The humanity of Jesus |


A few weeks ago I was giving a lecture about biblical interpretation in Lima, Peru. At the end of the conference someone asked me this question:
According to Mark 13:32 Jesus says that he does not know the day nor the hour of his second coming. If Jesus is God, why does he not know this?
It is a very good question because it presents us with one of the most important questions of our faith. On the one hand we affirm that Jesus is God; On the other hand we affirm that Jesus is the revelation of God in human form. Jesus is the God-man. This reality is fundamental to our faith. But a question arises: is it possible to be totally God and totally man totally at the same time? God is by definition radically different in his being to man. God is the creator; man is created; God is eternal, man is temporary; God is almighty, man is limited; God has all knowledge and in comparison with that man does not know anything about anything. The German theologian Karl Bart is famous for pointing out that God is "completely other," and that we should not pretend that we can know him or reach him by our own means. God is the great mystery.
How can we, then, so limited human beings, know God, which is totally different? The biblical answer is that God comes down to us. He communicates with us at our level. When God appears to the characters of the Bible, such as as glory to Moses on Mount Zion, as three visitors to Abraham or as a fighting angel to Jacob, it is obvious that these revelations are only small samples of what he is. In its whole. But it is also obvious that these revelations are true. That is, they are not incorrect because they are not complete. That is why we do not agree with the pluralists who accept any supposed revelation of God in any religion as legitimate. The premise of the pluralist is that as God is so mysterious and so difficult to understand each one finds in him different and often contradictory things. This is not the biblical perspective. In the Bible, God comes down to us and although what he says is incomplete, it is true. It is not contradictory.
As the author of Hebrews affirms, although God manifested Himself in different ways in the past, His highest revelation was in the person of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1: 1-3). John tells us that Jesus is the verb of God who is God and was with God from the beginning, and who participated in the creation of the universe (John 1: 1-3). John affirms all this to establish the credentials of the verb, because then in the same chapter John proclaims: "the Word became man and dwelt among us. And we have beheld his glory, the glory that corresponds to the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. "(John 1:14) Jesus is the most complete revelation of God, or the least limited revelation. That's why we are Christians. That is why there is a New Testament: God "incarnated" himself in the person of Jesus Christ, and in doing so he showed us much more about his person than we previously knew.
But we must emphasize that since Jesus is the revelation of God to us, he is not the revelation of all that is God. That is not within our reach. We can not hear or see or touch everything that is God. Revelation is in itself a limitation on the part of God. This is what the Apostle Paul explains:
Christ,
"… being by nature God,
He did not consider being equal to God as something to cling to.
On the contrary, he voluntarily lowered himself,
taking the nature of a servant
and becoming similar to human beings.
And when manifesting as a man,
he humbled himself. "(Philippians 2: 6-8)
That is why in the Bible Jesus eats, prays, sleeps, and also does not know some things about the future. By becoming a man Jesus, the second person of the trinity, has limited himself. We should never think that since Jesus is God, he experienced all the attributes of God in his earthly life. Of course not, because he suffered and died as a human being, and that identification with the human race is precisely what saves us. Jesus is the perfect human being who fulfills the will of God and suffers as a fellow man for his brothers, thus purifying them. But let's not forget that for this identification to work, Jesus really had to be human.
I do not pretend to understand all this. It is by definition something that goes beyond the limits of human understanding. But we do have some guides to use in our contemplation of these things. On the one hand, the Bible affirms that Jesus is God, on the other hand he affirms that Jesus is God to us, limited God, humiliated God. And if God can be limited to our benefit, says Paul, how much more should we humble ourselves for the benefit of our brothers and sisters? (Philippians 2: 5)

Author: Rob Haskell
Director of pastoral training ministry Senderis. He is also the author of the book Hermeneutics: Effective Interpretation Today, Editorial CLIE.
Director of pastoral training ministry Senderis. He is also the author of the book Hermeneutics: Effective Interpretation Today, Editorial CLIE.


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