Jesus Christ

His name and His nature
His deity
The purpose of His crucifixion

His Name and His Nature

Christian Science:
Jesus Christ has a dual nature – Jesus the mortal man and Christ the spiritual idea of man.

“Christ is the ideal Truth, that comes to heal sickness and sin through Christian Science, and attributes all power to God. Jesus is the name of the man who, more than all other men, has presented Christ, the true idea of God, healing the sick and sinning and destroying the power of death. Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence, the duality of Jesus the Christ.” (Science and Health, 473:10-17)

The Bible:
The Bible uses the names Jesus and Christ interchangeably, pointing away from the dual nature presented in Christian Science. “Christ” and “Messiah” both find their origins in the word “anointed.” Jesus Christ, therefore, means “Jesus, the anointed.” “Christ” and “Messiah” refer to a person’s title rather than to a “spiritual idea.” The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus and Christ are the same person.

“After talking with and following Jesus, Andrew found his brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” (John 1:41b)

“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:31)

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is the antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22)

The Bible frequently describes Christ in human terms more appropriate to a physical man (like Jesus) than to a “spiritual idea of man.” For example:

Christ was born:
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

Christ had a human ancestry:
“Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (John 7:42)

Christ had blood:
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Pet 1:18-19)

Christ was crucified:
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;” (1 Cor 1:23)

Christ physically suffered, died, and rose from the dead:
“That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:23)
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His Deity

Christian Science:
Jesus is the Son of God, but he is not God.
“…Jesus Christ is not God, as Jesus himself declared, but is the Son of God.” (Science and Health, 361:12-13)

The Bible:
The Bible describes Jesus as the Son of God, but it also assigns him attributes and names that can only belong to God. The Bible describes Jesus as:

Eternally existent:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us . . . .” (John 1:1,14a)

As the Creator of all things:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. . . . He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” (John 1:1,3,10)

“[God] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” (Heb 1:2)

As the Sustainer of all things:
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Heb 1:3, New International Version)

Jesus claimed the authority to forgive sins (a claim that the scribes labeled as blasphemous):
“And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins. . . .” (Mark 2:3-10)

Jesus claimed power over his own life and death:
“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:17-18)

By linking himself with the term I AM, Jesus identified himself with the God of the Old Testament:

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)

Both Jesus and God are called Alpha and Omega in the book of Revelation. Alpha means “first” and Omega means “last.” There cannot be two firsts and two lasts.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev 1:8)

“And he said unto [John], It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Rev 21:6,7)

“And, behold, I come quickly. . . . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. . . .Surely I come quickly.” John’s response is, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev 22: 12a, 13, 20)

“Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I live for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Rev 1: 17b, 18)

Jesus allowed the disciple Thomas to call him God. (Contrast this with what happened to Herod when he allowed people to call him God.)

“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)

“And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.” (Acts 12:21-23)

Jesus allowed people to worship him. Contrast this with both the angels and Jesus’ disciples’ refusal to accept worship.

“Jesus heard that they had cast [the man he had healed of blindness] out [of the temple]; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” (John 9:35-38)

“And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:” (Luke 24:51-52)

“And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” (Rev 22:8-9)

“And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.” (Acts 10:25-26, emphasis added)

Stephen prayed to Jesus as he was being stoned to death. Praying to Jesus would have been unthinkable for a devout Jew like Stephen – unless he understood something of Jesus’ deity.

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59)

Paul alluded to Jesus’ deity when he instructed the elders from Ephesus to “feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28).
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The Purpose of Jesus’ Crucifixion

Christian Science:
Jesus only seemed to die on the cross. His triumph over the belief in death demonstrated that man is the perfect, spiritual, reflection of God and that disease and death are not real. Jesus’ shed blood had no power to cleanse from sin.

“His disciples believed Jesus to be dead while he was hidden in the sepulcher, whereas he was alive, demonstrating within the narrow tomb the power of Spirit to overrule mortal, material sense . . . . Our Master fully and finally demonstrated divine Science in his victory over death and the grave.” (Science and Health, 44:28-31, 45:6-7)

“Does erudite theology regard the crucifixion of Jesus chiefly as providing a ready pardon for all sinners who ask for it and are willing to be forgiven? . . . Then we must differ. . . .

The efficacy of the crucifixion lay in the practical affection and goodness it demonstrated for mankind. The truth had been lived among men; but until they saw that it enabled their Master to triumph over the grave, his own disciples could not admit such an event to be possible. . . .

The spiritual essence of blood is sacrifice. The efficacy of Jesus’ spiritual offering is infinitely greater than can be expressed by our sense of human blood. The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon “the accursed tree,” than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father’s business.” (Science and Health, 24:20-31, 25:3-9)

“One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin. The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner’s part. That God’s wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son, is divinely unnatural. Such a theory is man-made.” (Science and Health, 23:3-7)

The Bible:
Jesus physically died on the cross to pay for the sins of mankind. His sinless nature made him uniquely qualified to bear the judgment and punishment that God’s holiness and divine justice demand. The Jewish system of animal sacrifice had provided a temporary covering for sin and had pre-figured Jesus’ sacrifice; Jesus’ shed blood and death paid the debt “once for all” for all who are willing to believe.

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb 10:10)

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Pet 1:18-19)

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” (1 Pet 3:18)

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (Rom 3:23-25)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor 5:21)

“Who was delivered for our offense, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom 4:25)

““Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, O God.’”

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Heb 10:5-14, New International Version)

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

“Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Rom 5:18-19)

“And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Heb 9:15)

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Eph 1:7)

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Heb 9:22-28)
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