Why is Jesus So Unique among Other Gods and Religious Leaders?

In light of Jesus' question, "Who do you say I am?" (Matt. 16:15), and the inadequate, near-blasphemous, and overtly-blasphemous answers given among fallen mortals since He posed that question to His disciples nearly two millennia ago, I explored orthodox, biblical and Christian responses to His all-important question and present them here in brief form. May this aid the skeptic and the new believer, challenge the agnostic and the atheist by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, and delight and mystify the believer in and follower and disciple of Christ Jesus.

As noted in a previous post, "getting Jesus wrong" is to "get God wrong."1 The first-century church in Corinth was willing to accept a false conception of Jesus (2 Cor. 11:4), and the apostle Paul warned against such; he did the same with the church at Galatia (Gal. 1:6-9). How we conceptualize Jesus -- the Jesus of New Testament Scripture, that is -- affects our eternal destiny. Granted, merely accepting, intellectually, scriptural claims about who Jesus is will not save anyone. We must trust that what Christ accomplished by dying for our sins on the cross, and His rising again from the dead, secures our right standing before God. Intellectual acknowledgment cannot accomplish salvation. We are saved by grace through faith, not through intellectual assent.

First, and foremost, Jesus is the unique Son of God (Matt. 16:16; John 1:34; 5:25; 11:4, 27; 20:31), a confession to which even the demons attested (cf. Matt. 4:3, 6; 8:29). Secondly, however, He is also the unique Son of Man, a term most referred to Christ in the Gospels (e.g., Matt. 8:20; 10:23; John 1:51; 3:14; cf. Daniel 7:13 NASB). These two truths indicate that, in His incarnation, Jesus maintained two natures. Kevin Conner quotes Henry Thiessen, who writes:
In the one person of Jesus Christ, there are two natures, a human and a divine nature, each in its completeness and integrity, and these two natures are organically and indissolubly united, yet so that no third nature is formed thereby. In brief (to use the antiquated dictum) orthodox doctrine forbids us either to divide the person or to confound the natures.2 
The Athanasian Creed, to which all orthodox Christians subscribe, insists that, "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith, except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." This "Catholic Faith," as the creed advocates, includes an orthodox teaching regarding Christ Jesus as "Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting." Jacob Arminius concurs:
We say that this person is the Son of God and the Son of man; consisting of two natures, the divine and the human, inseparably united without mixture or confusion, not only according to habitude or ... indwelling, but likewise by that union which the ancients have correctly denominated hypostatical. He has the same nature with the Father, by internal and eternal communication [intrapersonal rapport, impartation]. (emphasis original)

He has His human nature from the Virgin Mary through the operation of the Holy Spirit, who ... came upon her and overshadowed her by fecundating [to make fruitful; impregnating] her seed; so that from it the promised Messiah should in a supernatural manner be born.3
Understanding Jesus as both divine and human keeps us from all serious, damnable errors; for if Jesus was Son of God only, then He could not relate to us as human beings (cf. Heb. 4:15); and if Jesus were merely human, then He could not relate to God as divine. He must have been divine in order to be our sinless atoning sacrifice (2 Cor. 5:21), High Priest (Heb. 5:5-7), and only Mediator to God (1 Tim. 2:5). These doctrinal truths are paramount, as Arminius further explains:
Though the person of Christ is, on account of its excellence, most worthy to be honored and worshiped, yet, that He might be according to God the object of the Christian religion, two other things through the will of God were necessary: (1.) That He should undertake some offices for the sake of men to obtain eternal salvation for them: (2.) That God should bestow on Him dominion or lordship over all things, and full power to save and to damn, with an express command, "that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father" [John 5:23], and that "every knee should bow to Him, to the glory of God the Father" [Phil. 2:10-11].4
By acknowledging the reality of Jesus as divine we avoid the error of denying the supernatural; and by acknowledging the reality of Jesus as human we avoid the error of denying and denigrating the natural. Let us examine some passages regarding His nature, attributes, and other aspects of His character which contribute both to the reality of His divinity and His humanity.



