Does anyone else find themselves hearing in church either Jesus or Christ? So often times I run into Christian brothers who almost exclusively use only one of these two names. I grew up saying Jesus or Jesus Christ, but rarely ever just using Christ. While growing up doing this, I thought nothing of it. But what if there is more to it than that? More than we realize?
From the earliest times of Christianity, this has been a heavily debated topic. The earliest Christian heretics were most likely the Gnostic’s who did not believe the divine really became a man, but rather used a meat-suit (for lack of a better description) while on earth, meaning that he never actually died on the cross.
Fifth century Christianity finds itself the Council of Chalcedon debating over the nature of Christ. Is he one or two in nature and in person? This council, one of the most important gatherings in early Christianity due to its impact on deciding Christian orthodoxy, had its most important topic centered on who exactly Jesus is. Those who gathered here did a great job at coming to a decision on who Jesus is for orthodoxy by stating he is full and complete in 2 natures and only one person (Ferguson chapter 14).
We still have Christians and groups who claim to be Christian still debating on who Jesus really is today, it has never really gone away. So what is the big deal about using Jesus versus Christ. While it may not seem to be a major one, it actually shows which aspect of Jesus Christ you emphasize. Christianity states that Jesus Christ is the God-Man, and not a 50-50 split, but rather 100% God and 100% man (I know this does not add up in our human math because how can someone be 200%, but Jesus fully both. As Ferguson stated, the Council of Chalcedon described Jesus as being of 2 full and complete natures – divine (Christ) and man (Jesus) – yet only one person.
Jesus emphasizes the humanity of our Lord, while Christ emphasizes the divine Son of God. Because we cannot fathom or comprehend our Lord being completely both, we tend to place more emphasis on the side of Jesus we relate to more. Does Christ’s humanity or divinity speak and mean more to your faith? Chances are, that is where you place the emphasis.
So what then? Are we bad Christians? No, but we should be conscious of our leanings and make an effort to acknowledge Jesus Christ for both stepping into our shoes and walking and suffering as we do, while also being the God of the world who created everything (John 1). If our the gospel we preach is that of Christ and him crucified then we must be sure to emphasize both that he was fully man, yet also fully God (1 Cor 1:23).
Jesus Christ had to be fully man and God to save us. He is not partially either one, but fully both. We will naturally gravitate more towards one, than the other, but we must acknowledge that he is both.
I love you guys, and so does Jesus. I hope you continue to long for this water, and continue to drink from it as well. Until next time, blessings to you and your family,