Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jesus the son of man

This may be the most controversial article I will ever write. It is in response to several events that I have experienced especially recently. It is not only possibly controversial I believe it may be the most important article I could write. Please consider it prayerfully.


First and absolutely I want to say that I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I enjoy reading the King James Version, but I also read and learn much from other translations. I believe what I am going to share is scriptural. But then most Christians would say the same thing of their beliefs. Pointing to individual verses is kind of objectionable to me but I hope that I can show in context that the things I affirm are what the writers and I believe God intended.

So let’s begin.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of John there is a familiar passage.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that has been made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shined in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.
There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.
There was the true light, even the light which lightest every man, coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.

This is of course John 1:1 to 14. This is a beautiful picture of how Jesus was with God from the beginning and before. Also this shows that Jesus was an active part of the creation of all things. In the 14th verse there are some words that I believe are extremely significant. “And the Word became flesh…” So starting with Jesus being with God and in fact being God we come to a transition in the word ‘became’. How complete was the transition and how important is it that we see it correctly?

There are more beautiful words in Hebrews which give an answer to the first question. How complete was the transition? “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17 KJV. Another translation reads a little clearer: “Thus he had to become like his brothers in every way, so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and could atone for the people's sins.” This tells me that he was like us “in every way.” That seems pretty complete to me.

There is more evidence in Hebrews 4:15 when it says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin.” How is this any proof of the total humanity of Jesus? Let’s look at James the first chapter. Here James is talking about the nature and the blessing of temptation. As he is describing the nature of temptation in verse 13 he says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” “God cannot be tempted with evil.” So if Jesus was tempted “in all points just as we are” and “God cannot be tempted with evil” is it logical to say that when Jesus was tempted he was not God?

I know these ideas may be really hard for some to read without becoming irritated. That will give you some idea of how I feel when I hear the opposite view. I can also say that these ideas are not original with me. But when I heard them from Godly men whose lives I respected, I was ready to accept them. Unfortunately you have to hear them from me.

If you are still with me, let’s look at a few more verses. In Philippians 2:5-8 we find, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Now this may not look as convincing as the others but it does convey a humiliation. And in another translation the phrase ‘made himself of no reputation’ is worded as, “emptied himself.”

When the ‘rich young ruler’ came to Jesus and called him “good master”, Jesus responded immediately to the address with a correction. “Why do you call me good? None is good but God only.” Matthew 19:16-17. It is interesting to me at least that most of the time when Jesus spoke of himself he used the phrase “the son of man.” In the record that we have this seems to be the emphasis.

Aside from denying a basic tenant of most popular “Christian” teaching, what is my point?

I’m glad you asked. There are a couple. If Jesus was God when he was walking around as a man, how can I feel that he really did know how I feel. Sure he is God and sure he knows everything, but how does that help me? Of course the answer is as a man he felt what I feel. He truly experienced my fears, doubts and temptations.

As I have already pointed out in scripture, how could he be tempted if he was God? The Word of God says he couldn’t. So how was he tempted? Just like you and me. Look at James 1 again and in verse 14 is says. “But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed.” Now you may say I have gone too far. I am only reading the Word of God. Jesus was tempted just like we are and yet he did not sin. There were things he wanted that were not the will of God and he denied himself and did the will of his Father instead. This is wonderful because by doing this he not only became the perfect sacrifice for sin, he also showed us the way back to the Father.

Consider I Peter 2:21; “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” If he was God, how could I ever be expected to follow in his steps? But since he became wholly man, and no more, I can follow. In John 1:12 in the KJV it says “As many as received him, He gave them the power to become the sons of God, to as many as believe on his name.” Before Jesus came we didn’t have the power to become the sons of God, but now when we receive him and believe on his name, we do.

Because Jesus truly was tempted just as we are he could be the perfect sacrifice for sin, and not just another symbolic sacrifice that looked like a man.

Because Jesus truly was a man he shows me that it is possible for me to follow him and partake of divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world because of lust. II Peter 1:4.

Jesus is the author and finisher of ‘our’ faith. Another translation says pioneer and perfecter. Heb 12:2.

And this is why I think the KJV is correct in Galatians 2:20 when it says; “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” I can now live by the same faith.

I have 2 more things I would like to point out.

In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus said “If it is possible let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will but as You will.” He had another will. Matthew 26:39.

My last point is a terrible warning. Going around I have seen how the doctrine of “wholly God and Wholly Man” and “the Deity of Jesus” have sucked power from the Gospel of God. People claim a gospel and yet deny that we can ever be anything but sinners. In the same context that I John says, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” He also says, “Little children I write these things to you so that you may not sin.”

Warning!

I John 4:2-3; “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the antichrist you heard is coming, and even now is already in the world.”

Please be faithful

Rick