Appreciate Jesus’ Unique Role in God’s Purpose
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”—JOHN 14:6.
1, 2. Why should we be interested in examining Jesus’ unique role in God’s purpose?
THROUGHOUT the ages, many have endeavored to stand out as different from those around them, but few do. Even fewer individuals can rightly claim that they are unique in significant ways. Yet, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is unique in many ways.
2 Why should Jesus’ unique role interest us? Because our very relationship with our heavenly Father, Jehovah, is involved! Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6; 17:3) Let us examine some of the ways in which Jesus is unique. Doing so will build our appreciation for his role in God’s purpose.
“The Only-Begotten Son”
3, 4. (a) Why can we say that Jesus is unique in his role as the only-begotten Son? (b) How was Jesus’ role in creation unique?
3 Jesus is not just “a son of God.” That is how Satan referred to Jesus while tempting him. (Matt. 4:3, 6) Jesus is rightly called “the only-begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16, 18) The Greek word translated “only-begotten” has been defined as “single of its kind, only,” “the only member of a kin or kind,” or “unique.” Jehovah has hundreds of millions of spirit sons. In what sense, then, is Jesus the only one “of a kin or kind”?
4 Jesus is unique in that he is the sole direct creation of his Father. He is the firstborn Son. In fact, he is “the firstborn of all creation.” (Col. 1:15) He is “the beginning of the creation by God.” (Rev. 3:14) The only-begotten Son’s role in creation is also unique. He was not the Creator, or Originator, of creation. But Jehovah used him as the agent, or means, to create all other things. (Read John 1:3.) The apostle Paul wrote: “There is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him.”—1 Cor. 8:6.
5. How do the Scriptures highlight the uniqueness of Jesus?
5 However, much more is involved in the uniqueness of Jesus. The Scriptures attribute to him many titles or designations that highlight his unique role in God’s purpose. Let us now examine five more of these as applied to Jesus in the Christian Greek Scriptures.*
6. Why is it appropriate that Jesus is called “the Word”?
6 Read John 1:14. Why is Jesus called “the Word,” or Logos? This title identifies the function that he has performed since other intelligent creatures came into existence. Jehovah used his Son to convey information and instructions to other spirit sons, even as God used that Son to deliver His message to humans on earth. The fact that Jesus is the Word, or God’s Spokesman, is echoed in what Christ said to his Jewish listeners: “What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him that sent me. If anyone desires to do His will, he will know concerning the teaching whether it is from God or I speak of my own originality.” (John 7:16, 17) Jesus continues to bear the title “The Word of God” even after his return to heavenly glory.—Rev. 19:11, 13, 16.
7. How can we imitate the humility Jesus shows in his role as “the Word”?
7 Just think about what this title implies. Although Jesus is the wisest of all of Jehovah’s creatures, he does not rely on his own wisdom. He speaks as his Father instructs him. He always directs attention to Jehovah rather than to himself. (John 12:50) What a wonderful example for us to imitate! We too have been entrusted with the precious privilege to “declare good news of good things.” (Rom. 10:15) Appreciation for Jesus’ example of humility should move us to avoid speaking of our own initiative. When it comes to conveying the lifesaving message in the Scriptures, we do not want to “go beyond the things that are written.”—1 Cor. 4:6.
8, 9. (a) What does the word “amen” mean, and why is Jesus called “the Amen”? (b) How did Jesus fulfill his role as “the Amen”?
8 Read Revelation 3:14. Why is Jesus called “the Amen”? The word rendered “amen” is a transliteration of a Hebrew word that means “so be it,” or “surely.” The Hebrew root word from which it is drawn means to “be faithful” or “trustworthy.” This same word is used to describe Jehovah’s faithfulness. (Deut. 7:9; Isa. 49:7) So in what way is Jesus unique when he is referred to as “the Amen”? Notice how 2 Corinthians 1:19, 20 answers: “The Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you . . . , did not become Yes and yet No, but Yes has become Yes in his case. For no matter how many the promises of God are, they have become Yes by means of him. Therefore also through him is the ‘Amen’ said to God for glory.”
