Who Is This Jesus?
We live in a culture less and less familiar with Jesus. It seems that first century Ephesus was equally unfamiliar with who Jesus is. The role, humanity, and deity of Christ was something Paul wanted Timothy to remember.
It was the core of Christianity back then, and it’s the core of our faith today. We can’t tell people about Jesus until we understand who he is. We can’t model our lives around someone we don’t know.
Join Brett Clemmer as we explore Paul’s description of Jesus and what that means for our lives.
Verses referenced in this lesson:
2 Timothy 2:8-9
Below you’ll find options for downloads including a handout for the lesson (.pdf), a full transcript (.pdf), an audio-only version of the lesson (.mp3), and a full video of the lesson (.mp4). To save them, right-click and select “Save link as…”
Paul and Timothy: Passing the Torch
Who is This Jesus?
Well, good morning. Welcome. We’re here at the Man in the Mirror Bible study, and I’m excited to continue in our series on Paul and Timothy. If you have your handout, I want to point something out to you on the handout right away. On your handout, we’ve got the normal circles on the left and the table talk questions on the right. But we’ve also, this week, put a lot of text on the back and I’ll refer back to that in a second. I walked in and we were putting these out on the tables and somebody said, “There’s no pictures.” And I said, “No, there’s just a lot of words.” So we’ll talk about what all this is, but I did want you to catch that on the handout. And if you’re watching this or even listening to it, you might want to go and download that before you get any farther into the Bible study today as you’re watching and listening.
We’re continuing in our series on Paul and Timothy: Passing the Torch. We’re talking about how Paul is in prison, he’s writing Timothy in Ephesus. These are the things that he really wants to reinforce and emphasize with Timothy, and so that’s what this letter’s about. I won’t review everything, but in the second chapter we’ve talked about how he’s encouraging Timothy to be strengthened by grace, to be strengthened by the grace that is found in Jesus Christ. And then he talked about that he wanted him to entrust the message that Paul’s giving him to reliable men who would then entrust it to others, faithful men who would then entrust it to others, just like Paul has entrusted it to Timothy. So he is saying, “Follow my example as I’m doing this with you. You need to continue doing this.” And that’s a good message for us as well.
Then he talked about sharing and suffering, and he gave three examples of the kinds of people that have to suffer, but they suffer for a purpose. And you talk about soldiers and athletes and farmers who have to do hard work, who have to engage in difficult things, who eventually all of those people suffer in different ways, but all for a larger purpose. And so that was Paul’s metaphor for the purpose of spreading the Gospel.
And then we talked about that Paul said to Timothy, “You need to reflect, you need to think about these things.” That implies pausing once in a while, maybe that’s daily, maybe that’s weekly. It’s a rhythm that you probably need to get into, but really taking time to reflect on these things that Paul has written and really to seek understanding from God.
And then that brings us to verse eight and nine in 2 Timothy 2. If you haven’t already, please grab your Bible and turn to 2 Timothy 2, and we’ll look at verses eight and nine. And we’ll talk about what we’re going to study in this lesson. So Paul says, verse eight, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David as preached in my Gospel for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal, but the Word of God is not bound.”
So let’s pray and we’ll jump into this passage together. Father, we are grateful for a time that we as men can dive into your Word, Lord, whether we’re doing that together or listening to this on a podcast or however we’re experiencing your Word today, Lord, I pray that you would, through the power of your Holy Spirit, would you just illumine this passage in our hearts. Would you use it to inspire our affections and our will, Lord. Would you change us just a little bit today as we see the power of your Word and the power of Jesus in our lives through this passage. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
All right. So who is this Jesus? This is what we’re talking about today. Who is this Jesus? So let’s look at this passage again. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal, but the Word of God is not bound. These two verses are packed with meaning and really with theology that we’re going to talk about today. And so what we’re going to talk about is, first of all, we’re going to talk about, the whole day is going to be really be about Christology.
We’re going to talk about what is Christology. So if you’re wondering what is Christology, we’re going to answer that question. Then we’re going to talk about Christ, both God and Man. And that’s actually three different things that Paul is talking about Jesus, as Christ and God and Man. We’ll talk about that. And then finally, we’re going to talk about what Paul says at the end, “The Word of God is not bound.” What does that mean for us, that the Word of God is not bound?
WHAT IS CHRISTOLOGY?
So we’re going to start by talking about what is Christology. Christology is a great word that simply means the doctrine of Christ, or what do we believe about who Jesus actually is. There’s a famous video out there, in fact, write this down, write down That’s My King, and go look for that on YouTube. There’s this great video of a sermon by S.M. Lockridge, who’s a pastor who goes through all these different passages in the Bible. And then at the end of each section of describing how Jesus is described in the Bible, he says, “That’s My King. Do you know Him? Do you know Him?”
