Posted by: Billy Marsh | January 5, 2008

Jesus’ High Christology

If you read my previous post, “When Did Noah Build The Ark?“, after coming to its end, you should’ve been left asking one question: Why didn’t he say something about believing in Jesus too? And you would be right in asking so. But, I wanted to save my comments on Jesus’ second imperative concerning belief for a separate post. After all, being told to believe in God is not new news. However, equivocating belief in Jesus with belief in God ought to make the front page. At least it should have among first century Jews or first century “anyone” for that matter.

In John 14:1 Jesus tells his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” What is significant about this second command to believe is that Jesus does not attempt to qualifiy it in any manner. At this point in the disciples’ spiritual journey, it is doubtful that they would dispute or misunderstand the exhortation to see God as an appropriate object of faith. However, Jesus follows this common truth with one that, if spoken aloud among the Jews who appear in John’s Gospel as the main antagonists of Jesus and his ministry, there would have more than likely been some clothes ripping, beards tearing, and rock throwing. Yet, John does not record any notion that the disciples listening perceived Jesus’ words to be contradictory or herectical.

In the previous post on this verse, I submitted various ways that Jesus had made known God the Father in John’s Gospel. Just a quick look at that list shows that Jesus and the Father are One in terms of functionality, not just in a metaphysical sense (Jn 10:30). Jesus is wholly united with the Father in terms of God’s words, works, will, power, and glory. Therefore, it follows that if Christ, in his person (Incarnation), is capable of perfectly standing in for God, so to speak, on earth, wouldn’t he have to be God in order to do so? Furthermore, it also follows that if Christ is perfectly able to disclose the Father whom no one has ever seen (Jn 1:18), then he should be a legitimate object of trust and belief.

Jesus must have a very high Christology in order to make such a claim. Here, we enter into Trinitarian territory. Jesus, the One who reveals God the Father, is also one with the Father in will and person. No more or less than the Father, the Son of God is equally and rightly the proper person in whom mankind must place their faith in order to attain eternal life. The next few verses are a prime example of how John works out the main purpose of writing his own gospel. Showing the oneness in the Godhead and then recording words from Jesus such as Jn 14:6, clearly are outworkings of John’s attempt to persuade the reader of his thesis: “. . . but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (Jn 20:31).”

We often exhort one another to believe in God, but how often do we offer Jesus’ words concerning himself: “Believe also in me.”? Afterall, was he not the one who declared earlier in John 10:18 that no one takes his life from him, but instead he lays it down on his own accord willingly? Furthermore, amidst the dark scene portrayed by the narrative mastermind of the Beloved disciple in the words “And it was night (Jn 13:30).”, Jesus does not try to hinder Judas and Satan from doing their evil deed. Rather, Jesus unhesitantly tells Judas, “What you are going to do, do quickly (Jn 13:27).” It is obvious from these scenes that truly Jesus knew that “the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God (Jn 13:3).”

Believe also in Christ. Place your faith in the God-Man who perfectly atoned for sin, vanquished death, and rose again on the third day. Trust in the Savior who is sitting at the right hand of God and who has prepared a place for us so that where he is there we may also be. Rest assured in the mighty Son of God who said, “. . . for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father (Jn 14:30-31).”

Listen to some of John Calvin’s eloquent comments on this text:

The Son of God, then, who is Jesus Christ, holds out himself as the object to which our faith ought to be directed, and by means of which it will easily find that on which it can rest; for he is the true Immanuel, who answers us within, as soon as we seek him by faith. It is one of the leading articles of the faith, that our faith ought to be directed to Christ alone, that it may not wander through long windings; and that it ought to be fixed on him, that it may not waver in the midst of temptations. And this is the true proof of faith, when we never suffer ourselves to be torn away from Christ, and from the promises which have been made to us in him.

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