9 Jesus is “the Amen” to all the divine promises. His flawless life course on earth, including his sacrificial death, confirmed and made possible the fulfillment of all the promises of Jehovah God. By remaining faithful, Jesus also proved false Satan’s claim, recorded in the book of Job, that under privation, suffering, and test, God’s servants would deny Him. (Job 1:6-12; 2:2-7) Of all God’s creatures, the firstborn Son could give the most conclusive answer to that charge. In addition, Jesus provided the finest evidence supporting his Father’s side in the greater issue of the rightfulness of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty.
10. How can we imitate Jesus in his unique role as “the Amen”?
10 How can we imitate Jesus in his unique role as “the Amen”? By remaining faithful to Jehovah and supporting his universal sovereignty. In so doing, we will be responding positively to the request recorded at Proverbs 27:11: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me.”
“The Mediator of a New Covenant”
11, 12. How is Jesus’ role as Mediator unique?
11 Read 1 Timothy 2:5, 6. Jesus is the “one mediator between God and men.” He is “the mediator of a new covenant.” (Heb. 9:15; 12:24) However, Moses is also spoken of as a mediator—the mediator of the Law covenant. (Gal. 3:19) How, then, is Jesus’ role as Mediator unique?
12 The original-language word translated “mediator” is a legal term. It refers to Jesus as a legal Mediator (or, in a sense, an attorney) of the new covenant that made possible the birth of a new nation, “the Israel of God.” (Gal. 6:16) This nation is composed of spirit-anointed Christians, who form a heavenly “royal priesthood.” (1 Pet. 2:9; Ex. 19:6) The Law covenant, with Moses as mediator, was not able to produce a nation like that.
13. What is involved in Jesus’ role as Mediator?
13 What does Jesus’ role as Mediator involve? Well, Jehovah applies the value of Jesus’ blood to those being brought into the new covenant. In this way, Jehovah legally credits them with righteousness. (Rom. 3:24; Heb. 9:15) God can then take them into the new covenant with the prospect of their becoming heavenly king-priests! As their Mediator, Jesus assists them in maintaining a clean standing before God.—Heb. 2:16.
14. Why should all Christians, whatever their hope, truly appreciate Jesus’ role as Mediator?
14 What about those who are not in the new covenant, those who hope to live forever on earth, not in heaven? While not participants in the new covenant, these are beneficiaries of it. They receive forgiveness of their sins and are declared righteous as God’s friends. (Jas. 2:23; 1 John 2:1, 2) Whether we have a heavenly hope or an earthly hope, each one of us has good reason to appreciate Jesus’ role as the Mediator of the new covenant.
15. How is Jesus’ role as High Priest different from that of all other men who have served as high priests?
15 Many men have served as high priests in the past, yet Jesus’ role as High Priest is truly unique. How so? Paul explains: “He does not need daily, as those high priests do, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for those of the people: (for this he did once for all time when he offered himself up;) for the Law appoints men high priests having weakness, but the word of the sworn oath that came after the Law appoints a Son, who is perfected forever.”—Heb. 7:27, 28.*
16. Why is Jesus’ sacrifice truly unique?
16 Jesus was a perfect man, the exact equal of Adam before that one sinned. (1 Cor. 15:45) As such, Jesus was the only human to be in a position to offer up a perfect, complete sacrifice—the type of sacrifice without any need to be repeated. Under the Mosaic Law, sacrifices were offered on a daily basis. All such sacrifices and priestly services were a mere shadow, though, of what Jesus was to accomplish. (Heb. 8:5; 10:1) So in its effectiveness and permanence, Jesus’ office as High Priest is unique.
17. Why should we appreciate Jesus’ role as our High Priest, and how can we do so?
17 We need the services of Jesus as High Priest to help us have a right standing with God. And what a wonderful High Priest we have! “We have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,” wrote Paul, “but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin.” (Heb. 4:15) Truly, appreciation of this fact should move us to ‘live no longer for ourselves, but for him who died for us.’—2 Cor. 5:14, 15; Luke 9:23.
