The Scriptures make it clear that Jesus Christ is both fully God and fully Man. In our time believer’s have so had to contend in support of His divinity, that we often underplay His role in His Father’s plan as Man. First, and most importantly, His obedience and His sacrifice were accomplished as Man. Christ, the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:14), accomplished what Adam failed to do, and brought life whereas Adam brought death (Rom. 5:12-21). This work is unique and finished and is indeed the good news that we proclaim.
Another aspect of Christ’s being the Last Adam and the Son of Man is that He is not just a man, but the Man. He is everything that man ought to be. As such the Son of Man is not only the unique sacrifice but also the ultimate example. The nature of an example, of course, is to be anything but unique. God’s eschatological purpose for His people is that they all would be transformed into Christ’s image.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Rom. 8:29)
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Heb. 2:10)
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
This destiny of the redeemed is, as I mentioned, an eschatological promise, a “not yet,” but there is also an “already,” both in progress and in current reality. In terms of progress, we are undergoing sanctification:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18)
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (1 Cor. 11:1)
This example aspect of Christ’s mission is deeply ingrained in God’s plan for Christ’s ministry with specific application to the Church that Christ was building. He not only came to give His life as a ransom, but He also established disciples and gave the Church the continuing mission of making disciples (Matt. 28:19). Jesus states clearly that the purpose of being a disciple is to resemble the master:
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40).
This explains much of the reason why the Son of God performed His earthly ministerial duties in His capacity as the Son of Man. What I mean is this: the Second Person of the Trinity, fully God, has all power in Himself. He created and sustains the world (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17). Nevertheless, we see Him do something rather striking. Fully God yet fully man he nevertheless takes on and operates in the Power of the Third Person of the Trinity:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matt. 12:28)
The Kingdom of God had come upon them because Jesus was the King. In fact, He came as the fulfillment of a long string of titles, including: Seed of the Woman, Seed of Abraham, the Prophet like Moses, the Son of David—that is, the ultimate King of Israel and more, the King of kings. In God’s theocratic economy the king was anointed with the Holy Spirit:
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. (1 Sam. 16:13)
Similarly at Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit came upon Him:
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him. (Matt. 3:16)
His very title, Christ, “the Anointed One” is testimony that the Second Person of the Trinity as Man was empowered by the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
For whatever purpose God was pleased to do this, it was at least because His plan was to have Jesus minister through resources that He would later make available to the Church. That is, He planned for Jesus to minister on earth in the power of the Holy Spirit, and then to continue to minister through His Church in the power of the Holy Spirit.