In The Days Of His FleshSeries: Probing The Passion
IN THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH
Sermon By Terry Siverd /August 21, 2022 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
In this sermon series which I have titled Probing The Passion we are delving into the subject of Christology, which addresses the dual aspects of the earthly life and ministry of Christ Jesus: He was both fully Divine and fully human.
Even the most studious and learned have found this topic to be exceptionally challenging.
After a brief look at the deity of Christ, in last Sunday's sermon we turned our focus on the HUMANITY of Jesus.
Luke chapter two serves as a springboard for this study providing two important citations.
After His circumcision Jesus was presented by His parents at the temple in Jerusalem. Lk.2:39-40 records - -
When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, their own city Nazareth. And behold, the child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and God's grace was upon Him.
Later in Luke chapter two (Lk.2:41ff) tells of an incident that occurred when Jesus was twelve years old.
When Mary & Joseph headed back to Galilee via a caravan, unbeknownst to them Jesus lingered behind and was found some three-days later by His parents. He was in the temple in Jerusalem engaging with the Jewish scribes and rabbis - -
both listening and asking them questions.
In response to a rebuke from His mother, Jesus said to her: Did you not know that I must be in My Father's house?'
Verse 51 adds: He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and He continued to be in subjection them...
Vs.52 concludes the story noting: Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
As it relates to the humanity of Jesus Luke makes two things very clear:
the child CONTINUED TO GROW...INCREASING IN WISDOM (Lk.2:40 & 2:52).
These two observations contain thoughts that can be perplexing.
IF JESUS WAS FULLY GOD, WAS IT NECESSARY FOR HIM TO G-R-0-W IN WISDOM AND/OR KNOWLEDGE?
Is there actually a place for growth among someone who is declared to be “FULLY God”?
In reading Paul's declaration: in Him all the fulness of deity dwells in bodily form (Col.2:9),
we are driven to pause and ask a sincere question: does God's knowledge grow and increase?
Do we not rightfully speak of God as being One who is omniscient (all-knowing) and immutable (unchangable).
Other than what we might ascertain from history books about the life of a young Jewish man in the first-century,
Luke's is the only gospel (from the four) that addresses the life and development of Jesus before age of 30 (Lk.3:23).
Last Sunday we directed our attention to the epistle to the Hebrews in our search for any and all other New Testament texts (other than Luke's gospel) that might shed some additional measure of light on the humanity of Jesus.
One such passage is recorded in 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.
Jesus did not just feign or fake His humanity, He became a man in the fullest and most genuine sense.
Neither did He not just tolerate His human experience, but rather He welcomed it and embraced it.
I titled last Sunday's sermon, At Home In Nazareth, I was intending to convey not just the location
of Jesus' childhood home, but the fact that Jesus was truly “at home” in Nazareth. It was there that Jesus
began to fulfill the necessary prerequisite noted in Heb.2:17 - - He had to be made like His brethren in all things.
This morning we want to read from two additional passages found in Hebrews.
First, Heb.2:10 - -
It was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things,
in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
A second very important citation is recorded in Heb. 5:7-9 - -
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His PIETY. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.
In what sense did Jesus LEARN OBEDIENCE?
It was not that Jesus had been previously rebellious, recalcitrant or defiant.
This text (Heb.5:8/He learned obedience) does not mean that Jesus moved from disobedience to obedience
Neither does it mean that Jesus moved a state of sinful imperfection to one of sinless perfection.
As numerous NT passages assert, including ones elsewhere in Hebrews, Jesus was SINLESS.
Paul affirms (2Cor.5:21) that God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.
Peter is clear in describing Jesus (1Pet.2:22) as one who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.
The apostle John (1Jn.3:5) emphatically states, In Him there is no sin.
The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews also underscores this point (Heb.4:15) - - We do not have a high priest
who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
The NEB translates Heb.5:9 - - Son though He was, He learned obedience in the school of suffering...
The word piety in Heb.5:7 can rightly be translated “humble submission”.
John Piper writes, “He learned obedience means that Jesus moved from
untested obedience into suffering, and then through suffering into tested and proven obedience.
Jesus had always excelled at OBEDIENCE. We can read His own words about this in Jn.6:38 - -
I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
Piper adds, “The new task that Jesus had to learn every hour, especially at the end of His life was:
'Can I endure this suffering that I have never experienced before, this new obedience that I have never
performed before in the history of the universe? Can I learn and do this perfectly without failing, without falling
into unbelief and murmuring?' And the answer of Hebrews is, yes! He learned obedience in what He suffered, and
He never, never, never failed once in the process of learning, proven, tested obedience.” - - www.desiringgod.org.
Thomas Aquinas points out that Jesus learned how difficult obedience is because
He obeyed in the most difficult matters, even to the point of dying on a cross.
This sermon is mainly about how Jesus perfected obedience through His sufferings, but it is not solely about Jesus.
In a passage referenced earlier, the apostle Peter gets our attention when he writes (1Pet.2:21-23) - -
For YOU have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, LEAVING YOU AN EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW
in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not
revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.
Likewise, this was the point of Paul's exhortation in Philip.2:6ff. He reminds us of the human life of Christ - -
who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but
emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.
We must not overlook how this amazing passage begins (Philp.2:5) - -
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.
When we explore the humanity of Jesus we are not just engaged in historical research. The ultimate aim of
our quest is to learn obedience in our own sufferings and to respond in a manner worthy of Christ Jesus.
This is what being a disciple is all about. All of us ought to be asking ourselves, “How am I growing?”.
Some of us need to do some serious soul-searching as we candidly examine our own obedience or lack thereof.