Dr. S. Lewis Johnson finishes two messages on the person and purpose of Jesus Chirst, the second dealing with Christ's humanity.
[Prayer] Father we thank Thee again that we are able to gather together, and to open the word of God, to seek out the teaching which Thou hast given us concerning Thyself, and concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and concerning ourselves. And we pray that, through our study of theology that we may come to know Thee better. We commit each one present to Thee, and pray that Thy hand may be upon them for good, spiritually. And now we commit the hour to Thee; pray that it may glorify Thee. For Christ’s sake. Amen.
[Message] Tonight, I think, since this is the second part of a two session study of “Who Was Jesus Christ?” that it would be well for us to read again, the passage that we read last time for our opening Scripture. And then we’re going to read a second passage in Philippians chapter 2. But let’s read Matthew chapter 16, verse 13 through 16 again, and then we’ll turn to our Philippians passage. Matthew chapter 16, verse 13 through verse 16.
“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples saying; Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said; Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias or one of the prophets. He saith unto them; But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said; Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
[Message] Now, let’s turn over to Philippians chapter 2 and read the famous kenosis passage. And we shall learn later, what the word kenosis connotes. Philippians chapter 2, verse 5. Philippians chapter 2, verse 5.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Now the subject tonight is the continuation of “Who Was Jesus Christ?, or The Man Christ Jesus; A Study in Hypostatic Union.” We began in our last study by saying that the person of Jesus Christ is basic to the work of Jesus Christ. The reason simply being this; that what he did gains merit and value when we realize who he was, who did it. And so it is extremely important for us, if we are to appreciate the saving ministry of Jesus Christ, to know who he was.
I think the opposite is true also. Not only is the person of Jesus Christ basic — basic — basic to the work, but the work is also basic to the person. Hence the question, “Who was Jesus Christ?” is extremely important. In our last study we concluded from the testimony of the texts themselves, that Jesus Christ possessed full deity. We also looked at other scriptural testimonies, such as; the witness of his miracles, the witness of his sayings as the supreme reveler of the truth, the witness of sayings in which he lays claims upon the lives of men. He speaks as no other man speaks. No other man could say as Jesus said, “Follow me.” But our Lord did not hesitate to make these monstrous claims, and also, to lay them upon others. Furthermore, we considered the witness of his supreme claim to forgive sins, which only God can really do.
Now in this study, we’re going to look at the other side of the story, and so we’re going to look at the true humanity of the Lord Jesus. And so this is Roman II in our outline. We considered Roman I last week: The true humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We could have put that first title as “The Full Deity.” This, “The True, Genuine Humanity of the Lord Jesus.” Here since we have little controversy today over the humanity of Christ, we’re just going to turn to a series of passages, and read them together.
Now in the early days of the church, the humanity of the Lord Jesus was not so obvious, as it is today. In fact, in the early church, there were many who were so impressed with the person of our Lord, that the real problem that existed among a large number of those who were associated with the early church was his true humanity. They accepted his full deity. It was so obvious that he was God, that some wondered if he really was a man at all. And so the Docetists, for example — one of the early heresies — we find the Greek word dokeo means “to seem,” among other meanings. And so the Docetists — D-O-C-E-T-I-S-T-S — were those who felt that Jesus Christ only seemed to be a man. That he really was a phantasm. That he came, but he did not really come in human flesh. He was like an apparition that came from God. There were other varieties of this.
Some felt that the man Jesus at his baptism had the Messiah come upon him. The divine Messiah, and the divine Messiah abode upon him until the time of the cross, and then returned to heaven. But that was another form of Docetism. The common form was, that Jesus Christ was not really man. He just seemed to be a man. He was God. And so the early church was not, as we, so disturbed over the deity of our Lord, and certain sectors of it, as they were over the true humanity. And they had to fight the battle of his true humanity. That is why, for example, in the Johannine literature — particularly in the epistles — you have John saying that, “He that believes that Jesus Christ has not come in the flesh is the spirit of anti-Christ.” And he was combating a form of error related to ancient Docetism. There were those who denied the incarnation of God. That Jesus Christ was not really a man at all.
