Ministry Resources

Christ: The Visible Expression of the Invisible God

“He is the very image of his father.” Have you heard someone say this about a young boy? Sometimes we ask ourselves, “Just how are the two alike?” If a father and son look alike, we can see this easily, but sometimes the similarity is not so clear. For example, they may be alike in their actions or in their way of thinking, or their personalities may be much the same. By watching the child, you can see in many ways what his father is like.

Jesus came into the world to show us what God the Father is like. He is the visible representation of the Father, who is invisible. Jesus embodies the natural and moral characteristics of God. Through the miracle of the incarnation, He took upon Himself the nature and form of man. In doing this, He gave expression to the qualities of God and communicated these qualities to man. Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

In this lesson we will consider the doctrine concerning Jesus Christ, who “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3). As we think of the time He spent on earth and how He reflected the Father, may we earnestly pray that, in the same way, we may reflect the beauty of the Son to others.

The Humanity Of Christ

Among all the distinctive elements of the Christian faith, the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ is without question the most basic. Incarnation refers to the union of deity with humanity in Jesus Christ. That He, the eternal Son of God, became man for the purpose of saving us is the clear teaching of Scripture. God acted in a completely new way in the world when His Son became “flesh.” Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary. In this unique, creative act, God broke through the chain of human generation and brought forth a supernatural being.

The mystery which surrounds this miraculous event fades somewhat when we realize that it was part of a new activity of God. The Son of God came to deliver man, a flesh-and-blood creature, by Himself becoming flesh and blood. He did this in order to provide for man’s salvation by His own death. With the incarnation God set in motion His plan of redemption on earth: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4). There was no other way for Him to accomplish His saving purpose.

The incarnation, therefore, was a turning point for sinful man, for it made possible a reconciliation (bringing together again) between God and man. Since Jesus’ humanity has such significance in God’s plan of salvation, it is important that we consider some evidences of His humanity. They include His human ancestry, human development, human appearance, human limitations, and human names.

Human Ancestry and Development

Two Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke, trace the human ancestry of Christ. Matthew, in fact, traces His lineage all the way back to David, and even further, to Abraham the Patriarch (Matthew 1:1-17). His two objectives were:

1. To prove that Jesus was from the line of David, and therefore heir to the throne of Israel. Otherwise, no Jew would accept Him as his King or Messiah.

2. To prove that Jesus, as the seed of Abraham, was the child of promise through whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed (see Genesis 22:17-18).

Luke traces Jesus’ lineage back to Adam, the first man (Luke 3:23-38). However, the purpose of both Matthew and Luke was to emphasize the fact of Jesus’ human experience: He was born of a woman (Galatians 4:4).

While we say that Jesus had a human ancestry, we must be careful to point out that He did not have a natural human father. His birth was different from all other human births. Luke records the scene in which the angel told Mary that she would soon be pregnant. Her immediate reaction was: “How will this be…since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). To her question concerning the miraculous birth of Jesus, which presented a seemingly impossible situation, the angel reminded Mary that “nothing is impossible with God” (vs. 37). Jesus’ birth was wonderfully miraculous; yet it was a human birth.

Jesus developed physically and mentally according to ordinary laws of human growth. In fact, His growth and development as a normal member of the community of Nazareth was accepted by His fellow townsmen (Matthew 13:55). Luke says that Jesus “grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). We know that His mental development was not the result of instruction He received in the schools of His day (John 7:15). Rather, it was the result of training He received from godly parents, regular attendance at the synagogue (Luke 4:16), faithful visits to the temple (Luke 2:41), faithful study and application of the Scriptures, and prayer (Mark 1:35, John 4:32-34).

Human Appearance and Limitations

All the evidence indicates that Jesus’ physical appearance was similar to that of other men. In fact, He was so like other men in their daily activities that when He claimed to be one with the Father, His hearers became very angry. They responded hotly that He was “a mere man” and therefore had no right to claim to be God (John 10:33).

