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Nine Devotionals On The Identity of Jesus

Marcelo is the pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, and the author of Biblical Prayer for Today's Believers: Transform Your Prayer Life.

1. Jesus Is The Angel of The LORD

Read Genesis 48:15-16, Genesis 16:10-13, Exodus 3:2-6

God is The Angel who rescued Jacob from all evil. This does not mean that God is an angel: angels are finite and created beings, but God is infinite and eternal. What it does mean, however, is that a part of God manifests itself as a messenger.

This part of God is called The Angel of The LORD, and it is itself a person who acts with purpose, refers to God in third person, interacts with people, and is perceived as God Himself (this is what Hagar concluded).

Exodus 3:4 calls The Angel LORD and God; and in Exodus 3:6, The Angel identifies Himself as "The God of Abraham, The God of Isaac, and The God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:4, KJV). God also says that His name is in The Angel of The LORD (Exodus 23:21), and Paul reminds us that the Angel of the LORD is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians10:4).

Given that the Angel of the LORD is identified as God, though He is distinct from God (in other words, the Angel of the LORD is identified as a divine person who is part of God); and since in the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh, or Old Testament) He is distinguished from the Holy Spirit; and since His role is to reveal God and deliver God's message to humanity; we can deduce that the Angel of the LORD is Jesus preincarnate.

After all, the New Testament establishes that God is composed of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 28:19); and Jesus proceeds from the Father (see John 8:42) to reveal Him (see John 14:9).

Questions for Reflection

  1. How is God different from angels?
  2. How is Jesus different from angels?
  3. How are The Angel of the LORD and Jesus alike?
  4. How are God and Jesus alike?

Sample Prayer

Father in Heaven, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, how wonderful and complex you are! How marvelous and passing understanding you are!

Lord, you have revealed yourself to humanity since ancient times, and now through your word (the Bible) you continue to teach people about yourself.

Continue to teach me about yourself. Help me to recognize that Jesus has always been with you as part of your being.

2. Jesus Is The Word of God

Read John 1:1, 1 John 1:1, and Revelation 19:13

Jesus is The Word of God. This does not mean that Jesus is a spoken or written representation of an idea: Jesus is not a word; Jesus is The Word of God.

Yes, the Bible is the word of God, but it is the word of God in a different sense that Jesus is The Word of God. The Bible is the word of God in the sense that, through divine inspiration, the Bible is God's written message to humanity (much like a letter is one person's message to another).

However, when the New Testament declares that Jesus is The Word of God, it means that Jesus is a part of God's being, a part that proceeds from God Himself to do God's will. Acting as a messanger of God, The Word of God speaks for God (Genesis 15:1), teaches others about God (Proverbs 1:20-30), creates for God (Psalm 33:6), and accomplishes God's will before returning to God Himself (Isaiah 55:11).

As The Word of God, Jesus is God, not because He and the Father are the same (Jesus and the Father are actually distinct one from the other), but because The Word of God proceeds from the Father's being (John 16:27). Thus, The Word of God is related to God the Father in the same way The Spirit of God is related to God the Father (to read more about the Spirit of God, click here).

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you believe Jesus is divine, or do you believe that he was only another human prophet or teacher?
  2. Do you belive that Jesus is one being with the Father and the Spirit of God, or do you believe Jesus was created by God?
  3. On what do you base your beliefs about Jesus?

Sample Prayer

Father in Heaveh, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, and God of the Bible, I belive in you, and I belive in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Messiah, your Son, whom you have sent. I believe He is your Word: one with you, the one who proceeds from you, the one who has returned to you.

Jesus, Christ, Messiah! Continue to reveal yourself in my life so I can continue to trust you and praise you. Amen!

3. Jesus Is The Brightness of God's Glory (A)

Read Hebrews 1:3 and John 14:8-9

Have you ever seen a star? No, you haven't. Whenever you look at a star in the sky, you aren't really seeing the star itself: you are seeing the light that radiated from that star.

The light left the star and travelled millions of light years across space to reach Earth, where your eye finally caught a glimpse of it. But the star itself is beyond your reach.

