Jesus - God and Man
I have written to you before to tell you how blessed I
have been in finding the "Ray Stedman Remembrance" sight but this
time it is for a different reason. I have an important question and
wonder if you would be able to answer it or direct me to someone who
I have been attending a very "theological" bible study for the past
month. It is Knowing God by J.L.Packard. This is what we discussed
today............The difference in the humanity of Christ and the
divinity of Christ. Now, when He was on the cross and He called out
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me" he was being separated
from God the Father, (there where other scriptures as well but I
will use this one) then am I to understand that Christ was in the
human form at that time, also this was the reason He could not tell
the disciples the time of His return. This would mean to me that
there where times in His ministry that He was "fully man" but only
at such a time that He responded to things e.g.. see above, the
woman who touched His robe, His anger in the temple etc. He was
"fully God" when He was performing miracles, casting out demons,
healing the sick, raising the dead. Is this how this teaching is to
be perceived or am I totally misunderstanding the concept of "fully
God and fully man"?
I hope you can understand what it is that I am trying to understand
and would be able to add some light to this teaching.
Thank you once again.
You have asked a theological question of a non-theologian. You
realize, of course, the risk involved? [o: Nevertheless, I will dare
to speculate, and you will of course hold me accountable by
questioning my speculations!
I think it is clear from Jesus' repeated statements particularly in
the Gospel of John that He, the Son, never acted independently from
the Father. It is quite impossible for us to understand the kind of
unity in the Godhead, though it is the focus of Jesus' prayer for us
in John 17:11: "...Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou
hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." (I wonder,
will this be possible when finally, "we shall be like Him for we
shall see Him as He is" I Jn. 3:3)? At any rate, Dr. Packer
clarifies for me the inter-relationship of Father/Son: "As in heaven,
so on earth, the Son was utterly dependent upon the Father's will."
It was therefore the Father's will that the Son subject himself to
all the limitations of being human. As I understand it, the purpose
was two-fold. God, as Spirit, cannot be subject to death, and of
course there would be no atoning sacrifice without death. There was
a secondary purpose, I believe, which was for the second Adam to
demonstrate what man was intended to be. There is wonderful mystery
in it all! The limitated understanding of even the finest
theologicans keeps us aware of our finiteness. If we chafe at that
limitation, we must be in awe that God would confine himself to
"being in the likeness of man", so that he might experience those
humbling limitations. The ultimate, unthinkable, voluntary
limitation was consummated on the cross. If hell is in essence
separation from God, our Lord Jesus as man experienced hell for
us--is that something of what is meant in that agonizing cry? Yet
even in that the Son was doing the will of the Father!!
In the case of the woman who touched his garment and was healed, I
think Jesus asked who touched him for the sake of the woman. The
disciples marveled that he discerned a particular person's touch when
throngs of people were pressing him. What a tender story of
affirmation it is. He drew her out of the ostracized social status
of a ritually untouchable and with his question solicited her
response to his intimate, personal care for her! Of course Jesus'
anger in the temple incident was again an expression of the Father's
will and character.
For your further consideration, I have copied the following Ray Stedman piece:
>Who Is God?
>By Ray C. Stedman
>God consists of three persons: Father, Son and Spirit. We cannot
>experience him in any other way. But though we usually list him as
>Father, Son and Spirit, the actual experience of God is different.
>We first meet the Son, by means of the Spirit, and then the Father.
>The Father is the source. The Father is unseen, unknown, except as
>he continually embodies himself (makes himself visible) in the Son.
>The Son is who we see and hear and know. He is ceaselessly embodying
>the Father, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. He is
>perpetually revealing the Father, hitherto invisible.
>The Father is logically first, but not chronologically. For the Son
>exists as long as the Father exists, and is coexistent with the
>Father. The Father acts through and in the Son. He makes himself
>visible only in the Son. It is in the Son that the Father becomes a
>part of human life, and so is born and lives and dies in human life.
>The Spirit, in turn, comes from the Son . He does not embody the
>Son. On the contrary, God, in issuing from the Son into the Spirit
>becomes invisible again. The Spirit proceeds silently, endlessly,
>invisibly from the Son.
>But the Son is not the source of the Spirit which proceeds from him.
>The Father is the source of both the Son and the Spirit. Back of the
>Son is the Father out of which the Son comes. The Spirit issues and
>proceeds from the Father, through the Son.
>The Son therefore comes out from the invisible Father and
>perpetually and ever-newly embodies the Father in visible, audible,
>livable form, and returns again into invisible God in the Spirit.
>The Spirit acts invisibly. He continually influences us with regard
>to the Son. He casts light upon the Son. That is his great function.
>He helps us to live in the Son which we know, and with reference to
>the Father whom we expect to see.
Val, I love your inquiring mind. In the peculiar arrogance of youth
I thought I knew the answers, then to find I needed most to learn to
ask the right questions. Incidentally, it is fascinating to observe
how Jesus used questions to probe people. And you have probed me.
We have a small but gifted team who are far better qualified than I
to address such excellent questions as yours. I will send your
e-mail on to them, hoping they can add their wisdom to my limited
"..work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for *God is
at work in you*, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."
from Phil. 2:12,13.
Amazed by His grace,