Preaching the Person of Jesus

By Jarrett Stephens

There is no greater subject to preach than the person of Jesus Christ.  As pastors, ultimately all of our sermons should point to him and help our congregations know and understand his person and his work better. When considering how to preach this important doctrine, we must emphasize three essentials regarding Jesus.

First, we must emphasize the humanity of Jesus. In studying the humanity of Jesus we learn that he was physically born (Gal. 4:4-5), had physical attributes (Luke 2:52) and experienced physical emotions (John 4:6, 13:21, 19:28, Matt. 4:2, Mark 1:4).

Jesus was not an angel or a spirit, he was a literal, physical human being. Throughout Christian history, the humanity of Jesus has been debated and scrutinized. However, it’s a truth that has been defended time and again.  In summation, Jesus is God incarnate, whose very name means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). To deny the humanity of Jesus is to identify with the “spirit of the antichrist” (1 John 4:2-3).

Preaching the humanity of Jesus helps Christians understand that Jesus identifies with us as human beings. While in his humanity he was perfect and without sin (2 Cor. 5:21, Heb. 4:14), his identification as a human reveals that God is not only aware of our weaknesses, problems and concerns, but knows them experientially. Jesus understands what it is like to be misunderstood. He knows what it is like to be rejected. He knows what it is like to feel alone. From an application standpoint, this helps inform our congregation that Jesus is not a distant god who could never empathize with us, but instead is intimately acquainted with all that we go through.

The preacher, Joseph Parker once said, “If you preach to the hurts of people, you will never lack for an audience.” Something that all of our congregations have in common is that they are filled with broken people. Preaching the humanity of Jesus allows our congregations to know with confidence their God knows what they are experiencing and thus can provide hope and endurance.

Second, we must emphasize the deity of Jesus. As the apostle John affirmed, Jesus is the “Word made flesh” (John 1:12).  Paul wrote that “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col 1:19).  Helping people understand the deity of Christ begins by explaining the virgin birth of Christ and includes properly articulating the gospel of Christ.

Preaching the deity of Jesus involves putting forward the idea that he was more than a good man or philosophical teacher. It forces our congregation and those that listen to us preach to wrestle with the absolute truth of his divinity and the consequences of this truth.

If Jesus is in fact God, his word and his commands take on a deeper level of authority.

If Jesus is in fact God, he is to be worshipped with our whole hearts.

If Jesus is in fact God, honoring him becomes the foundation of our decision-making process.

Jesus is one hundred percent man. Jesus is one hundred percent God. As pastors, we must be faithful to preach this critical truth in order to preach his personhood accurately. We affirm the writing of Martin Luther who states, “You should point to the whole man Jesus and say, “That is God.”

Third and finally, we must emphasize the mission of Jesus. Because he is the one God-man, he is the only one that can serve as a “mediator between God and man” (1 Tim. 2:5). Therefore, the person of Christ cannot be separated from the work of Christ.  When we preach the person of Jesus, we are bound to preach the mission of Jesus, which is his gospel.

When we as pastors stand to preach, we like the apostle Paul “preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23). To preach the gospel is to declare what Jesus accomplished in his person and work. He died as our substitute, was buried and raised on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-5) reconciling sinners to God (2 Cor. 5:18-19). His mission “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) is directly tied to who he is. This is why preaching the person of Jesus with accuracy and clarity is so very important.

We have been commissioned to preach the gospel (Matt. 28:18-20, 2 Cor. 5:20) and in order for our sermons to be effective, the person of Jesus Christ must be clearly articulated and rightly proclaimed.  So, let us diligently pray and work hard to ensure that when we preach the person of Jesus we communicate and emphasize his humanity, his deity and his mission. The salvation of those who listen to us depend upon it.

Jarrett Stephens
Teaching Pastor