Exactly How Was Jesus Divine?

Exactly How Was Jesus Divine?

Lots of individuals are accepting that Jesus was God’s son but less clear on his divinity. Actually, the two phrases do not teach different things. Even while Jesus is called the “son of God” it does not mean He is not divine. So, how was Jesus divine? Let’s look at two solutions to what some think is a big problem.

First, there are many passages that clearly state that Jesus was divine (i.e. God in the flesh). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Verse fourteen portrays who “the Word” was when it says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word was Jesus Christ and John 1:1-4 obviously shows that “the Word” was “God.”

Second, Paul in the Philippian letter reconfirmed this truth. He wrote, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7). Christ existed in the form of God before He decided to lay that off and come to earth. He did not take the mindset that being divine was something that He was to grasp and continue to hold onto.

Again, Paul stated very clearly that while Christ was on earth He was divine. “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). The Greek word for “Deity” means “the state of being God” (Bauer 452). It was not that He had some features or characteristics of God. No, He was the very essence of God. We can have characteristics, but we simply cannot have the essence of God.

The uncertainty comes when we think about the phrase “son of” in human terms. In human relationships “son of” means one who is younger than the one who is the father. But, the phrase “son of” carries with it one “who has the nature of.” To illustrate, Barnabas was called “Son of Encouragement.” This doesn’t mean that his father was “encouragement.” But rather, Barnabas had the nature of being an encourager. So it is with Jesus Christ. How was Jesus divine? When He is spoken of as the “son of God” it just conveys that He had the nature of God —the essence of God (Colossians 2:9).

(Bauer, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd Edition. Ed. Fredrick Danker, W. Arndt, and F. Gingrich. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000. Print.)

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This article was written by Wayne Burger. Wayne is a local preacher in Conifer, Colorado and an instructor at the Bear Valley Bible Institute with over 30 years of preaching experience. Wayne holds a B.A. in Bible from Abilene Christian University and a M.B.S. from the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. Wayne’s methods have published four books, and he is a regular writer for the Rocky Mountain Christian Newspaper. If you’d like to learn more about how to be saved and other similar Bible topics, please check out www.alivewithchrist.com.

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The Story of The Bridge

 

Please take the time to watch at least one of these videos. The first is a shorter version of the second.

The Simple Switch: Drop it!

 

The Story of the Servant King

“Author Philip Yancey adapts a parable by Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard that helps us understand how God attempts to save us while respecting our freedom. It’s a parable of a king who loves a humble maiden:

The king was like no other king. Statesmen trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden.

How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his very kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him?

She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she now left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know?

If he rode up to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross over the gulf between them. ‘For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal,’ concluded Kierkegaard.

This is exactly the problem God has in his pursuit of you and me—if he overwhelms us with his power we may not be free to love him (love and power are often inversely related). And even if we retain our freedom, we may not love him but merely love what he gives us. What can God do? Here’s what the king did:

The king, convinced he could not elevate the maiden without crushing her freedom, resolved to descend. He clothed himself as a beggar and approached her cottage incognito, with a worn cloak fluttering loosely about him. It was no mere disguise, but a new identity he took on. He renounced the throne to win her hand.

This is exactly what God did to win you and me! He descended to the human level—in fact to one of the lowest social levels possible—to that of a servant. Paul describes Christ’s sacrifice this way in his letter to the Philippians (2:5-8):

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (qtd in Geisler 379-80).”

Quoted Source:

Geisler, Norman L., and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an AtheistWheaton: Crossway Books, 2004. Print.

Original Source:

Yancey, Philip. Disappointment with God. New York: Harper Collins, 1988. 109-110. Print.

The Story of the Judge

“A young man is brought before a judge for drunk driving. When his name is announced by the bailiff, there’s a gasp in the courtroom—the defendant is the judge’s son! The judge hopes his son is innocent, but the evidence is irrefutable. He’s guilty.

What can the judge do? He’s caught in a dilemma between justice and love. Since his son is guilty, he deserves punishment. But the judge doesn’t want to punish his son because of his great love for him.

He reluctantly announces the sentence: ‘Son, you can either pay a $5,000 fine or go to jail.’