That’s really the question that Christology answers for us. Do we know Him? And that’s what we’re going to talk about today, in fact. This is the Big Idea, I’m going to give you the big idea right at the top. Jesus Christ is our God and Savior. That’s actually a quote from the Bible that Jesus is our God and Savior. Do you know Him? Jesus Christ is our God and Savior, do you know Him? I’ll leave that up, some of you guys are taking pictures.
Why is this important? Well, because it’s called Christianity for a reason. Jesus is at the core of what we believe in the church today. And people don’t get it. When you look out in the world, you’ll see that over half of the people in the United States, according to a recent study done by Ligonier, over half the people in the United States would agree with the statement, that’s, “Jesus was a great teacher.” But many of them think that He’s a myth, that there is no historical Jesus or if there is, it’s been blown up by the church over the years into what some people think He is today.
The church’s attitude are a ton better, believe it or not. Even this Ligonier study found that 30% of evangelicals agree with the statement that Jesus was a great man, but He’s not God, that Jesus isn’t God. And almost two thirds think that, “Well, he’s God, but he was also the first being created by God.” These are both false teachings. These are misunderstandings of what the Bible says. So what do the scripture say? There’s four beautiful passages in the Bible about exactly what the scriptures say about Jesus. By the way, you’ll find Jesus in every book of the Bible if you look for Him. From Genesis to Revelation, you’ll find Jesus in every book.
But in the New Testament, there’s four passages that really speak directly to the deity and person of Christ. And if you look on your handout, you’ll see two of them are in question two, Philippians 2:5-11, and Colossians 1:15-20. And during the table talk time, I’m going to give you a chance to dive into one of those passages, whichever one your table picks. Another passage is John 1, and we’ll look at that in a few minutes. But the one I want to really take some time on right now is Hebrews 1. So in your Bible, if you’re on 2 Timothy 2, just turn over a couple pages until you come to Hebrews. It’s Second Timothy, Titus by Lehman, and then Hebrews.
And I want you to listen. You can read along. I don’t even have all the verses in the slides, because I don’t want you to get distracted. I just want you to listen to the beautiful language that the writer of Hebrews shares, and the poetry that he quotes from Psalms about who Jesus is.
So this is Hebrews 1, “Long ago, at many times, and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. But in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature. And He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my son, today I have begotten you.” Or again, “I will be to Him a father, and He shall be to me a son.” And again, when He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all God’s angels worship Him.” Of the angels, He says, “He makes his angels wins and His ministers a flame of fire.” But of the Son, he says, “Your throne, oh God, is forever and ever. The scepter of the uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore, God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. And you, Lord, laid the foundations of the earth in the beginning and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain. They will all wear out like a garment. Like a robe, You will roll them up. Like a garment, they a will be changed, but You are the same and Your years will have no end.” And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a foot stool for your feet.””
So we see in this first chapter of Hebrews, this beautiful, what we would call, high Christology, this absolute commitment to all of these attributes of God that are many of them described about Jesus in the Old Testament that came to fruition in Jesus, that he is God’s Son, verse five, that He is worshiped by the angels, verse six, in verse seven, that He has power over the angels, in verse eight, He calls Jesus God.
He says Your throne, oh God is forever and ever. This is from Psalm 110. The scepter of upright is the scepter of Your kingdom. Who has a kingdom? A king. A king has a kingdom. So we’re seeing Jesus as the creator, Jesus is sitting on the throne, Jesus as God. You see it in verse 10, “You laid the foundations of the earth in the beginning and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will remain.” You see the eternity of Jesus. They wear out, you are the same. Who do we say that You are the same yesterday, today and forever? Who do we say that about? We say that about God. This view of Jesus, having a high Christology, understanding that Jesus is God. If we don’t get that, then we don’t get Christianity.
So this is the Bible. The whole Bible testifies to this, these passages testify to this. All the New Testament followers of Jesus, all the disciples, the apostles, the followers of Jesus, they understood this about Christ. This was not something that got made up later by Paul later on or by Augustine after that, or by church fathers, it has been from the start, the understanding, that Jesus is God. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that in a second here. So this is the Bible’s teaching. The earliest church creeds that we have, taught this same thing.
Don’t turn it over, but you’ve got these three creeds on the back. And let me tell you a little bit about them really quick. These three creeds together make up what’s called the Belgic Confession. And they are the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. The Apostles’ Creed was initially created in the second century, in the 100s AD, and then it was refined over the years until we get it in its current form was probably around the sixth century. The Nicene Creed, what came about in 325, and then was adapted a little bit later on by another council. And then the Athanasian Creed came about in the sixth century, and the Athanasian Creed specifically speaks to the Trinity and it describes the three persons that… All of these creeds describe the Trinity, but the Athanasian Creed is a lot longer.