The Foretold “Seed”
18. What prophecy was uttered after Adam sinned, and what was later revealed concerning this prophecy?
18 Back in Eden, when it appeared that mankind had lost everything—a clean standing with God, everlasting life, happiness, and Paradise—Jehovah God foretold a Deliverer. This one was referred to as the “seed.” (Gen. 3:15) This mystery Seed became a theme of numerous Bible prophecies down through the ages. He was to be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Also, he was to be in the line of King David.—Gen. 21:12; 22:16-18; 28:14; 2 Sam. 7:12-16.
19, 20. (a) Who is the promised Seed? (b) Why can it be said that the foretold seed includes more than Jesus?
19 Who was this promised Seed? The answer to this question can be found at Galatians 3:16. (Read.) However, later in the same chapter, the apostle Paul goes on to say to anointed Christians: “Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham’s seed, heirs with reference to a promise.” (Gal. 3:29) How is it that Christ is the promised Seed, and yet others too are included?
20 Millions claim to have descended from Abraham, some even acting as prophets. Some religions place great importance on the claim that their prophets descended from Abraham. But are all of these the promised Seed? No. As the apostle Paul points out under inspiration, not all of Abraham’s descendants can claim to be the promised Seed. The offspring of Abraham’s other sons were not used to bless humankind. The seed of blessing was to be through Isaac alone. (Heb. 11:18) Ultimately, only one man, Jesus Christ, whose genealogy from Abraham is documented in the Bible, is the primary part of that foretold seed.* All others who later become the secondary part of Abraham’s seed are such because they “belong to Christ.” Yes, Jesus’ role in fulfilling this prophecy is truly unique.
21. What impresses you about the way Jesus has fulfilled his unique role in Jehovah’s purpose?
21 What have we learned from this brief review of Jesus’ unique role in Jehovah’s purpose? From the time of his creation onward, God’s only-begotten Son has truly been unique, one of a kind. However, this unique Son of God who became Jesus has always humbly served in harmony with the will of his Father, never seeking glory for himself. (John 5:41; 8:50) What an outstanding example for us today! Like Jesus, may we make it our goal to “do all things for God’s glory.”—1 Cor. 10:31.
Some of these titles appear along with the Greek definite article, indicating that the title is, as one scholar states, “in a sense, ‘in a class by itself.’”
According to one Bible scholar, the word translated “once for all time” expresses an important Biblical concept that “suggests the definiteness, uniqueness, or singularity of the death of Christ.”
Even though the Jews in the first century C.E. thought that they, as Abraham’s literal offspring, or descendants, would be the favored people, they looked for one person to come as the Messiah, or Christ.—John 1:25; 7:41, 42; 8:39-41.
Do You Remember?
• What have you learned about the unique role of Jesus from his titles or designations? (See box.)
• How can you imitate the example of Jehovah’s unique Son?
[Box/Picture on page 15]
Some Titles That Reflect Jesus’ Unique Role in God’s Purpose
◼ The Only-Begotten Son. (John 1:3) Jesus is the sole direct creation of his Father.
◼ The Word. (John 1:14) Jehovah uses his Son as a Spokesman to convey information and instructions to other creatures.
◼ The Amen. (Rev. 3:14) Jesus’ flawless life course on earth, including his sacrificial death, confirmed and made possible the fulfillment of the promises of Jehovah God.
◼ The Mediator of the New Covenant. (1 Tim. 2:5, 6) As a legal Mediator, Jesus has made possible the birth of a new nation, “the Israel of God,” composed of Christians who will form a heavenly “royal priesthood.”—Gal. 6:16; 1 Pet. 2:9.
◼ The High Priest. (Heb. 7:27, 28) Jesus was the only human to be in a position to offer a perfect sacrifice, one that did not need to be repeated. He can cleanse us from sin and free us from its death-dealing effects.
◼ The Promised Seed. (Gen. 3:15) Only one man, Jesus Christ, is the primary part of that foretold seed. All others who later become the secondary part of Abraham’s seed “belong to Christ.”—Gal. 3:29.