The son looks up at the judge and says, “Bud, Dad, I promise to be good from now on! I’ll volunteer at soup kitchens. I’ll visit the elderly. I’ll even open a home to care for abused children. And I’ll never do anything wrong again! Please let me go!”

At this point, the judge asks, ‘Are you still drunk? You can’t do all of that. But even if you could, your future good deeds can’t change the fact that you’re already guilty of drunk driving.’ Indeed, the judge realizes that good works cannot cancel bad works! Perfect justice demands that his son be punished for what he has done.

So the judge repeats, ‘I’m sorry, Son. As much as I’d like to allow you to go, I’m bound by the law. The punishment for this crime is $5,000 or you go to jail.’

The son pleads with his father, ‘But, Dad, you know I don’t have $5,000. There has to be another way to avoid jail!’

The judge stands up and takes off his robe. He walks down from his raised bench and gets down to his son’s level. Standing eye to eye next to his son, he reaches into his pocket, pulls out $5,000, and holds it out. The son is startled, but he understands there’s only one thing he can do to be free—take the money. There’s nothing else he can do. Good works or promises of good works cannot set him free.

God is in a situation similar to that of the judge—he’s caught in a dilemma between his justice and his love. Since we’ve all sinned at one time in our lives, God’s infinite justice demands that he punish that sin. But because of his infinite love, God wants to find a way to avoid punishing us” (Geisler 377-78).

Original Source:

Geisler, Norman L., and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an AtheistWheaton: Crossway Books, 2004. Print.

Why Jury Duty is Good for You

Imagine yourself on a jury. You are here to determine whether the claims of Jesus are true or not. Among all who could take the witness stand, to whom would you want to listen the most?

In John chapter five, Jesus is telling the Jews that there are at least five witnesses that verify who He claims to be (John 5:30-47, cf. 5:16).

Since the Jews did not believe Jesus was who He said He was (5:18), and since some today do not believe Jesus is who He says He is, He offered these five witnesses as support for His claims. They are:

  1. John the Baptist (5:33)
  2. The works (i.e. the signs) of the Father (5:36)
  3. The Father who sent [Jesus] (5:37)
  4. The Scriptures (5:39)
  5. Moses (5:45b-47)

I would encourage you to take a marking tool, and circle/underline/box all the references to ‘testimony’ and/or ‘bearing witness’ in this section. In my NASB, I have circled about 11 references to either of these two terms.

Considering these testimonies is important for five reasons:

  1. Jesus exercises just judgment (5:30)
  2. His word abides in those who believe in Him (5:38)
  3. You are given a choice to come to Jesus (5:40, cf. 5:25)
  4. You may have life (5:40)
  5. Your belief can be affected by peer pressure (5:44)

If you have not searched the Scriptures or considered the testimonies of Christ, will you not make the simple switch? Will you believe His words (5:47)? Who will you receive (5:43; cf. 1:11-12)?

Love All or Trust a Few?

Who do you trust the most? Is it your husband? Is it your wife? Who do you rely on the most? Do you trust yourself the most? What about your children, are they trustworthy?

I remember being in Boy Scouts and reciting the Scout Law practically every week. This law is a list of all that “a scout is.” You probably guessed by now that first on the list is trustworthiness. “A scout is trustworthy.” Let me ask you, “Is Jesus trustworthy?”

Jesus’ signs are symbolic actions designed to teach spiritual lessons. The one in John 4:43-54 is the second sign Jesus performed in Galilee (4:45, 54). Here, Jesus heals a sick child (4:46). John wants you to see that the child’s father (the royal official) trusted Jesus, yet without proof.

This is significant because many today think they must have every fact straight and all ducks lined up in a row before they feel prepared to trust in Jesus.

John has indicated for you that faith must be placed in Jesus because this is the only way you can be made whole (4:50, 53). Believing, however, does not mean the absence of doubt. Believing means deciding to trust in spite of your doubts. Belief of conviction is different than deciding to act (cf. 12:42-43). Unacceptable faith is when we don’t decide to act on our belief. Here, we see that belief…with doubts…is acceptable.

Indeed, blessed are they who did not see, and yet have believed (cf. John 20:29b).

Where are you right now? Are you full of doubt? Are you debating to either act or not? Are you avoiding the simple switch to follow Christ? Will you consider the faith of the royal official? Will you not reconsider your own faith…even yet without proof?