Jesus once asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13-16). We still struggle with that question today with all its implications. For his disciples he was “the Christ the Son of the living God.” But we want to know what that means! Was he part divine as well as being totally human? Was he just human and not divine at all? Speaking to fellow Evangelicals Ben Witherington says,
“Sometimes we Evangelicals have distorted image of the two natures of Christ. We kind of assume he was 90% divine, and 10% human. No, he was 100% divine and 100% human and the only way that corporate merger of the divine and the human works is through divine self abnegation, divine self-limitation. And that is precisely what we see in the Gospels.”
Philippians 2:7 speaks of Jesus ‘emptying himself’ – a suggestion of handing over the prerogatives of his divinity to the Father and becoming one with us – totally. John 1:14 tell us he did not pretend to be human but that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Much of my library has gone in my downsizing after retirement but a sentence by John Owen on the nature of Christ has long remained in my mind – “It was not that he gave up what he was but that he became what he was not.” But what are the implications for us today of Jesus becoming one of us? Ben Witherington challenges his congregation (and readers) with a sermon on Philippians 2:4-11 on what it means to have, The Mind Of Christ.