Jesus is a mystery and a revelation.
- He is the mystery of the Father.
‘That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ’ (Colossians 2: 2).
He is in the bosom of the Father and is united with Him. Yet, He came out of this bosom to reveal to us the Father and help us understand who the Father is.
‘No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him’ (John 1: 18).
‘Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith’ (Romans 16: 25, 26).
- He was incarnated and became our salvation and redemption.
‘In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace’ (Ephesians 1: 7).
Therefore, Jesus is the mystery who revealed the Father and who revealed our salvation and redemption.
In order to speak about Jesus, we need to go through the books of Scripture since Jesus is the Word of God, the ‘Logos’.
The Bible is Christ in the pages of the Scripture. At the same times, these pages tell us about the mystery of the incarnated Christ.
Let us now go through a brief journey in the books of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, to see how Christ is revealed in them.
- In the books of Moses, Christ is the Word of God who completed the act of Creation.
God created the world through His word. He said: ‘Let there be…and there was’.
Therefore, the word coming out of the mouth of the Father is the mystery of Christ, the Word.
He is in the bosom of the Father and is united with Him, and when the Father speaks, every word that proceeds from His mouth is Life and power because these words are Christ Himself, going out to humanity and directed towards it.
Christ is a mystery and a revelation. The first revelation is that He is the Word proceeding from the mouth of God creating the world.
‘For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him’ (Colossians 1: 16).
God is the Creator and the Word is the act of creation by which we have been created.
In the book of Proverbs we read:
‘Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men’ (Proverbs 8: 30, 31).
Here Christ is speaking in the incarnated form as the Wisdom. Christ is the Wisdom.
‘You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption’ (1Corinthians 1:30).
There is no separation between the Word of God and the Wisdom of God because every time God speaks, Wisdom comes out of His mouth. Thus, Christ is the Word of God and He is also the Wisdom of God.
Christ is also the power of God who performed all God’s will and plans through His Redemptive work.
‘But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (1Corinthians 1:24).
Christ is the Word, Wisdom, and Power of God. He made Creation, made the plans for it, and came to save it.
Therefore, if anyone wants to discover God’s plan for their life, the key to enter into this plan is through Christ, the Word and Wisdom of God.
‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2: 10).
- In the book of Psalms, we read about Christ the Saviour and Redeemer.
This was revealed in the Old Testament, even before the manifestation of redemption in the New Testament.
In the Psalms, we read about the Messiah, the Redeemer and Saviour who does not only save of sins and spiritual weaknesses; but, He also saves and delivers from difficult circumstances, problems, and tribulations. He delivers and releases us from all the evil plans of the devil. In Psalm 103: 4, we read:
‘Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies.’
This is how they viewed Him in the Old Testament.
All the generations waited for the Messiah and they sung their Psalms and praises for Him. The first one who spoke about the Messiah was Hannah, Samuel’s mother, in her praise . Virgin Mary took parts of Hannah’s praise.
The Messiah saves and delivers from all problems, both inside and outside. There is a coloration between the two. The devil and our fallen nature are the reason behind both kinds of problems. Sometimes sin results in the problems and difficult circumstances that we face in the world. Therefore, inasmuch as we receive from the work of redemption in our inner life, our outside circumstances get resolved. A certain spiritual sphere where there are angels and divine presence would surround us. Therefore, even if we face difficult circumstances, it will not be easy for them to enter in.
- The prophets also spoke about Christ in various ways.
Each prophet saw Him in a way different from the other.
Zechariah saw Him in a very gentle and tender way as wine and grain.
‘Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women’ (Zechariah 9: 17).
There is a deep divine truth in these words.
Adam was created to be the power of God that performs God’s plans on earth.
Eve was created to be the delight of God on earth and to absorb Adam’s hardships and renew his energy and power.
Yet, when sin entered, Adam became a god who wanted to dominate; and Eve became a stumbling block on earth.
Therefore, Zechariah is saying that the redeemer will come and restore creation to its first beauty and glory.
Christ will offer Himself as grain that will nourish the new Adam, the redeemed man. This new Adam will eat Christ. As a result, the new inner man will grow and will be strengthened. He will thus be able to carry out God’s plan on earth.
Christ is also the wine that Eve will drink and be filled with joy and delight. As a result, she will become the delight of earth and lift up its hardships.
