I believe that Jesus was God, come in the flesh. It is the express statement of Jesus’ close friend John (John 1:1-2, 14). Paul wrote that in Christ, the fullness of God lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). The gospel writers tell us Jesus affirmed this idea repeatedly.
Recently, in conversation with a friend who takes great delight in ridiculing Christianity, he said: “What’s this big deal about a god giving himself for me? He dies on a cross. But he comes back to life. What’s so sacrificial about that? If I give something away, and take it back, what really did I give?”
But my friend missed the point. God became a man. If there really is a god, for him to do such a thing is astonishing. Why would he do that? It is a unique teaching of Christianity.
God became human to show us it’s possible for humans to live as God expects. He did it to show us what that kind of life looks like, and to restore a relationship with Him through the forgiveness of sins. He did it to assure us that He knows how we feel and how we struggle so that we will be confident He can and will help us. In the sacrifice of Himself, he created a covenant relationship humans would enter of their own free will, secure in the fact that this life is not all there is and that there is hope beyond it for the covenant people.
Yes, God gave his life, then took it back. But you see, the point is, He gave it in the first place.
Interestingly, in coming to earth, God gave up something He never seems to get totally back. He is born in a human body, dies with a human body and is raised with a human body (flesh and bones). He ascends with a human body.
Yes, but seemingly never back to the same as it was before He came. The sacrifice began long before the cross and continues to this present day.
Why? Because He loves us so and in that huge sacrifice, he sets the example for our dealings with one another.