Now let’s look at a few of the passages, and seek to see what the Scripture says. And I think the passages are so clear, that we need not spend a great deal of time on this heading and — but go on to Roman III in just a moment. But first of all, we’re going to look at John 1, verse 14. Last time, we looked at John 1, verse 1, and we saw that John in the prologue to his Gospel writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Now that is a text that speaks of the deity of our Lord. In this same prologue, which consumes the first eighteen verses of the gospel, in the fourteenth verse we read, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word became flesh.
Now it is quite interesting that the Greek text says, “The Word became flesh.” In other words, the Word was not flesh before the incarnation; the Word became flesh at the incarnation. Before the incarnation, the Word was with God, but at the incarnation the Word became flesh. In other words, the text states that Jesus Christ — or the Word, to use the term here. Jesus Christ, or the Word, entered into a new form of existence at the incarnation. Now, let me hasten to say, the Bible does not say that the Word entered into a new existence. The Word entered into a new form of existence. The Word existed from eternity past. The Word was God, but at the incarnation, the Word entered into a new form of existence.
When we think about the incarnation, we often think — at least I do — about Luther’s statement, “We need new tongues to set forth this. For who can really understand ultimately what it means for God to become flesh?” But what the text states is then, that when Jesus Christ came, it was the Word taking to himself an additional nature. He was a divine person who possessed a divine nature. But when he was born in a manger in Bethlehem, there had taken place, an addition to this divine person of human nature. So the Lord Jesus, a divine person, with a divine nature, is now a divine person with a human nature as well. One person with two natures; John says, “The Word became flesh.”
Let’s turn over a few pages to John chapter 8, verse 40. And these are the words of our Lord himself. “But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” Did you notice the expression, “a man that hath told you the truth?” So our Lord speaks of himself as a man.
Let’s turn over to Romans chapter 1, verses 3 and 4. Romans 1:3 and 4. These verses — Romans 1:3 and 4 — are significant verses in the salutation of the Epistle to the Romans, and set forth the twofold nature of our Lord. Paul says, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David — or, who came to be of the seed of David — according to the flesh.” The seed of David according to the flesh. “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” He was, according to the flesh, of the seed of David, a man. But he was marked out by the resurrection as the Son of God. So that again the twofold character of our Lord, of David in a fleshly way, but demonstrated in his resurrection to be Son of God. Son of David, his humanity; Son of God, his deity.
Let’s turn on to the ninth chapter of this same Book. Romans chapter 9, verse 5. This too is one of the great texts of Paul. He is speaking about the great privileges that the Israelites have, and how they have neglected them in their neglect of Jesus Christ, and he states, “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all. God blessed forever.” Now notice, he says, “Whose are the fathers?” That is, the fathers belong to the Jews. “And of whom as concerning the flesh Messiah came.” What he states then, is that the Messiah, our Lord Jesus, belonged to the Israelites according to the flesh. He’s saying the same thing in a little different way than he said in the first chapter. That Jesus Christ is of Israel according to the flesh, but at the same time, he is God blessed forever.
Now if you have a Bible, which is a modern translation, you might have this fifth verse translated differently. In systematic theology, it is impossible for us to deal with the problems of the various texts exegetically. That belongs to another discipline of theological study. That is exegesis. That is the foundation of systematic theology. Exegesis is the interpretation of the biblical texts. Let me assure you that if we had another hour, we could stop right here and talk about Romans 9, and I think I could prove to your satisfaction that this text as rendered in the Authorized Version, is a correct rendering of Romans chapter 9, verse 5, and that the only reason that some of our translations do not translate this text and make God a reference to Jesus Christ, is because some tried to say that the Apostle Paul never calls Jesus Christ “God” anywhere else. That of course begs the question to begin with, but it is not even true. Because in Titus 2:13, as we saw last time, Paul does call Jesus Christ, “God.” And I think that that undergirds all of Pauline theology, even if we should immediately stand up and say, “But Paul didn’t write Titus.” Now I think that too can be proved. But we don’t have to — in systematic theology — we don’t have time to talk about things like that. I assure you, this is a correct translation, and the text states that Jesus Christ is man, and he is also God.
Now will you turn to our Philippians passage, and let’s just notice a couple of points. We’re going to come back to this again later on, but let’s notice a couple of points. First, I want you to notice verse 8. “And being found in fashion as a man. Being found in fashion as a man.” Now this is the fifth of the texts that refer to the humanity of our Lord.
