I was asked a question regarding whether Jesus was indeed God as he walked upon the earth.
For many this is a difficult concept as he did indeed walk as a man. Here was my response:
Yes – He is God, and was God in the flesh as he walked on earth.
What folks never grasp – mostly because they simply don’t think about it – is what it actually means that Jesus was the fulfillment of the law.
He was human, he grew as a human and learned as a human. He had to experience and advance the same as we all do. However, he had to get it perfect.
Here is an example – the “missing” years of Jesus – they are not missing.
Jesus lived the life of an Orthodox Jew. We know this as he was the perfect fulfillment of the law. He would have grown up learning the trade of his father, Joseph – a carpenter. He would study and work to attain the level of a master craftsman. As such he would have knowledge of everything from furniture to engineering.
Remember that seamless robe the Romans cast lots for? Ever wonder why? A seamless rob was a sign of affluence and wealth. As a master carpenter Jesus would have made a significant living. He would have been well compensated. A master carpenter would have been involved in all aspects of life in those days – from furniture making to the frames and structures of houses, temples, fortresses and ship building. In the case of Israel it would have been the local Jewish synagogues and not temples. He would have mastered disciplines such as mathematics and physics as they were known in that day.
Considering the substantial Greek influence in the region from the times of the conquest of Alexander – and the times Jesus lived in – his knowledge of mathematics and physics would have been the most advanced on earth. Even more advanced than that of the Chinese at that time.
Jesus would still call the home of Mary and Joseph his home as he was not married.
During his “lost years” Jesus would have spent his days between two pursuits – his trade and the study of the law. The law here is the Law of Moses. He would attend the services and the Feasts of the Lord according to the law and done so with perfection.
Remember how we learned of Jesus in the Temple at age twelve? He got lost and Joseph found him with the priests and they were in amazement by his knowledge? This occurred at age twelve as Jesus was now considered a legal man in Israel. Upon the completion of the required Jewish customs he would be recognized as such. He was teaching in the Temple to the priests as he had learned the Law of Moses to a perfection that had never been seen since the time of Moses himself.
From twelve to 30 he would perfect his craft and read the law on the Sabbath as was required. His perfect knowledge and his advanced education made him a natural source for counsel and knowledge. Throughout the Bible he is referred to as Rabbi or Rabboni – that is being teacher.
What must be understood is that he was not simply considered a teacher, rather, he was a proven and recognized master of the Law of Moses prior to beginning his ministry work.
Now comes the heart of the matter. Jesus was God in the flesh that walked among men. He was perfect in creation yet born a blank slate. He had to be. He must be allowed to experience the things of man as he was to be a perfect sacrifice. He had to meet the exact same challenges that all of humanity did. The difference lay in the fact that the virgin birth rendered him free from sin at birth. Every time Jesus quoted scripture during his ministry it was scripture that he learned through the meticulous study of the law – as required by the law. It was a knowledge that must be earned. If he had been permitted to retain the supernatural knowledge of the Law then he could not truly stand in the stead of man as he would not have endured the very same trials. Trials that he endured – and met with perfection.
The key to these things is that, as a human being, he could fail.
He could have given into the temptations of the flesh and fell to lust. He could have given into laziness and put off until tomorrow that which was required today.
It was the ability to fail that permitted the great temptation in the wilderness by Satan. It was the ability to fail that brought him to the Garden of Gethsemane that night has he prayed into the third watch.
Let this cup pass from me – never the less, your will – not mine. These are not the words of a God hiding behind the shield of perfection. Rather – these are the words of a God that knows the one chance for save a dying race was to endure though every fear, every weakness, every desire to run – all human failures that must be surpassed if he is to remain the sinless, spotless, perfect lamb and fulfillment of the law.
Yet he did not fail – not once. When you have succumb to lust he resisted. When you spoke false witness in anger he persevered. When you sought vengeance on those that wronged you he forgave.
All the while enduring every undeserved consequence that comes from putting himself last. Where treachery brings you and me business and financial gain he lost the sale.
This gives an insight as to why he had wealth – he conducted his business with an integrity beyond reproach. When the wood he shaped – imperfect in its content from the fall of sin – would not bend to the task he required he would start the job anew at his own cost. It was not the fault of his customer that the material would not do as was required.
