Identity theft is a common occurrence in today’s world. Every day we read of someone who has had their identity stolen and it impacted their lives disastrous ways. They lost time and money and any number of other things trying to restore who they are in the eyes of everyone else. In the late first century, there were those who were trying to steal the identity of Jesus. These identity thieves weren’t trying to hijack his bank accounts or his personal records. Instead, they were denying who He was and robbing the joy from those that followed Him.
The apostle John writes a short letter to combat this identity theft. And, in the opening few verses of that letter he reminds us that Jesus was real. He writes:
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— what we have seen and heard we also declare to you, so that you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.1 John 1:1-4, CSB
In the opening verse of the gospel of John, the apostle also uses that word beginning to help affirm the deity of Jesus. This subtle connection reinforces that truth for us. Jesus is God. He is divine.
John not only suggests Jesus is divine. He also affirms His humanity. Many of the false teachers John is combating may have been denying the humanity of Jesus. The apostle is quick to point out that he had spent time with Jesus. He had talked with him and touched him and seen him at work. He indeed was real. He was flesh and blood. He was human.
A divine Jesus becoming flesh is what we know as the incarnation. And, the fact that Jesus is human and divine has serious implications for our salvation. Only a sinless sacrifice could atone for our sins. The divinity of Jesus affirms His sinlessness. Only a real death could atone for our sins. The humanity of Jesus affirms that His death was real. Full payment was made for our sin…all of our sin…our sin past, present, and future.
And, it is this Jesus who came, lived, died, and rose again for us that offers us complete forgiveness and restoration. It is in Him we find fellowship with God and with other believers. It is in Him that we find joy.
Don’t let a misunderstanding of Jesus rob your fellowship or your joy. Don’t let a thief steal the glory of salvation from your life. Trust fully in the real Jesus. Rest in Him. He and He alone is sufficient.