At Home In NazarethSeries: Christology
AT HOME IN NAZARETH
Sermon By Terry Siverd /August 14, 2022 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
As I mentioned last Sunday, for years now I found myself hungering and thirsting for insights that might illuminate the general subject of Christology. Christology delves into the dual aspects of the earthly life and ministry of Christ Jesus:
He was both fully Divine and fully human, a concept that is not easily comprehended, even by the most brilliant.
In last Sunday's sermon, The Word Was God. we briefly addressed the DEITY of Christ. Throughout my forty plus years
of preaching I have observed that we are more comfortable (both more at ease and even more proficient or articulate)
when we engage in discussions about the divinity of Christ than when we attempt to expound upon HIS HUMANITY.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that we preachers have not explored this topic as we could have and should have.
Indeed, Christology is an intimidating subject, but that is no excuse for our failure to study the matter.
I want to use the balance of our current sermon series, Probing The Passion, to try to address this shortcoming.
Last Sunday, in preparation for these upcoming sermons, I asked you to revisit and re-read the epistle to the Hebrews.
In Hebrews one encounters several important passages that will help us in pondering the humanity of Jesus.
The book of Hebrews opens (Heb.1:3) with a bold announcement about the deity of Christ - -
(Christ) is the radiance of (The Father's) glory and the exact representation of His nature...
But the epistle to the Hebrews also provides us with some important insights about the humanity of Jesus.
We will highlight some of these key passages: first in this morning's message and then again next Sunday.
Before we elaborate on these it will do us well to look at a springboard text found in Luke chapter two. In keeping
with the law of Moses, on the eighth of the boy's life a service in the home would include circumcision and naming.
About a month later first-born sons (in this instance, Jesus) was presented to the Lord at the temple
in Jerusalem with the sacrifices prescribed by the Law. cf. Ex.13:2-15 and Num.18:15-16.
It was in this setting that Joseph & Mary encountered both the prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna.
A summary statement is recorded in Lk.2:39-40 - - And when they had performed everything according
to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And behold, the child
continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.
If restricted to the gospels, this text and that which follows are all that we have which inform us of Jesus's human development over the first 30 years of His life. Lk.3:23 states that Jesus began His ministry when he was about thirty.
Lk.2:41ff tells of an incident that occurred when Jesus was twelve years old. Read from Lk.2:41-52.
There are four specific points within this overall text to which we want to call attention.
First, vss.46-47 - - and it came about that after three days they found Him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.
And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.
Secondly, note Jesus' response to His mother's rebuke (vss.48-49): Son, why have you treated us this way?
Behold, Your father and I have anxiously been looking for You. And he said to them,
'Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father's house?'
Thirdly, after noting that Joseph and Mary did not fully comprehend His statement,
Verse 51 provides an epilogue to this account: He went down with them, and came to Nazareth;
and He continued to be in subjection them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
Fourthly and finally, vs.52 concludes the story with an important summary statement - -
And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
I am referring to this Lk.2 passage as a springboard, because what we later read in Hebrews seems to expand on Jesus' humanity, which is first broached in Luke's gospel account of these early events in the life and development of Jesus.
We can never fully grasp the passion of Christ without a close look at both aspects of Christology:
His deity and His humanity. When we come to understood the inter-workings of both of these elements it will cause
us to fall more deeply in love with Jesus and it will greatly enrich our time around the Table of the Lord.
This morning I want to underscore one initial text in Hebrews and then we will add a few more next Sunday.
Today brings our once-a-month covered-dish luncheon (picnic in the pavilion) so I dare not be long-winded.
Heb.2:17 / He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful
and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
As per a NASV footnote on vs.17 - - He had to be made like His brethren...are literally, (He) was obligated to be.
In other words, in order for Jesus to make propitiation for the sins of the people,
Jesus was OBLIGATED TO BE LIKE HIS BRETHREN.
This is a very significant statement and one which has not been weighed as carefully as it should be.
In a future lesson, which I might add as a postscript to this particular series,
I want to speak to us about the difference between propitiation and expiation.
These two words combined are needed to give us a fuller understanding of the work of the passion of Christ.
Perhaps this is just a side note, but it is critical to our grasping the full ramifications of the cross event.
So what does it mean, “He had to be made like His brethren in all things...?”
This text might be read with a soft voice without much emphasis, but it screams of Jesus' humanity.
There are two words which areclosely related in their etymology, that can help us here.
The first word is assimilation, which means, “the process whereby one gradually adopts the characteristics of another.”
The second word is simulation, which is defined as “an imitation ... a feigning or pretending.”
The point is this: Jesus did not fake His humanity, He really did engage in a process of adopting His humanity.
In order for His human experience to be REAL, Jesus was required to really live it rather than fake it.
This is that which is so foundational about the Lk.2 passages:
the child CONTINUED TO GROW...Increasing in wisdom (Lk.2:40) and Jesus kept INCREASING IN WISDOM... (Lk.2:52).
This is a concept that we invariably must grapple with. IF JESUS WAS FULLY GOD, DID HE HAVE TO GROW?
Is there a place for growth among someone who is declared to be “FULLY God”?
If I could tease you with another text from Hebrews, which we will discuss in more detail next Sunday,
consider Heb.5:8 - - although He was a Son, HE LEARNED OBEDIENCE...
We are prone to read the account from Lk.2:46-47 where Jesus interacts with the rabbis
(all were amazed at His understanding and His answers) and respond simply by saying, “Well, He was the son of God!”
In an effort to challenge us think more deeply, I have often quipped,
“Did Jesus grow up having to LEARN the Scriptures?”
Was He not THE WORD, who in the beginning was with God and was God?
As part of the GOD-HEAD was Jesus not the co-author of the Scriptures? Did He not write THE BOOK?
The answer to this question is provided in the New Testament revelation related to the humanity of Jesus.
Heb.2:17 is not at all fuzzy when it emphatically states: He had to be made like His brethren in all things...
Dear heavenly Father, as we approach this subject bless us that we may do so reverently and with more
that just a touch of wonder. Open our minds and hearts as we read these sacred writings and grant us a clearer vision
of the humanity of Jesus, as well as the deity of Christ, as we seek to better understand the life and ministry of our Lord.