Why was it important that Jesus Christ was both God and man?

The humanity and deity of Jesus is equally important. Jesus is firstly the second person of the trinity, which existed with God for all eternity with no beginning and no end. Jesus was equal to God before His incarnation as a man (Phil. 2:6). He did not hold on to His equality with God, but took upon Himself another form (Lloyd-Jones, 2003:Location 4317). He did not empty Himself of His equality with God. Jesus never forsook His status as God when He became a man. He took on another form and was born in the likeness of men (Phill. 2:7). The humanity of Jesus coexists with His deity. This concept is difficult for the human mind to comprehend. It is a Biblical fact that Jesus’ nature is wholly man and wholly God.

The virgin birth of Jesus is proof that He was sinless and God. The prophet Isaiah said that God would give Israel a sign (Is. 7:3). The sign would be a virgin that will bear a son and He will be called Immanuel, which means God with us. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her that she will bear a son without being with a man (Luke 1:28-38). The baby will be created by the power of the Holy Spirit in her womb, thus ensure His deity and Holiness. God fulfilled the Scriptures in the incarnation of Jesus to reveal Himself to humankind. Paul wrote that God revealed Himself to Israel through prophets, but in these last days revealed Himself in His son, Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-5). Jesus was the exact radiance and imprint of God. Jesus was also God (Heb. 1:8)

The Bible teaches Jesus Christ is one person with two natures (Lloyd-Jones, 2003:Location 4245). Martin Lloyd-Jones commented on the Chalcedon confession as follows: “Notice that its emphasis is this: one person, two natures, the two natures unmixed, joined but not mixed, not fused,  not intermingled, remaining separate, God and man.”

Jesus had to be born as a human being for several reasons:

1. Jesus had to be born as a human being under the law:

Galatians 4:4-5 state that Jesus had to be born as a human being under the law so that He could redeem those who are under the law. By doing that, we received the full right to become sons and daughters of God. Only a human being could be born under the law. No spiritual being or angelic being or animal is under the law. Only a human being born under the law can redeem another human being born under the law (Houdmann, 2009). Born under the law, all humans are guilty of transgressing the law of God (Exodus 20, Matthew 5- 6). Only a perfect human being with the divine ability to obey every command of God, can redeem those under the law who are guilty of transgressing the law of God. Jesus Christ became a man under the law, lived a sinless life because He was God, and exchanged our sins for His perfect righteousness on the cross (2 Corinthian 5:21). If Jesus was a sinful human like us, born under the law, then He could not redeem us, because then He would have needed a redeemer Himself.

2. The shedding of blood for the remission of sins:

Another reason Jesus had to be fully human is that God established the necessity of the shedding of blood for the remission of sins (Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:22). In the Old Testament, God established the slaughter of a lamb without any defect, to be sacrificed for sins (Exodus 12). This was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God that will be sacrificed for our sins (Houdmann, 2009). The blood of animals, although acceptable on a temporary basis as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice, were insufficient for the permanent remission of sin, because it was impossible for the blood of animals to take away the penalty and guilt of our sin (Hebrews 10:4). If Jesus did not become a sinless human being, he could not be sacrificed for our sins.  If He came in any other form or in a spiritual form, He could not be sacrificed for a human being’s sin.

3. The humanity of Jesus enables Him to relate to humans:

The humanity of Jesus enabled Him to relate to us in a way angels or animals never could (Houdmann, 2009). Jesus was tempted and suffered like us (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus experienced fear, joy, pain, heartache and various human emotions (John 11:35, Mark 13:34, Luke 10:21), to proof that He is our true high priest in heaven. The Bible says that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence, because Jesus was a human being like us, so that we can find help in our difficulties (Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus was tempted like us, yet did not sin. Through the incarnation of Jesus, we can relate to God who is Spirit. Only a human being can relate to our weaknesses and temptations. In His humanity, Jesus was subjected to the same trials we are. He was tempted. He was persecuted. He was poor. He was despised. He suffered physical pain. He endured the sorrows of a lingering and most cruel death. Only a human being could fully experience these things and only a human being could fully understand them through experience.

