Sunday, December 7, 2014

Jesus = Emmanuel and Second Adam

Christmas time stirs up consideration of the One Christians call Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. The reasons for this are many. One of the main ones centres upon the Biblical claim that within the person of this Man dwelt two natures. This is expressed in the titles 'Emmanuel' (God with us) and the Second Adam (highlighting His humanity.) Controversy has waged over the centuries with  protagonists emphasising one aspect of Christ's nature of the other.

The Bible allows the tension of these two to abide without trying to solve the mystery. It is a faith matter similar to accepting the mystery of the One God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three in One. From out of the  discussion about Jesus and His humanity arises the question, was Jesus a man of His time? What then would be the implications of, ‘Any understanding of Jesus must be based on the fact that Jesus was a man of His own time’ and also the statement, ‘His knowledge was but the knowledge of His time.’

I understand that Jesus did not know all that the Father had in mind for Him or the future. This is evident from Mark 13:32 where Jesus admitted that He as the Son didn’t know when the ‘fig tree’ would blossom. I understand this limitation of and on Jesus was part of His living the life of dependence on and faith in His Father’s will. He lived out what He calls us to do. What are the implications of Jesus being a man of His time and having His knowledge limited to that time? Does this mean He is fallible in some of His statements? If so what? Does it mean we in this 21st A.D. century can know more that Jesus did whilst on earth? To accept that is to undermine His authority and the credibility of Genesis to Revelation. Jesus upheld creation, Adam and Eve, marriage, Noah’s flood (amongst other matters) all of which today are considered either unscientific or outdated.

May I suggest we gain a clue to Christ’s apparent lack of knowledge on certain matters from John 5:19,20,30. John 17:8.  John 8:28 is a good summary: ‘Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but speak these things as the Father instructs me.”’ (NRSV) He was in tune with the Father and shared what the Father revealed to Him at that time. He wasn’t doing His own bidding. Was this also an expression of Jesus being the prophet also? Now this puts us into a difficult position if we dismiss aspects of what Jesus taught as simply being due to the knowledge of the time. It makes the Father also fallible. It makes 21st century man wiser than the Father and the Son as well as the Scriptures. Such a thing is not only impossible, it is ridiculous!

The mystery of Jesus as Emmanuel and the second Adam at the same time remains. His testimony as to His teaching must be two fold. A diligent study of His Bible and a dependence upon listening to His Father must undergird what He taught and did. I believe we can build our lives, faith, and hope upon Jesus as being the infallible teacher , the one we call Lord and Saviour.
Copyright Ray Hawkins 7.12.2014.

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