Let’s talk a little bit about Jesus – I want to do a short series on what the early church believed about Him, and what they had to say about that belief
Who is Jesus?
There is a question that has been around since Jesus Himself walked the earth. Even when He was around to answer the question, it was on wasn’t clear to those who were with them exactly who he was.
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, because he was teaching them like one who had authority, and not like their scribes.
He asked the question Himself, in Matthew’s Gospel, and Mark’s and Luke’s. He is hanging out with His disciples and talking about random stuff, and He busts out the question – “Who do people say that I am?” He’s just checking the word on the street, wondering what people are talking about behind his back… So the disciples give him a range of answers, and then he asks the most important question:
WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?
Peter nails it in one, for whatever reason he just shouts out, it’s like he suddenly sees Jesus as He is supposed to be seen, and he shouts it out:
YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD!
Jesus calls him blessed because it is not any human thing or person that has revealed it to Peter, it is God.
So Jesus is the Christ. But then we have to ask, what does that mean for Peter to say that Jesus is the Christ? If we dig deeper, what does it mean?
You could say, read the bible and you’ll find out. That is true, so throughout the NT we get hints of Jesus being referred to as the Son of God, but we also get talk of Him existing before time in some way, that He has always been until the time of His incarnation, that He was with God, that He somehow shares in the work and the power of God. But you also get Jesus praying to God, He is also hungry, He is thirsty, He suffers, He sweats, He sweats BLOOD! He dies.
Now all of these things seem to contradict one another, how can Jesus be God, divine, immortal, unchanging, and yet, still suffer and die?
So, for a while after Jesus had ascended into heaven, people put forward, all based on different interpretations of the New Testament, different ideas about how these things could be. This happened for almost 300 years, until in 325AD when the Emperor Constantine ‘The Great’, called a worldwide council of the Church to have a massive debate and sort out all of the issues. He invited all of the bishops, who were the highest authority in the Church, there were about 1800 in total, to come to a city called Nicea, and sort it all out. About 300 or so turned up, representing those who could not make it, they came from the east of the empire, like turkey and even India, and then from places like Britain!
They spent a whole month debating different issues! Can you imagine! Like 31 days talking about what it means for Jesus to be Jesus? They had some pretty hard out arguments, but in the end they came up with what they could all agree on, based on the Scriptures. So they defined how Jesus related to God, and how the Trinity relates to each other.
Then there was another council later in 451, where they finally nailed down how Jesus existed as both God and man.
Let’s get into exactly what they came up with in the next post!