When we begin to grasp the nature of Jesus, we will have a more clear understanding of the Trinity. There are three clear positions He holds found in the Bible; Son of man, Son of God and God the Son. If you have a basic understanding of these positions, the apparent contradictions of the Trinity go away. For example, some have asked, “If Jesus is God, why wouldn't He also know when He will return?” We will do an overview of these three positions with the hope that it will make the doctrine of the Trinity more clear and bring a greater appreciation for what Jesus did on the Cross for us.
As the Son of man, Jesus identifies with mankind and represents humanity to God.
As the Son of God, He represents God to mankind.
As God the Son, He is the cause of creation and is equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Each position carries different roles and authority. A natural example would be a man holding more than one position. He can be son, a husband and a dad. Each role is different, yet the same man carries with him all three. Each position has a different form of authority accompanying it.
Lets start with the Son of man.
When Jesus was baptized of John, prior to His baptism, John said he had need to be baptized by Jesus. What was Jesus' response? “Suffer it to be now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Prior to this scene, John was telling people, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). As people were baptized by John, verse six tells us that they were confessing their sins. Did Jesus need to repent and confess His sins? Of course not; He had nothing to repent of, nor did He have any sins to confess. His baptism was for our sakes. To baptize does mean to immerse or submerge, but it means much more than that. It also means to identify with. For example, if you dip a white clothe in red dye, what color will it be when you take it out? Red; it identified with the dye. Our baptism is more than “An outward sign of an inward work.” It is an open confession that we identified with Jesus and belong to Him. It is also a vow to continue to follow after Him.
When Jesus was baptized, He identified with us, so He could also represent us on the Cross. That means He died on the Cross as the Son of man, and not the Son of God. God is sinless, so obviously Jesus did not need to represent Him on the Cross as the Son of God. Nonetheless, He did represent the Father's love to us (see Romans 5:8). Philippians 2:5-8Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
John chapter five sheds some light on the Son of man and the Son of God. Question, from which position will Jesus judge mankind? John 5:27And (the Father) hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man (see also Matthew 13:37-43; 16:27;24:27-51; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 2:10; 8:38; Luke 21:27-36; et al.). He will judge as our peer. Where do you think we get the concept of our juries being made up of our peers? Here's something to think about. Who kicked Satan out of heaven? It was not God; rather, it was Michael the Archangel who was his peer (see Revelation 12:7-9). In this way, no one could say God was unfair by Jesus not first taking on our nature and then judging us. He lived as a man and experienced temptation, and yet without sin (see Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15). Keep in mind His heart is not to judge and condemn us. His heart judges and condemns sin, so He could reconcile us unto the Father. Why else would Jesus say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 21:34)?
As the Son of man, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit. He waited on the Father before He said or did anything. Out of love, He submitted His will to the Father, giving us the example as to how we should live our lives. This also helps clear up the question posed earlier. As the Son of Man, Jesus does not know when He will return. He leaves that in the hands of the Father.
We will address His roles as the Son of God and God the Son in the next blog. Final question, Jesus identified with you, will you identify with Him?