Both the deity (Ps. 2:7, 12; 45:6; Prov. 30:4; Isa. 7:14; 9:6-9; Micah 5:2) and humanity (Gen. 3:15; 22:18; Num. 24:17-19; Isa. 7:14; 11:1-4; Zech. 3:8; 6:10-12) of the Christ were prophesied in the Hebrew scriptures. To deny either aspect of His Person is to deny the Christ of God, the Christ of the Bible, the Christ of our salvation. Jesus is considered omnipotent (Matt. 8:23-27; 28:28; Luke 4:35-41; John 6:36; 14:11; 10:25, 37-38; 15:24), omniscient (John 2:24-25; 18:4) -- limited only in His humanity with reference to the timing of His second advent (Matt. 24:36), which we believe He presently knows fully (cf. Matt. 28:18) -- and omnipresent (Matt. 28:19-20; 18:20; John 3:13). He is immutable (Heb. 1:12; 13:8), self-existent (John 1:4; 5:26; 8:58), eternal (John 1:1-3; 3:16; 5:26; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 1:8), Lord (Acts 2:36; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:10-11) and Savior (Luke 2:11; Acts 5:31; 13:23; Eph. 5:23).

Jesus is holy (Mark 1:24; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; Rev. 4:8), righteous (1 Cor. 1:30; 1 John 2:1-2), and faithful (John 14:6; Heb. 2:17; 1 John 5:20). Jesus is Love personified or, rather, Love incarnate (John 3:16; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:4, 7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 John 4:16-19) and also Truth incarnate (John 14:6). Thus when He speaks He speaks an eternal, absolute, and objective truth. Jesus is a sinless, single and celibate man (Matt. 11:29; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 John 2:6), our perfect sacrifice for sin (Isa. 53:6; John 1:29; Heb. 10:1-10), and powerful over the works of all devils (Luke 4:35-41; 1 John 3:5, 8). Jesus is the only One who has ever fought and defeated sin, death, and hell. He did so through His cross and His resurrection, the latter of which proves His divinity (Rom. 1:4), and confirmed all claims which He made concerning Himself (Matt. 28:6).

Jesus is still ministering today as Mediator between fallen humanity and God (1 Tim. 2:5), as God the Father was, through Him, reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). He is the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45) and the New Creation (2 Cor. 5:17); He is the Head of the body of Christ (Col. 1:18, 24), and the Chief Cornerstone of the Building of God, the foundation of God's new Temple, i.e., believers (1 Cor. 3:11; 1 Pet. 2:4-8). Jesus is the Great Shepherd of His sheep (John 10:11). He is the Vine, which sprouts branches, of which believers are metaphorically (John 15:1-5). He is also the Bridegroom (Eph. 5:25-27), who is constructing a dwelling place for His Bride, the Church (John 14:2-3), referred to as the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2). Jesus is the revelation and word of God (John 1:1-3; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 19:13). He is King of kings and LORD of lords (Rev. 19:16). His name is: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Originator of Eternity (i.e., Dispenser of Eternal Life), and Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). When He returns He will reign forever (Isa. 9:7).

This is who Jesus is, and so much more besides. Jesus is so incredibly rich, deep and exhaustively unfathomable, that what is revealed to us in Scripture is more than enough to attempt to comprehend. What this means for us is that meditating upon any one of these attributes can satisfy one's thirsty soul for knowledge. We need not concoct our own idol of Jesus, as so many are fond of doing: we need merely trust and worship the Christ who has been revealed to us by the grace, mercy, and immeasurable goodness of God in the infallible and inerrant word of God.

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1 Kevin Conner writes, "The plan of salvation, as revealed by God in Jesus Christ, is dependent on the answers to these two questions [asked of Christ at Matt. 22:42 and Matt. 27:22]. What a man believes about Jesus Christ will determine how he relates to Christ. This will in turn determine that man's eternal destiny." See Kevin J. Conner, The Foundations of Christian Doctrine: A Practical Guide to Christian Belief (Portland: City Christian Publishing, 1980), 155.

2 Ibid., 157. See Henry Clarence Thiessen, Lectures in Systematic Theology, revised by Vernon D. Doerksen (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000).

3 Jacob Arminius, "Disputation XXXIV. On the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ," in The Works of Arminius, the London edition, three volumes, trans. James and William Nichols (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996), 2:379.

4 Ibid., 2:380.