The Thread of Christ’s Divine Nature

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Blue is the color of Heaven, red of blood and purple of royalty. The Son of Heaven has spilled his blood for us that he may become our rightful King for all eternity. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is a position of true Christians that Jesus is both eternal and of the same nature as God the Father (divine). There are many verses that speak to this fact directly and clearly in the Bible, e.g., Matthew 9.6 (only God can forgive sins fully), John 10.30 & 17.11 (he is one with the Father), and John 8.58 (he declared to be eternal). However, we can also find many threads throughout Scripture that are not as blatant, but equally declare that Jesus is the Messiah. In this post, I hope to point out just a few of these threads that display the glory of Christ that always was! There are many others to find, so happy digging!

(1) The Way, the Truth & the Life:

In John we have an interesting conversation going on between Jesus and his disciples. In John 14.9 Jesus clearly states that if anyone has seen him they have seen the Father – again, because they are one. However, before this we read in verses 5-7, “Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.'” [all Scriptures quoted are from the English Standard Version of the Bible] Jesus is declaring that he, not just his thinking, his teaching, or his example, but he is the way, truth and life. However, where else have we seen this language in the Bible?

In Exodus 30.11-20 we read the following:

11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules (all words used here can be used for truth – it’s his word & reality), then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Bolded emphasis and parenthetical statement mine. God called his Law the truth to be the way for God’s people to live and receive life. Jesus was declaring that he was this way, truth and life – that he is God’s Word incarnate which is what we read of Jesus in John 1. He is God’s eternal word made into the flesh of a man; his Father’s character tabernacling in flesh among us.

(2) The Eucharist Thread

The Eucharist has a rich history throughout Judaism and the Old Testament; similar to Baptism. The Eucharist (or Communion) is an essential aspect to Christian worship as it is the physical representation of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and should be the climax of our weekly convocation services. It is also the symbol of the Covenant that was purchased on our behalf that was made with the Father. Jesus said of this symbol at Passover before his crucifixion in Mark 14.22-24, “22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’” Jesus clearly represented was he was going to do on our behalf with bread and wine.

This was also the case with Moses. We read in Exodus 24.8, “And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.'” There was already manna present at this point. He is using the same tools. In addition to this, we read a couple of verses later, in response to this and what God was doing, “9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.” This is speculation here, but what do we think that the elders were eating and drinking in God’s presence?

Furthermore, when Abraham had won his military victory to rescue Lot, he meets another King – the King of Righteousness from the City of Peace – on the road back to his land. In this interaction, what do we see him do with the spoils of his war? He gave Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils and Melchizedek, in response to Abraham’s victory and faithfulness, offered him bread and wine. Genesis 14.18 reads, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)” We know that at best Jesus is the High Priest in the order of Melchizedek if not being Melchizedek himself.

In this thread we see the fellowship of God extended, the giving and responding to covenants, the ultimate sacrifice of God, and the gift of cleansing and peace to the faithful ones all tied together displaying the eternal nature of Christ reverberating through the Father’s plan all along. In view of all of these stories we see it was always the body and blood of Christ being given as the gift to his people – from Abraham, to the elders at Sinai fellowshipping with the Father, to the disciples on Passover, to all the Christians around the world today.

(3) Commanding the Sea

One day while Jesus and his disciples were sailing across the Sea of Galilee, a mighty storm arose. This storm must have been impressive as Jesus’ disciples, many of which were professional fisherman and knew that sea well, thought they were going to die in the storm. And what was Jesus doing in the midst of this tumultuous time? Taking a nap! Hey, this sounds an awful lot like Jonah… Anyway, they run down and wake Jesus up and what does he do? Let’s take a look from Luke’s account in 8.24-25, “24 And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’” This is a great scene! However, how does it relate to Jesus being God (eternal & divine), besides him controlling weather by talking to it, of course?

We read this interesting passage in Psalm 65:

5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
6 the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
7 who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

In this passage, we see the awesome deeds of the God of our salvation, including stilling the roaring of the seas and their waves and the tumult of the peoples. This is exactly what we see Jesus (which means salvation, by the way) doing in this passage. The man of God, the man of salvation, is calming the storm which in turn calms the sea, the waves and the tumult of his disciples – this action which was clearly attributed to God in Psalm 65. Furthermore, how do his disciples respond when Jesus does this? They marveled for what they just saw and the folks in Psalm 65 were in awe. Interestingly enough, in the Psalm 65 passage it says that the people at the ends of the earth would be in awe at his signs and even this is reflected in the Gospel passage as they were heading in the region of the country of the Gerasenes, which was a Gentile region. So, they were “going out into the world” as this took place! Again, we have an example of Jesus doing the same works as God and even the reaction of his disciples reflected what the Psalmist foresaw.