And so now you can look at the back of your sheet. And so on the back of your sheet, you can see these creeds actually get longer as they go. The Apostles’ Creed is the first one. And I bolded on the handout. I bolded the part that’s specifically about Jesus. Who does it say? Jesus is His only Son, our Lord, can see by the Holy Spirit makes Him God, born of the Virgin Mary makes Him man, suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified died and buried, lived a normal human life, descended into hell as a spiritual warrior on our behalf. He rose again from the dead, which shows his divinity. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He is divine, and he is our Judge, from thence He comes to judge the living and the dead.
The Nicene Creed, the same structure of who Jesus is. And then the Athanasian Creed, even more. The early church, from the earliest days, confirmed the deity and the humanity of Christ, both, of Jesus as the second Person of the Trinity. And then a thousand years later, you have a whole new set of creeds that come out. The Westminster Confession, the London Baptist Confession, the Savoy Declaration. So you have the Presbyterians, the Baptists and the Congregationalists. And they all come out with these confessions that all say the same thing about Jesus. They assert Jesus’ divinity, they assert Jesus’ humanity, they assert Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead.
And so Paul is saying to Timothy, what’s the word he uses? Remember. Remember Jesus Christ. Remember. And we need to remember too. Christ essential. Without a risen Christ, guys, we have nothing. This is just a social club. Religion is just a croc. Christianity’s a croc without a risen Christ. And so it’s not a myth, it’s not a great story, it’s not something that we hope that happened. It’s our conviction. It’s our belief. Jesus Christ was born on earth. The Son of God walked around and was crucified, dead and buried, and rose again on the third day and He ascended into heaven and He’s coming back. That’s our high Christology. That’s what we need to remember. And as we talk to people around us, if you’re discipling somebody, if you’re running a small group somewhere, this is one of those bedrock things that we need to have clear. So that’s our Christology. That’s the idea of a Christology. So this is, again, the Big Idea. Jesus Christ is our God and Savior. Do you know Him? Do you know Him?
CHRIST: GOD AND MAN
So let’s look at Christ as God and man. So look at this verse again. I think I have it up here. “Remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead, the offspring of David.” So these are actually three attributes of Jesus that we’re going to look at. So the first one is Jesus as the Christ.
Now, Christ was not Jesus’ last name. His last name is Bar-Joseph, Jesus Bar-Joseph, that would’ve probably been how they referred to Him. And He was a rabbi, so they would’ve called him teacher. But Christ is a title. It comes from the Greek word Christos, which means the anointed one. The word that we use, Messiah, is the Hebrew version of that word. I’m not even going to try to pronounce it, because I’ll mess it up. But we get the word Messiah. So Christ means anointed one or Messiah. So if you look in Daniel 9:25 or Isaiah 32:1, we don’t have time to go there, but you’ll see the kinds of people that were anointed. Who was anointed? Prophets, priests, and kings. Those are the people that were anointed.
So when we say that Jesus is the anointed one, that He’s the Christ, the Messiah, we’re saying that He is playing these roles as prophet. A prophet, what does a prophet do? He tells the people what God is saying. A priest, a priest represents the people back to God and safeguards, a priest safeguards the church and the king, who has dominion. And Jesus is the King of the church, he’s the head of the church. And all of that is wrapped up in the word Christ. So that’s Jesus, as the Christ. He also says that He is risen from the dead, and this asserts the divinity of God. The divinity of God.
Turn over to John 10. And let me give you an example of how Jesus’ divinity is asserted. We’re going to start at verse 24. “So the Jews gathered around Him and said to Him, how long will you keep us in suspend? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Now, the Pharisees and the religious leaders, they didn’t understand who the Christ was. They didn’t see the Christ as divine. And so Jesus’ answer is going to stun them and it’s going to anger them. He says, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me. But you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.” Why did he say that? Any Psalm come to mind? Anyone? 23, right? Psalm 23, the Lord. Who’s the Lord? God, is my shepherd. And Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them.” What do you think He’s saying? Here I am. I’m God. And they’re starting to get riled up.
“I give them eternal life.” Only God could do that. “They will never perish and will snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Deuteronomy 6:4 is the Shema, it says, “Here, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” It is the primary tenet of Judaism, that it is a monotheistic faith. We believe in one God, not Gods, but one God. And Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” The Lord, our God, the Lord is one.” And they want to kill Him. Verse 31, “The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of them are you going to stone me?””
And so we see here a very clear picture that Jesus’s miracles were divine. He said, “I’ve done the works of my Father.” And that His own claim was that He was God, “I and the father are one.” If you look at some of the apostles’ teachings, we’ll just look at 2 Peter 1:1. Now go after Hebrews to 2 Peter, and just listen to this if you can’t get there fast enough. “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of.” Listen to this, “Our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” So Peter is saying that this Jesus is God, and Titus says the same thing, “Our God and Savior.” So this is Christ risen from the dead, divine, one with God.
