"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Matthew 26:39, The True Humanity of Christ
"And going a little farther He fell on his face and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.'"
Early in the Second Century, immediately following the time of the Apostles, a heresy arose called Docetism. The Docetists held that the human body of Christ was an illusion, since (they claimed) the divine cannot possibly be united with flesh. This was a precursor of Gnosticism. We really don't see this heresy around much, though aspects of it pop up here and there. For example, Sabellians (represented mainly by the United Pentecostal Church) deny the Trinity, claiming that the three persons are actually merely modes of the one God. Since they hold that there is no Second Person of the Trinity, then obviously He could not have been united with a human nature. And Jehovah's Witnesses claim that the resurrection was only spiritual, not a literal resurrection of the flesh of Jesus. While neither of these is strictly Docetism, there are obvious parallels.
However, consider the Scripture above. We see Jesus showing true fear, real human emotion, in the face of His impending suffering and death. Trepidation cannot be a quality of His divine nature. Therefore, we see experiential evidence of His true humanity. He was a man, regardless of what Sabellians or Docetists can protest. And as a true man, in addition to His true divinity, Jesus can therefore sympathize with our own fears and sufferings (Hebrews 4:15). That is great personal comfort that we can take from the high theology of the dual nature of Christ!
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43