And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20:30-31).
In Genesis, the very first book of the Bible, God creates the first man (Adam) and the first woman (Eve) in His own image and puts them into a perfect world, the garden of Eden. God gave them a commandment to keep, but they broke it. Breaking God's law is called sin. We are like Adam and Eve in that we also have sinned. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). This death is not just the physical death we die (the separation of the spirit from the body); this death involves eternal separation from God. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 we learn that the Lord Jesus shall be:
revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.
To avoid eternal punishment we must come to know God and learn how to obey the gospel. The Bible reveals God to us and tells us how to be saved. God's plan for redeeming man from his sins is seen first in the garden of Eden. At the very moment God was pronouncing the penalty for man's sins, He also promised to redeem him (Genesis 3:15). Later, when God chose Abraham and his descendants for His own special people, He promised "in your seed shall all the nations of the world be blessed" (Genesis 26:4 and 28:14). This seed who would bless all nations is Jesus (Galatians 3:16). Jesus is the one who (according to the Old Testament) will come into the world through the descendants of Abraham (the nation of Israel); Jesus is also the subject of the New Testament.
Jesus Is Unique
Jesus was born about 2,000 years ago. He is the only person who ever lived who was both thoroughly human and Divine at the same time. This may seem hard to understand, but the Scriptures explain it.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
Physically, Jesus was descended from Abraham. But He is also part of the Godhead. God (the Word) became a human being, one of us.
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).
Jesus had one human and one Divine parent. An angel told the woman who would become His mother:
"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus" (Luke 1:31). Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:34-35).
Jesus, however, was not half human and half Divine. Sometimes He referred to Himself as "the Son of Man," referring to His humanity, and sometimes He called Himself "the Son of God," referring to His Deity. The phrase son of in the Bible means to fully possess the characteristics of one's father. Thus, He was at one and the same time fully human and fully Divine. What humility He showed to live on earth as a human being!
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).
Jesus is eternal. On one occasion He told the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58). Although Abraham had lived on earth 2,000 years before Jesus, Jesus' existence went far beyond that. His choice of the words, "I AM," shows that He is eternal. Jesus was sent to earth by the Father (John 5:23). He came from heaven (John 6:38), and He returned there (John 13:3). Jesus made it clear that He was equal with God (John 5:17-18); therefore, the Jews desired to kill Him.
Jesus The Savior
The name Jesus means "Savior." His mother Mary was instructed to give Him the name Jesus (Luke 1:31). Why? According to Matthew 1:21, "for He shall save His people from their sins." For just this purpose He left heaven and came to earth. But since He appeared to be just like any other man, Jesus had to demonstrate that He was the Son of God who could save people from their sins. He proved His identity by the miracles, signs, and wonders that He did (reread the passage at the beginning of this lesson).
Jesus healed a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years (John 5:5-9). He fed 5,000 people with five barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:9-14). He was able to cause a man to see who had been born blind (John 9:1-7). He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44)! And these are just a few miracles that He worked. The results of these wonders are recorded in several passages of Scripture.
Many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did (John 2:23). Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased (John 6:2). "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him" (John 3:2).
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many of the Jews believed in Him, but the chief priests were jealous and determined to put Jesus to death (John 12:9-11), which they eventually did. From the beginning of the world it was God's plan to allow Jesus to be put to death on a cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. He was qualified to take our place because He was sinless. But God raised Him from the dead. These facts were preached in the first gospel sermon which the apostle Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost.
"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know--Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death" (Acts 2:22-23).
Jesus allowed sinful human beings to crucify Him, for through this means His innocent blood was shed for our sins. How we may have forgiveness of our sins will be the subject of the next two lessons.
LESSON #2: JESUS, THE SON OF GOD