Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 6 – Jesus Who?

What would you say if someone asked you to describe Jesus? How would Jesus’ CV look should you write it? Most of us are familiar with the Sunday school answers: “Jesus is my Saviour and He died for me on the cross.”, “God loves me and He sent Jesus, His son, to die for my sins.” all of which are true but does not really tell the whole story. How well do we understand what really is revealed to us in the Bible regarding the life and death of the perfect God and Man? Lord’s Day 6 of the Heidelberg Catechism should help.

He is a perfectly righteous man:

Q. 16: Why must he be very man, and also perfectly righteous?

A: Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned, should likewise make satisfaction for sin; and one, who is himself a sinner, cannot satisfy for others. 

By becoming fully human Jesus could bear our sins. In other words: for us to be saved God had to become fully man. He had to become weak, vulnerable, and experience all the temptations of the world so that He could die as our substitute. But He not only had to become human He also had to live the perfect life so that His right-standing with God could be transferred to us.

He is also fully God:

Q. 17: Why must he in one person be also very God?

A: That he might, by the power of his Godhead sustain in his human nature, the burden of God’s wrath; and might obtain for, and restore to us, righteousness and life.

We so often hear the cliché of Jesus bearing our sins on the cross that we give it no second thought. We seem to waltz through the day unaware that every time we lie, every time we act in anger, every time we desire a car or a house, every sin we commit we choose something instead of God. We constantly exchange the ultimate truth for a lie (Rom 1:23). The crime is massive and the punishment eternal.  While being fully man Jesus is also fully God because, as God, He has the strength to bear the weight of each and every of our blasphemous sins.

He is both man and God:

Q. 18: Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, and a real righteous man?

A: Our Lord Jesus Christ: “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”

Who is Jesus then? He is the God who gives wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. He gives us the means to get to know Him, a clean slate, a life of growing closer to Him and the means by which we can escape the wrath of God that we deserve. This is possible only because He became a man.

He has shown us all this:

Q. 19: Whence knowest thou this?

A: From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise; and afterwards published by the patriarchs and prophets, and represented by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; and lastly, has fulfilled it by his only begotten Son. 

The actual CV of Jesus Christ is infinite, we are told this in John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.“.

So what would you say in summary, who is Jesus? Apart from the infinite CV, it might work if you summarised with references:

    • See in the Paradise, also known as The Garden of Eden.
    • See the patriarchs and prophets.
    • See the ceremonies and sacrifices of the law.
    • See Jesus Himself, fulfilling every requirement as the dear Son of God.

This then is the Good News. The story of Jesus, fully man, fully God, satisfying the rightful anger of our perfect God.

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