As the Roman governor, Pilate, presented Jesus to the Jews before pronouncing sentence upon Him. He declared, “Here is the man” (John 19:5). As Jesus stood condemned before the Roman judge, no one questioned His humanity. The apostle Paul later testified to the world of the first century that Christ Jesus was “found in appearance as a man” (Philippians 2:8).

None of Jesus’ close companions ever doubted that He was a man. More often they were impressed with the fact that He was an extraordinary man: “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him” (Mark 4:41).

When Jesus took the form of man, He willingly subjected Himself to the limitations of humanity. As a result, He, too, at times became physically tired (John 4:6), hungry (Mark 11:12), and thirsty (John 19:28). He underwent temptation (Matthew 4:1-11) and was strengthened by the Father as He prayed (Luke 22:42-44). He also experienced pain (1 Peter 4:1) and finally death (1 Corinthians 15:3). This was the greatest proof of the limitation which His humanity placed upon Him.

Human Names

The names given to Jesus indicate His humanity also. When the angel told Joseph about the coming child, he commanded Joseph to name the baby Jesus, which is simply the Greek form of the Old Testament name Joshua (Matthew 1:21) meaning “Savior. “ He was also called the “son of David,” and the “son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). But the name often applied to Him in Scripture of which He seemed most fond, Son of Man, is the one which most clearly represents His humanity. Jesus used this name when speaking of Himself (Matthew 26:64-65). You will note, however, that He did not claim to be simply a son of man, but the Son of Man. This term not only implies that He is truly human, but also that He is the representative of all mankind.

The Deity Of Christ

We have examined scriptural evidence for the humanity of Christ, and we have seen that this evidence is conclusive. We now consider the biblical facts concerning the deity of Christ and the importance of this aspect of His Being.

Divine Rights

The first line of evidence we will consider for the deity of Christ is that He exercised divine rights that only God has. The divine rights include receiving the worship of men, forgiving sin, raising the dead, and the right to judge.

Since God had forbidden the worship of any other god in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-5), this would have been an act of blasphemy if Jesus were not truly divine. (Blasphemy is insulting God, or claiming wrongly to be divine.) When Jesus was tested by the devil, He reaffirmed the commandment to worship the Lord and serve Him only (Matthew 4:10). Yet He claimed His right to receive worship.

The Bible reveals that when people in ignorance tried to worship the apostles, these men of God strongly refused to accept their worship (Acts 10:25-26; 14:11-18). Even holy angels refuse worship which is misdirected to them (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). While the apostles, who were ordinary men, and mighty angels refused worship, Jesus accepted it as His right. He claimed that to honor Him was the obligation of all people (John 5:23).

Secondly, we see that Jesus exercised His right to forgive sin, a right reserved for God alone (Mark 2:7). Jesus did not hesitate to exercise this right, even though His enemies were very upset about it (Matthew 9:2-6).

Jesus also exercised the right of giving life (John 5:21; 10:10). On at least three occasions, Jesus raised dead people to life (Luke 7:11-17; 8:40-56; John 11:1-44). In the future, all those who have died will be raised to life by His powerful word (John 5:21-30). Obviously, the right to give life is something that mere man cannot do by his own power.

A fourth example of Jesus exercising divine rights is His right to judge: “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). The following Scriptures give more insight into the scope of His right of judgment: Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 10:42; 17:31; and 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Jesus exercised all of these rights, and others, with no hesitation. To have done so without being God would have been presumption (going beyond what is right) and blasphemy.

Divine Character

Moral Attributes 

Jesus’ character amazed people. They marveled at His behavior and attitude under all kinds of circumstances. His responses to situations in life revealed clearly that He was different. He possessed the same moral and natural attributes as God the Father.

Jesus lived a life of such remarkable holiness that one of those closest to Him declared that “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). His enemies could not prove Him guilty of sin, because He was sinless (John 8:46). No mere human being is capable of this level of conduct, but Jesus was more than a human being.

His love also set Jesus apart from ordinary men. He proved His love in relationships with people from all walks of life and all levels of society (Luke 19:10; compare also Matthew 11:l9 with Mark 10:17-22). He prayed for His followers and He prayed for His enemies also (John 17:9,20: Luke 23:34). This perfect quality of His love revealed that He was the Son of God.

