Category: (1) Jesus the Perfect Man


The Apostle Paul tells us in his first letter to the church in Corinth, “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).

Paul is here pointing out the difference between two kinds of bodies, i.e., the natural and the spiritual. Genesis 2:7 speaks of the first man, Adam, becoming a living person. Adam was made from the dust of the ground and given the breath of life from God. Every human being since that time shares the same characteristics. However, the last Adam or the “second Adam”—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. Just as Adam was the first of the human race, so Christ is the first of those who will be raised from the dead to eternal life. Because Christ rose from the dead, He is “a life-giving spirit” who entered into a new form of existence. He is the source of the spiritual life that will result in believers’ resurrection. Christ’s new glorified human body now suits His new, glorified, spiritual life—just as Adam’s human body was suitable to his natural life. When believers are resurrected, God will give them transformed, eternal bodies suited to eternal life.

Paul tells us in verse 46 that the natural came first and after that the spiritual. People have natural life first; that is, they are born into this earth and live here. Only from there do they then obtain spiritual life. Paul is telling us that the natural man, Adam, came first on this earth and was made from the dust of the earth. While it is true that Christ has existed from eternity past, He is here called the second man or second Adam because He came from heaven to earth many years after Adam. Christ came as a human baby with a body like all other humans, but He did not originate from the dust of the earth as had Adam. He “came from heaven.”

Then Paul goes on: “As was the earthly man [Adam], so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven [Christ], so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:48-49). Because all humanity is bound up with Adam, so every human being has an earthly body just like Adam’s. Earthly bodies are fitted for life on this earth, yet they are limited by death, disease, and weakness because of sin which we’ve seen was first brought into the world by Adam.

However, the good news is that believers can know with certainty that their heavenly bodies will be just like Christ’s—imperishable, eternal, glorious, and filled with power. At this time, all are like Adam; one day, all believers will be like Christ (Philippians 3:21). The Apostle John wrote to the believers, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

The Bible never gives any physical description of Christ. The closest thing we get to a description is in Isaiah 53:2b, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” All this tells us is that Jesus’ appearance was just like any other man’s – He was ordinary-looking. Isaiah was here prophesying that the coming suffering Servant would arise in lowly conditions and wear none of the usual emblems of royalty, making His true identity visible only to the discerning eye of faith.

Isaiah further describes the appearance of Christ as He would appear as He was being scourged prior to His crucifixion. “His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness” (Isaiah 52:14). These words describe the inhuman cruelty He suffered to the point that He no longer looked like a human being (Matthew 26:67; 27:30; John 19:3). His appearance was so awful that people looked at Him in astonishment.

Most of the images we have of Jesus today are probably not accurate. Jesus was a Jew, so He likely had dark skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. This is a far cry from the European/Caucasian Jesus in most modern portrayals. One thing is clear: if it were important for us to know what He really did look like, Matthew, Peter and John, who spent three years with Him, would certainly be able to give us an accurate description, as would His own brothers, James and Jude. Yet, these New Testament writers offer no details about His physical attributes.

The phrase “word of God” appears often in the Bible and can have a slightly different meaning depending on context and the Hebrew or Greek word used. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” Here, Word is a title of the Lord Jesus. The term translated “Word” is logos, which basically means “the expression of a thought.” Logos can be thought of as the total message of God to man (Acts 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). Jesus embodied that total message, and that is why He is called the “Logos,” or “Word,” of God (Colossians 1:19; 2:9).

Logos is also used many times when referring to the written message of God (John 17:17; 1 Timothy 4:5; Revelation 1:2; Colossians 1:25). Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Jesus showed a link between the written Word of God and Himself, in that He is the subject of the written Word: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39).

Another Greek word used for “word” is rhema. Rhema refers to the actual spoken/written words of God (Hebrews 6:5). When Jesus was being tempted by Satan, He answered, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). We are told in Ephesians 6:17 to “take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God.” Jesus demonstrated we need the actual recorded words of God to overcome Satan’s attacks.

The phrase “word of God” means more than the printed words on a page. God is a communicator and has been speaking into the human realm since the beginning. He speaks through His creation (Psalm 19:1), through ancient prophets (Hosea 12:10; Hebrews 1:1), through the Holy Spirit (John 16:13; Acts 16:6), through Scripture (Hebrews 4:12), and through the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:9). We can learn to know God better by seeking to hear Him in every way that He speaks.