4. Jesus became a man to set an example for us to follow:

In 1 Peter chapter 2 and verse 21 we read this: “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” Jesus also said in John 13:34-35, that we must love one another as He loved us so that the world can know that we are His disciples. We understand that the life of Christ was an exemplary life. Jesus demonstrated what he expected of His followers, by example. The word disciple mean an active adherent, pupil or professed follower of someone. When Jesus became man, He chose twelve disciples whom He taught and showed how to be followers (disciples) of Him. The apostles could then teach others because they experienced Christ. That is why John could wrote (1 John 1:1-5) that they heard Him, they saw Him, they looked at Him and they touched Him; the Word of Life. John wrote deep experiential detail about the reality of Jesus they witnessed. He could wrote this because they experienced Jesus as a human and as God.

5. The Word became flesh:

The Word became flesh (John 1:1-5). After God spoke out the curse of sin (Gen 3), He promised that a person would come through Eve who will destroy the work of Satan (Gen 3:15). Right through the Old Testament, God spoke of a Messiah who would come and save His people from sin. The perfect Lamb of God that would take their sin upon Himself, would suffer physically, and die for their sin (Isaiah 53). The Bible spoke of Him being raised from the dead (Psalm 16:10). The Bible spoke of Him being glorified as Lord at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1). This spoken word of God became flesh in the form of Jesus Christ. Without the fulfilment of these promises, the spoken word of God, Jesus would remain a philosophy. By becoming a man, Jesus fulfilled all those promises and prophesies. God showed His word is alive and God is real, trustworthy and authentic. The Word truly became flesh and dwelled among us. The Word was in the beginning, the Word created everything and the Word is God.

6. Jesus was the revelation of God in the flesh:

Jesus is the revelation of God in the flesh by His miracles and teachings. He came to do it among us, so people could witness the revelation of the kingdom of God. God Himself revealed the kingdom of God among us. In this sense, Christianity is different from any other religion, as other religions do not have concrete proof of their gods and only remains in ideas and philosophies.

The miracles of Jesus was much more than just proof of who He was. The miracles of Jesus was part of the revelation and are a means of revelation (Williams, 2000:68). When Jesus said, “I am the light”, He proceeded to open the eyes of a blind man (John 9:5-7). God demonstrated through the deity and humanity of Jesus, on earth who He is. The virgin birth (Luke 1:26-35, Matt. 1:18-25) and resurrection (Luke 24:6-7) of Jesus which were part of his humanity and deity, were the essential revelations of Jesus as God in the flesh.

7. Jesus experienced death in our place:

The penalty for sin is death. Jesus then experienced death in our place. He conquered death and was the first human being to be raised from the dead. Jesus overcame death so that those who believe in Him can be raised from the dead as well (1 Cor. 15:20-23).

8. Jesus redeemed us from Adam:

Jesus had to become man to redeem us from Adam. Sin, mortality and death entered the world through Adam (1 Cor. 15:22). Adam’s sin cursed nature. Adam transferred sin and death to every human being (Rom. 5:12-21). Adam’s one act of disobedience brought sin and death over humankind. Jesus came in the form of Adam and by His one act of obedience, many are made alive (Rom. 5:18-21).

Summary:

Jesus could only perform all these righteous deeds to redeem us from our fallen state if He was sinless human being and God. He must have had the power to endure temptation and not sin. He must have obeyed the law and met the righteous requirements of God. He must have taken the form of sinful man upon Himself and overcome it. He must have died on the cross without sin, while taking our sins to the cross.  He paid for our sins while He himself was not guilty. He rose from the dead to proof that God accepts His sacrifice on our behalf, and that He was what He said. Jesus could only do all of that because He was fully God and fully man.