‘For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever’ (John 6:55 – 58).
Micah saw Christ as the Ruler, whose goings forth are from of old.
‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting’ (Micah 5: 2).
No one is greater than Him.
He has an economy for the life of each person. It is like a tune, a symphony. As a result, man’s life becomes a symphony on earth.
Micah also saw Him as the Ruler of the nations (not only the individual persons). He is the King of all the kings of the earth. Through Him, the rulers can receive wisdom to help them govern their nations.
Jacob saw Him as ‘Shiloh’, ‘the One who has all our matters in His hands’.
In Genesis 49: 10, we read:
‘The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff between his feet, until Shiloh comes. And to him shall be the obedience of nations.’
Our matters are in His hands not in the hands of those at work or our managers or superiors. Our matters are only in the hands of Jesus Christ who is our Head.
Haggai saw Him as ‘the Desire of All Nations’.
‘I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts’ (Haggai 2: 7).
The more we draw close to Him, the more we desire Him and love Him. Any time He is mentioned, He is desired.
Solomon saw Him as the Bridegroom.
Solomon described Him saying:
‘My beloved is white and ruddy, Chief among ten thousand’ (Song of Solomon 5: 10).
‘While the king is at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance’ (Song of Solomon 1: 12).
He is the Bridegroom who pours out love to His bride (each person and the Church).
He is the One who made us and so He knows that our emotions can only be filled and satisfied with love which is of a certain kind. He is the incarnated Love. He pours in our hearts a kind of love which is not of this world. It is a love that purifies us from the love of the world and from all fake love. It is a special kind of bridal love that satisfies our emotions.
The Father offers us a special kind of fatherly love that satisfies our deep needs from birth, including the need to belong, be looked after, and receive tenderness.
Jesus offers bridal love that satisfies our emotions, feelings, and affections. These emotions need to be filled with love; otherwise, it will beg for love from various sources. The more we beg for love, the more we get hurt. The bridal love of Jesus is rich and satisfying.
Christ in the New Testament
- Christ in the four gospels
The evangelists saw Christ in different ways. They saw Him as the King, the lion, the man, and the eagle.
In the Gospel of Matthew, He is seen as the King with great reverence.
In the Gospel of Mark, He is seen as the Lion.
He has all power and authority; and so, can conquer the devil.
Though the devil ‘walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour’ (1Peter 5: 8), the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5: 5) has all the power and authority to defeat the devil.
In the Gospel of Luke, He is seen as the man who is tender and full of sweetness and compassion, caring for all His creation.
He cared for the children. He also cared for the women at a time when women were not respected or well treated (before the coming of Christ).
When the gospels mention the miracles of Christ, we see that half of them were done for men and half were done for women. We see the same thing in the parables that Jesus mentioned where half of them included men and the other half included women. This is important because Jesus meant to restore to women their dignity and honour and highlight that there is no difference between male and female in honour.
Paul later highlighted this in his epistle where he wrote: ‘there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3: 28).
In Genesis 1: 27 we read: ‘So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them’.
God has fatherhood and motherhood and so when He wanted to reflect Himself in human beings, He created the two forms: male and female; yet, both are equal and the same.
When Christ came to earth to show us who God is (for Christ is the image of God –as Paul wrote in Hebrews and Colossians), He showed us that God has created us in His image and that the man and the woman are both equal.
Therefore, He performed miracles with men and women; and with children both boys and girls. He healed the epileptic son (Matthew 17:14-18) and the daughter of the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:16-28). In His parables, He spoke about men and woman. He likened the Kingdom of God to yeast that a woman took and hid in three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened (Luke 13: 21). He came to the whole of creation.
The evangelists saw Christ as the Priest who offers sacrifices.
Apostle Paul also said that He is in the heavenly places interceding on our behalf and offering unseen sacrifices on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25; 8: 1 – 3).
- Apostle John saw Him as the eagle.
He is the incarnated divinity (John 1: 1 – 5).
He is very high in His divinity; and at the same time, He is very close to man in His incarnation.
When we read the gospel of John, we clearly see the divinity of Christ; we see that He is God.
At the same time, if we read any part of this gospel, we can put ourselves in the place of Christ and say the same words or pray the same prayers.
