Nutshell Theology: Christology


A Collection of Nuts

Big Picture

Christology is the study of Jesus Christ covering who he is and what he does; traditionally this has been described as "the person and work of Christ." Like all of these nutshell studies, I cannot provide any level of an exhaustive overview "“ let alone a completely thorough study. I will however provide some personal questions for you to investigate.

The Person of Christ

Jesus as a person is both fully God (we call that "Deity") and fully human. These are the two natures of Christ. It's important to recognize that Jesus is not two people. His humanity does not effect his deity and vice versa. What that means is that Jesus never stopped being God just because he was also a man. And at the same time it means that Jesus' was not a "superman" because of his deity. If you were to walk the streets of Jerusalem in 33 AD you might have looked right past Jesus and not even recognized him simply because there was nothing amazing about his appearance (Isaiah 53:2).

The Deity of Christ.

Most of the time when Christians talk about Cults the defining characteristic of a cult is that it denies the full deity of Christ. The Mormons consider him to be a man who became a god. The Jehovah's Witness consider him to be an angel. Many other groups you might be less familiar with also deny the fullness of the deity of Jesus Christ.
In the Old Testament there are some very familiar prophetic texts that call Jesus God. And many New testament passages as well directly or indirectly call Jesus "God". Read and discuss each of these, I also suggest underlining the pertinent phrases in your Bible. Isaiah 9:6; Psalm 110:1; Jeremiah 23:5-6; John 1:1, 5:18, 8:58, 10:30, 20:28; Acts 16:31-34. Finally compare these pairs: Isaiah 7:14 / Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 40:3/ Luke 1:76 and many, many more!1 As you read through the New testament you will find dozens of descriptions of Jesus which force you into accepting that Jesus was fully God.

The Humanity of Christ.

Open your Bible to the second chapter of Philippians (Philippians 2:5-11) There are some important phrases in this brief selection which need at least a little attention. "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped." Means that he wasn't clinging to it as if he could lose it. Notice also that Jesus existed not only in the "form" of God (v6) but also the "form" of man (v7). That means he was both God and man. You don't have to read too far in the gospels to find Jesus acting like every other human you've ever known in terms of him being tired (Mat 8:24), Crying (John 11:35), bleeding (Mat 26:26-29), eating (Luke 24:42-43). Every other reference demonstrates that Jesus was as human as you or I.
When Jesus ascended to Heaven he did not end his humanity either. Compare these verses: Rom 8:34; Heb 3:1, 4:14-16, 7:23ff, 9:24ff. 2

The Work of Christ

The work of Jesus cannot be easily summarized; but it involves more than what he accomplished in the 30+ years he lived on earth. From the beginning it has been promised that the Father would send a REDEEMER "“ that is, someone who could pay the price that our sin deserved so that we could again be free. Jesus fulfilled the work of redeemer at the cross and the grave.
The Bible talks about Jesus as PROPHET (Deuteronomy 18:15 / Acts 3:22-24 ), PRIEST (Psalm 110:4 / Hebrews 10:10-14) and KING ( Isaiah 33:22 / Luke 1:32-33). We could try to summarize both a major portion and major result of Jesus' work by recognizing that he KEPT THE LAW. Compare these passages: (Matthew 5:17; Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
We could also talk about the works of Christ in His Incarnation (He sacrificed the glories of heaven for a season to become one of us), His Miracles (Done in the power of the Holy Spirit), his Death, Burial, Resurrection, and Ascension where he returned to Heaven to be at the Father's side.
So what is Jesus doing right now? Plenty to be certain but his main work at the moment is praying for you! (Hebrews 7:25) Additionally He is waiting for the Father's command to return and take us home to be with him forever.

Daily Life

The first major application for you is assurance. I want you to be assured that there is excellent Biblical evidence that Jesus really is fully God as the Son-of-God. He and the Father share the same substance. Once you can rest easy on the Deity of Christ you can begin to understand his power to save us based on who he is and what he did rather than upon our works. The fact is believers have exchanged places with Jesus. He got our punishment for our sin and we got his life for his righteousness.
Now that you can rest in the Work of Christ you will also want to worship Christ. Jesus has done something amazing to us and for us. He has saved us!

Memory Verse

John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me."

Questions For Personal Study

  1. Why did Jesus call himself "The Son of Man" so often?
    (Read Daniel 7:13-14, Matthew 24:30, 25:31; 26:24; John 1:51.)
  2. How does knowing that Jesus was just as human as you change the way you think about yourself? Others? God?
  3. Read Matthew 4:1-11. How does knowing that Jesus was just as human as you affect the way you face temptation?
  4. Did Jesus Ever Claim to Be God?
    (Read John 10:30-43) What effects did those claims have on other people?
  5. How does knowing that Jesus is fully God change the way you think about Him?
  6. Does Knowing that Jesus is both fully God and Fully man encourage or help you with any problems you're facing now. (Spend some time reflecting and praying about this one.)
  7. Obtain a Bible Dictionary and look up Jesus, What new things did you learn that you didn't know before?
  8. Did this study help you to understand God more?
  9. How does Knowing Jesus help you to worship Him?
  10. What do you wish you knew about Jesus? Try to find the answer using your Bible and a good Bible Dictionary. If you would like, ask your parents or your pastor these questions.
1 Waterhouse, Steven W. Not By Bread Alone; Westcliff Press. Amarillo TX. Revised Edition 2003. p86
2 Waterhouse, Steven W. Not By Bread Alone; Westcliff Press. Amarillo TX. Revised Edition 2003. p93