And yet, the light enables you to see everything the star is. Even though the light and the star are not the same, the light proceeds from the star because it is part of the star, and whatever we know about the star, we know because we can see and study its light.

Jesus is the light that proceeds from God. He reflects who God is and what He is like; He reflects all of God's glory. And eve though Jesus is not the Father, Jesus is part of the Father Himself. Everything we know about God, we know because Jesus reveals it.

Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30). Therefore, the Bible tells us that Jesus is God (Titus 2:13).

Questions for Reflection

  1. How is Jesus like light? How is Jesus unlike light?
  2. How are the Father and Jesus alike? How are the Father and Jesus not the same?
  3. In what sense are Jesus and the Father one?
  4. Is it correct to say that Jesus is God? Does He deserve worship?

Sample Prayer

Lord, God the Father; and Lord, Jesus Christ. I recognize that you are one. I recognize that the Father is perfectly revealed in the Son, and that the Son proceeds from the essence of the Father. May I be forever in the hand of the Father, and forever in the hand of Jesus. Please continue to reveal yourself to me!

4. Jesus Is The Brightness of God's Glory (B)

Read Hebrews 1:1-12

Someone commented once that the statement made in Hebrews 1:3, that Jesus is the brightness of God's glory, does not necessarily mean Jesus is God.

To be precise, Hebrews does make a distinction between God and Jesus. Hebrews 1:1-2 states that God has spoken to us through his Son. Clearly, God and Jesus are not the same person.

However, Hebrews does not teach that Jesus is a mere human like the rest of us; it does not teach that Jesus is a new Adam. Instead, Hebrews tells us that God created the worlds by means of Jesus, and that Jesus holds all things together through his own word. This means that Jesus existed together with God when God created all things, and that Jesus does the work we usually think God does: holding everything in existence.

Hebrews then tells us that Jesus is the brightness of God's glory: Jesus is the light that proceeds from God's glory (what could that possibly mean?); and Jesus it the express image of God's person: that is, Jesus is the precise copy of God's person (how is that possible?).

No, Jesus is not the same person as God, but Hebrews teaches that Jesus is the exact reflection of God. It is as if God were looking at Himself in the mirror!

However, whe you look at yourself in the mirror, you are looking at what is only a reflection of yourself, your own image reflected on the surface of an object that is not you, that is completely different from you. That's not what Hebrews is saying! In the case of God, God's reflection proceeds from God's glory!

What then is God's glory?

God's glory is not merely his reputation or beauty: there is more to it. In Exodus 33:22-23, God tells Moses that He will cover Moses' eyes when God's glory passes before Moses; then when He has passed before Moses, God will allow Moses to see His back.

Who then was to pass before Moses, God Himself or God's glory? The answer is that both God and His glory would pass before Moses. God's glory is not merely God's reputation or beauty, but God's own presence. Where God's glory is present, God Himself is present.

Look at Exodus 40:34-35. The pillar of cloud and fire covered the tabernacle, and God's glory filled the taernacle. An interesting distinction is made between the pillar of cloud and fire, and God's glory. The pillar was over the tabernacle, but God's glory was inside the tabernacle. But what was so significant about God's glory being inside the tabernacle? The significance of this is that the tabernacle had been made for God Himself to dwell in it (see Exodus 25:8). Once again, God's glory is equivalent to God's presence.

If Jesus is the brightness that proceeds from God's glory, Jesus is the light that proceeds from God's presence. God's presence is God Himself. Jesus is light that proceeds from God Himself. But this light is not what you think of as light; this light is something entirely different; this light is not made up of photons; this light is actually the person we know as Jesus.

Thus, what we have here is an interesting concept: from God's own being emerges a person who was always together with God and who is as powerful as God: Jesus!

God actually loves this person so much he delcares Jesus heir of all things: heir of everything that belongs to God! God even calls this person God (see Hebrews 1:8). God also makes it clear that Jesus is not a created being, because God says that Jesus is the creator of Heaven and Earth (Hebrews 1:10), and that Jesus lives forever (Hebrews 1:11-12).

This all fits together to the point that Hebrews is making in chapter 1: Jesus is not an angel, Jesus is greater than the angels!

