Daily Blog Email
I’m not a fan of banter within the Christian blogosphere. I engage in it more often than I’m proud to admit. It’s a guilty pleasure I hope to kick eventually, when my job doesn’t require me to be on social media all day.
Earlier this week, there was a dust up in the blogosphere over the deity of Jesus. A popular progressive blogger/journalist and self-identified gay Christian was claiming that the humanity of Christ trumped the deity of Christ, and that, as a result, his words on human sexuality could not be trusted.
Yep. That’s a real thing. Someone said that. To be fair, it’s more logically consistent for gay-affirming Christians to make that claim than to try to disarm the writings of Paul with shoddy analysis, like many try to do.
As a result of all of that, I wanted to share a bit on the deity of Christ this morning.
Jesus is the God-man. He is God in human flesh. Augustine wrote of Jesus, “He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy, He the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.”
Below is the most striking Christological text in Scripture, I think.
John 1:1-18 (ESV):
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
Here is a bit of analysis on John 1:1-18 from Dr. Danny Akin. Dr. Akin is the President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the school through which I am earning my Master of Divinity degree. Helpful words from Dr. Akin in Christology: The Study of Christ, part of The Concise Theology Series from Rainer Publishing:
Modern persons often have difficulty with the deity of Christ. Persons in the first century actually had difficulty with his humanity as well. John’s prologue (1:1-18) addresses both in a balanced manner. There is a clear affirmation of Christ’s deity (Colossians 1-2; Philippians 2; Hebrews 1-2).
He is the Logos (revelation/communication) of God; the Life (creation/salvation) of God; and the Light (salvation/revelation) of God. The importance of John 1:14 can scarcely be overemphasized: “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.”
In addition, John elsewhere emphasizes the Son’s unique relationship to the Father and provides the most significant material in Scripture for the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. This relationship is demonstrated in the Upper Room Discourse in John 14-16. Here a number of important themes are expressed: 1) the essential oneness of the Father and the Son (14:9-10); 2) the distinctiveness of persons within the Godhead (4:16-18); and 3) the functional subordination of the Son to the Father (14:24, 31; 16:5, 28). John’s Gospel is a gold mine for Christological reflection.
Jesus is called the Word or Logos in John 1:1, 14. Logos is a word with a rich and varied history. Potential sources for John’s concept include Palestinian Judaism, Greek philosophy, Hellenistic (Greek influenced) Judaism, and the Old Testament. John utilizes Logos because of its capacity to communicate to multiple cultures. He uses it for the purpose of missions and evangelism. The term was well known, but John fills it with “new meaning.”
The Greek philosopher Philo believed Logos was “reason” and an “it.” John’s Logos is “the Word” and a “He.” Philo’s Logos was a principle. John’s Logos is a person. John’s Logos is not only God’s agent in creation; He is God. He is God’s personal, visible (1:14) communication to man. Logos does not explain Jesus; Jesus explains and fills with new meaning Logos. Wisdom has become a person. Divine reason has become a man.
The Greeks were correct in affirming we could not reach the Logos. John informs us that we need not despair. The Logos came down and lived among us. To the Greeks Logos is reason. To the Jews Logos is the Word/wisdom. In John, these ideas find new meaning as they are embodied in a person: Jesus Christ.