Who Is The Baby In The Manger?

Son of God?

As Jesus traveled around the rocky hills of Galilee, huge crowds gathered to hear his words and see the miracles he performed. As his followers witnessed his amazing words and deeds, Jesus would make statements like, “I am the light of the world,” or, “I am the only way to God,” or, “I am the resurrection and the life.”[8]

What are we to make of such radical claims? Former skeptic, C. S. Lewis, concluded that Jesus was either telling the truth, which meant (to him) that he is God, or Jesus was wrong, making him either a liar or a lunatic. Lewis argues, “You must make your choice: Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse…. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”[9] (see “Is Jesus God?” for a summary of Lewis’ argument).

Power Over Nature?

Eyewitness accounts tell us that Jesus demonstrated incredible power over natural laws by giving sight to the blind, restoring limbs to paralytics, and turning water into wine at a wedding feast. Jesus also reportedly calmed storms and walked on water. Even his enemies acknowledged Jesus’ power over nature.

Jesus’ greatest reported miracle was his own resurrection from the dead. Jesus had discussed his impending death with his followers on several occasions. But Jesus told them after his execution, he would rise from the dead on the third day. They didn’t really understand what he meant until the events had taken place.

The fact that the disciples didn’t understand became clear once Jesus died on the cross. Their world came apart and they fled as cowards. Their leader whom they loved had died, and they were like sheep without a shepherd.

Something Happened?

After Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross and put into a tomb, a Roman guard was assigned to watch it day and night. All hope seemed to be gone. But as an article in the New York Times reported, “something happened!”[10]

On Easter morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and discovered that the stone had been rolled away. After alerting the disciples, she returned. As she wept, Jesus came to her and said, “Mary.” Her crucified master was alive!

Eyewitnesses write that Jesus then showed himself to his disciples and several others. It is reported that over 500 eyewitnesses saw the risen Jesus on one occasion. His disciples were so convinced that he had risen that they went everywhere proclaiming him alive, even at the cost of their own lives (see “Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?“).

Did God Visit US?

It would be inconceivable that Jesus could rise from the dead without the creative power of God. Likewise, Jesus’ virgin birth could not have occurred without such an act of God. This brings us back to Larry King’s statement that Jesus’ virgin birth would explain all of history for him. It would mean that God had visited us.

Some ask, “If God left heaven to become a man, who was running the universe?” Was God confined to a human body? Not according to Jesus and the authors of the New Testament, who speak of God as the Father in heaven, and Jesus as the Son of God. So who is Jesus—is he truly God, or something less?

Professor Peter Kreeft states that “In Jesus we find one person with two natures (human and divine)….Of course, God, the eternal “I AM,” did not become human in nature, for God’s nature cannot change. He did, however, take on a second nature. So it is that Jesus, the Son of God, had a God-nature and a human-nature.”[11]

So who was Jesus Christ? Was he merely a man? Or was he something greater, perhaps a prophet or an angel? Let’s ask John, a disciple and eyewitness who followed Jesus for his entire ministry. John begins his gospel by establishing his leader’s identity as human, yet at the same time, beyond human:

“In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God….He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make. Life itself was in him….So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.” [12]

John tells us here that Jesus was with God in the beginning. That means that he is an eternal being. But John goes further and tells us something far more radical about Jesus: He was the God who created everything! And, beyond that, he became human, and lived here on planet earth!

The apostles who saw and heard Jesus were literally stunned by this fact. They never really comprehended how God could become a man, but they accepted it as true because Jesus claimed it to be true, and it was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.

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