Sunday, September 28, 2014

Can Jesus be Both Man and God? ("No Way!" or "Oh Yeah!")

Jesus was a man. All right. If we look at Jesus’ life, it’s hard to deny that. But what about his claim to be God (as I already examined in the last two blog posts)? Can he be both? The first followers of Jesus certainly seemed to think so. Two of the Gospel writers, especially, said so clearly in their account of the birth of Jesus.

Luke recorded the visit of an angel to Mary telling her that she would become pregnant and give birth to a son. Since she was then unmarried, she was understandably (okay, I don’t really understand actually) surprised and alarmed and asked how it could happen. The angel replied: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, ESV).

Matthew, on the other hand, highlights the experience of Joseph, Mary’s fiancé. Joseph was understandably (okay, once again, I don’t really understand) concerned when he discovered she was pregnant and he contemplated calling an end to the engagement. But God through a dream spoke to him and reassured him: “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20, ESV).

These part of the Gospel accounts, possibly more than any other, is difficult for some to accept – it sounds more like fantasy than fact (probably one of the great stumbling block for our majority neighbour). Yet it is entirely consistent with the rest of the Gospel accounts, and it provides an explanation of that contrast between the divinity and the humanity claim of Jesus.  Both Luke and Matthew tells us that Jesus was born of Mary and is therefore – man; but was conceived by the Spirit of God and is therefore – God. And that is what early Christians have believed down the centuries until now, that Jesus was both – man and God. The Apostles’ Creed (if you worship in a Protestant Church, you might be familiar with this), one of the earliest statements of Christian faith and belief, states that: “I believe in Jesus Christ… He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.”

To say that Jesus is both (100%) man and (100%) God is neither to twist the evidence in the Scripture, nor to dismiss part of it, but rather to face up realistically to the whole Scripture’s evidences. But, yeah, you must examine the evidence yourself. Start with actually reading the Gospel story in the New Testament yourself. Don’t settle for what people’s saying (like religious teachers in your university or campus or school or on TV channels), seek for yourself. If you seek Jesus with all your heart, you will find Him. I pray you will have peace in Him, amen.

Jesus is asking us, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:13-16)
Do you know Jesus of the Bible?
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