Jesus is possibly the most well-known person who has lived on this earth. But why? And who actually was He?
Mary was the mother of Jesus. She knew that the child she bore was conceived in a special way. Mary was betrothed to Joseph when God sent the angel Gabriel to her with the glad tidings, “You have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. … 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 1:30-35. It would have been difficult to comprehend that she would give birth to the Son of God, but Mary believed in what she heard, and believed that everything is possible for God. Because she understood that she could serve God in this way she was prepared for the task, and willing to bear the child.
John the Baptist was able to say that Jesus was the Son of God. As Jesus was baptized God said to Him, “Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” John said, “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” John 1:29-34.
In His prayer before He was betrayed, Jesus spoke about Himself as God’s envoy to the world, and the Son who had fulfilled the works, which God had given Him. (John 17:1-5) He confirmed He was before the high priest Caiaphas. Caiaphas said to Him: “‘I put you under oath by the living God; tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!’ Jesus said to him: ‘It is as you said.’” Matthew 26:63-64. Jesus testified about Himself that He was the Son of God. Others have said about Him that He is “the brightness of His [God’s] glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power.” Hebrews 1:3.
That which affirms all testimonies that Jesus is the Son of God is His resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:3-4) When Paul preached about Jesus and His resurrection to some philosophers in Athens, he says that God “has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man [Jesus] whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:31.
(See also Philippians 2:6-7, Isaiah 7.14-16, Hebrews 9:14)
The Son of Man
Adam and Eve’s disobedience had led to the fall and mankind had lost the glory God had preordained for them. In His goodness, God wanted to reconcile mankind with Himself, and so He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth as a man of flesh and blood. It says about Jesus that He “came 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 2:7-8. He came to earth in a human body. His human nature was like ours. Jesus actually had to experience what it means to be human in order to condemn the sin which mankind had been bound by since the fall.
As Jesus grew up, He realized that He always had a choice: either He could live according to that which God’s Spirit worked in His heart – that which was good and pure and acceptable – or He could follow His desires, i.e. the lusts in His nature that were not consistent with God’s will. Gradually He learned to know the tendencies a person has. He was tried in circumstances that might have resulted in sin in His nature coming forth. In fact, in Hebrews 4:15 it is written that He “was in all points tempted as we are.” Jesus believed in the power of God’s Spirit, and prayed with strong crying and tears (Hebrews 5:7), and thereby He got help to deny His own will and let death come over the desire to sin. He hated all the wickedness that lived in the nature He had partaken of as the Son of Man, and He did not sin.
Humanity’s reconciliation with God happened through the body of Christ. He restored what was lost through the fall by daily walking the way on which He denied Himself, and was always obedient to God’s will. Through His death on the cross He made it possible for people to receive forgiveness for their sins. When a person repents and asks for forgiveness from God and people, that itself is a starting point to walking on the way that leads to life. Every man must continually choose either to succumb when tempted to sin – that is, to do something evil – or to put to death the desire to do evil. Death involves suffering. To bring, for example, impatience into death causes suffering for the impatient.
Jesus knows this. He has been tried in it. Therefore, whoever wants to triumph over impatience, can boldly ask for the Holy Spirit’s power and help to resist the temptation to be impatient. Because the Son of God Himself was tempted, and is familiar with the suffering that saying no to evil brings, He can help those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18) This help is given to all people who want to die to the sin they see in themselves. Step by step, they are transformed to be like Jesus, the forerunner for all who believe. (Romans 8:29)