For example, Jesus said: ‘For this reason I was born, and for this reason I have come into the world’ (John 18: 37). Any one of us can say this prayer after discovering his/her purpose in life. Jesus also said: ‘I have finished the work which You have given Me to do’ (John 17: 4). Each one of us should know the work which has been given to him/her and continue to do it until he completes it and enters into his rest.
Apostle John highlighted that Christ is God; yet, He is the incarnated divinity, the God-Man. He is God, the Son, who came to show us how a son of God should live. He made each one of us a child of God; so, we can follow in His footsteps, pray His same prayers, and take our place in the heavenly Father like the Son.
Therefore, in the opening chapter of the gospel of John, we read:
‘But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1: 12).
- In the book of Acts, Christ is a message.
The book of Acts speaks about the Church; yet, it reveals Christ as a ‘message’.
‘For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4: 12).
He is a message of redemption and salvation.
He is a message of life, truth, and the way, for He is the way the truth and the life (John 14: 6).
He is a message that we should proclaim and preach:
‘Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus’ (Colossians 1: 28).
‘Through Him we have received grace and apostleship’ (Romans 1: 5).
He is a message that we should be proud of.
- The Epistles
Reading the epistles, we start to understand what Moses had said about the tabernacle. The tabernacle is Christ in shadows and symbols.
Jesus is the manna, the Ark of the Covenant, the table for the Showbread, the bronze altar (with all mysteries of His redemption), the gold altar of incense (with all mysteries of His prayers and intercessions).
In the New Testament, after these shadows and symbols were revealed, Christ became the Head of the Church (Colossians 2: 19) and the constant food that nourishes the Church.
The epistles talk about the Church of Christ. He is her Head and the author and finisher of her faith (Hebrews 12: 2). He goes before the Church during her sojourning in the world until she completes her role and mission on earth.
When He will come again, He will be proclaimed and revealed as the Bridegroom of the Church. She will be His glorified Bride. This will be the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19: 7). Jesus will be the proclaimed King on earth. The full power of His redemption and glory will be revealed. He will present us to the Father as His bride who is united with Him, of His flesh and of His bones, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5: 27, 30); holy like Him because He is holy.
At this point, God becomes all in all (1Corinthians 15: 28).
Thus, the story will end as it had started, exactly as God was revealed as all in all.
His Trinity was revealed to us and His plans were revealed. But, the enemy interfered through the fall; Redemption was then manifested.
God’s plans and purposes will be done and completed and the Kingdom of God will be proclaimed. The bride, who is united with the Bridegroom, will be revealed and presented to the Father; so that, God may be all in all.
This was a brief overview about Christ in the books of the Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation.
When we understand Christ as such and seek Him, we will find Him. He is the mystery of life that fills the heart and revives us. Our whole life becomes His, for Him, because He bought us with His blood. When we follow Him and enter into fellowship with Him, life becomes meaningful.
Finally, there is an important point to highlight:
The Person & the Work of Christ:
Reading the New Testament, we need to pay attention to two things:
- The Person of Christ
- The Work of Christ
The New Testament presents the Person and Character of Christ in various ways and from various angles; so that we may absorb this image inside us and follow in His footsteps. He is our example and the living image which we should be transformed to:
‘To be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren’ (Romans 8: 29).
In the meantime, the New Testament tells us about His work, the work of His redemption because the more this work of redemption enters to our inner man, the more it enables us to follow Him and be transformed into His image.
The gospels speak about the Person of Christ; while, the epistles speak about the work of Christ.
- The gospels portray to us the Person, the Character, of the Son.
They outline the footsteps of Jesus and show us how He lived His days on earth. We need to see His days, His work, and His conduct.
Each time we read the gospel, we need to pray asking Him to help us see Him in order to walk as He walked (1John 2: 6) because we are called to this and He desires to grant us the ability to do so.
We should read the words, meditate on them, absorb them, eat them, drink them, and talk of them when we lie down and when we rise up (Deuteronomy 6: 7). The Holy Spirit would then gradually open our minds and understanding to the Person of Christ. The more the eyes of our minds are opened to His Person, the more we can be transformed to His image.