Some Hebrew believers may have been thinking that Jesus, the Messiah, was an angel. Maybe they even thought he was the archangel Miachael. But the book of Hebrews makes it clear: Jesus is not an angel, nor is Jesus just a human being.

Jesus is the person that proceeds from God's very own being to make God maninfest so that we can see him and know him. Jesus is the person that proceeds from God's being and became a human so that we can see God and know God. Jesus is the second person of the Trinity: Jesus is the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12-14).

Questions for Reflection

  1. Is Jesus the same person as God? Is Jesus one being with God?
  2. What is God's glory? Why is Jesus called the brightness of God's glory?
  3. Is Jesus an anagel? Is Jesus just human?
  4. How is Jesus the Word of God? What does it mean that Jesus is God's word?

Sample Prayer

Lord, God the Father. You are perfectly revealed by your word, Jesus! I recognize that Jesus proceeds from your being, that he has always being with you as a part of you, and that you love him because he is your Son like no one else is your son. I place my faith in him, because when I trust him, I am trusting you.

5. Jesus Is The Son of God (A)

Read Luke 1:31-35, Luke 3:38, Genesis 1:1-2, Genesis 1:26, and John 8:58

Jesus is the Son of God. What does that mean? How can God have a Son?

That Jesus is the Son of God does not mean that Jesus is the product of a sexual encounter between God and Mary. Unfortunately, people who practice other religions sometimes believe this is what we Christians mean when we call Jesus Son of God: but that is not what we mean.

When the angel delivered the news to Mary that she would conceive a male child in her womb, he said that the child would be called the Son of God because the Spirit of God and the power of God would produce the child in Mary's womb.

The Holy Spirit was involved in the creation of the world back in Genesis 1:2, and in the creation of the first man (Genesis 2). In the same book of Luke, where Jesus is given the title of Son of God, the first man (Adam) is also called son of God (Luke 3:38).

In what way was Adam the Son of God? Adam was the Son of God in the sense that he was directly created by God. God made Adam in the image of God, and the Holy Spirit was involved, for God says, "Let us make man in our image" (Genesis 1:26, KJV).

One thing we mean when we call Jesus The Son of God is that the Holy Spirit created the human body of Jesus in the womb of Mary while Mary was a virgin. I say "the human body of Jesus" because we believe that Jesus existed from all eternity before he was born as a human.

Moreover, the angel called Jesus a holy thing. Therefore, we deny that there was any sort of sexual relationship in the conception of Jesus.

Now, there are two more ways in which Jesus is the Son of God. I plan to write about those in my next posts.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Did Jesus begin to exist when he was conceived in Mary's womb?
  2. What was the role of the Holy Spirit during creation and during the conception of Jesus?
  3. Do you believe Jesus was born of a virgin?
  4. Why is it important for us Christians to understand what it means that Jesus is The Son of God?
  5. In what other ways do you believe Jesus is The Son of God?

Sample Prayer

Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. I believe that you were born of a virgin. Just as God created the heavens, the Earth, and the first human, God created your physical body in the womb of Mary while she was a virgin. I also believe that you, Lord Jesus, have existed for all eternity, before you were ever born as a human being. You are the same yesterday, today, and forevoer! Amen.

I praise your, Lord, for all the amazing things you do.

6. Jesus Is The Son of God (B)

Read 1 Chronicles 17:11-15, Psalm 2:7, Matthew 26:63, and Hebrews 1:1-2

Jesus is the Son of God. What does that mean? How can God have a Son?

In the Bible, Son of God is a title for the Messiah, or the Christ (which words mean anointed). God promised David that one of his descedants would rule forever and be a son to God (1 Chronicles 17:11-15). But how can anyone be a son to God?

Kings usually pass on their kingdom to their children, especially their firstborn son. According to Daniel 7:13-14, God will pass His kingdom unto the Messiah. In this sense, the Messiah is the heir of God, though God lives forever and does not die (Hebrews 1:1-2).

It is in this sense that Jesus is the firstborn of every creature (Colossians 1:15): Jesus was not created, but as The Creator of all things, He has the right to rule over them. Moreover, Jesus is also the firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18): not because He was the first one to resurrect, but because He rules over all mortals (all human beings) though He himself became a mortal.

