Copied and pasted from one of my favorite John MacArthur sermons titled ‘The Child Who was God’, but I simply call it, ‘If God Were a Man’.
In relation to God then, Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He is the replica, the iconian. He is the reproduction. In Hebrews chapter 1 and verse 3, it says this, making really the same point, Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his nature. He is the radiance of God’s glory. That is to say, he is the shinning forth of God. He is the exact (says the writer of Hebrews) representation of God’s person. He is not only the brightness, but he is the essence, the substance.
This term, image, is the classical Greek term for a die or a stamp. He replicates God. He’s the exact reproduction of God. As John tells us in his account of the birth of Christ, we beheld his glory and what glory was it? The glory as of the only begotten of the father full of the same attributes that are characteristic of God. Paul writing in Philippians 2 says, Christ in one point was in the form of God, but divested himself of that and came in the form of man. He is the precise copy, reproduction, replica of God. He is the very substance and essence of God. He is the radiance of God’s shining glory in human form. That’s why he could say in John 14:9, if you have seen me, you have seen the father.
In fact, he is not just a sketch of God, verse 9 of chapter 2 in Colossians it says, in him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form. And back in verse 19 of chapter 1, all the fullness is caused to dwell in him. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul says, Christ who is the image of God. He is a full manifestation and revelation of God. Paul wants it crystal clear that there is no equivocation as to the identity of Jesus Christ. He is God in human flesh. That’s not unreasonable if you look at the life of Christ. Think of it this way, if God were a man, what would we expect him to be like?
Well, if God were a man, here is my list. I would expect him to be sinless. Jesus was. He was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin. Even Pilat, who sat as his judge after all the hullabaloo that had gone on, came to this conclusion, I find in him…….what? No fault. The Roman centurion came to the same conclusion and so did the thief on the cross. Nobody could ever bring an accusation against him. A trial before Anas, a trial before Caiaphas, a trial before Herod passed back to Pilate, nobody could come up with anything. If God were a man, I would expect him to be sinless. The record of history and the affirmation of apostolic testimony and the truth is: Jesus was sinless.
If God were a man, I would expect him to speak the most profound and greatest words ever spoken, wouldn’t you? Jesus did. A comment of his detractors was; “We never heard anybody speak like this.” And every time He preached they were absolutely astounded.
If God were a man, I would also expect him to exert a profound influence over human personality. He did. The impact of Jesus Christ on humanity is without equal. In fact, if you just look at the disciples who were basically bumbling common characters who had a hard time comprehending seemingly some of the basic issues of theology and truth, but the power of Jesus’ life transformed them into people who changed the world. And still, he’s transforming people like that.
Influence. I would expect that if he were God he would have that kind of influence.
Now if God were a man, I would also expect him to do miracles. Jesus did, repeatedly, publicly, unarguable, dramatically, prolifically, and if God were a man, I would expect him to know the future. Jesus did. He predicted things about himself, things about the nation of Israel, details about the future, the end of the world.
If God were a man, I would expect him to show us what God was like. He did. We saw in him love and kindness and mercy and grace that was absolutely and utterly and beyond anything any human could ever experience.
And we saw in him a level of virtue, fairness, wisdom, the likes of which the world has never seen. Anyway you look at it, if God were to come into the world as a man, he would come out Jesus Christ and that’s the case. Jesus Christ is the exact reproduction of the invisible God he makes the invisible God visible.