So often I have heard it taught that Jesus wasn't fully aware that He was the LORD of Glory during His life in the gospels. It seems as though many commentators and scholars think just because He was fully a man that He was a little fuzzy over His own identity. Beloved, just because we are unsure over own own identities doesn't mean He was unsure of His. I have heard it said based upon the Philippians 2:7 passage of Jesus "emptying Himself" that Jesus no longer knew who He was prior to the incarnation. Almost as if He intentionally forgot who He was just to learn everything as a man to come into self awareness under the power of the Spirit. This implies that He would of had times where he doubted His own identity. I think that this kind of Christology is being taught mostly by seeker friendly churches that are trying to make Jesus' humanity more palatable so people can closer identify with Him. But is it comforting if Jesus was really like us?!? Oh the dread of the thought that Jesus' humanity was the same as mine?!?! If Jesus is like me then we are all in big trouble. Our hope is that his humanity was/is vastly different than ours in every aspect being absolutely perfect in every way while still being authentically human. Our hope is that not He was like us but that He is going to make us like Him!!!
I have also heard Charismatic churches teach Christology as Jesus emptying all His "divine attributes" and that He only operated as a man anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit. They teach this to encourage people that whatever miracles that Jesus did we can do them too since we also are people anointed by the Holy Spirit. Ummmm this is crazy! I appreciate trying to stir faith that Holy Spirit can also do miracles through us but we will never have the same relationship with the Holy Spirit that Jesus does.... for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ they are ONE (in essence), they always have been and always will be, for perfect union of trinity was never disrupted through the incarnation. Rather the emptying in view in Phil 2:7 is His outward form of glory vs. His outward appearance as a bondservant. It has nothing to do with Him laying aside any of His divine attributes. Obviously there is a mystery that prevails over the incarnation but I think this kind of theology is dangerous because of how it minimizes the full potent glory of Jesus's divinity both prior to His death and after His resurrection.
We cannot have subtle doubts in our minds concerning Jesus' divinity. And I think the majority of western Christians are confused about if Jesus' was really divine or not. And if they have thought about it then it seems to have been relegated to a peripheral non-essential issue. The truth is that Jesus' divinity is at the very center of Christianity and all roads that lead away from Him being fully God lead to apostasy. You know that believing in Jesus as just a savior is not enough for salvation. We must believe that Jesus is both LORD (YHWH) and Christ (Messiah). - Acts 2:36.
Romans 10:13 says whoever calls on the name of JESUS shall be saved. In this passage Paul is quoting Joel 2:32 which says whoever calls on the name of YHWH will be saved. Thus Paul is using the name of Jesus and the name YHWH interchangeably. This means we have to call on Jesus as YHWH to be saved! We cannot call on the name of messiah, or savior, or any other term that doesn't affirm His divinity, we must call on Him as YHWH to be saved. This makes it problematic to be a Jehovah's Witness, Mormon, Muslim or any other religion who don't believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Every faith that doesn't hold fast to His complete and total divinity have been deemed heretical by the Apostles and the early church fathers. The epistle of Colossians was written by the Apostle Paul in response to a Gnostic gospel that was denying Jesus as the same YHWH as the old testament and denying his true humanity. According to scripture denying Jesus' divinity leads to eternal condemnation. John 8:24 says:
"Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am [He], you will die in your sins."The word [He] is not in the original greek text. Scholars added it in during translation because they thought that it was a strange sentence structure. However, Jesus intentionally left the "He" out because He was using the sacred term that only YHWH of the old testament applied to Himself... YHWH told Moses tell Pharaoh "I AM who I AM sent you" (Ex. 3:14). Clearly Jesus is calling Himself the I AM which to a Jewish audience could only be interpreted that Jesus was claiming to be YHWH. Jesus is saying if you don't repent and believe that I AM YHWH you will be condemned to eternal punishment (Is. 66:24).
Believing in Jesus as God (YHWH) is what separates Christians from every other religion. Many faiths affirm Jesus to be a prophet or good teacher and some even believe His blood to save them from sin (Mormons), but what makes Christians different is that we believe that Jesus is very GOD of very GOD; YHWH incarnate and nothing less. He is no way inferior to the Father; in no way just an intermediary or some kind of stepping stone to get to the Father....for if you have seen Jesus you have seen the Father (Jn 14:7).
In Philippians 2:9-11 Paul says:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.This time Paul quotes a passage about Jesus from the very apex of Jewish monotheism (Is.40-55)! In these 15 chapters of Isaiah YHWH through the prophet Isaiah is emphatically declaring that He alone is God and there is no other in the highest way in all of scripture. YHWH is basically saying He alone is the transcendent uncreated God and that there is an infinite gap that separates Him from every created thing. In light of the glory of these chapters a seraphim is no closer to being divine than a caterpillar as said by AW Tozer. The absolutely staggering thing is that Paul takes this passage in Isaiah 45 and applies it to Jesus! This is simply breathtaking when we rightly understand what Paul is doing!
...There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is no one except Me. 22 Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.23 By Myself I have sworn; Truth has gone from My mouth, a word that will not be revoked: Every knee will bow to Me, every tongue will swear allegiance. Is. 45:21-23There simply could be no higher statement of Jesus being the very LORD of Glory Himself!
But again the question many people have is that they think that Jesus somehow emptied His divine attributes at the incarnation and then took it back up again at His resurrection. Its almost as if they think when He ascended into heaven His divinity was finally solidified in His own mind. When I have heard people teach this its almost like they are imagining Jesus having this interior dialogue...."You know, I knew I was different... but now I know for sure that I am God...." WHAT? this is Ridiculous! Jesus knew who He was from the moment his little brain had the capacity to understand any information.
