Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jesus Christ 1,2,3 - Human and Divine

1 Timothy 3:16a "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh...."

Yesterday we began considering who Jesus Christ is by considering Him as "One Person".  We used a simple little phrase to aid us in summarizing who Jesus Christ is: One person, having two natures occupying three offices.  Today we want to focus on that second part: namely that Jesus Christ as One Person has "two natures".

What is a nature?
Nature in this discussion refers to how a being expresses its existence.  So for instance my dog Rica, has the "nature" of a little dog.  She wags her tail a mile a minute, yaps and can dig holes the size of teacups.  Her "nature" is how she expresses her existence.  I have a "human nature" - I get tired, hungry and can be only in one place at one time.  All creatures express their existence in one way - through a "creaturely nature".  The Triune God expresses Himself in an infinite, unlimited way or "Divine Nature".    By "Divine Nature", we mean that God can be more than one place at one time and that He has no beginning nor end. 

Jesus Christ has two ways of expression or "two natures"
As the opening passage of today's blog states: "God was manifest in the flesh".  This language of scripture expresses a truth upon which the Christian church of every age has understood Jesus Christ - that He is God and man.  We can even see this in the two chief names by which we identify God the Son in human flesh: "Jesus" and "Christ".

As Christ He is Divine
As Christ we recognize that God the Son was selected, and voluntarily entered from all eternity to do the will of The Father.  Christ was sent by the Father to be the One who would fully reveal His glory (John 17:4; Psalm 2) and who would come to work redemption (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2).  As Christ He is the Messiah of Jewish Prophecy - The Divine Savior who would also rule and reign over His people. (2 Samuel 7:13-16; Psalm 2; 45; 89; 110; Revelation 15:12).  Christ Himself spoke of His Divine identity. (John 8:58). 

As God, Christ can be everywhere present (John 3:13); He knows all things, including the fulness and depths of the Divine Hidden nature of God - since He Himself shares fully in the Divine Nature with the Father and Holy Spirit. (John 1:1-18)  He is all-powerful. (Matthew 28:18).  By His resurrection He demonstrated that He is the Living God. (1 Corinthians 15)

As Jesus He became human and still is human
As God the Son, Christ has existed from all eternity as it pertains to His divine nature.  However when He entered from eternity into time, He took upon Himself a second way of expressing His Person, a second nature - a human nature.  He was both predicted and born of a virgin, in Bethlehem over 2012 years ago. (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2-4; Matthew 1:21; Luke 2)  By being named Jesus, He became the human Savior, limiting himself to human weakness without sin. (Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:21-24)  As a man he could get hungry, be tempted and get tired.  As a man He went to the cross and died.  His human nature subjected him to living a life of submission to the will of God the Father. 

When He resurrected from the dead, He retained a physical, albeit glorified human body. (John 20).  When He ascended, He still retains His humanity and is situated at the right hand of God the Father as man who is still God. 

Practical considerations for Jesus Christ's two natures
1. When we think of the cross and resurrection
When I speak about Jesus Christ, I need to ask whether I'm referring to Him as it pertains to His Deity, or as it pertains to His humanity.  As it touches His humanity, I can say He died on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb and was raised on the third day. As it touches His Deity, His work of redemption was of infinite value. 

2. When we think of prayer
As man He intercedes and represents me as my elder brother. (Hebrews 2)  As God He is able to answer prayer and excercise Sovereignty in answering my prayers. 

3. When we think of the second coming
As the New Adam He is the man from heaven whom I am looking for to return to take back the title deed of earth that Satan had stolen from the original man Adam. (Romans 5:11-21; Revelation 5)  As Eternal God, He will return to set up the Kingdom which His Father promised Him from all eternity, and of which He will put every enemy under His feet and give all things over to Him. (1 Corinthians 15; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 20-22)