And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is indeed the Son of God!” (Acts 9:20)
What is the difference between proofs that Jesus Is the Son of God and that Jesus is the Messiah?
In the context of this statement in Acts, simply put Saul began preaching that indeed Jesus was the Messiah. He had to eat humble pie and reverse his stand on the matter of Christ’s Messiahship. But having met the LORD face to face albeit it must have been rather hard to have seen His face clearly as He was clothed on light, it was still enough to cause Saul to reverse his theological position. Now he too can say that Jesus was indeed the Christ. He was now convinced that Jesus was who He claimed to be and so went around preaching the fact.
I said in Gemz 1525 I would open up the question but would let the controversy percolate for a while. As no one responded I will not give you a full rundown of the issue. As I told you Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament devotes 142 pages to the matter and covers the meaning of the term from every possible view point. I don’t intend to go through all aspects especially in the light of the fact no one has responded. I told you if nothing else I would share what Major Ian Thomas (the founder of Capernwray Missionary Fellowship or Torchbearers) said in sermon I heard years ago. I was going to tell you what I remember but then I thought I now live in a wonderful age, the age of the Internet. I thought I bet I can find something on the Internet which captures the essence of what Major Ian Thomas said at Finlay Park in 1974. Sure enough, here is my offering. I have had to do some cutting and pasting and while its a second rate job of capturing the eloquence of Major Ian Thomas it will suffice.
The amazing thing is this, that although the Lord Jesus was never less than God in eternal, unchanging co-equality, in the tri-unity of deity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, the amazing thing is this, that when he came into this world he came to be precisely man as he, as God, created man to be.
You see, when I think of the Lord Jesus as Superman, essentially God in his humanity and behaving only in all the fullness of his deity as a man, I tend to worship him, love him and admire him. But when it comes to my responsibility to live the kind of life on earth that he lived then 2000 years ago, I almost dismiss it and say, “Well, it was all right for him. He was God, but I am not God.”
But, you know, if we think like that, we rob ourselves of the message of the life of the Lord Jesus, because what the Lord Jesus is trying to teach us and tell us throughout the 33 years of his sinless humanity on earth is how to be man as he, as God, was man, demonstrating man’s humanity.
You see, the Lord Jesus is not only the truth about God, he is the truth about man. He was the truth about God because he was the truth about man. Because, to tell you the truth about man, man was to be the truth about God. Is that obvious to you?
Let me say it again. Think it through. The Lord Jesus on earth for 33 years was the truth about God because he was the truth about man, because, to tell you the truth about man, was to have been the truth about God.
Genesis chapter one, “And God said, Let us make man in our image.”1 And “ in the likeness of God made he him.”2
So if Adam in his innocency created efficiently the function of the purpose which God made him...
...walked this earth and you wanted to know the truth about God, who ought you to have looked at? The one whom God created to make an invisible God visible, Adam. And if Adam was being true to his humanity he would be the truth, exactly truth about what God was like. Now isn’t that an amazing thing?
And, of course, you see today in the 20th century you and I are being true to our humanity only in the measure that we are the truth about Jesus Christ. . .
“Because I am the truth about my Father. I just don’t tell you about my Father. I am the truth about my Father. But nothing about me that is incompatible with what my Father is. I am the truth about God.”
That is a phenomenon. And yet it was precisely for this glorious function that you and I were made, that man should be inhabited by God himself in such a way that God can communicate his character, his nature, his very being through a man. It is wonderful.
The amazing thing is this: that the God who inhabits eternity is the one who is prepared to inhabit you. God incarnate, God clothed with a man’s humanity. This is the unique character of man as God made him that he was literally, not just figuratively, but literally, factually to enter into it experientially, created by God, literally to be inhabited by God. . .
And when the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world he came to show us exactly what man was intended to be and how a man on earth may be inhabited by an eternal God so that that eternal God can give tangible expression, his character, his person, his being, his name for the man whom he inhabits.
And to this end the Lord Jesus became man.
The Lord Jesus in the form of God, possessing all the attributes which make God God, deliberately set aside those divine attributes that make God God and submitted himself to those limitations that make a man man. But he, as God, created a man to be inhabited by God, that the God who inhabits eternity might inhabit that man and that the God inhabiting that man might through that man make tangible, visible his own character, his own being as in a man without the God who inhabits is nothing. For it is the God in the man who make the man man as God intended man to be. . .
And that is why when the Lord Jesus Christ came to this world, though he was never less than God, deliberately made himself all that a man is without God, nothing. He made himself of no reputation.
In the New English Translation it says, “He made himself nothing.” Amazing.
The Lord Jesus of his own free volition, he need never have done it, made himself nothing, all that a man is without God, nothing.
God created man to be inhabited by himself and when God first made man, God indwelt him and God in the man was the origin of his image and expressed his nature through the man.
God came as the Son of God to show man the true and exact representation of Himself as God. Yet as Son of Man the Lord Jesus Christ was fully man as God intended man to be. Man with the image of God on the inside, fully functional and active as God intended man should be. Christ was all that Adam failed to be in order to show man what man should really be. Mankind filled by God to enable him to be what God intended.
If you wish to know more simply Search for Major Ian Thomas. There is a wealth of his material available online. In keeping with the spirit of Major Ian Thomas the quotes today are all his too.
Christian living is not a method or technique; it is an entirely different, revolutionary principle of life. Major Ian Thomas
There are few things quite so boring as being religious, but there is nothing quite so exciting as being a Christian! Major Ian Thomas
The moment you come to realize that only God can make a man godly, you are left with no option but to find God, to know God and to let God be God in and through you. Major Ian Thomas
Man was so engineered by God that the presence of the Creator within the creature is indispensable to His humanity. Major Ian Thomas
The measure of a man's worth is the measure in which he no longer lives "to and for himself," but "to and for Jesus Christ." No more and no less! Major Ian Thomas
It is not the nature of what you are doing that determines its spirituality, but the origin of what you are doing. Major Ian Thomas
Christ in you, on the grounds of redemption this is the Gospel! To preach anything less than this must inevitably produce "Evan-jellyfish" folk with no spiritual vertebrae . . .” Major Ian Thomas
Jesus Christ Himself is the final exegesis of all truth. He is all that we need to know about God, and He is all that we need to know about man. Major Ian Thomas
All of Christ in all of you. You can never have more. You need never have less. Major Ian Thomas
To be in Christ makes you fit for heaven; but for Christ to be in you, that makes you fit for earth. Major Ian Thomas