Jesus did become total human in every aspect but we cannot assume we know what that means. We cannot use our broken sinful humanity as the starting point when defining what is human. Jesus was so different than us. He was perfectly sinless and the moment His un-fallen, un-tainted perfect brain could process information He would have known exactly who He was! Can you imagine that there was once a 2 year old who knew that He was maker of Heaven and earth with all power! Can you imagine a 7 year old who knew he was actively upholding the universe by the power of His word (Heb. 1:3)! Beloved, Jesus was fully aware of who He was, and never doubted His identity even for a second. He was completely unmovable on the inside, He had no sin, no unbelief! Satan no doubtably threw accusations against His mind from the outside but He was never- ever moved one inch by those flaming missiles. Many people think because Jesus was tempted (Heb. 4:15) that He also wrestled with doubt, unbelief or any other sin for that matter (doubt and unbelief is sin Rom 14:23). However the word tempted is better rendered tested. Jesus was tested and tried by every kind of assault of satan and not even for one second did Jesus ever entertain one sinful thought! He had perfect faith and never had any unbelief; never had one second of doubt. Jesus knew He was divine and had full recollection of the angels worshipping him before His incarnation.
Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You, 2 for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him. 3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent-Jesus Christ. 4 I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed - John 17:1-5Can you imagine being one of the Apostles and listening to Jesus' prayer! What other person could ever pray such a crazy thing... Father glorify Me with Yourself with the glory I had before the world existed!?!?! What were the Apostles thinking when they heard this? I imagine they suddenly became terrified.... who was it that they were walking and talking with over the last few years! For it seems that they knew Jesus was messiah but they weren't 100% sure until the Ascension that He was YHWH in the flesh.
Here we see from Jesus' own mouth of His perfect recollection and cognizance of His own prior divine glory!!!! This is AMAZING!!!!!! It doesn't get any more clear than this. Jesus remembered being arrayed in glory and having seraphim praise Him so loud that the doors of the heavenly temple shook (Isaiah 6, John 12:41).
Jesus had no sin that would have caused His memory to breakdown... He had no death working in Him (John 1:4; John 14:30)... for the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). Death is not normative for humanity, it was a result of being cursed by God through the fall, for we were made to live forever. Death is judgement because of sin.... there are no such things as ambiguous natural laws that make our bodies break down and eventually die. We all die because we have all sinned. The Lord is the one sovereign over all life. He is the one who holds the life breath of all the living in his hands and He alone sustains our lives. (Dan 5:23; Job 12:10; Is 42:5; Acts 17:24-25; Job 34:14-15; 1 Sam 2:6, Heb 1:3; Col 1:17). Jesus is the only man who ever died by giving up His own Spirit.... if He wouldn't have willingly given up His spirit He would have lived forever for even on the cross He was still the author of life (Matt. 27:50; Acts 2:24).
Oh how I love this passage! Jesus remembers conversing and talking with Abraham! Beloved, I tell you Jesus remembered every word from the conversations that He had pre-incarnate with Abraham who lived 2000 years before He was every born! Here Jesus is again calling Himself the great I AM. He was saying that He not only spoke to and saw Abraham but He was the One who also spoke to and saw Moses from the burning bush! Jesus is screaming that He was One who brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. There could be no higher statement from a Jew to other Jews that He was indeed YHWH.I assure you: If anyone keeps My word, he will never see death-ever!" 52 Then the Jews said, "Now we know You have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, 'If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death-ever!' 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham who died? Even the prophets died. Who do You pretend to be?" 54 "If I glorify Myself," Jesus answered, "My glory is nothing. My Father-you say about Him, 'He is our God'-He is the One who glorifies Me. 55 You've never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I don't know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced." 57 The Jews replied, "You aren't 50 years old yet, and You've seen Abraham?" 58 Jesus said to them, "I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am." 59 At that, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex. John 8:51-59
Oh beloved, don't let anyone water down the glorious divinity of Jesus. He was fully aware of who He was and so should we be fully aware of His glory! For this Jesus created all things (Col 1:15); He sustains all things (Heb 1:3, Col 1:17); He was before all things (Col 1:17; Jn 1:1-14); all things are created FOR Him (Col. 1:16; 1 Cor. 8:6); and He alone will be exalted and universally worshipped by ALL (Is. 2; Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 5:8-11) to the glory of God the Father. (the Godhead is humble by nature... the son honors the Father and Spirit, and the Father and Spirit honor the Son).
But be sure of this that if someone doesn't believe that Jesus is raw potent deity... one with the Father and the Spirit, then they are not a true follower of Jesus and are not saved. They don't have to understand all the deep implications of that, but they do have to believe that Jesus is God (Specifically the God YHWH of the old testament). Don't let anyone deceive you concerning the identity of Jesus. Deception against His identity is going to be the primary temptation and pressure at the end of the age.... Jesus' first exhortation to us about the end times is to beware lest we be deceived (Matt. 24:4).
Beloved if Jesus is not divine but just a perfect man then you are still dead in sin and on your way to a lake of fire with no hope. For a perfect man can only atone for one other man; only God in Himself has the worth and value to ransom the entire human race from their sin. Only the blood of God has enough value to pay the price for billions of repentant souls. Cling to Jesus' divinity; marvel over His deity; meditate upon His unrivaled pre-existent glory; and know for sure that He has always known who He is and He wants you to always know deep in your spirit that He is the LORD and there is no other.
Truly no man has ever spoken like this man!!! - John 7:46 He is either very God of very God or a total lunatic.