Let’s turn on to the sixth, now. Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 14. Hebrews 2, verse 14. Stan Toussaint used to like to say that he, “always liked to hear the rustle of biblical pages; that that was the only rustleism that he really liked; was the rustling of Bible pages as you found the texts.” Verse 14, “For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Jesus Christ took flesh and blood.
Now this is our author’s way of saying that he was a man. Look in verse 17 for our final text. This is the seventh. Seven is the perfect number, and we’re just taking seven of many passages that could be adduced in favor of his humanity. “Wherefore in all things, it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.” He was made like unto those for whom he was going to exercise the office of priesthood in all things. In the fifth chapter he will say, “For a man to be a priest, for others he must be humane as well as human.” And Jesus Christ was not only human, but also humane, and thus he can be our priest. It is essential that he be a man if he is to be our priest. And therefore, in all things, he was made like unto his brethren.
We conclude from this that Jesus Christ possessed a complete humanity, a complete humanity, a true humanity. Now that has some tremendous practical applications, and I wish we had time to deal with all of them. At the conclusion, I will try to point out some of the practical applications of both of these facts, his deity and his humanity. But it is a very comforting thing to know that Jesus Christ is truly human. He was truly one of us. He was called the Son of Man. That was his favorite term for himself. And one of the reasons he was called the Son of Man, and called himself that, is because he wanted that — us to know that he identified himself with humanity.
Well, what is the resultant person? A person who is both God and man, and let’s consider first, his makeup. The resultant person and his makeup, the Council of Chalcedon, and you, since you’re theological students — you know — I can even notice a change already in you. You’re looking far more intelligent than you did two weeks ago. The Council at Chalcedon is a very important landmark in theology. C-H-A-L-C-E-D-O-N. Chalcedon is one of the suburbs of Istanbul now. But one of the great councils, which met in 451 A.D., was the Council at Chalcedon.
Now this Council at Chalcedon formulated the faith of the church regarding the person of Jesus Christ. And in any theology book, or occasionally in sermons, you might find a preacher referring to the Chacedonic Formula. That is, what the church, after three hundred or four hundred years of study, came to believe about the person of Christ. After the many controversies that existed over the four hundred years, the church finally came to agreement over the nature of the answer to the question, “Who is Jesus Christ?” And it was at Chalcedon that they did. And they said that Jesus Christ was, quote — now you won’t have time to get this down. Why don’t you leave about five lines in your notes and go to a dictionary or encyclopedia and look it up. They said that Jesus Christ was, quote, “to be acknowledged in two natures.” Notice that. Two natures. “Inconfusadely, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably. The distinction of the natures being in no ways taken away by the union, but rather, the property of each nature being preserved. And concurring in one person, and one subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons.”
Now you can see from this that this formula is primarily negative because they were seeking to guard against error. But the essential features of it are that Jesus Christ was acknowledged in two natures, and that there is one person and one subsistence. One person. One essence. So we can say there is one God.
But Jesus Christ possessed two natures. And the divine person possessed all of the properties of both natures. Both the properties or attributes of the human nature, and the properties and the attributes of the divine nature were possessed by the one person.
Now I think, on the basis of this, we can say these things. First of all, Jesus Christ is not God indwelling a man. As a matter of fact, you see an illustration before you of God indwelling a man. I hope that you do not blaspheme God when you hear me say that, because I assure you that it’s very difficult to see the Lord very often in me. But nevertheless, it is true, that when a man believes in Jesus Christ, God the Holy Spirit comes to indwell him. In fact, the Bible says the whole trinity does. Jesus Christ is more than God indwelling a man. He is not God indwelling a man. He is not man brought up to deity. He is not man deified. But he is the God-Man. The reason that we write this, “God-Man,” is because he is one person. He is the “God, hyphen, Man — God-Man.”
Emil Brunner he famous Swiss theologian — a neo-orthodox theologian according to common theological monikers — said that, “Jesus acquired divinity during his life.” Now that is error. That is contrary to the Council at Chalcedon, contrary to the basic beliefs of the Christian church; although Professor Bruner was well regarded by Christian churches. But that is not biblical doctrine. He is not God indwelling man, nor is he man deified, but he is the “God-Man.” Now here is another thing that we may say. He is not God in man, nor is he God and man. It is wrong for us to say that Jesus Christ is God and man, in the most complete sense, because we are inclined by saying that, to give the impression that Jesus Christ is a divine person and a human person. But he’s not a divine person and a human person. He is a divine person who possesses human nature. He does not have two persons, one personality but two natures.
The Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Church has expressed it this way, and I think they have expressed it correctly. They have said, “He entered into manhood, quote, ‘in the womb of the blessed virgin.’ Of her substance — is human nature — so that two whole and perfect natures, divine and human, were found together in one person, never to be divided.”
Another thing we can say. I’m sure you probably could say this already. The doctrine of the two natures in one person transcends human reason. Do you think that’s why Paul said, “Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh,” in 1 — in 1 Timothy chapter 3, verse 16. I think so. That’s one of the things that he meant when he said, “Great is the mystery of godliness.” We can never completely understand the person of Christ, just as we can never completely understand God. Last year, we dealt with that in the fall, and those of you were here — who were here — we studied, “Can we know God?” And the extent to which we know God, remember what we said on that point.
It might be that someone at this point would say, “Well this seems to be an insoluble mystery, and so consequently, I’m not sure that I want to accept something that I cannot completely understand.” Well let me assure you that the very insolubility is in harmony with the divine source of this truth. It is what we should expect. We should not expect to understand the doctrine that explains the person — one of the persons of the trinity. If we could understand God, we would be God. If you completely understood me, you would be I. I’m the only one who completely understands me, outside of God. My wife doesn’t. She constantly says, “I don’t understand you. I don’t understand you.” So it’s impossible for anyone to understand God, the nature of the case. I’m not a psychologist.
Furthermore, I don’t particularly want to be one, though I do think there are some things that psychology has to communicate to us. I’m told by psychologists that the imagination can never really create anything. It can only rearrange known facts. Now it may rearrange them in strange ways. But the doctrine of the Trinity is something absolutely unique. When man tries to think of something like this, he comes up with a centaur — part horse, part man or a mermaid — part woman, part fish. But these are grotesque absurdities, and impossibilities. Even if we just reflect upon the fact that the bones of a horse do not match the muscles and bones of a man. But this is what man comes up with. God has given us the doctrine of Jesus Christ.
Some of the consequences of this hypostatic union — and that’s what we call it. Mr. Prier was talking about this word “hypostatic” yesterday morning. “Hypostatic” comes from a Greek word, upostasis which really means, “nature or substance.” And so the “hypostatic union” is simply, the union of the two natures in the one divine person. The “hypostatic union.” It’s the substance union. So don’t be afraid of hypostatic. It’s a theological word. Theologians like to throw up a smoke screen every now and then with a — of a big word. It’s done in other disciplines as well.
What are some of the consequences of this hypostatic union? Well, first of all, there is a communion of the attributes. Jesus Christ possesses all of the attributes of deity. At the same time, he possesses all of the attributes of humanity. He possesses all of the attributes of both natures.
Further, this is a communion of the acts of our Lord, and those acts that proceed out of the human nature, and those that proceed out of the divine, are his acts. As a matter of fact, there is a sense in which everything that he does has a divine human character, because he is a divine person. And even when he acts out of his human nature, he acts out of his person. There is a communion of the gifts or graces. And I think that what we can say by this is that the human nature of our Lord Jesus is exalted by virtue of its union with the divine person. The fact that the one person, who is the animating person of his personality, is divine means that our Lord’s human nature has an exalted character about it. It is different in that sense. His human nature is precisely what our human nature is, apart from sin. But there is an additional — a plus — in our Lord’s case, now out of this fact, that he is a divine person who possesses two natures, arises the impecability of Christ.
Next year when we study Christology in more detail, we will talk about the impecability of our Lord. But if you just reflect for a moment upon the fact that Jesus Christ is not a human person, but a divine person, you will realize that Jesus Christ could not sin. Can God Sin? God cannot sin. He is a divine person. Therefore, Jesus Christ is impeccable. Now impeccability is not the same as sinlessness. A person might be sinless, but not impeccable. A person might never had sinned — might never have sinned. I’m not thinking of any one person mind you. This is just purely theoretical. A person may be one who has never sinned, but he might sin tomorrow. He would not be impeccable. To be impeccable, means that you cannot sin, not that had not sinned. So Jesus Christ was not just sinless. He could not sin. Now brace yourself. I’m going to give you a little Latin. After all, you’re taking a theology class, aren’t you? You ought to get some benefit out of this. You want to have some scholarship when you get through.
