What Do Baptists Believe About Jesus?
Christology – the Doctrine of Jesus
Jesus – The Incarnate Word:
Jesus himself came as one of God’s special revelations. Jesus came to earth to reveal the revelation of God to men. Hebrews says that Jesus is part of a long line of succession of prophets (Hebrews 1:1-2). John himself calls Jesus “the Word” and goes on to say that Jesus became flesh and revealed to men God (John 1:1, 14, 18).
Jesus – 100% God, 100% Man:
Jesus, the Son of God and second member of the Trinity, is said to be both 100% God and 100% man. The union of God with Man in the person of Jesus is called the hypostatic union. The early church wrestled with how to reconcile this one doctrine more than any other doctrine in early Christianity. Groups either rejected or diminished the humanity of Jesus, the deity of Jesus, or both. Orthodox Christianity though affirms both the fullness of God in the human that was Jesus.
- The deity of Christ is affirmed by Scripture in a number of places, particularly the Book of John and Hebrews 1. John and Hebrews affirm that Jesus was present at creation in their opening chapters (John 1, Hebrews 1). Jesus himself claims oneness with the Father as well as claims to be the great I AM of Exodus 3:14 (John 8:58-59). Jesus also receives worship by Thomas and others (Matthew 2:11, Matthew28:9, John 9:35-38) and is called “God” by Thomas when Jesus appears to Thomas after the resurrection (John 20:28). Paul also acknowledges Jesus as God (Titus 2:13).
- The humanity of Jesus is also affirmed by Scripture. He was born and grew as a male child of Jewish parents (Luke 2, Matthew 3). He experiences hunger and thirst (Mark 11:12, John 4:6-7), he eats food (Mark 2:13-17), and has a physical body that can die. Additionally, he was tempted (yet was without sin) and experienced the sorts of things that humans deal with on a day-to-day basis (Hebrews 4:15-16, Matthew 4:1-11).
The Life of Jesus
- The Incarnation — As mentioned, Jesus was born of a virgin which fulfilled (John 1:14, 18) a number of prophecies that foretold of the nature (Isaiah 7:14) and place of his birth (Micah 5:2). He grew into a man and had a public ministry where he taught and performed a number of miracles.
- The Death of Jesus— Jesus was brutally crucified on a Roman cross and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (John 19, Luke 23, Matthew 27).
- The Resurrection of Jesus – On the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus resurrected from the dead (Luke 24, Matthew 28, John 20).
- The Ascension of Jesus – 40 days after the resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven (Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:8-11).
The historicity of the person of Jesus is important to recognize because where the theology of Christianity connections with history (1 Corinthians 16:1-18). The truth of the events themselves vindicate the Christian faith at its core. In other words, if the events of Christs life are real, so are what they imply about theology, namely the gospel message.
The Work of Jesus
- Jesus Participates in Creation – Jesus was present and active in creation and works to hold creation together.
- To reveal God to men – As mention, part of Jesus’ work on earth was to reveal God to men. His ministry fulfilled much of what was foreshadowed by the Old Testament as well as pointed to the coming reality of judgment. He showed men the very glory of God and his truth.
- To take away sins – This is called atonement. Jesus atoned for the sins of man by dying on the cross. The nature of this atonement is that God shows love and upholds his justice in a single act to reconcile man to God (Romans 5:8-11, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 a.k.a reconciliation). God maintains his justice by providing a substitute sacrifice – his sacrifice — on behalf of sinful men (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24) to fulfill the requirements of the law (this is propitiation; 1 John 4:10, Romans 3:21-26, Hebrews 2:14-18) and demonstrate his love for humanity. He is the sufficient and final sacrifice for the sin. This idea is called the penal-substitution theory of atonement.
- Jesus is the high priest of the New Covenant – The book of Hebrews explains much about Christology and the relationship of Jesus to the Old Testament. The New Covenant was ushered in by Jesus, and he becomes the priest of the New Covenant, not by succession from Aaron, but by his own right in the order of Melchizedek. Christ therefore intercedes before the Father on behalf of sinners (Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 4:14-10:39).
- Jesus is the king in the line of David – One of the major themes of the book of Matthew is kingship of Jesus in the line of David. He becomes the heir to the throne of David that will be forever and ever 2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17:11–14, 2 Chronicles 6:16, Matthew 21:9, Isaiah 9:7, Isaiah 55:1-7, Acts 13:34, Revelation 3:7, Revelation 22:16).