The Christian centuries have witnessed endless debates about the person and nature of Christ. These extended from conflicts about the divinity of Jesus and the idea of a trinity during the first five centuries of the common era through the Protestant/Catholic battles over the need of an intermediary between people and God to ongoing arguments about how human and how divine Jesus was, arguments which still separate even Adventists from each other. In what ways are these important when it comes to the assurance Jesus provides for those who believe in him? And how do we come to understand or appreciate the human nature of Jesus? The divine nature?
Relevant Biblical Passages:
|Luke 4:16-21||in the synagogue at Nazareth|
|The “I AM” passages in John 8:58, but also see bread (6:35); light of the world (8:12); gate (10:9); good shepherd (10:11); resurrection and life (11:25); way, truth and life (14:6); true vine (15:1)|
|Acts 4:10-12||salvation in none other|
|Philippians 2:5-11||“though in the form of God”|
|Hebrews 1 (with its emphasis on the divinity of Jesus) and 2 (with its stress on his humanity)|
Old Testament passages quoted in the New Testament – What dynamics are at work when we read New Testament quotes of Old Testament passages? The original contexts normally suggest another meaning. How does this work? Were the prophets or first audiences aware of how later inspired writers would use the words they initially heard? Did they have the same thing in mind? Compare several examples: Hos 11:1-2 / Matt 2:13-15 or Isa 7:1-17 (especially vs. 14) / Matt 1:18-23 or Micah 5:2-5 / Matt 2:1-6. In what ways is our reading of these references enriched by looking at the passages in context?
Contributions to Study of Assurance:
In what ways does it matter in terms of assurance that Jesus was fully human? In what ways does it matter that Jesus was fully divine? What do these biblical claims contribute to our study of assurance and confidence? What about assurance in the God of the Old Testament? What would our discussions about only the New Testament mean to the thousands of believers who lived BC?
Lessons for Life:
Most of us don’t live in the heady world of theories and theologies about Jesus and his divinity and humanity. How can I make the message of assurance in the person of Jesus walk in my everyday world of work and play? What difference should it make in the way I live each day? In the way I relate with what doesn’t seem to make sense? In the way I relate with others? Any stories or experiences which might illustrate the point?