It was, then, when all human beings were desperate and helpless, that God “loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Fully God. The Son of God, who has eternally existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and who has eternally possessed all the attributes of God, became a man. He was born as Jesus, son of the virgin Mary. The Son entered this world with a purpose: he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45), which means he came to redeem us from sin and guilt. He was not an unwitting or unwilling sacrifice. He, following his Father, chose to love the world in this way. Though now fully human, he was also fully God throughout the time of his life on earth (and remains fully God to this day). Jesus himself clearly taught his deity in the way he fulfilled prophecy, which was associated with the coming of God himself (Mark 14:61–62). Jesus forgave sins (Mark 2:5), he accepted worship (John 20:28; Revelation 5), and he taught, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Jesus Christ was also fully man. He was not a deity pretending to be human when he was not. Jesus was fully human (and remains fully human to this day). He was born and lived in submission to his earthly parents. He had a fully human body. He “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom” (Luke 2:40). He learned the carpentry trade (Mark 6:3). He experienced hunger, felt thirst and tiredness, faced temptation, and eventually suffered even death itself. Jesus Christ was, and is, fully God and fully man. The eternal Son of God became a man in order to save sinners.
Jesus Christ lived a perfect life. Indeed, all his actions were as they should be. His words were perfect. He said only what the Father commanded. “What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me” (John 12:50). He did only what the Father willed (John 5:19; e.g., Luke 22:42). So, the writer to the Hebrews concludes, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Jesus lived the life of consistent, wholehearted love to the Father that Adam and Eve and Israel—and all of us—should have lived. He deserved no punishment from God because he was never disobedient.
Jesus came to teach God’s truth, especially about himself (Mark 1:38; 10:45; Luke 20:42; 24:44). He taught the truth about God, about his relationship with God the Father (John 14), about our sin, about what he had come to do, and about what we must do in response. He explained that the Scriptures of the OT were about him (Luke 24:44).
But God sent his Son especially to die for us (Mark 10:45; John 3:16–18). This is how God has shown his love for us (Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:9–10). Christ gave his life as a ransom for us (Mark 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:6). By his death he paid the penalty for our sin. Jesus Christ’s crucifixion was a horrible act of violence by the people who rejected, sentenced, mocked, tortured, and crucified him. And yet it was also a display of the self-giving love of God, as the Son of God bore the penalty of God’s wrath against us for our sin (Deut. 21:23; Isa. 53:5; Rom. 3:25–26; 4:25; 5:19; 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 9:28).
Resurrection, ascension, return.
On the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus was raised from the dead by God. This demonstrated an acceptance of Christ’s service in his ministry and specifically showed God’s acceptance of his sacrifice for all those who would repent and believe (Rom. 1:4; 4:25). He ascended to heaven and “will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Christ’s return will bring God’s plan of salvation to completion.