I can still remember one of the first times I read my Bible as a new Christian. I opened the Old Testament and began scrutinizing its pages. I was eager to learn about God, but it wasn’t long before I was confused. I knew the Bible was about Jesus, but I didn’t see His name mentioned anywhere. What was the deal? In time, I discovered that the Old Testament primarily deals with God’s work through the nation of Israel. The New Testament details the way in which God’s plan of salvation through Israel was finally accomplished. This new understanding helped me, but it also caused me to be shortsighted. I failed to see that Jesus is in all of the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, He paints each page with His presence. Seeing Scripture in this way revolutionized my understanding of God and His plan of salvation. When believers come to grips with the fact that Jesus is more than a teacher, leader, or moral example, but that He is the eternal Son of God, it will change the way they worship and live. Consider Jesus’ three states of being in Scripture.
Jesus has always existed. He is one with the Eternal God. Evidence of this is seen as early as Genesis 1:26, when God says, “Let Us make man in Our image…”. Notice the use of the first person plural. God referred to Himself as “Us,” because He exists as a Trinity. Jesus was with the Heavenly Father at the dawn of Creation. Paul affirmed this truth in Colossians 1:15-16. John also spoke of it in the introduction of His gospel account. He said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him...” (John 1:1-3). Bible teachers often refer to this state of Christ’s being as His pre-incarnate existence. Such truth should fill us with awestruck reverence. We have a Lord who “is before all things, and by Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).
Though He has always existed, Jesus stepped into the time line of human history at a definite point in time. He took upon Himself human flesh and He became like us. Scripture says, “When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4). Jesus had to become a human so that He might provide salvation for humans (Romans 5:19). Bible scholars often refer to this as the incarnation. Such truth should encourage us. We have a Savior who experienced all of the hardship of human life (Isaiah 53:3); as a result, He is able to help us and strengthen us. We don’t have a detached savior who isn’t able to sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15-16).
After His crucifixion, Jesus was glorified. God raised Him from the dead (Matthew 28:5-6). After spending 40 days on earth to prove His victory over death (Acts 1:3), Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9). Scripture teaches that He is now at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:3). Our Lord’s glorified state proves that He has power over life and death (1 Corinthians 15:20-22), and it reminds us that He is able and available to help us in our time of need (Acts 2:32-33).