The Second Person of the Trinity

Chris VanBuskirk Photo Chris VanBuskirk
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In previous lessons, we have studied the nature of the Trinity. And in the last lesson, we posed the question, "Who is this Jesus?" Let me be very clear about part of the answer to that at least and state that Jesus is God. Jesus possesses the attributes of God. And more specifically, he possesses certain attributes that belong to God alone. For example, Jesus is said to have been all-knowing. He knew the thoughts of people. In Luke, we read, "But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shriveled hand" [Luke 6:8 NIV]. Another example is in the book of John. Jesus was able to tell the Samaritan woman her past history without having previously met her. He said, "The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true" [John 4:18 NIV]. In Acts, we read, "And they prayed and said, 'You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two you have chosen'" [Acts 1:24 NASB]. So Jesus is all-knowing.

He is also everywhere present. Matthew 18:20 NIV says, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." The end of Matthew's gospel, it says, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" [Matthew 28:20 NIV]. Paul wrote to the Colossians, "Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all and in all" [Colossians 3:11]. Another Godly attribute is that Jesus is unchangeable. The character of Jesus does not change. Hebrews says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever" [Hebrews 13:8]. James wrote, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" [James 1:17 NIV].

We also see that Jesus has life in himself. John 1:4 CSB says, "In Him was life, and that life was the light of men." All other creation (humans, animals, and plants) are alive because someone or something else has given it to them. Jesus has life in himself. It is not derived from any other source. Jesus is also said to be all-powerful or omnipotent. In Matthew, he says, "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me'" [Matthew 28:18 NIV]. And like God, Jesus has existed for all eternity. The Bible says that Jesus existed prior to the creation of the universe. It says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" [John 1:1].

So it's very clear. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity. What is true about God is true about every person in the Trinity. "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God" [Psalm 90:2 NIV]. Since eternal existence is an attribute of God alone, it logically follows that Jesus is God. Jesus, therefore, being God, has existed for all eternity. There was no point when he came into existence. Since he has no beginning, he will have no end. He is not limited by time in any sense. Jesus is also spoken of as an equal with God. They both possess the same names. Remember when God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. I AM has sent me to you" [Exodus 3:14 NIV]. Jesus applied the same title to himself. In the book of John, we read, "'Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.' 'You are not yet fifty years old,' the Jews said to him, 'and you have seen Abraham!' 'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'before Abraham was born, I am!'" [John 8:56-58 NIV].

The God of the Bible is called the LORD in the Old Testament. God also said to Moses, "I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty" [Exodus 6:2-3 NIV]. But we see that Jesus is also addressed as Lord. "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" [Acts 2:36 NIV]. Paul wrote, "Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, 'Jesus be cursed,' and no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit" [1 Corinthians 12:3 NIV]. Another label that is the same is to say the Lord is the shepherd of his people. In Psalms, we read, "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want" [Psalm 23:1 NASB]. But we also know Jesus as the good shepherd. It says, "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep" [John 10:14-15 NIV].

Now, remember when we were discussing the mystery of the Trinity, we reviewed the three separate personalities, the three persons of the Trinity. We see that even though they are both God, Jesus has a unique relationship with God the Father. He called God "my Father." He said, "I do not have a demon, but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me" [John 8:49]. He never equated his relationship with the Father with the relationship that he had with his disciples. He never referred to the Father as "our Father" when referring to his relationship with God. It was always "your Father" and "my Father." At his resurrection, he said to Mary Magdalene, "Do not hold on to me because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'" [John 20:17].

He said to the religious rulers, "The Father and I are one" [John 10:30 NLT]. Now, the religious rulers wanted to kill him for making this statement because they knew that he was claiming equality with God. When they brought him before Pontius Pilate, they made clear their reason for wanting Jesus dead. "We have a law," they said, "and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God" [John 19:7 NIV]. And in their eyes, that was blasphemy. To be associated with God in an equal manner was heretical. For example, the Great Commission put Jesus on an equal level with God the Father. It says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" [Matthew 28:19 NASB]. This is also true of the apostolic benediction. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" [2 Corinthians 13:14 NASB].

Now, all this would be blasphemy if you or I said it. But Scripture says that the origin of Jesus was not from earth, but rather from heaven. The writer to the Hebrews compared the Old Testament character Melchizedek with Jesus. It says, "Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually" [Hebrews 7:3 NASB]. The Bible says that Christ came from heaven. John the Baptist said of Jesus, "He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all" [John 3:31 NASB]. Jesus himself said, "For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me" [John 6:38 NASB].

As if that wasn't enough, Jesus allowed himself to be worshiped. Again, the Jews were furious because God made it clear that he alone is the only one deserving worship. In the Ten Commandments, he said, "You shall have no other gods before me" [Exodus 20:3 NASB]. But Jesus was worshiped by the people, and he allowed himself to be worshiped by the people. On the one hand, he testified that worship is something that is reserved for God alone, yet Jesus allowed himself to be worshiped. In Matthew, we read, "And as they all went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, 'Rejoice!' And they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him" [Matthew 28:9]. On another occasion, Scripture records someone saying to Jesus, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him [John 9:38 NASB]. If only God is to be worshiped, as the Bible indicates, and Jesus allowed himself to be worshiped, then the natural conclusion is that Jesus himself was God. Jesus said people were to honor him just as they honor God the Father. If Jesus were not God, then for people to honor him as they would honor God would indeed be blasphemous. So we see Jesus receiving worship.

Another testimony to Jesus being God is that he forgives sins. In the presence of the religious leaders, Jesus told a sinful woman, "Your sins are forgiven" [Luke 7:48]. On another occasion, he said to a paralyzed man, "Son, your sins are forgiven you" [Mark 2:5]. The religious rulers on both occasions were indignant. They demanded an explanation, asking the question, "Why does this man speak blasphemies like this?" [Mark 2:7]. If only God has the ability to forgive sins and Jesus claimed the ability to forgive sins, then Jesus is claiming to be God. Humans may temporarily forgive sins committed against other humans, but only God can eternally forgive sins. By claiming to forgive sins, Jesus demonstrated his deity. And if he is God, Jesus has equal glory with God. He says in John, "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began" [John 17:5 NIV]. Only God could claim that. Only a Jesus that has the same nature as God can claim that. The writer to the Hebrews said, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word" [Hebrews 1:3 NIV].

But Jesus did more than make claims about himself. He backed up his claims with works. He said, "But I have a testimony greater than John's," referring to John the Baptist. "The works that the Father has given me to complete-the very works that I am doing-testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him who he has sent" [John 5:36-38 NET]. He backed up all of his claims with convincing evidence. These evidences include miracles, fulfilled prophecy, and his resurrection from the dead. According to Scripture, what is true about God is true about Jesus. Jesus performed works that only God can perform. These abilities cannot be delegated because they are characteristics of God alone. So the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is God, the second person of the Trinity.