Jesus’ love was demonstrated in many ways. He displayed genuine humility and meekness. When He entered His public ministry, He was motivated by the desire to serve (Matthew 20:28). As Master and Teacher, He illustrated the true meaning of service as He washed His students’ feet (John 13:14). He was gentle with the sinful (Luke 7:37-39, 44-50), the doubting (John 20:29), and those who had forsaken Him (Luke 22:61; John 21:15-23). In love He demonstrated the very principles He taught! No ordinary human being has lived a life so filled with love.

His love was most clearly revealed by His love for God the Father. He showed by His own example that the secret of an effective spiritual life depends on a close relationship with God. No ordinary human being could pray as He did. He prayed intensely (Luke 22:39-44), regularly, and for long periods of time. Sometimes He prayed all night. At other times He arose very early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35). He left a perfect example of the pattern for maintaining and developing our spiritual lives (1 Peter 2:21).

No one who was close to Jesus could doubt His humanity. Neither could one compare His perfection with an ordinary man’s best efforts. The perfect example of holiness and love, Jesus was, in Peter’s words, “The Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

Natural Attributes 

Paul declares that Jesus Christ is the power and wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24) and that God is pleased to have all His fullness dwell in the Son (Colossians 1:19; 2:9). Matthew concludes his Gospel record with these words of Jesus: “All authority (power) in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). These Scriptures reveal that Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity, is omnipotent. All angels, authorities, and powers of the universe are subject to His power and authority (1 Peter 3:22).

The Bible also teaches that Jesus is omnipresent (every where present). Paul says that God the Father has placed all things under the Son, and that the Son “fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:22-23). What an encouragement for us to remember that He will keep His promise to be with us when only a few of us meet to worship Him (Matthew 18:20). Even though sometimes we may not feel His presence, we can be sure He is with us at all times!

Jesus Christ is also omniscient—He knows everything (John 2:24-25; 16:30; 21:17). Paul refers to the mystery of God, which he says is Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3, italics mine). He knew of the sinful life of the Samaritan woman (John 4), the thoughts of the Pharisees (Luke 6:8), how and when He would leave the world (John 12:33; 13:1), and the nature and end of the present age (Matthew 24 and 25; Mark 13; Luke 21).

Some Scriptures cause us to examine His characteristic of omniscience more closely. For example, Matthew 24:36 indicates that He did not know the date of His return; and Mark records that Jesus went to the fig tree expecting to find fruit and was disappointed (Mark 11:13).

Here it is important to point out that in His days on earth, or the days of His flesh, Jesus gave up His right to the independent exercise of His divine characteristics. He purposely chose not to use His divine powers at that time. He had powers He could have drawn upon to deliver Himself, but He refused to use them (Matthew 26:52-54). He did this of His own free will, for He knew that unless He submitted to suffering and death, He could not fulfill His mission to die in place of sinful man. Now that His mission is accomplished, He has resumed all of His divine characteristics, including His attribute of knowing all things.

Jesus is revealed in Scripture as the eternal Son of God (John 1:1; 1 John 1:1; Micah 5:2). He has always existed, and He shall exist forever (Hebrews 1:11-12; 13:8). These Scriptures also declare that Jesus Christ does not change. These characteristics that we have seen are the attributes of God. Thus, they give clear evidence of the deity of Jesus Christ.

Claims to Deity

Jesus made certain definite claims that He was God. On the eve of His death, He appealed to the apostles to accept these claims on the basis of His miraculous works (John 14:11). What were His claims?

1. He stated to the Jews that He and the Father were one (John 10:30).

2. As He stood accused before the council of the elders, Jesus again declared that He was the Son of God (Luke 22:70-71, John 19:7).

3. He asserted that salvation could be obtained only through Him (John 10:9).

4. He said that He was the only access to the Father (John 14:6).

5. He stated that no one could do anything without His enablement (John 15:5).

6. During His teaching ministry, He testified to His preexistence (John 8:58; 17:5).

7. He directed His disciples to pray in His name (John 16:23).

8. When He sent His disciples forth to minister, He gave them power to perform miracles (Luke 9:1-2).

All of these claims and statements, plus the miraculous works Jesus performed, provide solid evidence that verifies His claims to be God.

