Who Am I?
Who am I?
I was born into this world just like everyone else (Luke 2:7). My mum can tell you some amazing stories but unfortunately for me there was no shortcut to the top. Growing up through my childhood I became strong, increasing in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:40,52). My father taught me the carpentry trade; it was the family business (Mark 6:3). I remember on my way to Galilee on one occasion, I passed through Samaria and being weary from the journey I sat down at Jacob’s well and asked a lady to give me a drink (John 4:6). When my close friends took me to where they had recently buried their brother… I cried (John 11:35). In Capernaum I spoke to a centurion and I had to marvel at his faith as I hadn’t seen anything like it before (Matt 8:10). Before the most important moment of my life I was really troubled (John 12:27). I remember shortly before I died being thirsty (John 19:28).
Clients of the family business would say I was the carpenter’s son (Matt 13:55).
People in the area knew me as Mary’s son (Mark 6:3).
To James, Joseph, Simon, Judas and my sisters I was their big brother. They didn’t believe I was any different (John 7:5).
Who am I? I am Jesus of Nazareth. I’m just like everyone else.
My mum though, she knew something. I guess having a visit from the angel Gabriel, experiencing the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit and having wise men and shepherds visit shortly after my birth kind of gave things away.
Who am I?
On several occasions I’m referred to as God (Theos) which is a name in the New Testament usually reserved for God the Father (John 1:1). On even more occasions I’m referred to as Lord (Kyrios) (Luke 2:11), the same name is used to reference God over 6000 times in the Old Testament. It was difficult to conceal my omnipotence when I turned water into wine (John 2:1-11), calmed the storm (Matt 8:26-27) and fed more than 5000 people with two fish and five loaves (Marr 14:19). I couldn’t hide my omniscience when Nathanael approached (John 1:47-48) and I knew Judas would betray me (John 6:70-71). Remember the lady I met at the well in Samaria, she didn’t give me a drink, I gave her a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14). The paralytic man, when they lowered him down through the roof, yes I healed him, but even more I forgave his sin (Mark 2:5). It seemed like the Jewish council got their way when they put me to death, but to be honest, no one took my life, I laid it down and I had the authority to take it up again (John 10:17-18). Sure enough, three days later I took it up again (Luke 24:6-7). I wanted my disciples to know that I’d always be with them (Matt 28:20), I am omnipresent, indeed whenever my followers gather in my name I’ll be among them (Matt 18:20).
Simon Peter said I was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt 16:16).
John said I was the Word, the creator of all things (John 1:1-3).
The centurion watching over my crucifixion said truly, I was the Son of God (Matt 27:54).
Even the once doubting Thomas said ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28).
It’s maybe not that convincing when someone tells you themselves but if I didn’t tell you, you may have doubted. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Rev 22:12). My name is above every name, at my name every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil 2:9-10).
Who am I? I AM!
We can see that New Testament scripture is abundantly clear that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man in one person. The language of the Westminster Confession puts it ‘…two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.’2.
Knowing what we do regarding the deity and humanity of Christ, how should this inform our conduct of worship in the church. We’ll look at four elements of church worship.
Praise – This should give us a deeper appreciation of his praiseworthiness. The angels worship him (Heb 1:6). Consider the lyrics in ‘Meekness and Majesty’:
Meekness and majesty, manhood and deity,
In perfect harmony, the Man who is God.
Lord of eternity, dwells in humanity,
Kneels in humility and washes our feet.
O what a mystery, meekness and majesty,
Bow down and worship, for this is your God.
This is our God! That’s only verse one and the chorus, verse two also has great words.
It’s probably a great time to study the incarnation in the run up to Christmas. It adds more to the great carols such as Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Prayer – Knowing that God became man and experienced the same thoughts and feelings as myself, I can relate to that. I can pray to God knowing that he understands. In prayer we might also consider our sin and temptation, again how much confidence and comfort does it give you when we think that God in his humanity experienced the same but yet without sin.
The Lord’s Supper – It humbles us when we consider what Christ has done for us. Even more when we realise that he didn’t employ his deity in some way as to possibly ease the pain and suffering or such like. It was a man, who before the event was troubled, considering if there was another way. We can connect with that. It was a man who took the strips, the thorns, the spit. How humbling when we think on Phil 2:6-8 "...Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
Offering – A good example in this context is the wise men “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts...” (Matt 2:11). They couldn’t worship without giving, it was a part of worship. Does our ‘user friendly’ online giving, although good, detract from this part of church worship? When we come with empty hands to church does it encourage a selfishness, ie what can I get as opposed to what can I give? Do our children then miss out by not seeing their parents giving?3 A discussion for another time.
Grudem Wayne, 1994, Systematic Theology, IVP, Leicester, chapter 26.
2 Westminster Confession of Faith, 1646, www.creeds.net, chapter 8 section 2.
3 Stewardship Ministries, www.stewardshipministries.org/blog/2012/10/02/giving-as-an-act-of-worship
Wayne Charlton, Summarise the New Testament evidence for the deity and humanity of Jesus Christ. How should this teaching inform our conduct of worship in the church?, 5-Dec-13