The word peccare is really an infinitable form, but it means “to sin.” P-E-C-C-A-R-E, peccare. Now this is the theologian’s way of saying, “not able to sin.” This too is an infinitive of the verb that is to mean — means, “to be able.” “Not able to sin” or “able not to sin.” Now theologians wrestle with the impeccability of Christ, and some theologians — who are good theologians, the Christian faith doesn’t depend on this — have said that Jesus Christ was able to sin, but that he did not sin. And consequently, what we should say of him now, is that he is “able not to sin.” He has passed through all of human experience, and he possesses the ability not to sin. Others have said that he was not able to sin, and this I think, is scriptural because it is true to the divine nature — the divine personality of our Lord. He was not a human person who took to himself divine nature, and thus became, by his experience, able not to sin. But he was a divine person who took to himself human nature and thus, he was not able to sin. We’ll let it go at that because we have other things to say.
Now we want to take a look at Philippians chapter 2 for a few moments. So will you turn here, and we’re going to talk about the famous kenosis passage. Kenosis is simply, the transliteration of a word that means, “emptying.” The word translated “made himself of no reputation” here in Philippians 2. Is the verb, kenao from which we get kenosis or KEN-osis because the accent is really on the first syllable. Kenosis. And kenao means “to empty” literally. So what this text really says in verse 6 is, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But emptied himself.” Translated in our version “made himself of no reputation.” “Emptied himself.” Now this has come to be the “kenosis passage” because that is the verb kenao and from it we get the word kenosis — which transliterated is K-E-N-O-S-I-S — which means “the emptying.” Now what was “the emptying” that took place when Jesus became a man?
What happened when the Son became a man? Modern kenotic theory claims he laid aside some of his divine attributes. Some go further. Some say he not only laid aside some of his attributes, but he abandoned all of his attributes of deity. Some say he abandoned the divine mode of existence. Now is it possible for Jesus Christ, when he became a man, to lay aside his divine attributes? Is it possible? Think for a moment. Theologians think, you know — when we come here on Monday night — I don’t say, “Now — like I’m feeding a little baby — open your mouth.” I’m not doing that. I’m not pushing in pablum. You’ve got to think. Is it possible for Jesus Christ to lay aside part or all of his divine attributes when he became a man? Let me ask you this question, suppose he laid aside all of his divine attributes? Would we have a Trinity while Jesus was incarnate? If he laid aside all of his divine attributes, he could not be God. We should not have a Trinity. One of the things we learned about God was that he was immutable. Unchangeable. Is it possible for one person of the Trinity to lay aside his divine attributes if he is immutable? No. Could he be truly deity? No. Could he be a mediator? No, he really could not be a mediator, because a mediator not only must be a man to die for us, but he must be God, in order to bring us into relationship with God. And so modern kenotic theory, that Jesus laid aside some or all of this attributes, is surely wrong.
What happened then when Jesus “emptied himself?” What is the text to mean when it says, “It made himself of no reputation. He emptied himself?” Well what it means is this. He surrendered the voluntary use of his divine attributes. Put that down. He surrendered the voluntary use of his divine attributes. He did not surrender his divine attributes. He surrendered the voluntary use of them. What does that mean? Well that means he did not act independently. He did not use his divine attributes independently. He surrendered the voluntary use of them to his Father while he was incarnate.
Now if you look at the text of Philippians, you can see that this is what Paul means. What does he say about him? Well he says, “Who, being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” It was not a thing to be grasped after, for he already had it. It was not something Jesus had to stretch in order to acquire for himself, as Professor Bruner has said. He possessed it all along. But he emptied himself and took upon him the form of a servant.
What’s the characteristic thing of a slave — about a slave? Well the characteristic thing about a slave is this. He obeys his master. A slave has no will, no independent will of his own. A slave is not able to act independently. He acts dependently. It’s what his master commands him to do. Jesus became a servant. Theologically, he surrendered the voluntary use of his divine attributes. Exegetically, he became a slave. They mean the same thing. All of those texts in the Gospel of John, for example, when Jesus said, “I do nothing of myself, but that which I see my Father doing.” That is the evidence of the surrender of the voluntary use of his divine attributes. So theologically, he surrendered the use — voluntary use — of his divine attributes, or the glories, or the prerogatives of deity as some have put it. But exegetically, he became a servant.
