“Who Was That Child in a Manger?” – The Profile Evidence

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:16-17)

The Apostle Peter’s testimony of Jesus reveals two very important things about who He was/is:  (1) Jesus was the long prophesied Messiah/Christ (anointed of the LORD to deliver God’s people), and (2) Jesus is the Son of (same in nature as) God.  But what evidence do we have to corroborate what Jesus’ lead spokesperson confessed?  Jesus said Peter had the revelation from the Father (God) in heaven.  What do we have?

We have the sure and very certain word of the prophets which has been given to us as a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19).  The word of the prophets is the Holy Scriptures and the Morning Star is Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:16).  Jesus said about the Scriptures, “They testify about me” (John 5:39).  The Bible is our final authority on the subject of Jesus, and when we read it, the same revelatory light from God that shined into Peter’s dark mind shines into ours.  And the more we read it, the more that Morning Star (Jesus) rises (becomes clearer and brighter) in our hearts.  The Bible gives to us profiles of both God and the Messiah that were uniquely satisfied in the one person, Jesus Christ.

Jesus uniquely fits the profile of “Immanuel”, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23). Colossians 1:15 says:  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.   But how can one person be both God and man?  The Bible says God is eternal (without beginning or ending); Jesus was born – He had a birthday which we still celebrate every year (Matthew 1:18).  The Bible says  God is immutable (never changing); Jesus grew and developed – He changed (Luke 2:52).  God is omniscient (all knowing); but Jesus confessed His ignorance about some things (Matthew 24:36).  God is omnipresent (everywhere at the same time); Jesus walked from place to place and even got tired (John 4:6).  God is omnipotent (all powerful); yet Jesus was taken, beaten and crucified (John 19:16).  Inquiring minds want to know – “If Jesus was God, why did He have human limitations?  And if He was human, why did He claim equality with God?

The more we read the Word of God (the Bible), the more we are able to understand the mystery of Jesus as both God and man:  The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130 NIV).  The biblical profile of Jesus is fully divine:

  • He is eternal: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2 NIV)
  • He is immutable: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)
  • He is omniscient (all knowing): Now we can see that you know all things (John 16:30 NIV)
  • He is omnipresent (all present): “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NIV)
  • He is omnipotent (all powerful): “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18 NIV)

The biblical profile of Jesus is also completely human.  The incarnation (God made flesh) has been called the most profound mystery in history.  But again the Bible shines the light of understanding into our simple minds:

  • Always and forever the Son of God (John 1:1; 8:58) – Jesus became the Son of Man (John 1:14 – His birthday).
  • At times He demonstrated all the limitations of humanity right down to being tired and thirsty (John 4:6; 19:28).  At other times He displayed the limitless power of His divinity (Matthew 14:18-21; John 11:43).
  • When He became human, the Son of God somehow gave up, set aside, emptied Himself of His divine privileges (either selectively or entirely) while He dwelt on Earth (Philippians 2:5-8).
  • In the Person of Jesus, the divine and human are forever One – and can never be separated (Acts 1:11).

We do not comprehend the whole mystery of incarnation, but Jesus certainly fits the profile of that one Peter confessed to be the Son of the living God.

 Jesus also fits the profile of the prophesied and long awaited Messiah/Christ?  “There are several things that the Jewish people who anticipated the Messiah expected Him to be, based on Old Testament prophecies. The Messiah would be a Hebrew man (Isaiah 9:6) born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), a prophet akin to Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18), a priest in the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4), a king (Isaiah 11:1–4), and the Son of David (Matthew 22:42) who suffered before entering His glory (Isaiah 53). Jesus met each of these messianic requirements.”

“Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the Messiah in that He was a Hebrew of the tribe of Judah (Luke 3:30), and He was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:4–7) to a virgin (Luke 1:26–27).”

“Another proof that Jesus was the Messiah is the fact that He was a prophet like Moses. Both Moses and Jesus were prophets “whom the LORD knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10; cf. John 8:38). But Jesus is an even greater prophet than Moses in that, while Moses delivered Israel from slavery, Jesus frees us from the bondage of death and sin. Unlike Moses, Jesus didn’t just represent God—He is God (John 10:30). Jesus doesn’t just lead us to the Promised Land; He takes us up to heaven for eternity (John 14:1–3). For these and many more reasons, Jesus is a prophet greater than Moses.”[2]

Perhaps the clearest and most profound of all Old Testament Messianic prophecies is that in Isaiah 53 – the Suffering Servant.  To read Isaiah’s words written seven centuries before Christ and compare them with the biography of Jesus in the gospels, leaves no doubt that He was indeed the Messiah: 

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.  And who can speak of his descendants?  For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. 11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.  For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:1-12 New International Version)

Both as Christ and the Son of God – Jesus fits the profile!  Hallelujah!

[1] Taken from The Case for Christmas: A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger by Lee Strobel [Zondervan, 2005].

[2] https://www.gotquestions.org/is-Jesus-the-Messiah.html

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