The term word is used in different ways in the Bible. In the New Testament, there are two Greek words translated “word”: rhema and logos. They have slightly different meanings. Rhema usually means “a spoken word.” For example, in Luke 1:38, when the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of God’s Son, Mary replied, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word [rhema].”

Logos, however, has a broader, more philosophical meaning. This is the term used in John 1. It usually implies a total message, and is used mostly in reference to God’s message to mankind. For example, Luke 4:32 says that, when Jesus taught the people, “they were amazed at his teaching, because his words [logos] had authority.” The people were amazed not merely by the particular words Jesus chose but by His total message.

“The Word” (Logos) in John 1 is referring to Jesus. Jesus is the total Message—everything that God wants to communicate to man. The first chapter of John gives us a glimpse inside the Father/Son relationship before Jesus came to earth in human form. He preexisted with the Father (verse 1), He was involved in the creation of everything (verse 3), and He is the “light of all mankind” (verse 4). The Word (Jesus) is the full embodiment of all that is God (Colossians 1:19; 2:9; John 14:9). But God the Father is Spirit. He is invisible to the human eye. The message of love and redemption that God spoke through the prophets had gone unheeded for centuries (Ezekiel 22:26; Matthew 23:37). People found it easy to disregard the message of an invisible God and continued in their sin and rebellion. So the Message became flesh, took on human form, and came to dwell among us (Matthew 1:23; Romans 8:3; Philippians 2: 5–11).

The Greeks used the word logos to refer to one’s “mind,” “reason,” or “wisdom.” John used this Greek concept to communicate the fact that Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, is the self-expression of God to the world. In the Old Testament, the word of God brought the universe into existence (Psalm 33:6) and saved the needy (Psalm 107:20). In chapter 1 of his Gospel, John is appealing to both Jew and Gentile to receive the eternal Christ.

Jesus told a parable in Luke 20:9–16 to explain why the Word had to become flesh. “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out.

“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

In this parable, Jesus was reminding the Jewish leaders that they had rejected the prophets and were now rejecting the Son. The Logos, the Word of God, was now going to be offered to everyone, not just the Jews (John 10:16; Galatians 2:28; Colossians 3:11). Because the Word became flesh, we have a high priest who is able to empathize with our weaknesses, one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).

 John 15:5-8

Jesus is our peace. God offers everyone serenity of heart, but only those who receive Christ can actually accept the gift. The Holy Spirit, who lives inside everybody that believes in the Savior, can keep peace flowing like sap from a vine to its branches.

But sadly, this internal wellspring of peace is overlooked by many believers. Misguided Christians instead make false assumptions:

1. Some wrongly think peace is the result of perfect conditions. Even if we were able to achieve an ideal existence on this earth, we certainly couldn’t maintain it—or any resulting happiness—for long. This world is broken and will not yield serenity through circumstances.

2. Others believe peace and help must be requested from a faraway God. This is the best guess of people who don’t under-stand the union between the Lord and His followers. We do not need tranquility delivered from heaven; it is available to us immediately from Christ, who lives in us.

The Living Bible translation beautifully captures how a vital, peaceful relationship with Jesus should look: “And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him . . . Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him” (Col. 2:6-7).

We cannot be forced out of a state of tranquility unless we decide to seek peace apart from Jesus Christ. Serenity is a direct result of keeping a right relationship with Him. No outside force or situation can tamper with that connection—we partake of Jesus’ vital life through His Holy Spirit.

John 15:9-17

Years ago the Sunday School teachers in my church would teach preschoolers a little chorus that included the line, “My best friend is Jesus.” As those children grew into adulthood, they naturally put aside juvenile songs like this one. But sadly, they also frequently seemed to grow out of the idea of Jesus being a friend.

As believers learn more about God, they rightly elevate Him to be the Lord of their lives and acknowledge Him as sovereign ruler over all the earth. It is easier to think of One so high and mighty as Creator, Savior, and Lord than to “lower” Him to the position of Friend. But Jesus makes a point of telling His disciples that He is both a transcendent deity—the Son of God—and their companion (John 15:15).

