The Second Member
of the Holy Trinity is Jesus. The name "Jesus" means "Savior." As
His name indicates, that is Jesus' main role. As our Savior, He
saved us from our sins and the eternal punishment that would be
He did this by dying on the cross to pay for
our sins. Because of His perfect sacrifice on the cross, we don't
have to pay for our sins..
All that we must do is simply
respond in love and thanksgiving for this remarkable, undeserved
Jesus And "Grace"
Each member of the Trinity--Father, Son and
Holy Spirit--demonstrate grace to us each and every day. What is "grace"?
"Grace" simply means "an undeserved,
* From God, the Father, we receive His
undeserved grace whenever we receive food, shelter or enjoy the
blessings of His watching over us in this world.
* From God, the Son, we receive grace each
time we are forgiven. There is nothing we could do to earn God's
forgiveness. After all, we're sinners! But God, in His grace,
gives us undeserved--and unexpected--forgiveness through the
grace given through Jesus Christ.
* From God, the Holy Spirit, we receive
grace as He brings us to faith and keeps us in faith through His
gifts of grace: Word and Sacrament.
Martin Luther, in his Explanation to the
Article, spoke of God's grace given in Jesus Christ. He wrote,
"I believe that Jesus Christ, true
God, begotten from all eternity and true Man, born of the Virgin
Mary, is my Lord....He has redeemed me...not with gold or
silver, but with His holy, precious blood and by His innocent
suffering and death."
What is our response to all of God's gifts? We should "thank and
to praise, serve and obey Him." "This," as Martin Luther emphasized,
"is most certainly true."
Jesus' Two Natures: Human And Divine
1) Jesus' Human Nature:
When Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary, He became "incarnate." This means that
Jesus took on human flesh and became just like us--except without
Why did Jesus have to be human? He needed to
be human so He could be our substitute to bear our sins for us. When
Adam and Eve sinned, God placed on them the full responsibility and
punishment for their sin--including eternal punishment in hell.
Because we sin we, too, bear that same punishment that Adam and Eve
Because God is just and fair, He must demand
that someone pay the punishment for our sins. Since sinful humans
cannot pay for their sins, in His greatest action of grace, God sent
Jesus to our human substitute for sin. As our sinless, holy
substitute, God accepted Jesus' death on the cross as the payment
for our sin. Because of this action, we are justified or considered
"not guilty"...even though we were. Because we are justified, God
considers us forgiven "Just-As-If-I'd" not sinned at all.
2) Jesus' Divine Nature:
In order to be our Savior, Jesus also had to
be God. Why? Because only God can forgive sins. And the only payment
that God could accept in our place for our sins was a payment from
As God, Jesus co-created the world with the Father and the Holy
Spirit. As God, the Bible says that Jesus raised Himself from the
dead. As God, Jesus reigns over the whole world--in grace--in the
hope that all might believe and have faith in Him.
In Philippians chapter two, St. Paul gives what may be the
clearest Scriptural explanation of Jesus' two natures.
"Your attitude should be the same as that
of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider
equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself
nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in
human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He
humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest
place and gave Him the
name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every
knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and
every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father."
Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
Yes, Jesus is truly God. Someday all people,
whether they believed in Jesus as their Lord or not, will bow before
Him and revere Him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
|Two Stages Of Jesus' Ministry:
Humiliation And Exaltation
The Apostles' Creed, reflecting Paul's
teaching of Jesus in Philippians 2:5-11, teaches the two stages of
The first stage of
Jesus' ministry was His humiliation. From the time He was conceived
by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb, until the time he "suffered,
died, and was buried," He humiliated Himself to be our Savior.
Though fully God, He willingly set aside the full demonstration of
His deity and divine power so that He could be human--just like you
and me...except without sin.
As a human
being, Jesus hungered and ate. As a human being, He had parents. As
a human Baby, He no doubt cried when His diapers needed changing or
when He wanted His mother to holy Him. As a human being, He had
learn from teachers the wisdom of this world. As a human, He cried
when His best friend, Lazarus, died. As a human, He truly suffered
extreme pain on the cross. As a human, Jesus also experienced death.
Taking on human flesh and becoming true man is
the focus of Jesus' humbling Himself and taking on human flesh to be
our Savior. The Second Article teaches Jesus' humiliation.
"And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our
Lord. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin
Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and
The Second Article of
the Apostles' Creed continues describing the stages of Jesus'
"He descended into Hell. And on the third
day He rose again from the dead and ascended into Heaven. From
there He shall come again to judge both the living and the
Jesus' Descent Into Hell
Jesus' exaltation begins with His descent into Hell. Unlike what
some Christians believe, the Bible clearly tells us that Jesus went
to Hell. But He didn't go to Hell to suffer Hell. He did that on the
cross. Instead, St. Peter tells us He went to Hell to "preach to the
spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago. " I Peter 3:19-20 (NIV)
As the resurrected Victor over sin, death and the
Devil, Jesus' descent into Hell marked His triumph over Satan and
all His angels. By going to Hell, He demonstrated to all unbelievers
that God's promises--which they ridiculed and disbelieved--were
true. By appearing in their very present, Jesus made the weight of
their consciences even more unbearable as they recognized how they
resisted--and rebelled--against God's plan of salvation for them.
B) Jesus' Resurrection Appearances
After appearing to Satan all those in Hell as the resurrected
Christ, the Scriptures and the Creeds testify that Jesus rose and
appeared to many people. He appeared numerous times to His
disciples, to Mary and others who were close to Him, as well as
Why did Jesus appear to so many people? He
simply wanted them to be absolutely certain of His resurrection.
John, His closest and dearest disciple, wrote:
"That which was from the beginning, which
we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have
looked at and our hands have touched-- this we proclaim
concerning the Word of life." I John 1:1 (NIV)
Was Jesus really alive? Yes! John
indicated. John and others saw Jesus, talked with Jesus, and with
their very own hands touched His resurrected flesh.
C) Jesus' Return
Forty days after Jesus' resurrection, He went
back to Heaven to resume His full authority as God. No longer would
He humble Himself for us. The full payment for our sins had been
made on the cross. Now that His earthly work of salvation was
completed, He went to Heaven to sit at God, the Father's right hand.
From there He rules over us today...and through eternity as our
Savior, God and Lord.
All we wait for
now, the Apostles' Creed notes, is for Jesus' return. "From there He
will come to judge the living and the dead."
Will you see Jesus' return? Indeed you will.
When Jesus returns on the Last Day of the earth, the dead in Christ
will be resurrected first. Those who are living will stand next to
those who are resurrected and behold His coming...and worship Him.
What will it be like to be in heaven with Jesus?
It will simply be pure joy. It will be a place without death, pain
or sin. Heaven will be where we see Jesus in all His glory...and
worship Him endlessly as the one who loved, saved and redeemed us.
Won't that be an amazing experience! Indeed, come