A. Duh… of course he did those things, he’s God. His own Divine Power.
B. The authors of Scripture exaggerated his accomplishments; he didn’t have that power.
C. He was born that way; it was an innate power.
D. He grew that way by using the same power available to every child of God today.
E. None of the above.
F. A and C above.
G. C and D above.
H. Enough already.
And the answer is…
Well, before I give you the answer, let me affirm that Jesus is fully God and fully human. He always was and will be fully God, as much as the Father and Spirit, one in the Trinity. And ever since his Incarnation on Christmas, he also has been and will be forevermore, fully human–as human as we are, except for sin. Two natures, human and divine, united in one Person forever. Do not construe anything here to deny that historic teaching on Jesus.
With that in mind, the answer is: D. He grew that way by using the same power available to every child of God today. (Did you get it? Which one did you choose? You can leave comment below…)
Most Christians undercut the accomplishment of Jesus. We routinely dismiss the fact that he had to grow up spiritually and it wasn’t easy. And we routinely dismiss the fact that as a human he felt the limitations of our humannes to the max, including the full force of temptation.
So we become modern Sabellians: “Of course Jesus resisted temptation; he was God.” Or perhaps Apollinarians: “Of course Jesus loved his enemies; his body may have been human but his mind was divine.” As if Jesus were a mer-man, half human, half divine. Or maybe Eutychians: “Jesus could do all those things because his deity blended with his humanity and made it supernatural.”
Whichever ancient heresy you might espouse, rest assured that Scripture teaches otherwise. And also rest assured that even though these debates may rage in all their technical mumbo-jumbo in the halls of religious academia, they are utterly relevent to the typical Christian on the street, to the point of perplexity and exasperation.
If Jesus faced the troubles of his life using his own divine ominipotence, then we’re all sunk. He would not be our example and we could never do what he did (Sabellianism).
If Jesus faced the troubles of his life as the mind of deity encased in the body of a human, then he is likewise irrelevant as a model for our daily lives (Apollinarianism).
But take heart. Each of those person-on-the-street errors was correctly adjudged to contradict the Scriptural data, and was rejected by the Church. I’m sure there were a few indiscriminate floggings and cracked knuckles administered in the process, but we repudiate those things, and will have to leave them for another blog.
Let us simply affirm that whatever Jesus did as our example, he did in such a way that we can follow. He restricted himself, voluntarily, to the use of powers that would be available to every child of God. And he grew in his strength and abilities to use those powers.
“52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52, NKJV.
Do not undercut the incredible accomplishments of Jesus, and do not dismiss his relevance for your life.
THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF JESUS IS THE PROTOTYPE FOR THE SPIRITUAL LIVES OF HIS FOLLOWERS… for all of us who claim his name.
By what power did Jesus exude such compassion, integrity, courage, strength, patience, grace, resistance to temptation, and love? Let’s outline his power-sources in the next blog. Thanks for stopping by.