The offer of friendship extends to modern disciples as well. Like the original twelve followers, we are privileged to say that Christ laid down His life for us in a supreme act of love and devotion (v. 13). What is more, His Spirit reveals the truth of Scripture to our hearts so that we can learn more about God and His ways. In other words, Jesus has made known to us the things He heard from His Father. A man doesn’t tell secrets to slaves; he tells them to his friends (v. 15).

Teaching children to sing of their friendship with Jesus is a wise idea. But I wonder when some grown believers will learn to sing of that special relationship again? May we never become so religious, so pious, or so full of our own maturity that we will not say, “My best friend is Jesus Christ.”

Jesus is the wayThe humanity of Jesus is as equally important as the deity of Jesus. Jesus was born as a human being while still being totally divine. The concept of the humanity of Jesus co-existing with His deity is difficult for the finite mind of man to comprehend. Nevertheless, Jesus’ nature—wholly man and wholly God—is a biblical fact. There are those who reject these biblical truths and declare that Jesus was a man, but not God (Ebionism). Docetism is the view that Jesus was God, but not human. Both viewpoints are unbiblical and false.

Jesus had to be born as a human being for several reasons. One is outlined in Galatians 4:4–5: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Only a man could be “born under the law.” No animal or angelic being is “under the law.” Only humans are born under the law, and only a human being could redeem other human beings born under the same law. Born under the law of God, all humans are guilty of transgressing that law. Only a perfect human—Jesus Christ—could perfectly keep the law and perfectly fulfill the law, thereby redeeming us from that guilt. Jesus accomplished our redemption on the cross, exchanging our sin for His perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Another reason Jesus had to be fully human is that God established the necessity of the shedding of blood for the remission of sins (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22). The blood of animals, although acceptable on a temporary basis as a foreshadowing of the blood of the perfect God-Man, was insufficient for the permanent remission of sin because “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, sacrificed His human life and shed His human blood to cover the sins of all who would ever believe in Him. If He were not human, this would have been impossible.

Furthermore, the humanity of Jesus enables Him to relate to us in a way the angels or animals never can. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Only a human could sympathize with our weaknesses and temptations. In His humanity, Jesus was subjected to all the same kinds of trials that we are, and He is, therefore, able to sympathize with us and to aid us. He was tempted; He was persecuted; He was poor; He was despised; He suffered physical pain; and He endured the sorrows of a lingering and most cruel death. Only a human being could experience these things, and only a human being could fully understand them through experience.

Finally, it was necessary for Jesus to come in the flesh because believing that truth is a prerequisite for salvation. Declaring that Jesus has come in the flesh is the mark of a spirit from God, while the Antichrist and all who follow him will deny it (1 John 4:2–3). Jesus has come in the flesh; He is able to sympathize with our human frailties; His human blood was shed for our sins; and He was fully God and fully Man. These are biblical truths that cannot be denied.

The phrase “love of Christ,” as opposed to “love for Christ, refers to the love that He has toward mankind. His love can be briefly stated as His willingness to act in our best interest, especially in meeting our greatest need, even though it cost Him everything and even though we were the least worthy of such love.

Though Christ Jesus, being God in nature, existed from the beginning of time with God the Father (John 1:1) and the Holy Spirit, He willingly left His throne (John 1:1-14) to become a man, that He might pay the penalty for our sin so that we would not have to pay for it for all eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). Because mankind’s sin has been paid for by our sinless Savior Jesus Christ, God who is just and holy can now forgive our sins when we accept Christ Jesus’ payment as our own (Romans 3:21-26). Thus, Christ’s love is shown in His leaving His home in heaven, where He was worshipped and honored as He deserved, to come to earth as a man where He would be mocked, betrayed, beaten, and crucified on a cross to pay the penalty for our sin, rising again from the dead on the third day. He considered our need of a Savior from our sin and its penalty as more important than His own comfort and life (Philippians 2:3-8).

Sometimes people may give their lives willingly for ones they deem as worthy—a friend, a relative, other “good” people—but Christ’s love goes beyond that. Christ’s love extends to those most unworthy of it. He willingly took the punishment of those who tortured Him, hated Him, rebelled against Him, and cared nothing about Him, those who were most undeserving of His love (Romans 5:6-8). He gave the most He could give for those who deserved it the least! Sacrifice, then, is the essence of godly love, called agape love. This is God-like love, not man-like love (Matthew 5:43-48).

