New Hope UMC

7: Learning More About Who Jesus Is

September 12, 2019

From our last lesson, we know that God is omnipotent, i.e., all powerful. We also know that God knows us well, including all our thoughts and actions. He knows that we are sinful and rebellious, even without intending to be so. God wants us to enjoy a relationship with him and to be with him in eternity. God is in his heaven and we are not, at least not yet. God and sin do not mix. If we are with sin, we cannot enjoy a proper relationship with God. But God cannot be seen by us, only through mediators. 

Now we have Jesus. The people of his day could certainly relate to him as human, as can we since we are afforded the Gospels to tell his story. What is not so obvious is the claim that Jesus is God. This is made clear to us from the event of his virgin birth to the resurrection and then the ascension into heaven. But it is sometimes beyond our understanding. Jesus is the "incarnation", God on earth. We worship an 3 part God, i.e., a Trinity: God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This makes our religion unique among all others as we have seen God in the flesh. This is fundamental to being a Christian, so what Dr. Mounce is telling us here is that we must believe that Jesus was God for our faith to make any sense. 

Jesus was fully human, yet without sin. A priest, appointed by God, not by Levitical tradition. But Jesus had a purpose in his brief time with us. He would serve as atonement for our sins, once and for all time. We will learn much more about this in the next lesson, but atonement in the Jewish faith involved a blood sacrifice. In the tradition of Judaism, beginning with instructions in Leviticus, God required a blood sacrifice for atonement (forgiveness) of our sins. God did not wish us to remain in sin, so a Day of Atonement was set aside, where a representative of God, the High Priest, would deliver to God blood from a sacrificial animal. Jesus became the ultimate blood sacrifice, the first human whose blood could free us from sin.  

This lesson serves to firmly establish in our minds, without doubt, that Jesus was fully human and fully God. He came to us as a mediator in the Jewish tradition and fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah. But we must understand that he was God on earth and was here to offer atonement for our sins and to usher in the New Covenant.