Monday, January 29, 2007

Something I have observed in recent years of being in churches, classes, conversations, conferences and other venues is that the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is emphasized, and RIGHTLY SO. However, I wonder if while we are emphasizing this right (and absolutely necessary) doctrine of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we have neglected the important and just as necessary doctrine of the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For example, this morning in my quite time, I read Mark 1. A few verses from this chapter read:

Mark 1:12-13 12 And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.

A few things to note quickly here:
1. The wilderness is not a fun place to be - especially for 40 days without food, drink or company. It is barren, it is hot, flies are everywhere - this is not a nice, warm, fuzzy 40 days of easy-going-life for Jesus.
2. Furthermore, he is being tempted by Satan. He is tempted by the Tempter himself. Jesus is we know from Matt 4 - being tempted by Satan. Satan brings all of the goods out of his bag to try and deceive Jesus (even with Scripture!), yet without success.

Here's the point:

Hebrews 4:15 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

This text is so significant. Auctor (the beloved title for the writer of Hebrews who is NOT Paul, by the way) writes and says that Jesus Christ was tempted in all things as we are. Notice this: for a person to constantly, and fervently resist temptation without sinning is harder to resist temptation and then to give in. In other words, the longer Jesus was tempted and yet did NOT give in to temptation, the harder and more severe the temptations were confronting him.

Jesus Christ is NO more, and NO less a human being than you and I are. He was simply put, HUMAN - a man. All of the limitations that you and I face every day, - I believe - that Jesus Christ had the same limitations. Though still being very God of gods and very Lord of lords, he chose to empty himself of his divine attributes when he took on the form of human flesh (read Phil 2:5-11).

So a question I have to my readers: Are we prone to down-play the significance of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ as a human being when we all too often get caught up in the Deity of Christ?


Anonymous said...

Wow... that is a really great question. I must confess that I had not really considered that before.
I would guess that the down-play of Christ's humanity in Christian circles today is rooted in the desire to exault His diety (rather than an intentional effort to ignore His diety). However, I think you are totally right! The over-emphasis of his diety does in fact take away from the awesome inigma that the God Himself willingly chose to take on flesh and experience life in all of the ways that we do. He limited the exercise of His diety and came to earth to be tempted in all the same ways that we are tempted.
I confess that I do not think on this enough. It is so encouraging though to know that, unlike the rest of humanity, Jesus Christ was able to face the same temptations that I face, yet without sinning. What a great example to follow!

Anonymous said...

Oooops... typo. It should read:
"(rather than an intentional effort to ignore His humanity) ;-)

Anonymous said...

I myself find great comfort in knowing that Jesus was all man, as well as all God. He knows the truth of "frailty, thy name is [wo]man" (okay, Shakespeare, but still!) in a deeper way than the other parts of the Trinity can and, knowing he acts as my intercessor, I cling to that.

Is the other side of downplaying Christ's humanity the current pervasive emphasis on God as a loving Father, without acknowledging his other, less cuddly omni-attributes? Just a pondering of mine...

- Girl Next Door's Mom

Geoffrey Kirkland said...

Dear "Girl Next Door's Mom," :=)

I think that this may be a 'part' of some of the current emphasis on God as a loving Father. But I think that has more to do with wanting God to relate to us, or rather, making us relate to God.

Oftentimes, these new heresies that are arising completely reject the deity of Christ (i.e. Mormonism and J.W.'s) because they want to only serve "one God."

On the flip side, there are those (such as the recent "Open Theism" movement) that downplays the 'omni-attributes' because they want to make God more accessible to mankind. They cannot deal with a transcendent God who is "too holy to look upon evil." Rather, they want a 'god' who can live where 'we live,' or a 'god' who cannot 'know the future.' We know that this is surely not the God of the Bible.



Anonymous said...

Word, G!

- Girl Next Door's Mom

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