The Humanity of Jesus Christ
Defending the Trinity of God
Class Session 3
By Pastor Ron Jones, www.titusinstitute.com
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Recently, we began a study on the nature of our triune God and Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity who became a man and died on the cross for our sins.
When the second person of the Trinity became a man he did not cease to be God or change in His divine nature in any way, rather he took on a human nature. He became a man. The Scriptures clearly teach this important truth.
Last time, we saw that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is fully God. This time we will see that the Bible also teaches that Jesus is fully man.
We will look at two main points:
I. Jesus Christ is fully man with a human nature.
II. Jesus Christ is one person with two natures.
I. Jesus Christ is fully man with a human nature.
A. The OT predicted that the messiah would be a man.
1. It was predicted that the messiah would be a human being born from a woman.
Isa.7:14 “ a son is given” = a human son”
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
2. The Lord declares to Nathan that the messiah would be the descendent of David and would sit on David’s throne.
When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
3. It was predicted that the messiah would be a “son of man” who would come in power and receive an eternal kingdom.
“Son of man” means a “descendent of a man” or “man.”
Dan.7:13-14 “one like a son of man”
"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
B. Jesus claimed that he was a man.
1. Jesus used the title “son of man” from Dan.7:13-14.
This title “son of man” which is used of the messiah in Dan.7:13-14, Jesus uses of himself while referring to this vision.
But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
“Son of man” is a title Jesus used of himself over and over again.
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life." And the disciples were filled with grief.
2. Jesus called himself a man, a human being.
As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things.
B. The apostles claimed that Jesus is a man.
1. Matthew claimed that Jesus was a physical descendant of Abraham and David.
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham
The title “son of” = “physical descendent of.”
2. Paul called Jesus a man.
1 Tim.2:5 “the man Christ Jesus”
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
C. Jesus' demonstration of human characteristics in his earthly life showed that he was a man.
Lu.2:40 Jesus grew
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
John.4:6 Jesus became tired
Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
Matt. 4:1-2 Jesus was hungry
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Jn.19:30-34 Jesus died
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
II. Jesus Christ is one person with two natures, a divine nature and a human nature.
He was both fully God and fully man. Christ's two natures are united and yet distinct an unmixed. Jesus’ human nature is distinct from his divine nature and his divine nature is distinct from his human nature.
Jesus was not half-human, half-God with one mixed human-divine nature. All of his divine attributes were distinct from his human ones.
Remember that sin is not a human attribute by original creation. God created Adam innocent, that is without sin, but Adam sinned and fell and all those born after him, which is everybody, is born with a sin nature.
This is the key truth that must be remembered in interpreting the Scriptures in regard to Jesus Christ. Jesus is one person with two distinct natures. Therefore, he has both divine and human titles that apply to him at the same time.
A. Jesus used both human and divine titles when speaking of Himself.
While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: " `The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet." ' David himself calls him `Lord.' How then can he be his son?" The large crowd listened to him with delight.
Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
B. God revealed to Mary and Joseph that Jesus would be both the Son of God and man.
1. God revealed to Mary that Jesus would be her human son and yet the son of the Most High God.
This was revealed by the angel Gabriel to Mary at the very beginning. He would be both the “son of the Most High” and the “physical descendent of David.”
You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
2. God revealed to Joseph that Jesus would be the human son of Mary and the Son of God.
v.20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
v.21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
v.22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
v.23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means, "God with us."
C. The apostles taught that Jesus would be both the Son of God and man.
1. John wrote in his gospel that the Word who was God became flesh.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
“Became flesh” means “became human.”
2. Paul taught that Jesus was both the Son of God and a man born of a woman.
4But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
“His Son” refers to his divinity. “Born of a woman” refers to his humanity.
3. John wrote in his first letter that the human Jesus was the divine Son of God.
15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
4. Paul preached that Jesus is the Son of God.
At once he [Paul] began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
D. Jesus, as one person, may be referred to by his human title when is divine nature is described or a divine title when his human nature is described.
1. Jesus, as one person, may be referred by a divine title and yet his human nature is described.
“Human ancestry” = human nature, “Christ, God”
= divine nature
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
“Crucified” = human nature, “the Lord of glory”
= divine nature
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
“Before Abraham was born, I AM” is a statement of Jesus’ pre-existence as the eternal God Jehovah. “I AM” is the Greek equivalent of the great statement by God of his eternal name in Exod.3:14, “I AM has sent me to you.” Jesus, the human being, is speaking of his eternal divine nature. Thus, he reveals both his natures.
"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"
2. Jesus, as one person, may be referred to by his human title and yet his divine nature is described.
“Jesus” = human nature, “Christ, has come in the flesh” = divine nature
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
“Son of Man” = human nature, “who came from heaven” = divine nature
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man.
“Son of Man” = human nature, “ascend to where he was before” = divine nature
What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
God is showing in these Scriptures above that Jesus is one person with
E. Jesus can exercise a divine attribute at any given moment even though he is regularly exercising his human attributes as he lives as a man.
Jesus regularly needs food to eat as any human being and yet can also multiply bread as a divine being.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.
v.7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?"
v.8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
v.10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them.
v.11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
v.12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted."
v.13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
Jesus exercised his human attributes and lived as a man all the time and exercised his divine attributes only when it was part of the plan of redemption.