Milton has expressed this correctly — I think. He said, “That glorious from, that light insufferable, he laid aside. And here with us to be. Forsook the courts of everlasting day — day, and chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.” So he did not empty himself of God when he became a man. So the Lord Jesus was just as much God after he had taken to himself human nature, as he was beforehand.
Now what does this mean? Capital B: His Meaning. One person, two natures, what does it mean? G. Campbell Morgan Many years ago, wrote a book called, The Crises of the Christ. I recommend by the way, if you do not have that book, that you get that book and read it. It’s a great book, even fifty years later. In it he said, “Man is distanced from God by sin. Man is ignorant of God through sin. Man is unlike God in sin. But now since Jesus Christ has come — the second person of the blessed Trinity — has taken to himself human nature, God finds himself in this person, and he is with men. And men, by believing in this one who has died for them, and becoming united with him, may find themselves in him and thus, with God.”
Job said a long time ago, “He is not a man as I am, that we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any deious man betwixt us.” God and man, no deious man. No mediator who may put his hand upon both — upon God and upon us. But there did come one person of the Trinity, taking to himself human nature, born in a manger in Bethlehem by virgin conception and ordinary birth. Not virgin birth. Ordinary birth. Jesus was born as you and I were born, but conceived by the Holy Ghost in the virgin. Lived among men. Moved among men. Performed his mighty works in demonstration of who he was.
Finally, went to the cross at Calvary, and there as a man and also as God. The “God-Man” had meted out upon him all the judgment of the human race. So that there as the mediator God and man may meet, and we may believe in him who died for us, and be with God. And God made through what — that which Jesus Christ has done — be with us, we with God, God with us, in the finished work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That’s what it really means. That’s why there must be a “God-Man.” Man to be our substitute, but God to give that sacrifice infinite value, and make the connection with God.
Finally, Capital C: His Message, or what does it mean practically? Let me just give you a couple of illustrations to try to bring this home. You remember when the Lord Jesus was by the tomb of Lazarus? What does the Bible say that he did? Well, the Bible says that he sobbed. He wept. Our Lord Jesus, the “God-Man” has all of the properties of human nature, and he is able to weep over the over the effects of sin. But at the same time, we read on and suddenly, we read that Jesus said — this man who weeps, down to his face there flows the tears of compassion. Suddenly we hear this Jesus say, “Lazarus, come forth.” And Lazarus comes forth. That’s God. Have you ever tried to do that?
We read that this same “God-Man” says in the tenth chapter of the Book of John and the eighteenth verse, “No man taketh it, my life from me, but I lay it down of myself.” Any martyr could say that. Ghandi could say that. Any Vietnamese could say that as they throw themselves upon a fire. But Jesus said, “I have power to lay it down. I have power to take it again.” Only a God can say that.
There was a leper who came to Jesus. He said, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. I believe Lord, that you have the power, but I’m not sure that you really care. If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Have you ever seen a leper? Nothing more loathe than a leper. Jesus doesn’t have to touch anyone to heal them. He heals with a word. He doesn’t even have to be in the presence. He heals the nobleman’s son when the nobleman’s son is distant from him. He could have spoken the word, “I will. Be thou clean.” But we read this amazing fact, that Jesus reached forth his hand, and touched him. Thus we learned that back of the power there is a love. “He saw me ruin it in the fall, yet loved me not withstanding all,” we sing. I’m so glad we have a Savior who is God and therefore, can meet all of my needs, but who is also man and therefore, understands all of my needs.
We began by saying, “Who is Jesus Christ?” Those who were closest to him affirm their radiant and life-giving faith in him. Thomas said, “My Lord and my God.” Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And then Jesus said — after he asked the question, “Who do men say that I the Son of man am?” — “Who say ye that I am?” So I ask you tonight, “Whom say ye that Jesus is?” All theology should be pectoral theology, theology of the heart. We must stop. Next time we’re going to consider errors and heresies concerning the person of Christ; ancient and modern. We’ll pick it up here. Let’s bow in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank Thee for his greatness and O deliver us from error concerning him. And may the great practical benefits of the knowledge that we have be seen in us for Thy glory. For Christ’s sake. Amen.