(4) Jacob’s Ladder

In this famous passage of the life of Jacob, we see Jacob in transit from Beersheba to Haran and he stops and sleeps for the night. While sleeping in this holy place – the house of God – he has a dream of a ladder. Well, let’s read the account. Genesis 28.11-13a, “11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac.'” What a dream this must have been! However, how does this relate to Christ, right?

We read an interesting passage at the end of the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Jesus is calling some of his disciples to follow him and Philip runs and tells Nathaniel that they have found the Messiah. Nathaniel is not so sure, but decides to go and see. When he arrives, Jesus tells Nathaniel that he saw him praying under a tree, which marvels him as Jesus was no where around the place he was praying. In John 1.50-51, this is Jesus’ response to Nathaniel, “50 Jesus answered him, ‘Because I said to you, “I saw you under the fig tree,” do you believe? You will see greater things than these.’ 51 And he said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.'”

Seeing the angels ascend and descend was the same thing that Jacob saw. Jesus was declaring that he was the ladder in which the angels move from heaven to earth; he is the pathway or the staircase between Heaven and earth; he is the way. He is the one by which the Father also speaks down from to the hearts of men, just as he did with Jacob in his dream. Metaphorically think of this in Narnian terms. Jesus is not just Aslan, but the wardrobe as well.

(5) More Wine and the Importance of the First Sign

Jesus and his friends were invited to a wedding party in Cana. Famously while at the party, Jesus turned water into wine. This was the place and public action Jesus performed as his first sign to declare that he was the Messiah. Here is the passage in John 2.1-11:

1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Many people may understand the significance of what is taking place here right away. However, for years I just read this, enjoyed it and had no idea why this was Jesus’ first sign and why it was important. Eventually after the right teachers and studying more carefully, I got a little insight into this amazing scene. Here’s how it connects.

In Deuteronomy 18.15-22, there is an important passage about proper prophets, a passage of Scripture I think much of the American church should study a little more; I digress. At the beginning of this section we read this in verse 15: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—” The Messiah was to be a prophet like Moses. This would be one of the signs that we would be able to discern who the Messiah would be – which is another issue for us when we presume that Jesus abolished the entire Law and Moses came to give it; this seems to not fulfill this prophecy; again, I digress. So, how does this relate to the work Jesus did in Cana? It is important because the first plague Moses pronounced on Pharaoh when he showed up on the scene in Egypt to free God’s people. Exodus 7.20 reads, “Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood.” So, Moses’ first public sign that he was a prophet was turning all of the water into blood. This is what Jesus does – turned the water into the blood of grapes. There clearly is a connection, but why did Jesus chose to turn the water into the blood of grapes rather than real blood as Moses? Because, this sign also connects to another important prophecy.

Upon his death bed, Jacob gives blessings over his sons, as we read at the end of Genesis. The blessing he gives over his son Judah is what is important for us presently. Jacob pronounced this blessing over Judah in Genesis 49.8-12,

8   “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your
enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
9   Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down;
he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his
feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has
washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.

This entire passage is very intriguing and speaks profoundly of Christ. As we know, he is from the tribe of Judah, being in the lineage of David, and is called the Lion of Judah because of this passage. Notice verse 11. This descendant of Judah was so wealthy that he could literally tie his animals to his precious vines and allow the animals to eat their fill of grapes and he even uses his wine to wash his clothing as he has it so abundantly, which we know is a task usually given to water. Jesus showed this to be true of him. He is the one so powerful and so wealthy that he could turn water itself into wine, and not just any wine, but the best wine the folks in Cana had ever had. All the while, Jesus, through his actions, was declaring that he was the prophet like Moses and the promised ruler of the tribe of Judah; declaring himself to be the Prophet and the King!

Conclusion

These are just a few examples of the ways in which Christ declared or acted out his eternal and divine nature. He truly is of the same essence of the Father. He is God incarnated in the flesh that grants salvation for the whole world – if we chose to accept his gift and the conditions he lays before us. May we continue to search him out and find more ways we see him echoed throughout the Scriptures and ages!

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 05 Jan 2019 00:11:11 -050011Saturday 2016 at 12:11 am  Comments (2)  
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