Christology: Christ’s humanity
According to the Oxford dictionary, Christology “is the branch of Christian theology relating to the person, nature and role of Christ”. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “The earliest criticism of orthodox dogma came in the age of the reformation, not from the informers but from the “left wing of the reformation”, from Michal Serveties (1511-53) and the Socinious. This criticism was directed against the presence of non-Biblical concepts and terms in the dogma, and it was intent upon safeguarding the true humanity of Jesus as a moral example. During the period of pietism in the protestant churches, this loyalty to orthodox teaching was combined with a growing emphasis upon the humanity of Jesus, also expressed in the hymns of the time. God cannot stop being God and still be God. So we can’t talk properly of God laying aside his deity to take humanity upon himself. That is why orthodox Christianity has always declared that Jesus was versus homus, versus Deus – truly man, truly God; fully man and fully God. His human nature was fully human, and his divine nature always and everywhere was fully divine.
According to Renewal Theology by J. Rodman Williams “Even so Jesus the son of man is a man, a human, a member of the human race”. According to The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, page 150, “Therefore when the scriptures assert from time to time that God sent his son into the world their affirmation is not to be treated that Christ is merely a messenger of God such as the prophets of old. Rather, He is the eternal Son of God now clothing himself with human nature to accomplish the salvation of men”. Phil. 2:6-7: The one who was in the form of God took the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men.
Now we can see the deity and humanity of God in one in the form of an icecube which is water yet ice.
Why did Christ come in the form of Jesus in a manger? Why couldn’t He be born as a King in a palace?
Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” According to the Pictorial Bible Dictionary by Merril C. Tenny, page 157, it states that “the gulf between the creator and creature is bridged, first by the person and then by the mediatorial work of Christ”.
What is the mediatorial work of Christ?
Another significant point which denotes the deity of Christ while on earth is the baptism of Christ. According to Renewal Theology by J. Rodman Williams “John heard God the father declare of Jesus, thou art my beloved son” and he also saw the holy spirit descend and remain”. (page 307)
The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist plays a very significant role because it is only after the baptism that the ministry of Jesus commenced with power.
Therefore the deity of Christ was incarnate to redeem the lost humanity
- What, apart from the baptism of Christ, is significant to show us the supernatural deity of Christ?
- Discuss the importance and significance of the atonement sacrifice.
- Why did God choose this eschatological time to reveal himself to mankind.
In the book, Renewal Theology, by Williams, on page 339, Williams states that “Jesus Christ was an anointed man. The very word Christ means the anointed one”.
Now when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in Luke 3:21-22, the spirit of God descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove and what makes this baptism of Jesus so significant to me was that God the father spoke out. This omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God spoke out load and clear saying, “You are my son whom I love. With you I am well pleased”. (Luke 3:22). God the father loved Jesus so much yet he sent Jesus to die on the cross because He loves us just as much. Was the testing of Abraham symbolic to what would happen in the future? This rhetorical question crossed my mind as I was reading this passage. In Genesis 22:1-19, it tells us that God spoke to Abraham and told him to sacrifice Isaac on the altar. Was Isaac a form of Christ? Was Abraham a form of God the father? When Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, the angel of the Lord spoke out and told Abraham not to lay a hand on the boy. When Jesus was baptized, God the father, the ultimate authority of the universe, spoke out to the ultimate authority who came down and dwelt on earth. God the father loved Jesus and was well pleased with Jesus.
Now if we go on to Luke 9:28-36, the transfiguration of Jesus before the ascension of Jesus. This transfiguration of Jesus plays just as significant a role as the baptism of Jesus. In Luke 9:35, the very words of God the father were “This is my son, whom I have chosen, listen to him”. This time God the father uses two very separate words “chosen” and “listen”. Jesus was chosen to come at this particular time to fulfil this particular purpose, to save humanity. In Esther 4:14, Mordecai tells Esther “you have come to royal position for such a time as this”. Was Esther a form of Christ? That she should ascend to the throne to save the Jewish people.
In conclusion, I would like to quote Romans 8:30, “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. We are chosen in God, we are called in God.
Rom. 8:37-39. Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. God loves us. We, as children of the most high, are loved and chosen by Him.
Williams, J. Rodman, Renewal Theology, Michigan, Zondervan, 1990
Tenney, Merril C., Pictorial Bible Dictionary, Michigan, Zondervan, 1963.