The Humility, Humanity, & Deity of Jesus
By Kenneth E. Thomas
It should be noted that "likeness" is not "sameness." Jesus was made "like us" in that He took on flesh, blood, and bones "a body Thou hast prepared Me" (Hebrews 10:5b). This doesn't say that He was "totally like us" as some have mistakenly interpreted Hebrews 2:14 to teach.
The "man" who sins, while claiming HE HAS NO SIN, is "deceived" (1 Jn. 1:8). The man "who says he HAS NOT SINNED makes God a liar, and His word is not in him" (1 John 1:10). Furthermore, the Bible plainly states that among "Jews and Gentiles" (all mere men), in and of themselves, without forgivness in the blood of Jesus, there are "none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10,23). Jesus who is "the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), was more than a mere man while on earth. Since He had NO sin (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 2:22), He is not included in the above sin passages. He was NOT changed "body, soul, and spirit" when He became man. There was nothing about the incarnation that inclined Jesus toward sin. To suggest such is rank Calvinism. Jesus was "Emmanuel, ...God with us" (Matthew 1:23). "For I am the Lord, I change not..." (Malachi 3:6).
Paul informs us of Jesus' nature while in the flesh in language too plain to be misunderstood. "For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhood in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9). The fact that there are some things about the incarnated Messiah that we aren't able to make sense of, due to our finiteness, doesn't change the fact that Jesus was fully God housed in a human body of flesh and blood as He tabernacled among us. The Hebrew writer said of Him: "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word" (Hebrews 1:3 NIV). See also (Colossians 1:15-17).
In this scribe's estimation, most of the difficulties relating to the question of Christ's earthly role would be resolved if brethren would accept the fact that there is graduated authority in the Godhead. When Jesus is said to perform some things by the power of God or by the power of the Holy Spirit, that is speaking of the submissive role He played to carry out the plan of the ages to save humanity for our sins. It wasn't because He had "divested Himself" "of" anything. The Bible merely states that Jesus divested "Himself" (Philippians 2:5-11). He submitted to the Father to carry out His predetermined will to become an offering for sin that would satisfy the legal wrath of God against sin and allow us sinners to go free (Isaiah chapter 53; Romans 3:26; 5:6-10; Heb. 2:9).
Some seem to think that the fact that there were things that Jesus is said not to have known somehow diminishes His Godhood or shows that he did not possess the attributes of deity while incarnated. If such reasoning be valid, it proves too much altogether because I can cite you cases where the Father did not know certain things and had to "go down and see..." (Genesis 18:21). But let us be serious about this matter. Look at the things that Jesus is said to have known while living in the fleshly body:
1. He knew all men and what was in them (Jn. 2:24-25).
2. From the beginning, He knew who would believe on Him, and who should betray Him (Jn. 6:64).
3. He knew that the Father had given all things into His hands (Jn. 13:3).
4. He knew that he was come from God, and went to God (Jn. 13:3)
5. Jesus knew everything (Jn. 16:30)
6. Jesus knew all things that would come upon Him (Jn. 18:4)
7. Jesus knew everything (Jn. 21:17)
8. Jesus knew the thoughts of other people (Mt. 12:25; Mk. 2:8).
9. Jesus even knew that it was envy that caused Him to be turned over to the Romans for crucifixion (Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10).
Paul wrote "for what man knoweth the things of a man except the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
Jeff Asher cited John 11:34 in a feeble attempt to show that Christ had no inherent powers of deity because He asked the sisters of Lazarus "where have you laid him?" Haven't we all asked questions to emphasize something to which we already knew the answer before we asked? A case in point is where Jesus, knowing that a woman had had several husbands, said to here: "Go, call your husband and come back." "I have no husband, she replied". To which Jesus replied: "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true" (John 4:16-18 NIV). Did the fact that Jesus said go, call your husband mean He didn't know that she had none? The context shows He knew that fact full well. He was making a point. The woman was indeed impressed for she told folks about a man who "told me everything I ever did. She then asked, could this be the Christ?" (John 4:28-29 NIV).
Consider the statements below about Jesus' nature while incarnated; while He was "God with us" (Matthew 1:21-23):
a. Ordinary men with no powers of divinity, cannot know the things (mind, heart, motives) of another man (1 Corinthians 2:10-12)!
b. Jesus knew the things (thoughts and motives) of other men!
c. Only God can know the things of men, thoughts, motives, etc.
d. The conclusion is, Jesus was God. Jesus exercised the powers of God to discern hearts while housed in the body that the Father prepared Him (Heb.10:5).
There is perfect unity and harmony in the Godhead. Passages which may appear to diminish the attributes of divinity inherently possessed by Christ such as the ones where He cast out demons by the power of God or where He worked by the Holy Spirit to accomplish certain things, should be made to harmonize with clear passages which state that He came here with said powers of His own, and though He often suppressed them, He did in fact still possess them and as in the cases listed above, used those powers. In fact one of the principles of proper interpretation is that the difficult passages must be understood in the light of the plain and simple ones on the same subject and not the other way around. When Thomas said "my Lord and My God," it is difficult to believe that he had in mind a man with no attributes of deity standing before him! (John 20:25-31). While housed in the flesh if Jesus had none of the attributes of deity, how could he properly accept worship from other "men?" (See Acts 10:25-26; Revelation 22:9).
In Acts 2:22, it is related how God the Father performed signs and wonders among the Jews by Christ. Here is how it reads in full: "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did through (by kjv) HIM, as you yourselves also know" (NIV).
Question: Does God working miracles through or by Christ diminish God's divine powers to work them Him Himself by His own powers? Surely everyone will answer in the negative. Yet we are supposed to believe that all passages where God enabled Christ to work by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38 etc., ) somehow diminishes Christ's inherent powers of divinity. Who can believe such? Well, I guess I shouldn't ask that question, several among us evidently believe just that.
Some of our own brethren say; "He received His miracle working powers when he was baptized at the hands of John the Baptist." They use a quote from the (ISBE). I emphatically deny the claim.
Question: Explain to me how it was that Jesus promised in such passages as (Matthew 3:11-12; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8), to be the one who would "baptize His apostles with the Holy Spirit..."? Does this somehow diminish the powers inherent in the third person in the Godhead ? To ask of course is to answer, No it doesn't!
Brethren, we need to be careful to do as Peter admonished in 1 Peter 4:11,"...speak as the oracles of God." We also need to be careful "not to think of men above that which is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6b).
Kenneth E. Thomas
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