This love which He demonstrated toward us on the cross is just the beginning. When we place our trust in Him as our Savior, He makes us God’s children, co-heirs with Him! He comes to dwell within us through His Holy Spirit, promising that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). Thus, we have a loving companion for life. And no matter what we go through, He is there, and His love is ever available to us (Romans 8:35). But as He rightfully reigns as a benevolent King in heaven, we need to give Him the position He deserves in our lives as well, that of Master and not merely companion. It is only then that we will experience life as He intended and live in the fullness of His love (John 10:10b).

This question fits right in with God’s greatest commandment, found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, to love our God with all of our being. Here is some guidance in how to bring that about from Scripture:

1) It goes without saying that we cannot love someone we do not know. Get to know God and what He has done for you. Before the command to love God is given in Deuteronomy 6:5, the statement is made, “Hear O Israel, The LORD our God is one LORD.” One aspect of this statement is that He is unique, and the better we get to know what He is like, the easier it will be for us to love Him with our whole being. This also involves getting to know what He has done for us. Again, before the first command is given in Exodus 20:3, God states what He had done for Israel in bringing them out of slavery in Egypt. Likewise, in Romans 12:1-2, the command to offer our lives as living sacrifices is prefaced with the word therefore–a word meant to remind us of all of the mercies of God toward us recorded in the previous chapters.

To grow in love with God, one needs to get to know Him. He has revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1), but so much more through His Word. We need to make daily Bible study a perpetual habit—as much a part of our lives as eating every day. We would do well to remember that the Bible is more than a book; it is truly God’s love letter to us, revealing His love for us through the centuries, especially through the ministry of Jesus Christ, His Son. We must read the Bible as a letter from Him, asking His Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts about what He wants us to glean from it that day. Memorizing important verses and passages is also essential, as is thinking of ways to apply what we learn (Joshua 1:8).

2) Follow Jesus’ example of praying constantly and consistently. When we examine the life of Jesus as well as that of Daniel and others who had a passion for God, we find that prayer was a vital ingredient in their relationships with God (even a quick reading of the gospels and the Book of Daniel reveals this). As with Bible study, prayer—sincere and open communication with God—is essential. You cannot imagine a man and woman growing in love without communicating, so prayer cannot be neglected without expecting one’s love for God to grow cold. Prayer is part of the armor against our greatest enemies (Ephesians 6:18). We may have a desire to love God, but we will fail in our walk without prayer (Matthew 26:41).

3) Walk closely with Him NOW. Daniel and his three friends chose to obey God and refused to compromise in even the food they ate (Daniel 1). The others who were brought from Judah to Babylon as prisoners with them caved in and are never mentioned again. When the Jewish prisoners of war had their convictions challenged in a far greater way, it was only these few who stood alone for God (Daniel 3 and 6). In order to ensure that we will be passionate for God later, we need to walk with Him now and begin to obey Him in the smallest tests! Peter learned this the hard way by following God “at a distance,” rather than identifying himself more closely with Christ before his temptation to deny Him (Luke 22:54). God says that where a man’s treasure is, there his heart will be also. As we invest our lives in God through serving Him and being on the receiving end of persecution for Him, our treasure will increasingly lie with Him, and so will our hearts (1 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 6:21).

4) Eliminate the competition. Jesus said it is impossible to have two masters (Matthew 6:24). We are tempted to love the world (those things which please our eyes, make us feel good about ourselves, and gratify our fleshly desires) (1 John 2:15-17). James says that to seek to embrace the world and its friendship is enmity (hatred) toward God and spiritual adultery (James 4:4). We need to get rid of those things in our lives (friends who would lead us the wrong way, things that take up our time and energy and keep us from serving God more fully, pursuit of popularity, pursuit of possessions, and the pursuit of physical and emotional gratifications). God promises that if we pursue Him, He will not only provide for our needs (Matthew 6:33) but will give us our desires as well (Psalm 37:4-5).

5) If straying, begin to do what helped you grow in love with God in the first place. It is not uncommon to have dips in a relationship. Peter dipped in his (Luke 22:54), and David dipped in his (2 Samuel 11), but they got up and pursued after God once again. John, in Revelation 2:4, states it is not a case of “losing” one’s love but “leaving” one’s love. The cure is to do the “first works,” those things that caused one to grow in love with God in the first place. This would include those items mentioned above. The first step in this is confession and receiving the forgiveness and restored fellowship that are the result of that confession (1 John 1:9). There is no doubt that God will bless the pursuit of a passion for Him and will glorify His name through it.