Names That Indicate Deity

Names that could only be used in reference to God are given to Jesus Christ throughout the New Testament. The inspired writers often refer to Him as the Son of God. A voice from heaven on two different occasions acclaimed Him as the Son of God (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). Jesus also used this title to refer to Himself (John 10:36).

Another name that indicates deity was foretold by the prophet Isaiah and repeated by the angel that talked to Joseph (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23). The child would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Deity came to live for a while on earth with men and women (John 1:14).

John wrote that Jesus was the Word of God. To us it seems to be a rather strange title, but in those days philosophers had the idea that one could sum up the reason and power behind the universe in the concept of the word. So John says, “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us” (John 1:14). A person’s word expresses what he is thinking. God’s Word is God’s thought expressed in such a way that man can understand it. God is not separated from His creation—He reveals Himself. John declares that the Word (Jesus) was God from eternity (John 1:1-2).

Jesus is also referred to as God. Paul wrote that “we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

The Hebrew name Messiah was often used in connection with Jesus. The same name in its Greek form is Christ. Another translation of this name would be Anointed. What was an anointed one to the Hebrew people? In their culture, when God called a person to do a special work, that one was anointed by a religious leader who poured oil on the chosen person’s head. This was a symbol of his separation for service. The Hebrew people were accustomed to the anointing of prophets, priests, and kings. Thus, when Peter declared that Jesus was both Lord and Christ, his hearers understood what he meant (Acts 2:36). The response of several thousand people indicates that they accepted Jesus as their Messiah, or Anointed One.

Jesus was also called Lord. Sometimes this name was used as a title of courtesy, but on many occasions it was used out of respect for His deity. (See Luke 1:43; 2:11; John 20:28; Acts 16:31; and 1 Corinthians 12:3.) This name, as it was often used of our Lord, comes from the translation of the Hebrew term Jehovah. Thus, Christ the Messiah is identified with the Old Testament Jehovah.

The Union Of Deity And Humanity In Christ

The doctrine of the incarnation was an issue that remained unresolved in the early days of the church. The doctrine of the Trinity was solidly grounded in the Old Testament Scriptures, the experience of the companions of Jesus, and the inspired writings of the New Testament. But the question which brought forth much speculation was this: How was it possible for the eternal Son, who is equally God with the Father, and of the same substance or essence as the Father, to become human flesh, to become a man as we are men?

Some people who attempted to explain the incarnation so emphasized Jesus’ humanity that they practically denied His deity. Others did just the opposite; they stressed His deity to the point of almost denying His humanity. Eventually, the early church leaders were able to arrive at a definition of the incarnation which is still considered basic to Christian belief about the person of Jesus.

Characteristics of the Incarnation

The definition of the incarnation given by the early church leaders (at a meeting called the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451) is this:

Our Lord Jesus Christ was truly God and truly man, of the same substance with the Father in all things as to His divinity, yet in His humanity like us in all things except sin. Thus, Jesus is known in two natures: divine and human. The two natures are distinct one from the other. This distinction is not destroyed by their union, but the unique features of each nature is maintained.

This definition certainly does not remove the mystery of the incarnation. To the contrary, all Christians share the apostle Paul’s sense of wonder: “The mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body” (1 Timothy 3:16). We will understand this difficult concept better as we consider the union of the human and divine natures in Jesus and the significance of this unique event.

When we speak of the human nature and the divine nature of Christ, we refer to His essential being or reality. When we say that Jesus has a divine nature, we mean that all the qualities, properties, or attributes which a person might use to describe God apply to Him. Thus, He is God—not just like Him, but very God.

When we say that Jesus has a human nature, we mean that Jesus Christ is not God pretending to be a man—He is a man. He is not only a man or only God. He is God who “became flesh and lived for a while among us” (John 1:14). He did not cease to be God when He became a man. He did not trade His deity for humanity. Instead, He assumed humanity. That is, He added a human nature to His divine nature. Therefore, because of the incarnation, He is both God and man, the God man.

