Why Did the Messiah Have To Be Deity?
by Ed Vasicek
Have you ever asked why Jesus could not be just the "perfect man?" Why did He also have to be deity?
I think there are several reasons why, and I am going to highlight three such
reasons. But first, we need to lay some groundwork.
As one reads the Psalms or the praise of the heavenly host in Revelation, or the first chapter of Ephesians, one might conclude that all creation exists to demonstrate Who God is and what He is like. His "glory" is what is impressive about Him, (Revelation 4:11, Ephesians 1:6,12,14; Ephesians 3:10-11, Psalm 145-150).
If we assume that Creation (and this whole thing we call "life") is part of a plan to showcase God's greatness, then we have a foundation. Right now, I am not trying to prove this is the case: you need to study the many Scriptures involved and come to your own conclusion.
The angels (fallen and holy), mankind, and all creation are to view and be impressed with God's character, (Ephesians 3:10-11).
But if my assumption is correct, why did Christ have to be deity, not just humanity? And why was His deity so intertwined with his humanity that people could bow in worship before Jesus and the church could be said to have been purchased with God's blood (Acts 20:28)?
Consider the Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness
Although there is division among those who believe Jesus could have sinned and
those who believe He could not have done so, please consider the following in
light of our assumption.
Created beings (Satan, man) could challenge God thusly: "God, you are holy because you are not limited as a creature. If you were limited with creaturely limitations, you might be very different." Now, admittedly, this is speculation.
But perhaps this is what happened during the temptation. Jesus, who is God with creaturely limitations, is solicited to sin by Satan. But God is holy, even when bound with the same boundaries we experience. That, then, becomes the point of the temptation (and all subsequent temptations) -cf. (Hebrews 4:15).
Satan tempted God in Job (Job 1:10-11, 2:4-5) as God, but in the wilderness, Satan tempted God as Man.
So perhaps one reason the Messiah had to be God was to prove He is holy under any circumstances. God is holy because He is holy, not only by virtue of His omnipotent position.
Consider the Debt of Sin
As a mere man (even though perfect), Christ could not have paid for the sins
of mankind. If His death was not merely a demonstration of God's justice but a
just punishment for the sins of the world, the death of Christ had to pay an
Who could pay an infinite debt except for an infinite being (Psalm 49:7-8)? In my view, this is perhaps the main reason why Christ had to be God. So perhaps the Messiah had to be God to show how gracious God is, even when He himself had to foot the bill!
Consider Again the Death of Christ
Way before Jesus was born, God's people knew that God loved them with an
Old Testament imagery was that of a mother hen
and her chicks or a newlywed married couple. Even a newborn baby and his/her
nursing mother were used as imagery of God's love
But the death of Christ did not just inform us of God's love, it demonstrated or proved it. By Christ dying for our sins, He showcased God's love in the most profound way! This could only be accomplished through God becoming man (Romans 5:8)!
So God is glorified (what is impressive about Him is seen) before watching angels and believing (and one day even unbelieving) mankind. God becoming a man was not, I think, just a casual change of pace for God. It involved showcasing His glory before a watching universe. And we, in Christ are part of that showcase!
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