We’re Missing Something…

484denthieves

The Fundamentalist Church is cautious toward anything that may detract from the truth of the Trinity.  We believe that God consists of the Father, Jesus Christ (the Son), and the Holy Spirit, and that they all hold a unique role throughout time and creation.

When groups minimize the diety of Jesus Christ, we term them as “cults.” When groups minimize the efficacy of Jesus Christ and redirect people to a “suitable alternative,” a more “user-friendly” character like His mother, we deem them heretical.

This is essential.  However, our preservationism has presented a problem, one that I will share a perfect example of. 

We have distorted the reality of Jesus’ time on earth as a man.  When we talk about Jesus, born of a virgin, Messiah of the Jew and Gentile alike, we don’t really think of Him as a man.  To think of Him as ordinary is quite unsettling.  To think of Him as needy almost seems offensive.  Why?  It is because we think of Him as God on earth, walking around, doing “God” things like healing the sick and raising the dead, casting out demons and driving out thieves in the temple.  “Of course He could do all those things,” we think, “He was God!”

We forget that Jesus got tired.  He got sad.  He wept.  He was moved with compassion.  He was grieved.  He got angry.  He got thirsty.  He was homeless, sleeping whereever He could find a place to rest and staying with friends when possible.

Our preservation of Jesus, our embalming of His diety, goes even further.

Matthew 19:16,17 tells a story about Jesus’ interaction with a man who wanted to know how to get into heaven. Here it is from the New King James Version.

“Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one [is] good but One, [that is], God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Now, here is the same passage, but from the NASB, my current version of choice.

And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is {only} One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Did you catch the difference?  The Scripture originally read, “Why do you call me good?  There is no one good but One, that is God.” It was updated to say “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is {only} One who is good…”

The Greek text seems to more closely support the previous version of this Scripture. “Eipen(He said) auto(to him) ti(why) me(me) legeis(you are saying) agathon(good) oudeis(not yet one) agathos(good)…”

I believe this Scripture was updated to preempt the question, “Why would Jesus say He is not good?”  If Jesus is God, and God is good, then why do we see this apparent contradiction?

The answer is quite simple.  It is found in Philippians 2:6-8. “…He existed in the form of God…but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Jesus emptied Himself of His diety and became a man.  He did not have a sin nature, being created by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb, but everything else was all human.  Everything Jesus did was in submission to the Father’s directives, His guidance, and His empowerment through the Holy Spirit.  Jesus reduced Himself to become a man.  He modeled for us what it looks like to be a man and be yielded to the Father and empowered by the Spirit.  He finally promised and comissioned us that we would do miracles even greater than He did while He was a man.

When Jesus says “Why do you call me good? There is no one good but One, God,” He is speaking from His vantage point as a human being.

It is one thing to honor Jesus’ place in the Godhead.  It is a shame, however, to forget His human journey and completely miss one of the greatest themes of His life, the empowerment and employment of a man completely yielded to God.

 

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One response to “We’re Missing Something…

  • Lefty

    I really appreciate these thoughts here. Thanks for sharing them. Encouraging to think of Jesus’ humanity, and his humbling of himself to the Father.
    I appreciated the Greek language lesson as well.
    Keep it up.
    lefty

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