“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)
THE SON OF GOD AND THE SON OF MAN
While living in this world, the Lord Jesus revealed Himself, either directly or indirectly, as the Son of God and as the Son of Man. When He was brought before the council of the elders, the chief priests and the scribes to their court, He called Himself the Son of Man and acknowledged that He was the Son of God (Luke 22:69-70).
Why was the Lord Jesus both the Son of Man and the Son of God? He was the Son of Man because He was born into this world as a man and He also lived as a man like all other men (Phil 2:7). After His birth, He grew from a baby to a child and to an adult. He had parents as well as brothers and sisters. He also worked as a carpenter. He is the Son of God because before He became man, He was born of God and lived in equality with God (Hebrews 1:5; Philippians 2:6).
In His life as a man in this world, the Lord Jesus did not live it in equality with God, but He lived it in the likeness of man. He was not independent, omnipresent, omniscient or omnipotent like God. He was completely dependent on God. He was bound by space and time. Only in the matter regarding to His origin and identity, the Lord Jesus declared His equality with God, namely as the Son of God. He did not refuse when someone worshiped Him (Matthew 14:33; John 9:35-38). He once said that before Abraham was, He is (John 8:58). When He took His three disciples, Peter, John and James, to a high mountain, He was transfigured and revealed His glory to them, and a voice said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” (Matthew 17:1-2.5)
As the Son of God, the Lord Jesus could not be tempted and could not sin. However, as the Son of Man, He could be tempted and could fall into sin. When tempted by the devil in the wilderness, in the beginning the devil tried to make the Lord Jesus face him as the Son of God. Why? Because if the Lord Jesus faced the devil as the Son of God, He would be immune to temptation. Then, He was not the same as man. As the result, He could not be called the Son of Man and He would not be qualified to save men, because only man can die as a ransom for men. (Matthew 4:1-7)
The Lord Jesus is the Son of God who became the Son of Man, so that we, sons of men, may become sons of God. He became like us, that we might be like Him.
THE SERVANT OF GOD AND THE SERVANT OF MEN
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8) Who is Christ Jesus? He is God who became man, humbled Himself and became a servant who ministered to people, then became an obedient servant to God His master by laying down His life on the cross.
In order to save man from sin and death, Christ Jesus had to empty himself, humble himself and lay down His life:
1. Emptying Himself.
The Apostle John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word; The Word was with God and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Before becoming a man, Christ Jesus was the Word who was one with God. When God spoke for the first time, the Word that was in Him became a person by Himself. The Word is equal to God because He is God. He has the same glory as God’s glory (John 17:5).
The Word then put off His glory as God. He did not consider His equality with God as something to hold on to. He emptied Himself of all the infinite attributes of God, such as omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, etc. He did all these so that He became equal with men.
2. Humbling Himself.
Christ Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) As a man, Christ Jesus did not take the form of a master, but He took the form of a servant. He said that He had no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58) He came into the world not to be served, but to serve people. He performed miracles to fulfill various needs of man, such as healing the sick, delivering the demon-possessed, serving His disciples, etc.
3. Laying down His life.
A true servant obeys his master absolutely. Besides humbling himself to serve people, as a true servant, Christ Jesus also obeyed God to die on the cross, even though He had to suffer pains, endure torments, humiliations and afflictions in the process (Isaiah 53:3). He died for the sake of God’s will to be a ransom for all.
Thus, Christ Jesus became a servant of God and a servant of men by emptying himself of all equalities with God, and humbled himself to serve men and obeyed God absolutely by laying down his life on the cross to be a ransom for the world, even though He had to endure sufferings.
THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN
Who is Christ Jesus? He is the Mediator, the One who mediates between God and man. A mediator is the person who bridges the gaps, connecting two parties and solving the problem between them.
The biggest problem that separates man from God is sin. Sinners cannot come to the righteous God directly. Likewise, the righteous God cannot come to sinners directly. There must be someone who mediates and reconciles God and man first. However, this mediator cannot be just anyone. The mediator must fully understand the two parties to be reconciled, namely man and God. The problem is no man understands God because all men have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Therefore, the mediator must come from God himself. But in order for him to truly understand man, he must become a man and experience life as a man. Only one person fulfills this requirement, namely Christ Jesus, because He is the Son of God (Hebrews 1:5) who was born as the Son of Man (Luke 1:31). He was God Himself who became a Man.
When Christ Jesus became a man, He revealed God to men (John 1:18). What does it mean? It means God could be experienced as a human being who could be heard, seen, looked upon and touched (1 John 1:1). He said, “Whatever He (the Father) does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19), “The word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:24) and, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) In Christ Jesus’s body dwells all the fullness of the Godhead (Colossians 2:9).
Through Christ Jesus who lived as a Man on this earth, God could come and dwell in the midst of sinners. Nevertheless, could sinners come to God in heaven? No. they could not. The incarnation (God becoming man) could indeed bring God into the midst of sinners, but it could not bring sinners to God in heaven. What could open the way for sinners to come to God in heaven? Crucifixion.
On the cross, God made Christ Jesus who knew no sin to be sin, and died to bear the penalty of sin in place of sinners, so that sinners might be justified before God, and even become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5 :21). In other words, God through His Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus, reconciled sinners to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:18).
After His resurrection, Christ Jesus was then taken up and entered into heaven to appear in the presence of God for men (Hebrews 9:24). He became the High Priest at the right hand of God, always living to make intercession for men (Hebrews 7:25). Because He had lived as Man and was in all points tempted as men are, He was also able to feel man’s weaknesses and became man’s Advocate before God (Hebrews 4:15; Romans 8:34). Therefore, as it is written in Scripture, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) and “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)
As God who became Man, Christ Jesus revealed God to men, so that men could experience God under any circumstance. As the Man who died on the cross for sinners, Christ Jesus reconciled men to God, so that men could boldly come to God and worthily experience Him.