And then, what’s the other part he says though? The offspring of David, why does he say the offspring of David? Well, an offspring is human, right? So now we’re asserting Jesus’ humanity. And so in Matthew 1, the New Testament starts with the genealogy to show that this person was born to this person, who bore this person, who bore this person. And we get names that we recognize that lead us one by one, all the way to Jesus. Because Matthew, from the first moment he was asserting to the Jews that he was writing his gospel to, that Jesus was a man, a real flesh and blood man, not a spirit that walked around, tricking us into thinking he was a man. A real man.
And we see throughout the gospels, what does Jesus do? He eats, He drinks, He weeps, He gets tired, He gets angry. He’s a real guy, just like you and I. Perfect, so not just like you and I, but you and I without the sin. Jesus was walking around and the disciples were very clear about it. Peter testifies, read first and second Peter, one of the things you’ll see Peter very clearly testifying is to Jesus’ humanity. Thomas, what does he say at the end, after Jesus is resurrected? I want to touch Him. I want to touch Him. And his reaction to touching Him is to call Him my Lord and my God. Jesus’ humanity points to his divinity as well. And all this comes together in one of those other passages I mentioned, which is John 1, where John starts off with, “In the beginning was the word. And the word was with God. And the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him. And without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
This is the divine God. And then skip down to verse 14, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us. So we see this Christology of Jesus as the anointed one, as the Messiah, as divine and as human. And all of these three things work together. They’re all prophesied about Jesus, once you read the prophets. So this is our chronology. So Paul says, “For which I’m suffering, bound with chains as a criminal, but the Word of God is not bound.” Now, he’s probably talking about the gospel as the Word of God, but isn’t it interesting that he uses same language as John, “The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” And the word of God cannot be bound.
THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT BOUND!
And so that brings us to our third point. But first, let’s review our Big Idea. Jesus Christ is our God and Savior. Do you know Him? So the word of God is not bound. Paul is bound. He says they’re treating me like a criminal. I’m imprisoned because of the gospel. But it doesn’t matter that I’m imprisoned because the word of God is not bound. The word of God can’t be chained up, it can’t be limited. This is why Thomas says, “My Lord and my God.” Because he understands that when you face the risen resurrected King of the universe and you can touch him and feel him and see him like Thomas could, your reaction to that is to recognize His deity.
They said to the disciples, “who do you say I am?” Peter’s like, “You’re the son of God. I’ve been with you. You’re the son of God.” And He says, “Why don’t you desert me?” And what does Peter say? “Where else are we going to go? This is the truth.” And then you see the martyrdom of the disciples. Almost every disciple, except for John, all the disciples and Paul and many others were martyred. Would you think that these people would die these horrendous deaths, person after person, after person, after person, if they didn’t truly believe, right from the very beginning, in the deity and in the Lordship of who Jesus was. And so this is why we have to have a high Christology.
So what I want to leave you with is just this idea that people teach seminary classes on this. People teach whole sermon series just on Hebrews 1. We can’t cover it in 25 or 30 minutes of a Bible study. All we can do is get a taste of it. And so I really want to challenge you to take some time and go deeper and to get to know Jesus even better than you might already know him. And so you can see on the question four on the table talk, we’ve given you a challenge to spend some time in the week ahead, reading through some of these passages that we’ve said, reading through these creeds, and really beginning to think about who is Jesus, what do I really believe about Jesus? And more importantly than that, how can I explain that to somebody else?
If somebody comes to me and says, “Well, He was a great teacher.” Or, “He was just a myth.” How can I respond to that? Like Peter said, in a way with gentleness and respect, but also in a way with certainty and boldness about who you know Jesus is. Jesus is our God and Savior. Do you know Him? I hope you do. If you don’t know Him, I want to talk to you. I really want to talk to you. Come up and tell me that you don’t know Him and that you want to, and we’ll figure it out together. But if you know Him, my encouragement to you is to know Him better. Keep getting to know Him more and more and be ready to defend Him boldly with confidence and respect as you talk to other people.
Let’s pray. Father, thank You for Paul’s love for Timothy, and Paul’s clarity of thought, the way that he is so compact and full in this letter of important lessons that we need to learn as we live our lives as Christian men. And Father, we want to know Jesus better. We want the fullness of Christ to be something that we grasp, even though we can’t grasp it perfectly. Father, would you help us every day to have a better understanding of who Jesus is? Holy Spirit, would you please illuminate our minds and our hearts so that we can follow Christ more closely as we understand him, as we know Him. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.