The idea of Jesus being fully man and fully God at the same time can be a lot for an individual to digest. It can be easier to fully embrace the truths about Jesus Christ once a person has a greater understanding of the basis for both his humanity and his deity, as well as why it was so important that he became incarnate. There are many who voice concerns and object to the traditional ways of thinking regarding the life and sovereignty on Jesus Christ, thus it is vital that a strong case be made regarding both aspects of his character.
The truth about the humanity of Jesus Christ can often be easier to accept and understand as we see throughout the Bible references to his human birth, his human growth through his childhood years, and his work and teaching as a human adult. The human birth of Jesus is laid out for us in Isaiah 7:14, and Matthew 1:21-23where it is not only listed and described as historical fact, but is proclaimed to the entire world by the prophets and angels. The genealogical human lineage of Jesus is laid out in the Bible, in the books of Genesis and Matthew, just as it would be for every other human seeking to follow their blood line back through their family tree.
The physical human death of Jesus is marked by the same fleshly suffering that any human would endure in the types of beatings and piercings that lead up to this death of his human body. We also see biblical reference to Jesus eating and drinking in his fleshly form which makes for pretty strong evidence speaking to his truly human form.
The question of why Jesus became incarnate is best answered in Hebrews 2:14-15 tells us that because God's children are human, made of flesh and blood, Jesus also became flesh and blood, because only as a human being could he die and only by dying could he break the power of Satan. This concept is further affirmed and summed up in Mark 1:15 where it states that in his coming "the kingdom of God has come."
It is this idea surrounding the deity of Jesus that many of the objections are raised. However, the biblical evidence supporting Jesus' claims to being God is just as compelling. In the book of John, chapters 5, 8, 10 and 14 we see Jesus making these strong proclamations of his divinity, saying "I and the Father are one, anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. Before Abraham was born, I am."
But, the case for Jesus' deity can be made from a much firmer basis than just the proclamations of one man about himself. Others throughout the Bible also agreed that he was God. It started in Isaiah 9:6 with the prophecies of Jesus' birth and it continued with those people closest to him, his disciples, plainly admitting in Colossians 2:9 "For in Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form." He was and still is worshiped as God, and seen as the fulfillment of the prophecy. Obviously, anyone could claim to be God, the difference with Jesus is that his life backs up those claims. This is evident by his performance of miracles and his resurrection after physical human death.
Even in his complete deity, as God, the truth of the incarnation is that Jesus decided to humble himself in certain ways. Jesus did not become any less God as he lived out his human form humbly. He still possessed the attributes of omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence as indicated in Mark 2:8. The decision to be born a man, to walk this earth and to die on a cross was made by him as part of the trinity. Jesus humbled himself and became a man who was willing to suffer and die on the cross, not only to save us as the ultimate atonement for our sin, but also to give us an example of how we are to treat others, to show us that he understands our needs and that he has the ability to meet those needs.
The objections to these traditional beliefs regarding Jesus come from philosophical ideas instead of the historic revelation of the Bible. They may consider Jesus to be human only, a great teacher, but not God. They may consider Jesus a God only, not the one true God, but a lesser God, inferior to God most high, or they may object that the sufferings of Jesus were only apparent rather than real. But, these objections not only make a case that serves to crumble in the light of biblical history, they also distort the very nature of redemption accomplished by the Word in the flesh.
Word count: # 797
Elwell, Walter (2001) Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic
Holladay, Tom & Warren, Kay (2003) Foundations. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan
Biblical scholar and multiple online publication author, Heather Moon is a proud mother of 3 specalizing in Christian foundational teaching, women's ministries, family and exceptional living, as an accredited member of the AACC.
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