It seems that in modern Christianity almost every aspect of the New Testament is up for re-interpretation; I have found very little of Jesus’ teachings to be complex or hard to follow. I, instead, have trouble with Old Testament passages that I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around! Even though I have trouble with understanding certain passages, I don’t doubt the Bible, I just pray and ask God to reveal what they mean. Often God opens my mind to what the passages mean, but even when He doesn’t still I trust Him. Some have had a really hard time accepting Jesus’ dual nature as completely man and completely God!
“Is it a fact that Jesus Christ died for the sins the the world, and how is it proved? If a God, he could not die, and as a man he could not redeem.” -Thomas Paine
It was thinking like this that separated Mr. Paine from some of the Christian founding fathers and ostracized him at the end of his life. It is not just non-believers like Thomas Paine that had a problem with Jesus’ Divinity; in fact, many ‘christians’ of our day struggle with whether Jesus was aware of His divine nature.
Did Jesus know that He was Divine? Did Jesus know from the beginning that God had big plans for Him? There are many that believe Jesus became aware of His divine nature as He grew up, but did not understand His divine appointment at first. The best indication to me that Jesus knew of His divine origin from the beginning is Luke 2:49:
He said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?” But they had no idea what he was talking about. (The Message )
In the ESV translation, Jesus says, ‘My Father’s house’, but whatever way you translate it, Jesus was very aware of where He came from and what His purpose was on earth! When I was reading over Luke 2, I had the thought, ‘Why did God include only one account of Jesus as a child?’ I think that it was to simply show us that Jesus was very aware of His divine origin from the beginning.
Earlier in Luke 2, Jesus is visited by a prophetess (Anna) and a man named Simeon, both of whom understood that Jesus was no mere man, but was indeed the Chosen Messiah! It might be over stated, but Jesus could not be merely a good teacher, because from the very beginning Jesus made claims to deity that if not verified, would have inferred that He was a crazy man!!!
We often argue over what the Bible is saying, but I don’t believe the Bible can be read into very far before it has absolutely no redeeming power!
“The (Christian) ‘doctrines’ are translations into our concepts and ideas of that which God has already expressed in language more adequate, mainly the actual incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection.” -C.S. Lewis
We can debate negotiable aspects of the Bible all day, and we will, but when we start arguing over the Incarnation, Crucifixion, Bible accuracy, and resurrection of Jesus… we are treading on thin ice between faith and apostasy!