Why did Joseph wake Mary in the middle of the night and tell her to gather her things quickly so they could flee to Egypt? Jesus was in danger. The forces of darkness were intent on killing him. A spiritual battle was engaged. The enemy of our souls had reason to fear the child. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8).
In his humanity Jesus was like any other Jewish child. But his mom knew he was anything but ordinary. Before he was conceived in her womb, the virgin Mary was told, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). The birth of Jesus was a miracle. He was as human as Mary and he was as divine as God. He had to be in order to do what he came to do. The angel told Mary’s fiancé Joseph that Jesus would “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21b). No ordinary human could save us from our sins. But he could if he were God!
John described the wonder of Jesus this way:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-3, 14).
This description of Jesus is so important. It reflects the wonder of who Jesus is and why we can trust our souls to him. It takes us into the realm of the very nature of God and helps us understand the relationship in the Trinity, which is the unfathomable reality that God is one God who exists in three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So we need to keep this in mind when we look at what God has done for us in the person of the Son.
During the three short years of his public ministry Jesus clearly revealed that he was no ordinary human. We see his divine nature in his miracles of calming the storm, feeding the multitudes, healing the sick, casting out demons, and even raising the dead. Jesus, the Son of God, revealed the kingdom in ways that sparked hope in those longing for a Savior. Their hopes were not misplaced. Neither are ours!
The demons knew Jesus was more than a prophet or great teacher. As Jesus was met by two demon-possessed men whose lives were being destroyed by the devil, the demons feared Jesus and shouted, “What do you want with us, Son of God?… Have you come to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matthew 8:29). They knew they were in the presence of no ordinary human. Jesus was the one who came to destroy the work of the devil, and they were doomed!
Jesus not only demonstrated that he was the Son of God, but he declared it. He said,
- “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).
- “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
- “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
- “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die…” (John 11:25).
- “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
- “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
These are tremendous promises. Only if he were God could Jesus say these things. He said them because he is!
A defining moment in his ministry occurred when some men brought their paralyzed buddy to Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home” (Luke 5:20-24).
Incidents like this led to Jesus’ death. Jesus would be crucified because he was accused of thinking and acting as if he were God. The fact is, he was and is! Jesus, the Son of God, came to destroy the work of the devil. The devil, knowing that, plotted Jesus’ death. We can hear the devil’s hatred in the crowds that shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” And so, Jesus was crucified. If Jesus were merely human, that would have been the end of the story. Yes, he was as human as any of us, but remember, he was also in very nature God!
God did this for you! He came to us in the person of Jesus. Jesus died for us. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrew 2:14,15). The devil’s vile grip on humanity is the power of sin, which leads to death. So, in his great love for us, God has done this great thing. Jesus shed his holy blood so that we can know with certainty that our sins have all been forgiven! Then Jesus rose from the grave, victorious over death. The Son of God defeated death for us!
They killed Jesus because he claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus rose from the grave because that’s exactly who he was… and is! This Son of God died for you so you can hear the words, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” And he conquered death so you can know the certain hope of eternal life. The believer can say, “‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
Rev. Jeff Seaver serves as Senior Pastor at Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church of West Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota.