Common Misconceptions about Jesus Christ

 

 Jesus 26

Common Misconceptions
about Jesus Christ


Richard Hollerman

Most people, other than hardened skeptics, acknowledge that Jesus Christ lived on earth two thousand years ago.  Liberal professing Christians may go beyond this and admit that Jesus was a great teacher, a moral reformer, an accomplished leader, and a worthy example of life.  Those with an Evangelical perspective will freely acknowledge that Jesus was the very sinless Son of God who died for the sins of the world and who was raised from the dead to be exalted to heaven.

Yet we must admit that there are many different views of Jesus—and some of them seriously fail to acknowledge key aspects of his being, nature, and character.  Some nominal professing Christians and others may believe certain truths about the Lord but this belief is compromised by false ideas of who Jesus is and what He has done.  Let’s notice a few of these common errors and use the Word of God to correct these false ideas.

First, Jesus’ existence didn’’t begin in Bethlehem when he was born of Mary. 

We are convinced that some people recognize, especially around Christmas time, that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea around 2,000 years ago.  They think of the “baby Jesus” lying in a manger, encircled by donkeys and sheep, visited by shepherds and the magi.  They may even know that Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin named Mary.  The Barna Research Group discovered that some 75 percent of American adults believe that Jesus was born of a virgin (barna.org).  But that is as far as this popular belief goes.

The truth is far more amazing and awesome than this!  Just remember the “golden text” of the Bible that most people have heard: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  God “gave” His Son.  Numerous times in the Gospel of John, we read that God “sent” His Son (cf. John 3:34; 4:34; 5:23, 24, 30, 36, 37, 38, 6:29, 38; etc.).  Some of these say that Jesus was “sent into the world” (John 10:36).  There are also many scriptures that say that Jesus came into the world (cf. John 6:14; 9:39; 11:27).  Complementing this would be scriptures that say that Jesus came from heaven, or that Jesus “descended from heaven” (John 3:13).  Note these words of Jesus: “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father” (John 16:28).  It is quite clear that Jesus “pre-existed” His earthly life.  Before this time, He was in heaven.

Second, even Jesus’ earthly life didn’’t begin in Bethlehem.

If you think about this, you will see what I mean.  Since life begins at conception and not birth, we must realize that Jesus was “incarnated” (He became flesh) nine months before He was born in Bethlehem.  Our Lord became flesh in Bethlehem of Galilee.  Luke tells us: “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (1:26, 27).  The angel said, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus” (v. 31).  The Bible says that before Joseph and Mary “came together,” Mary “was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).  Jesus was incarnated in Nazareth and not Bethlehem, some nine months before His birth!

Third, the Lord Jesus Christ was eternal in nature

Far from having His existence begin two thousand years ago, our Lord existed forever!  It was written of Jesus by the prophet Micah that “His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2).  Jesus astounded the Jews by affirming, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am” (John 5:58).  As the NASB Study Bible note says, “Jesus did not say ‘I was’ but ‘I am,’ expressing the eternity of His being and His oneness with the Father.”

In His prayer to the Father on the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus said, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).  We must see that Jesus the Lord (in His pre-incarnate state) was with God the Father before creation—before “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  Jesus also prayed on this occasion, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5).  The Father and the Son had “glory” before the creation!  This shows the fallacy of the false teaching, such as that promoted by “The Way International” and other cults who deny the pre-existence of our glorious Lord!

Fourth, Jesus Christ created all things!

Probably this fact comes as a surprise to some liberal Protestants and others.  Yet it is true!  Far from beginning to exist two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ our Lord, was the Creator of the entire universe!  This fact is stated plainly a number of times in Scripture.  Paul says that “by Him [Christ] all things were created, both in heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).  When speaking to some Watchtower Witnesses some time ago, I pointed out that their corrupt New World Translation altered the text to read, “by Him all [other] things were created….”  They insert the word “other” to suggest that Jesus is a created being, thus He only created all “other” things in the universe.  I pointed out to them that the inserted word, “other,” was not in the Greek and they were to return to discuss this.  They never returned.

Actually, the Scriptures do point out that God created all things (Genesis 1:1)—but He did so through the agency of Jesus Christ His Son, who existed in spirit form before He took on flesh ages later.  Notice Hebrews 1:2: “In these last days, [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”  The term “world” here is from the Greek aion, meaning “ages” but this nonetheless does show Christ’s work in creation.  John the apostle also writes, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (1:3).  Again notice that this rules out that Christ was created—for “nothing came into being that has come into being,” including Himself, apart from Himself.  Paul adds to this by referring to Jesus Christ, “by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Corinthians 8:6).  Indeed, Jesus is our Creator—the One through whom God the Father created all things!

Fifth, Jesus was absolutely sinless in life

We can see that if Jesus Christ created all things, He surely must have been sinless.  Yet millions of people claim to appreciate Jesus without acknowledging that He was without sin.  The Barna Research Group, in their poll, discovered that only 33 percent of Catholics and 35 percent of mainline Protestants believe that Jesus was sinless!  (The mainline Protestant category includes Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians.)

The Bible leaves no room for doubt about Christ’s absolute sinlessness.  It is very clear that Jesus was “tempted in all thins as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).  Scripture says that Jesus “knew no sin,” thus He was qualified to take our sins on Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21).  The Hebrew writer refers to Jesus as “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens” (7:26).  Peter says that Christ died for sins, “the just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18).  John also tells us that “he is pure. . . . in Him there is no sin. . . . He is righteous” (1 John 3:3, 5, 7).  While the Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), this is true of all humanity—except Jesus Christ the Righteous One!

Sixth, Jesus Christ was God and not just the Son of God.

This is very difficult for us to understand.  Some try to soften the teaching of Scripture on this by saying that Jesus is usually identified as the “Son of God” and not God Himself (John 3:16; 20:30-31).  Yet, it is also true that just as one who is a “son of man” must be man in his nature, so One who is “Son of God” must be God in His nature!

We would admit that there are many, many passages of Scripture that identify Jesus as God’s Son, but there are also weighty verses that affirm His deity as well.  The very first verse of John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1).  Notice this again: “The Word was God.”  Who is the Word?  Verse 14 states, “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  Jesus Christ is the One who “became flesh, and dwelt among us,” thus He is the One who was “God” (v. 1).  The more ancient and better manuscripts of verse 18 state: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, he has explained Him.”  Obviously, “the only begotten God” is a reference to Christ Jesus.

A number of other references also point to Christ’s full deity.  Paul writes that we are “looking for the blessed hope of the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13).  Jesus Christ is both “God and Savior”!  Peter adds to this by referring to “the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1).  Jesus Christ is both “God and Savior”!  Paul speaks of Christ in this way: “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9).

In the book of Revelation, we find references to “the Alpha and Omega,” “the First and the Last,” and “the Beginning and the End.”  It is interesting to note that these phrases are applied to God the Father (Revelation 1:8; 21:6) as well as Jesus Christ the Lord (1:17; 2:8; 22:13).

Accept Christ Jesus in His Fullness 

We have noticed six different matters that many people overlook when they think of Jesus Christ.  Others could be mentioned, but this is sufficient for us to see how vital it is to look into God’s inspired Word to receive a full and complete view of the identity, nature, and character of Jesus Christ our Lord, the very Son of God, the Lord of Glory, the eternal Creator!  Let us believe in Him, love Him, obey Him, and faithfully serve Him!  How do you view Jesus Christ?

 

 

Comments are closed.