In conclusion, that Jesus is The Son of God means that He, as the Messiah, will rule in human form from Zion over all the nations of the world (Psalm 2:7, Daniel 7:13-14).

Questions for Reflection

  1. Why does Jesus have the right to rule over all creation?
  2. Do you recognize Jesus as God's heir, King of Kings, and king of your heart?
  3. The Bible teaches in Genesis 1:1 that God created all things. In Colossians 1:15, the Bible also teaches that Jesus created all things. How can both Genesis 1:1 and Colossians 1:15 be true?

Sample Prayer

Lord Jesus, I believe you are God heir. You are God's Son! You are the one whom God has anointed as King over Earth, humanity, and all His creations, for all eternity! May I live forevoere in your kingdom, redeemed by your sacrifice, forgiven by your mercy and grace. Be the king of my heart today and forever. Amen!

7. Jesus Is The Son of God (C)

Read Psalm 45:6-7, John 1:1-18, John 5:16-30, and Hebrews 1:8-12

Jesus is the Son of God: what does this mean? How can God have a Son?

In my previous two devotionals, I have explained that the title Son of God points us back to the Lord's virgin birth and to his identity as The Messiah. In this post, I want to establish that the title Son of God also points us to the divine nature of the Lord.

First, let us look at Psalm 45. There, the psalmist depicts the Messiah as a conqueror who fights for the king (for, according to verse 1, the psalmist has good news for the king). In verse 2, the psalmist says that this conqueror is fairer than the children of men, which means that the conqueror is not himself a mere human. In verse 5, the psalmist makes it clear that this conqueror is fighting against the king's enemies (thus, the conqueror is not the king).

Things get very interesting in verse 6. There, the psalmist calls this conqueror, whom we identify as the Messiah, God. In case the reader cannot believe what the psalmist just said, the psalmist states that this God's throne is eternal. Then in verse 7, the psalmist states that this God has been anointed by God. So, according to Psalm 45, two persons are identified as God!

Now, let us look at Hebrews 1:8-12. The author of Hebrews catches unto the details we have mentioned about Psalm 45:6, and he explains that in the psalm God was speaking to The Son and calling him God. In case the readers are confused, the author of Hebrews immediately applies Psalm 102:24-27 to the Son. It would seem that the justification for applying Psalm 102:24-27 to the Son is that God created all things through His Word, which means that the author of Hebrews is identifying The Son as The Word.

Consistent with Hebrews, John calls The Only Begotten Son of God Word and Light. Jesus is The Son, he is The Word, and He is The Light (see John 1:1-18). Each of these titles indicates that something proceeds from something else. A son is a descendant of a father, a word proceeds from a mouth (or from a mind), and a light proceeds from a source such as a star or a flame. Finally, in John 1:18, we are told that The Only Begotten Son of God is in the bossom of the Father: this means, that the Son proceeds from the core of God's being.

Let us now look at John 5:16-30. In John 5:18, the Lord's claim to be the Son of God is perceived by the Jews as a claim to be equal with God. Despite the fact that the Jews are trying to kill him for this claim, the Lord presses the matter further.

The Lord tells them that he works because the Father works (verse 17), which means that the Lord sees himself as having equal authority with the Father. He also tells them that he does the same works that the Father does (verse 19), which means that the Lord sees himself as having equal power with the Father. The Lord also tells them that the Father loves the Son and shows him great works so everyone can marvel (verse 20), which means that the Son has an unparalled relationship with the Father. In verse 21, the Lord claims to give life to whom he wills just as the Father gives life to whom He wills. In verse 23, the Lord states that the Son should be honored as the Father is honored. In verse 25, the Lord states he can resurrect the dead. Finally, in verse 26, the Son states that the Father has given the Son to have life in himself as the Father has life in Himself (in other words, God the Father has appointed Jesus to give life to all just as He is the source of all life).

Friends, there can be no doubt that when the Bible says that Jesus is The Son of God, it means that Jesus is a part of God's being, a person who partakes of the essence of God's being. Thus, even though Jesus is not the Father, He is one with the Father, and therefore Divine (God). (For those who have read my previous posts, Jesus is The Word of God found in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament).