Therefore, we should not think of the gospels as stories that we have read before and that we already know. They indeed present to us a Living, Divine, Incarnated Person walking in our world. He has entered into our fallen world to give it light and to give life to the dead. He emptied Himself and took our human form. We can thus look at Him and see how we would look like when we are freed from the fall. Of course, He is the One who gives us this ability.
As we read the chapters of the gospels, we need to go on our knees, asking Him to pour in us the mystery of His life; so that, we can live as He lived. We are the children of God; therefore, we should do on earth as the Son did; so that, the Father may be pleased with us and so that we may proclaim His will: ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6: 10).
In Christ, we see how the wholesome and perfect humanity walks on earth, fulfilling the will of the Father. We can then do the same. Our humanity will not be perfect like His, but, it will be redeemed through His work of redemption. We will then be able to do as He did, not out of our own ability as He did, but through the strengthening of His grace and the work of His Spirit in us.
Jesus is the door to understanding the Father and enjoying His fellowship.
Similarly, we can only enjoy the fellowship of the Holy Spirit through Christ who has redeemed us. The manifestation of the redemptive work of Christ in us allows the coming of the Holy Spirit to us and His dwelling in us. In the Old Testament, we saw that the oil was poured after shedding the blood of the sacrifices. Therefore, after the Crucifixion and Christ saying ‘it is finished’, the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost.
We can only have the right to the fellowship with the Holy Spirit through Christ and the work of His redemption. He grants that the Holy Spirit would be our companion and Comforter who dwells in us.
We can only have the right to the fellowship with the Father through Christ and the adoption granted to us by Him.
Through him, we know our heavenly Father and experience the company of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, Christ is the door. He is the beginning and the end: ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End’ (Revelation 1: 8). He is all in all.
He is the reason of our life and our redemption. We are a fallen humanity and our only hope is in Christ, the hope of Glory (Colossians 1: 27).
- The book of Acts is about the Church.
We said that the gospels reflect the Person of Christ and the epistles speak about the work of Christ, His redemption.
Between the gospels and the epistles, there is the book of Acts which is about the Church. It tells us how the Church was established and how she lived, so that, we can live in the same way. We see how the Church moved, ministered, was persecuted, suffered, overcame Satan, and spread light and life on earth.
The Church that was established by Christ’s redemption should proclaim this redemption. The Church is Christ on earth, His body; therefore, she should do what He wants her to do. The Church has a message to proclaim to the humanity, that is living in darkness, sin and death; and that is: ‘arise, shine; there is life and light’.
The Church should carry out this message not by words nor by wars and struggles; but, by a holy life full of humility and readiness to sacrifice to the point of death for the sake of others. ‘And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death’ (Revelation 12: 11).
If we desire to bring the mystery of Christ to other people, we have to walk the path that He walked. As He died, we also should be ready to die. We die through: pain, love, humility, humbleness, and even blood shed if necessary. By this, we would become the Church of Christ that can change the face of the earth.
- In the epistles, we read about the work of redemption and how the Church can live through the work of redemption.
Redemption changes each person; and then, it brings these people together, uniting them and making them a true body united with the Head. This would be ‘a perfect man’ (Ephesians 4: 13). This perfect man can walk on earth as if he is Christ on earth, fulfilling all what Christ desires. Exactly as He has done in the body of His flesh, He can do through us/His Church.
His Church should proclaim His redemption so that redemption may be manifested in every person, everywhere; so that, the earth would be His Kingdom and the King would then come. This would be the Kingdom of God in our midst: ‘Your Kingdom come’ (Matthew 6: 10).
Our problem is that we are a Church that is not truly or correctly united with our Head. We should be united together as members in order to be a body because the body is what can be united with the Head. In order for us to be united members, each member should experience the work of redemption. The Holy Spirit would then connect these redeemed members together, making them a body that is ready to be united with the Head. Life would then flow in us abundantly. ‘It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments’ (Psalm 133: 2). These garments extend to the world to proclaim to it the message of Christ.
Therefore, when we read the epistles we need to look for the work of Christ: the work of the Cross, the work of the blood of Jesus, the work of the resurrection, the work of the ascension, and the work of the Holy Spirit that He poured in us –the complete work of redemption. We need to learn how to benefit from this great divine work in order to be redeemed humans, redeemed members in the body that the Holy Spirit can unite together, forming a living body that is connected to the Head.