F. The Scriptures refer to Jesus in His redemptive/messianic role as one person who submitted himself as both God and man to the Father's will and was granted authority to accomplish the Father’s will.
Jesus’ messianic titles, Redeemer, Prophet, Priest and King refer to Him as the God-man.
1. Jesus speaks of the mission that he, as the Son of God, was sent to accomplish before he even existed as a human.
“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day”.
Jesus refers to his submission of himself as the Son to the Father in the plan of redemption. The second person of the trinity (Son) submitted Himself to the first person of the Trinity (Father) to carry out the plan of redemption. Thus, he became a servant and a man.
2. Jesus speaks of the glory he had, as the Son of God, before he even existed as a human.
v.4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
v.5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
3. Jesus submitted himself as the God-man to use his divine attributes on earth only within the will of the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit for the plan of redemption.
When Jesus exercised His divine attributes according to the Father’s will, both the Father and the Spirit worked at the same time in perfect unity.
Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
Jesus is saying, “I am like an "apprentice" son who watches my Father do his work and then copies it. The Father is doing his work of redemption and I am following alongside and fulfilling his will by doing the same thing. We are working together. Therefore when I work, the Father is working.”
v.49 “For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.
v.50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
The working together of the Father and Son is based on their essential unity as one God.
“Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”
4. As the God-man messiah and redeemer, Jesus was granted authority to act as redeemer both to reveal Himself and to save and judge mankind.
v.18 “Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
v.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
v.20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
v.24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
v.25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.
v.26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.
v.27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man
III. Understanding the two natures of Jesus Christ helps to properly interpret
specific verses relating two Jesus’ two natures
A. How can Jesus not know the hour if He is God who knows all things?
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
In his deity, Jesus was omniscient and therefore knew all things including the time of his second coming. However, when Jesus became man he only exercised His divine attributes in accordance with the Father's will and His redemptive purpose of revealing who He was. Therefore, at times He did not exercise His divine omniscience in the same way as He did not exercise His divine omnipotence.
When Jesus says that he did not know the time of the second coming, he was referring to his human nature. As a human being he did not know the time of his second coming and His divine omniscience was not activated in His human mind to reveal that to Him.
He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”
Jesus says that the date was fixed by the father's authority as the sending person and in the plan of redemption it was not for the Son to know while he was on earth. It was part of the divine plan of redemption for Jesus as a human being not to exercise His divine attribute to know the hour. So this refers to his human nature and its limitations.
B. How can Christ who is God pray to God?
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed…
Christ prayed to the Father as man, the same way that we pray to the Father. His divine and human natures were united, but distinct. Jesus only exercised His divine attributes to show His deity according to the Father's will.
He did not daily exercise intertrinitarian communication as a way of life, or he would cease to live as a man. The Son of God took the form of a bondservant, submissive to the Father and dependent on the Father as a way of life. Praying was part of that submission and dependence on the Father.
Jesus also experienced the human emotions that cause human beings to pray.
Jesus faced deep sorrow over his coming death on the cross. This sorrow came not only from the physical suffering that would come from his crucifixion, but also from the spiritual separation from God in his human nature he was about to experience as he bore the sins of the world in his humanity.
Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me."
C. How could Jesus be forsaken if he is one with the Father?
If Jesus claimed to be one in essence and being with God the Father how can Jesus cry out in anguish over being forsaken by God the Father on the cross.
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Jesus bore sin on his body - it was his human nature that bore the sin and it was his human nature that was forsaken.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
At that moment of sin bearing when Jesus was paying the penalty for sin,
in judgment of sin, the Father rejected Jesus as a human being and Jesus
felt it as a human and cried out to God.
D. How can Jesus be tempted if Jesus is God?
When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin.
He was tempted as a man, in his human nature, not as God. God cannot be
tempted. Adam and Eve did not have a fallen nature and were tempted.
E. How can the Father be greater than Jesus if Jesus is also God?
"You heard me say, `I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”
Jesus is speaking of himself in his submitted role as the redeemer, both in regards to the Father's authority and position over him and in regards to his humanity.
In the context, Jesus is talking about his "going away and coming back" which refers to his human death and his human resurrection and ascension. He is talking about his human body in his mediatorial role.
Why does Jesus mention that the Father is greater than Him?
So they would rejoice for Him. In his divine nature, he was fully equal to the Father and not less than the Father. As the Mediator between God and man, in his role of submission he was less in authority and position and in his humanity he was less in nature. He is going back to heaven to be with the “greater” Father whose position and authority in heaven is over all. Who wouldn’t want to go to be with the Father?
This joyful circumstance is mentioned in Heb.12:2 where Jesus looks forward
to being with the Father at his right hand as the God-man. The throne is
a symbol of the Father's greatness.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Another verse is Jn.10:28-30.
v.28 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
v.29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.
v.30I and the Father are one."
In this passage, Jesus speaks of both his humanity and deity.
Jesus means that no other being has the power to take the believer out of Jesus’ saving and protective power as the God-man and no one has the power to take the believer out of the saving and protective power of God the Father. He calls God “greater than all” because again God the Father is greater in position and authority in relation to Jesus’ role as submissive redeemer.
However, Jesus actually equates his saving and protecting power with the
Father as he speaks of his deity. Both he and the Father were able to protect
believers from all other beings. The reason Jesus is able to do this is
because he and the Father are one essence and being.