This question fits right in with God’s greatest commandment, found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, to love our God with all of our being. Here is some guidance in how to bring that about from Scripture:

1) It goes without saying that we cannot love someone we do not know. Get to know God and what He has done for you. Before the command to love God is given in Deuteronomy 6:5, the statement is made, “Hear O Israel, The LORD our God is one LORD.” One aspect of this statement is that He is unique, and the better we get to know what He is like, the easier it will be for us to love Him with our whole being. This also involves getting to know what He has done for us. Again, before the first command is given in Exodus 20:3, God states what He had done for Israel in bringing them out of slavery in Egypt. Likewise, in Romans 12:1-2, the command to offer our lives as living sacrifices is prefaced with the word therefore–a word meant to remind us of all of the mercies of God toward us recorded in the previous chapters.

To grow in love with God, one needs to get to know Him. He has revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1), but so much more through His Word. We need to make daily Bible study a perpetual habit—as much a part of our lives as eating every day. We would do well to remember that the Bible is more than a book; it is truly God’s love letter to us, revealing His love for us through the centuries, especially through the ministry of Jesus Christ, His Son. We must read the Bible as a letter from Him, asking His Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts about what He wants us to glean from it that day. Memorizing important verses and passages is also essential, as is thinking of ways to apply what we learn (Joshua 1:8).

2) Follow Jesus’ example of praying constantly and consistently. When we examine the life of Jesus as well as that of Daniel and others who had a passion for God, we find that prayer was a vital ingredient in their relationships with God (even a quick reading of the gospels and the Book of Daniel reveals this). As with Bible study, prayer—sincere and open communication with God—is essential. You cannot imagine a man and woman growing in love without communicating, so prayer cannot be neglected without expecting one’s love for God to grow cold. Prayer is part of the armor against our greatest enemies (Ephesians 6:18). We may have a desire to love God, but we will fail in our walk without prayer (Matthew 26:41).

3) Walk closely with Him NOW. Daniel and his three friends chose to obey God and refused to compromise in even the food they ate (Daniel 1). The others who were brought from Judah to Babylon as prisoners with them caved in and are never mentioned again. When the Jewish prisoners of war had their convictions challenged in a far greater way, it was only these few who stood alone for God (Daniel 3 and 6). In order to ensure that we will be passionate for God later, we need to walk with Him now and begin to obey Him in the smallest tests! Peter learned this the hard way by following God “at a distance,” rather than identifying himself more closely with Christ before his temptation to deny Him (Luke 22:54). God says that where a man’s treasure is, there his heart will be also. As we invest our lives in God through serving Him and being on the receiving end of persecution for Him, our treasure will increasingly lie with Him, and so will our hearts (1 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 6:21).

4) Eliminate the competition. Jesus said it is impossible to have two masters (Matthew 6:24). We are tempted to love the world (those things which please our eyes, make us feel good about ourselves, and gratify our fleshly desires) (1 John 2:15-17). James says that to seek to embrace the world and its friendship is enmity (hatred) toward God and spiritual adultery (James 4:4). We need to get rid of those things in our lives (friends who would lead us the wrong way, things that take up our time and energy and keep us from serving God more fully, pursuit of popularity, pursuit of possessions, and the pursuit of physical and emotional gratifications). God promises that if we pursue Him, He will not only provide for our needs (Matthew 6:33) but will give us our desires as well (Psalm 37:4-5).

5) If straying, begin to do what helped you grow in love with God in the first place. It is not uncommon to have dips in a relationship. Peter dipped in his (Luke 22:54), and David dipped in his (2 Samuel 11), but they got up and pursued after God once again. John, in Revelation 2:4, states it is not a case of “losing” one’s love but “leaving” one’s love. The cure is to do the “first works,” those things that caused one to grow in love with God in the first place. This would include those items mentioned above. The first step in this is confession and receiving the forgiveness and restored fellowship that are the result of that confession (1 John 1:9). There is no doubt that God will bless the pursuit of a passion for Him and will glorify His name through it.