Jesus as Christ had all the qualities which belong to human beings, including bodily, physical qualities. However, we cannot say that at the deepest level of His being He is a human person. He is a divine person with a human nature. That is, He did not add a man’s personality to His own nature; rather, He added a man’s nature to His own personality. His divine personality is that which is at the deepest level. If He were not a divine person, He could not be the object of our worship, for Christians are commanded to worship God only.

So we see that the incarnate Son unites true deity and true humanity in a personal self. Thus, there is such a communion of qualities in Him that we can speak of Him in any way that is appropriate to speak of God or of man.

Reasons for the Incarnation

In our limited state we shall never be able to understand fully why our Lord became man. What could have motivated the Son of God to come to earth, to become part of a race which had fallen, and to become surrounded by jealousy and hate?

First of all, God could not die. It was necessary that there be a blameless sacrifice for sin. Since all mankind was sinful, God became flesh to provide the perfect sacrifice, paying the penalty for sin (Hebrews 2:9). Second, through the incarnation, Jesus revealed the Father to mankind in all His matchless excellence and beauty (John 14:7-11). Third, by becoming man, our Lord provided us with an appropriate example (1 Peter 2:21-25). As we examine His responses to the human situation, we are able to identify with Him and recognize that the goal of Christian living is Christlikeness (Romans 8:29).

Jesus told His disciples that He was sending them into the world in the same way that the Father sent Him (John 17:18; 20:21). This commandment consists of announcing God’s provision of salvation to all who will believe. It is part of the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). Jesus was God’s provision for our salvation. We are to take this news to all people.

The Works Of Christ

We turn now to the works of Christ. When we speak of His works, we refer to Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation. We will consider these works in the order of their occurrence.

His Death

The death of Jesus Christ was different from that of any other man. First, His death was entirely voluntary. He said of His death, “No one takes it [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18). At the point of death He dismissed His spirit (Matthew 27:50). Death was not forced upon Him by Satan or the overpowering might of Roman soldiers. Rather, He accepted it as the will of God for the salvation of mankind.

His death was a work, in that by His death Christ paid the penalty for our sin. The penalty for sin is separation from God. It was the price He had to pay for our salvation. As He was dying on the cross, He experienced this awful separation. He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). In this work He appeased or calmed the anger of God which was aroused by our sin. He let the blow of God’s divine justice fall upon Himself. By His sacrifice, Christ made atonement for our sins, covering them by His death, which was a substitute for ours. He did this so that we could be forgiven and restored to a place of harmony with God.

Down through the ages men have tried to turn away the anger of their supposed gods. How pathetic their efforts have been! They have presented offerings and given blood sacrifices, but they have gone away without knowing if their sacrifice was accepted. The Aztec Indians, for example, had great fear of what they thought were their gods. They offered as many human sacrifices as they thought were required, but their generous, costly, and sincere efforts were always in vain. Their priests’ response was always the same: “Our god demands more blood!”

The Bible shows us that our heavenly Father is indeed angry because of our sin, but His anger is not like that of the Aztec idea of a god. We do not have to fear or be in doubt concerning what we must do to turn away His anger. He Himself did it. He offered His own sacrifice—His Son. Through His death, Jesus paid the penalty and made everything right. In so doing, God’s justice was maintained. Sin was covered, the penalty was paid, man was forgiven, and he had access to a holy God. Paul explains it this way in Romans 3:25-26:

God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies the man who has faith in Jesus.

The death of Christ also has a practical application in our daily lives. In his letter to the Galatian church, Paul says, “I have been put to death with Christ on his cross” (Galatians 2:19, TEV). “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires” (5:24, TEV). This involves the crucifixion of self, which means giving up our own desires in order to do what pleases Him. Christ’s crucifixion must become our crucifixion. The salvation He provides gives us the possibility to live a holy life—one that truly pleases God. This must become actual as we surrender our lives to His lordship and the control of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5-11).

