Revelation in Jesus Christ (Part I)
God has revealed Himself to humanity externally through His relationship as Creator. We can begin to know Him rationally because of the quality of reality itself. There are many natural evidences such as a beginning to the universe, the pervasive hallmarks of amazing design, and the contingent nature of being itself. All of these evidences can be explored through the work of many philosophers like Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Richard Swinburne, William Lane Craig, and Alvin Plantinga among many others. God has also revealed Himself internally through the conscience which points to man’s spiritual nature because of free will and the realization of objective moral values. These facts help us begin to know God’s existence and His essential character but only partially and even in a mysterious sense.
However, God has completely, categorically, and unequivocally revealed Himself in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Scriptures state, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:1-4). God has authoritatively spoken through His Son who is the “express image of His person.”
The revelation of Jesus Christ gives humanity understanding of God because He is God and Jesus is the very centerpiece of all Holy Scripture. The Scriptures are either written in prophetic anticipation, direct apostolic witness, or about the will of the Lord Jesus. We cannot mistake the divine purpose of the entire Bible which is to manifest Yahweh to humanity in Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
The Torah is written to begin the sketch outline of Jesus and His holiness. In fact, Jesus said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5: 46) The Torah is fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus. (Matthew 5:17) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” The law had several divine purposes, but the primary one was to find vivified perfection in the person of Christ. The work of Christ’s vicarious death is inextricably joined to His superintendence and subservience to the law in life. It is through His absolute righteousness that our atonement from sin can be accomplished.
The law was initiated to bring humanity to Christ and thus salvation. It is a preparatory means for humanity to apprehend and appreciate the Messiah Jesus. The Scriptures state, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (Galatians 3:24). Moreover, The Hebrew writer states, “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things” (Hebrews 10:1). Jesus taught His disciples from the Old Testament regarding Himself, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24: 27).
The Gospels present the faithful testimony of the earthly life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The four biographies detail the miraculous virgin birth, dramatic baptism by the prophet John, the unparallel ministry of Jesus, vicarious death and victorious resurrection. The evangelist Luke even details his historical methodology in his prologue to the eponymous Gospel, “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed” (Luke 1:1-4). Luke explains that his account was from “eyewitnesses” and written for the specified purpose of giving an “orderly account.”
The epistles are a continuation of Jesus’ teaching through the first century apostolic voices. Jesus promised, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16: 12,13). The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and further instructed the apostles and the church (Acts 2:1-4). The Apostle Paul explicitly proclaims, “For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The Holy Scriptures are undoubtedly the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.