By Pastor Don Strand
In a recent blog on this site, Jim Nikkel wrote of exalting Christ in your life as the necessary response to God’s gift of saving faith. Jim stated that exalting Jesus Christ is the secret to experiencing purpose and passion, confidence and compassion in your life. He explained that exalting Christ means to give Him the first place of authority over your life, to give Him your praise and allegiance, and the authority over your heart which is the very center of our thoughts, desires, and decisions. And Jim said that this is what He rightly deserves for three reasons. First because of who He is, second, because of what He does and third, because of where He is currently residing. In today’s post, I want to look at this first reason, the because of who He is, as the basis for wanting to exalt Christ in your life.
To understand who Jesus is, we look first and foremost to the Bible, God’s self-revelation. Central to Christianity is the doctrine (teaching) of the Trinity, that “God is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). He is the eternal, self-sufficient, uncaused first cause of all there is. But the one God is also three distinct persons. The one God is the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Each is distinct from the others, yet each is fully God. The Trinity is something we can’t fully understand, yet we know this to be true from God’s self-revelation, the Bible.
Jesus is the Son of God in the Triune relationship of Father, Son, and Spirit. The term “son of God” is sometimes used in the Old Testament to refer to heavenly beings (Job 1:6; Psalm 82:6), the nation Israel (Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1), but in the New Testament the term is reserved exclusively for Jesus. Mark begins his gospel account with these words: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1, ESV). The “Gospel of Matthew”, the Apostle Matthew’s account of Jesus earthly life, begins with a genealogy. Luke, the writer of the “Gospel of Luke,” introduces the ministry of Jesus with a similar genealogy. Both do so to show that Jesus was the Messiah, the One promised by God from the very beginning (Genesis 3:15) Who would save His people from their sin. His name “Jesus” means “Jehovah the Savior.”
John puts this together with a neat tie back to the language of Genesis 1 in the opening verses of the “Gospel of John” when he writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1–3, ESV).
John goes on to explain that: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). This “Word” who became “flesh” and walked and talked with him and the other Apostles is the man from Nazareth who was called Jesus. John the Baptist recognized Him and the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” The Devil recognized Him and called Jesus the Son of God during the time he tested Jesus in the wilderness. His closest followers like Peter recognized Him as the Son of God even to the point of dying on that conviction. The demons recognized Him as the Son of God and the people who saw His miracles of healing recognized Him to be the Son of God. When He died on the cross, even the Roman soldier in charge of His crucifixion recognized Him as God’s Son and said: “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54).
Jesus is the very Son of God, begotten in His role as the heir of all things of the Father. He was not created; He was with the Father in the beginning as John tells us. Like God the Father and God the Spirit, God the Son is eternal. And as the obedient Son, He put aside His royal majesty and veiled Himself in flesh to come to earth and be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of those given to Him by the Father. Therefore, we exalt Christ as preeminent in our lives because of who He is. But in addition to being the Son of God, He is more than that as we will see next week.