His Resurrection

The work of our Lord Jesus Christ would have been incomplete and our faith would be in vain if He had not risen to life again (1 Corinthians 15:14). This event marked the completion of His work on earth. Christ’s resurrection, therefore, sets Christianity totally apart from all other religions and beliefs. No other religion can say that its founder’s grave is empty. We Christians do not gather at the spot where our Lord’s remains lie, because He did not remain in the grave! We exalt Him as the living Savior! He conquered death! Because He lives, we have inherited eternal life.

The resurrection of Christ is the keystone of the Christian faith. Without His resurrection, the death of Christ would have no meaning, for the resurrection proved the effectiveness of His death and gave it value. Of this Paul says, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25).

There are many reasons why the resurrection is of great importance to us. We shall note some of the more significant results of this great event:

1. The resurrection shows that Christ’s work as the sinner’s substitute has been accepted. We can have confidence that God has accepted Christ’s substitutionary death, because God has raised Him from the dead (Acts 2:24, 32; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30).

2. The resurrection confirms the deity of our Lord. Paul declares in Romans 1:4, “Through the Spirit of holiness [He—Jesus] was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead” (italics mine).

3. By virtue of His resurrection, Christ has become our high priest in the presence of God (Hebrews 9:24). He is our intercessor (Romans 8:34), our executive in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 1:20-22), our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), and our advocate or lawyer (1 John 2:1). Thus, in addition to the deliverance from bondage which He brought about by His death, Christ intercedes for us before the throne of grace.

4. The resurrection demonstrates God’s great power in providing salvation for us. We can rest assured that He will supply the necessary power for us to live and serve Him effectively (Compare Philippians 3:10 with Philippians 1:6). He is all-powerful.

5. The resurrection is our guarantee that those who die in Christ will be raised from the dead (John 5:28; 6:40; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:14).

The resurrection, therefore, brought to a fitting conclusion Christ’s saving mission. It was planned in eternity past but carried out as God broke into the chain of human existence through the incarnation. Having lived a perfect life, Christ died as the sinner’s perfect substitute, paying the penalty for his sin. In doing this, He calmed the anger of God, reconciled the sinner to God, and restored to him the ability to respond to the Holy Spirit. Then Christ’s work on earth was completed, and the time arrived for Him to return to the Father. His mission was accomplished!

His Ascension and Exaltation

The New Testament record shows that after 40 days of ministry following His resurrection, Christ ascended or returned to heaven: “He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight” (Acts 1:9). Christ’s resurrection and ascension are closely connected in the preaching of the apostles (Acts 2:32-35; Ephesians 1:20; 1 Peter 3:21-22). These two events are the beginning of the exaltation of our crucified Lord.

The word ascension speaks of the event in which Christ returned to heaven. The word exaltation speaks of His being “lifted up,” “raised to a higher level.” Jesus was raised to a position of honor and glory at the Father’s right hand. His ascension and exaltation are highly significant for us. In His exaltation, Christ received His proper place as Sovereign Lord (Acts 2:33-36; 5:31; Ephesians 1:19-23; Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:14- 16). This exalted status has resulted in some wonderful benefits for His people, a few of which we shall note:

1. While He is now in heaven, Jesus is spiritually present everywhere, filling the entire universe (Ephesians 4:10). He is therefore the ideal object of worship for all people (1 Corinthians 1:2).

2. Jesus has entered into His priestly ministry in heaven, as we have already explained (Hebrews 4:14; 5:5-10).

3. He has bestowed gifts upon His people (Ephesians 4:8-11). This includes gifts for individuals (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) and for the church (Ephesians 4:8-13).

4. He has poured out the Holy Spirit upon His people (Acts 2:33).

5. As the exalted Prince and Savior, He is giving repentance and faith to people (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Peter 1:1).

6. Our ascended and exalted Lord returned to heaven with His humanity (His glorified body). This idea is stressed in the Epistle to the Hebrews, where the writer declares that since Jesus shared our human experiences, He is able to be a merciful and faithful High Priest (Hebrews 2:14- 18; 4:14-16). This is a great source of strength and comfort.

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