People are just as interested in discovering who Jesus is today as they were in the first century. Some view Jesus as a great prophet or a wise philosopher; for others, he is an important religious leader or even a revolutionary. In this addition to the Short Studies in Systematic Theology series, Stephen Wellum examines the divinity and humanity of Christ, focusing on who Jesus is from Scripture and historical theology. He also expounds on why Jesus is utterly unique and how Christians should think about the incarnation—the truth that God the Son took on flesh and became a man. As readers spend time thinking through the glory and majesty of Jesus, they will delight to know and proclaim Christ alone.
“In stark contrast to the diverse views of Jesus in the first century and today, Scripture, along with the creeds of the church, presents a consistent, clear answer to Jesus’s question. Jesus is the divine Son, the second person of the triune Godhead, the Lord of glory, who in time assumed a human nature, so that now and forevermore he is the eternal ‘Word made flesh’ (cf. John 1:1, 14). And he did this because it’s only one individual—God the Son incarnate—who can bring about God’s eternal plan by securing our redemption, executing judgment on sin, and establishing a new creation by the ratification of a new covenant in his life, death, and resurrection.” (Page 14)
“What is crucial to note, however, is that Jesus receives human worship and never rebukes people for giving it (Matt. 14:33; 21:15–16; 28:9, 17; John 20:28).9 But Jesus raises the significance of this veneration a notch. Knowing that his Father has committed all authority to him, Jesus explains why he has done so: ‘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 5:23). Jesus, then, receives the worship that only God is to receive and also demands it, precisely because he self-identifies with God as his Son.” (Page 56)
“The text is divided into two main stanzas (Col. 1:15–16 and 1:18b–20) with a transitional stanza between the two (1:17–18a). In the first main and transitional stanzas, Jesus is presented as God the Son since he is the true image of God, the agent of creation, and the Sustainer of the universe. In the second main stanza, Jesus is presented as the incarnate Son, who, because of his incarnation and cross work, is our only Redeemer. Jesus, then, is supreme over all because he is our Creator and Redeemer.” (Pages 74–75)
Professor of Christian Theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.