why? Because Jesus Christ died for us according to the human nature, and in him were united the human and the divine.

Did God suffer for you? Properly speaking, no. God cannot suffer. But we speak this way. Why? Because Jesus Christ suffered for us according to his human nature, and in him were united the human and the divine.

And I might also ask, was Jesus with God in the beginning when the heavens and earth were created? Properly speaking, no. Jesus the God-man came into existence 2,000 years ago. But we speak of the pre-existence and eternality of Jesus because he did exist prior to the incarnation according to his divine nature, and in him were united the human and the divine.

In Jesus there are two natures, the divine and the human, and these two “whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person.”

Jesus Is

The fifth thing to be said about Jesus is simply this: he is. And by that I mean that he exists even now. 

Where is he? The scriptures tell us that he has been “exalted at the right hand of God.” (Acts 2:33, ESV)

And what is he doing there? He is interceding for his people. Romans 8:34 says, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34, ESV)

And it is from that place of honor that he will one day return. The angels said to the disciples of Christ as they stood staring into heaven when the Lord ascended there, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11, ESV)


I warned you at the beginning of this sermon series that massive concepts would be dealt with in a very brief period of time. My objective is to set our minds in the right direction, but my suspicion i that this series might raise more questions than it answers. There is so much more to be said. My hope is that this brief consideration of these doctrines would whet your appetite for more study in the future.

Until that time I would direct your attention to the confession which provides such a wonderfully concise and yet precise statement concerning Jesus. The language of the confession clearly build upon the the Chalcedonian Creed, written in A.D. 451.

London Baptist Confession 8.2. “The Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, being very and eternal God, the brightness of the Father’s glory, of one substance and equal with him who made the world, who upholdeth and governeth all things he hath made, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her: and the power of the Most High overshadowing her; and so was made of a woman of the tribe of Judah, of the seed of Abraham and David according to the Scriptures; so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion; which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.”


Brothers and sisters, this stuff matters. It matters big time.

We say we love Jesus, but do we know him well? Do we understand who he is? Do we underwent what he is?

And as we will see in next Sunday, what he is is directly related to what he has accomplished for us as the Christ, the Mediator between God and man.

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