Let us consider once more the night in the Garden.
As you have looked upon the Word and considered his crucifixion have you ever been left with the distinct impression that he could have called off the things that transpired?
There is a reason we have been left with that impression. He could have said no to the sacrifice. Understand that as of that night he was perfect in his prayers and his life. There is something more. The Garden is the one unassailable proof that Jesus was indeed God as he walked as a man.
That night he prayed to the Father to let the cup pass, yet not as he willed, but as the Father willed.
Though he spoke of two wills they were yet one – the will of Jesus as a man, perfected for the cross. This is the will of a man undergoing the trials and suffering as the sins of all the earth were transferring to his shoulders. As the weight of the world strangled down upon his neck his sweat became as drops of blood. No man has ever known such torment.
Though he spoke of two wills they were yet one – the will of God the Father become his own sacrifice. You see, though Jesus walked as a man he was indeed God. It would not have been sin to deny the will of the Father – as that was indeed his will as God himself. When he tells us that he could have summoned a thousand angels to take him from that fate it was for the simple premise that he is God. The will of the Father was his very will to keep or discard.
Jesus Christ could no more have sinned against himself in which ever choice he made.
Alas, history records the choice he made.
Jesus Christ walked among men as God on earth.
Jesus Christ walks among men as God on earth.
This is the Savior we serve.
Here is another interesting fact for everybody. Did you realize that Jesus also was judged, as we will be?
Only his judgment was carried out by Satan.
You see, when Jesus stood before Pilate he was standing before the Emperor of Rome himself.
Pontius Pilate was a Procurator. This was a rank of the Equestrian Order. Judea was an Equestrian Province. This becomes extremely important in understanding the trial that would take place.
You see, as a smaller, non-Senatorial Province it was the Emperor alone that exercised full power and authority. The Senate did not have jurisdiction in Judea. In the larger provinces of the empire it was the Senate that exercised authority. The provincial governors were Senators. They would assume the rank of Pro-Consul denoting that that had served as Consul of Rome prior to their provincial governorship.
As Jesus stood before Pilate he actually stood before Tiberius Caesar.
Consider this – Tiberius was the first Roman Emperor that actually assumed command of the established empire. He succeeded Caesar Augustus who was the first Emperor of Rome. However, Augustus had to complete the transition from the remains of the republic to the empire.
Stated differently, Tiberius was the first true emperor of a fully established Rome – capital of all the world.
This was a world for which Satan has direct dominion since the fall of man – a world that he once offered to Jesus. A world now ruled by Tiberius.
As we must be judged so was Jesus judged.
Consider what we have discussed thus far – Satan, ruler of the earth had established an empire. An empire ruled by Tiberius. In Judea an Equestrian Procurator named Pontius Pilate sat upon an imperial tribunal in the stead of Tiberius.
Jesus stood but two men removed from Satan himself.
When you take a moment to consider this dynamic it puts the trial into a much different light.
Especially when you consider that Jesus was found to be innocent.
Now consider the utterly devastating symbolism when Pilate “washed his hands” of Jesus.
There was yet one more little discussed piece to this story my friends. So that there could never be any doubt as to the implications of the trial, nor of the absolute criticality of Pilate standing in judgment the Lord allowed for one undeniable connection to stand established.
Do you recall during the trial that the crowd chanted to Pilate “you are no friend of Caesar?”
What few understand is the iron clad meaning of this. You see, there was a small, but distinguished order in Rome known as “The Friends of Caesar”. Only the Emperor could grant admission to this order.
Only the closest of friends and officials to the Emperor received this status. All of the friends of Caesar wore a signet ring that was unmistakable. It was a status that granted an authority and privilege to the bearer that was second to none in the empire. There was no greater honor.
He who bore the title “friend of Caesar” was considered as the Emperor himself.
Can you imagine the rage Satan felt when this “Friend of Caesar” – Caesar that sat upon the throne of Satan’s Kingdom – declared Jesus innocent and without fault?
Can you imagine the rage when it occurred to Satan that HE had effectively declared Jesus to be without spot or blemish?
That, my friends is what transpired that bitter day in Jerusalem.
A Passover Lamb, without spot or blemish was taken to be a sacrifice.
All ordained – and confirmed – by Satan himself.
In the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.