Questions for Reflection

  1. Did Jesus claim to be equal with the Father? Did Jesus claim to be the Father?
  2. Do you believe Jesus is one being with the Father, proceeding from the essence of the Father?
  3. How does this post match your understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity? How does it differ?

Sample Prayer

Lord Jesus, I believe you are one with the Father. I believe you proceed from the essence of the Father. Therefore, I believe you are rightly called God. I believe that the Father is pleased when I put my faith in you, knowing that you are one being with Him. Such knowledge is wonderful, yet incomprehensible! I simply rely on what you have revealed about yoruself in the Bible. I place my faith in you, for you speak in the name of the Father.

8. Jesus is He Who Lives Forever More

Read Revelation 1:18

The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to John and declared that He is alive and that He lives forevermore, even though He once had died. He has the keys of death and Hades (He reigns over death and Hades), and therefore He can deliver anyone who believes in Him.

Long before Jesus lived on Earth, the writers of the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament, the Tanach) had prophesied that Christ would die and resurrect (Isaiah 53:8-12). After Jesus was crucified and buried, the writers of the New Testament taught that Jesus was seen alive by many because He had returned to life (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). History tell us that the Lord's apostles themselves died as martyrs because they affirmed that they themselves had seen Jesus alive several days after His death.

The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our faith. Had he not risen back to life, we would have no hope of eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:12-20). Jesus' resurrection proved that Jesus is indeed the Son of God (Romans 1:4): therefore, we can place our faith in Him.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Why did God allow Jesus to die? What was God trying to accomplish?
  2. Why is it significant that the prophets before Jesus foretold the death and resurrection of the Messiah?
  3. Why is it significant that so many people saw the resurrected Lord?
  4. Why is it significant that the Apostles were willing to die as martyrs for proclaiming that they themselves had seen the resurrected Lord?

Sample Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank you for dying for my sins (and the sins of the whole world!), and for resurrecting to give us hope of eternal life. I praise you, Lord! I recognize that you are the Son of God, and that you have the keys to death and Hades. I commit my soul to you. Amen.

9. Jesus Is The First and The Last

Read Revelation 1:17-18

According to John, Jesus identifies himself as the First and the Last. The significance of this title should not be overlooked, for it is a claim to divinity.

In Isaiah 44:6, HaShem (Jehovah, The Father) identifies Himself as the First and the Last. The context indicates that the title The First and The Last means that Jehovah is the only God.

When Jesus declares that he is the First and the Last, he is not contradicting HaShem. Jesus is not saying that another God apart from HaShem exists. Instead, the resurrected and glorified Lord is claiming to be the same God of the TaNaKh (the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament). He is claiming to be HaShem!

This is not without precedent in the Torah. In Exodus 3:1-6, The Angel of The LORD appeared to Moses in a flmaing fire in a bush (see verse 2). When Moses went to explore the phenomenon, HaShem saw Moses, and God (Elohim) called out to Moses from the midst of the bush. Thus, The Angel of The LORD, though he is distinguished from HaShem, is called by the Torah God!

This same Angel of the LORD identified himself to Moses (in verse 6) as "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." We see, then, that according to the Torah, there is one person who can be distinguished from HaShem and yet be identified as God with HaShem.

What Jesus does in Revelation 1:17-18 has a precedent in the Torah. The God of the Bible reveals to us that He is more than one person, and yet He is one being.

It takes faith in God's word (the Bible) to believe this. It is not something that we fully understand. How can HaShem be also the Spirit of God and the glory of God? How can He also be The Angel of the LORD? We cannot explain how this is possible, but we can have faith on what God says about Himself in the Bible.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Read Exodus 3:1-6. How do we know that the Angel of the LORD is not the LORD (Jehovah, HaShem) Himself?
  2. Read Exodus 3:1-6. How do we know that the Angel of the LORD is called God, and that he identifies himself as God?
  3. Read In Isaiah 44:6. How do we know that the title the First and the Last means that HaShem (Jehovah, The Father) is the only God?

Prayer Requests

Praise God because He is one, because He and Jesus are one. Ask Him to continue to teach you about Himself so you can continue to fall in love with Him and worship Him.

© 2020 Marcelo Carcach