GOD IN FLESH
©Copyright 1998 Randall D. Hughes
There is not a more controversial topic in all of Christianity than who was, and is, Jesus Christ. Throughout history men have argued, councils have been assembled, and the issue has been debated. Yet, men are just as divided today as they ever were. And maybe even slightly more so! And amazingly we all gain our evidence from the same Bible!
There is no other subject quite as important! Who is the God you worship? Do you serve the One true God? And what do you know about that one true God?
The angel announced to Mary that the child she would bear would be called "Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." MT 1:23. Isaiah prophesied the child that would be born would be called, "Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace." Isa. 9:6. Paul wrote of Him as "God manifest in the flesh," 1 Tim. 3:16, and said "in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily," Col. 2:9. There is nothing in these passages to indicate that the man was someone other than God Himself! Notice He was NOT prophesied to be "God the Son with us!" But "God with us!" He was NOT called "the everlasting Son!" But "the everlasting father." He was NOT "God the Son manifest in flesh!" Jesus was all the fullness of Deity, all the fullness of God!
And yet, there are places in Scripture where we find ourselves befuddled as to how it all works? How can these verses fit?
One of the keys to understanding God, and who Jesus is, is to realize that although He was God in flesh, God imposed upon himself (His flesh) certain constrictions, and limitations. These were not just limitation set upon Jesus, but all flesh. All of us face certain limitations. And so when God took on flesh it was no different.
And while Scripture proclaims Him to be the Son of God some 46 times (it NEVER calls Him "God the Son"), and rightfully so, he is also called the Son of man, some 88 times.
The reason? "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." Heb. 2:16-18.
The key words to understand here are found at the start of the 17th verse. "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren…" Think of that! IN ALL THINGS!
Do you ever weep? So did Jesus. John 11:35.
Think about the above list. Can God become weary? What about hungry? Thirsty? Tempted? Pray? Be God forsaken? Bleed? Die? Jesus did what God could not! Jesus was the One Mediator between God and man. 1 Tim. 2:5
But Jesus was MORE than just a man. That is why Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 5:19, "that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…" And again in 1 Tim. 3:16, "God was manifest in the flesh…" And also in Heb. 1:3, we find that Jesus was "the express image" of God. "All the fullness of the Godhead" dwelt in him bodily. Col. 2:9. So although he can be called a man, he is also justly called God.
Think about it! ALL THING! As a man, made like unto his brethren. Everything that you and I go through, Jesus did. The reason being so he can be a faithful High Priest. He knows what it is like! It is much like an old Indian proverb. Do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins. God walked among men Because He went through all that we do, we have a High Priest that is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. Heb. 4:15
But why didn't he just come right out and say it? I am God! That would have cleared up all the confusion about him. The reason? He couldn't! Remember the limitations that were placed upon him? "Made in all things like unto his brethren." None of us can claim to be God! So Jesus, as a man, could not do so either!
Phi. 2:2-8 "Fullfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Who is equal to God, but God!
And so because of the constrictors God placed upon himself, Jesus always used a language of separation. He always spoke of the Father as being separate from Himself. There were a few glimpses, but very few. In John 14:8-11, "Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake."
Again in John 16:25-32
"These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. 28I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. 29His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. 31Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? 32Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me."
Consider that twenty-fifth verse. Jesus confirms that he was speaking of the Father in "encriptic" language. But there would come a day when he would speak plainly of the Father. What was there to show? I and my Father are one! I am the Father! Jesus is the Father! Jesus is God!
Then notice the following discourse. At that day, he will no longer ask the Father for your request. You will simply ask in "my name" and Jesus will supply the need. He will no longer be in the role of a High Priest, Intercessor, Mediator, etc. But "At that day…" John 16:26, "Which in his times. He will show…" 1 Tim. 6:15.
If Jesus had spoken plainly, the Jews would not have crucified him, 1 Cor. 2:8. "Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
There are some things God did not intend for man to know. Not just us, but also His own flesh! Since he was "found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself..." Phil. 2:8. "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." Acts 1:7 "…of that day and hour knoweth no man." Mat. 24:36, Mark 13:32. Not even the "Son of man!"
Why? Because as a man, he was made like his brethren! In fashion as a man he could not know.
But since he did humble himself, and was made in all things like us, He can now be a faithful judge. Acts 10:42, Rom. 2:16, 14:10, 2 Cor. 5:10, 2 Tim. 4:1, 8, and a High Priest we can boldly approach.
And although he suffered as a man, with all the limitations we as men suffer, the day will come when he will reveal who He really is! God with us! God all in all! The mighty God! The Everlasting Father! "The blessed and Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto:" 1 Tim. 6:15-16.
©Copyright 1998 Randall D. Hughes
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