Why does it matter that Jesus is God in the flesh?
It is important to identify Jesus as “God in the flesh” for many reasons, but the two primary reasons are that 1) He claimed to be God in the flesh and 2) His death on the cross and resurrection mean something different if He is God in the flesh.
People have questioned the true identity of Jesus since before He was born until current time. Joseph, Mary's fiancé, planned to leave her until he learned from an angel that Jesus was the Son of God (Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:26–38).
As a traveling rabbi, Jesus asked His disciples "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" Many answers were given. Then Jesus asked, "But who do you say that I am?"
When Peter answered, "You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God," Jesus affirmed that answer (Matthew 16:13–17; Mark 8:27–29).
Later, Jesus equated Himself with God when He answered Philip's request for Him to reveal the Father (God). "…Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves" (John 14:9–11).
John 1:1–14 identifies Jesus as God. Philippians 2:6–7 identifies Jesus as equating to God. Colossians 2:9 says that Jesus was fully divine. Other Scriptures that speak of Jesus' divinity include Matthew 1:23; 2:11; 14:32–33; John 8:58–59; 10:30–33; 20:27–29; and more.
Here's the most important answer when we think about Jesus being God: Jesus was executed by the Roman government, died, and was put into a tomb. Three days later, He came back to life! More than 500 people saw Him alive again. What difference does that make?
Answer: Jesus’ death was an acceptable sacrifice for sin--including your sin and my sin. If Jesus was merely a man, His sacrifice would have been just another death at the hands of the Romans. Instead, Jesus is fully human and fully God. He lived a human life without sin, and did not inherit a sin nature because He did not have a human father. Thus, He could be a perfect and blameless sacrifice to atone for our sins. Because He is divine (God), He was able to overcome death and His sacrifice covered all who call on Him for salvation (John 8:28–30; Hebrews 9:14–15; 10:1–18).
Hebrews 10:12–14 says, "When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." Nobody but God could fulfill the requirements of covering the whole world for their sins (Matthew 26:28).
What each person believes about Jesus' true identity determines his/her eternal destination—either accept His sacrifice, believing He is God in the flesh dying for you and rising in power back to life, and spend eternity with Him, or reject these ideas and spend eternity separated from Him.
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