Immanuel -- God with Us
TWO NATURES BLENDED
We have seen that Christ took upon His divine nature, a human nature. This means He “had two natures, the nature of a man and the nature of God. In Him divinity and humanity were combined.” 1
“The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of godliness.” 2 “The Godhead (divinity) was not made human, and the human was not deified by the blending together of the two natures.” 3
Knowing this, there is a temptation to think Christ was two beings in one body, but this is not so. The expressions ‘human’ and ‘divine’ were, in Christ, “closely and inseparably one, and yet they had a distinct individuality.” 4
When men and women looked at Christ as a man, they saw a human being, however, there were times when His divine nature flashed through, and they saw His divinity. It caused many to ask, ‘Who is this?’ 5
The Saviour continually sought to lead His disciples “from their low condition of faith” to realise that He really was “God in human flesh”. 6 But it was difficult for them to comprehend the mystery of the incarnation, “the dual character of His nature, when they looked upon so humble a personage.” 7
At the raising of Lazarus, Christ said, “‘Lazarus, come forth’. His voice, clear and penetrating, pierces the ear of the dead. As He speaks, divinity flashes through humanity. In His face, which is lighted up by the glory of God, the people see the assurance of His power.
Every eye is fastened on the entrance to the cave. Every ear is bent to catch the slightest sound. With intense and painful interest all wait for the test of Christ’s divinity, the evidence that is to substantiate His claim to be the Son of God, or to extinguish the hope forever.” 8
When the divinity of Christ was revealed at His trial, the high priest quailed before those penetrating eyes. “That look seemed to read his hidden thoughts, and burn into his heart. Never in afterlife did he forget that searching glance of the persecuted Son of God.” 9
We must continually be reminded that the two natures were united in one being. They were “mysteriously blended in one person – the man Christ Jesus.” 10 “Looking upon Christ in the flesh, we look upon God in humanity…” 11
Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
If we were living in the days of His earthly sojourn and were to watch Him walking in the fields, admiring the flowers, singing with the birds, taking a meal, sleeping after a day’s work, we would be seeing the Son of God living the life of a human being.
If we truly understood the relationship between the Son of God and His Messiahship, we would say with Andrew, ‘We have found the Messiah.’
Jesus did not use the title Son of God very often, but others did, in varying ways. The angel Gabriel said, “… (He) shall be called the Son of God.” 12 Nathaniel said, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the king of Israel.” 13 The disciples said, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” 14 Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 15 The centurion said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” 16
Satan said, “If thou be the Son of God, turn these stones into bread…” 17
The devils said, “Thou art Christ, the Son of God.” 18 The high priest said, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” 19 The rabbis said, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 20
Jesus said to Martha, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She said unto him, ‘Yea Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” 21
While Satan taunted Him, and the unclean spirits acknowledged Him, the Jewish rabbis refused to confess Him.
Jesus Christ is the Son of man.
The expression ‘Son of man’ was Jesus’ favourite title. It is recorded 192 times. “The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” 22 “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man.” 23 “The Son of man shall send forth his angels…” 24 “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” 25 “The Son of man shall come in His glory…” 26 “The son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men, and they shall kill him…” 27 “The Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost.” 28 “… the Son of man cometh in an hour that ye think not.” 29
When calling Himself the Son of God or the Son of man, Christ was speaking grammatically in the third person. Most people knew He referred to Himself, but occasionally the people queried, “We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?” 30
The Son of God is the Son of man – two titles for one Person.
Christ’s “humanity could not be separated from His divinity”, and because the two natures were blended into one man, the whole man suffered. 31
Christ’s divine nature was not aloof from His humanity. He did not dwell in a human body, but separate from the man Himself.
The Son of God thought with a man’s brain, yet He was still God’s divine Son, fulfilling all He had covenanted with His Father to do. Christ was blended “in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.” 32 His two natures did not conflict, but formed the God-man.
In His incarnation, the Son of God was subject to the limitations of humanity. As a baby, He thought as a baby. When a child, He understood as a child. He needed to eat, to drink, to exercise. Like all human beings, when He slept, He knew nothing. His growth was that of a normal child, and He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” 33
When in Jerusalem for the first time, Jesus began to realise who He was. “He beheld the bleeding victim upon the altar of sacrifice. With the worshippers He bowed in prayer, while the cloud of incense ascended before God. He witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service.
Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed to be bound up with his own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Saviour.” 34
In answer to the rebuke of His mother, Jesus said, “How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” 35 “On His face was a light at which they wondered. Divinity was flashing through humanity.” 36
The child returned home with His earthly parents, and for the next eighteen years “after He had recognised that He was the Son of God”, He performed the duties of a son, a brother, a friend, and a citizen in Nazareth. 37
“His hours of happiness were found when alone with nature and with God. Whenever it was His privilege, He turned aside from the scene of His labor, to go into the fields, to meditate in the green valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest. The early morning often found Him in some secluded place, meditating, searching the Scriptures, or in prayer. From these quiet hours He would return to His home to take up His duties again…” 38
Through comparing Scripture with Scripture and communing with His Father, Jesus learned the fullness of the truth He Himself had given to Israel. During those youthful years, Christ’s divine mind opened to its infinite capacity, yet it functioned through a human mind and brain.
By the time the tidings of the wilderness prophet reached Him, Jesus – the Son of God – the Son of man – was ready for His mission. He took leave of His mother, and headed for the Jordan river, where He was baptised of John.
Upon coming out of the water, the Messiah bowed in prayer. “A new and important era was opening before Him. He was now, upon a wider stage, entering on the conflict of His life. Though He was the Prince of Peace, His coming must be as the unsheathing of a sword… He who had proclaimed the law upon Sinai would be condemned as a transgressor…. No one upon earth had understood Him, and during his ministry He must still walk alone…
As one with us, He must bear the burden of our guilt and woe. The Sinless One must feel the shame of sin. The peace lover must dwell with strife, the truth must abide with falsehood, purity with vileness.…
Alone He must tread the path; alone He must bear the burden. Upon Him who had laid off His glory and accepted the weakness of humanity the redemption of the world must rest. He saw and felt it all, but His purpose remained steadfast….” 39
As Jesus prayed, the angels listened intently, eager to give their loved Commander assurance and comfort.
“But no; the Father Himself will answer the petition of His Son. Direct from the throne issue the beams of His glory. The heavens are opened, and upon the Savour’s head descends a dovelike form of purest light – fit emblem of Him, the meek and lowly One….
The people stood silently gazing upon Christ. His form was bathed in the light that ever surrounds the throne of God. His upturned face was glorified as they had never before seen the face of man. From the open heavens a voice was heard saying,
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 40
The scene of Christ’s baptism and acknowledgment of the divine relationship by His Father, was “but a token” that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God. 41 Those who believe it will have their “faith quickened”, and the heavens will be opened, never to be closed. 42
1 General Conference Bulletin 10.01.1899.
2 5 Bible Commentary p1129.
3 Selected Messages p131.
4 5 Bible Commentary p1129.
5 Matthew 21:10.
6 The Desire of Ages p664.
7 Review & Herald. 04.23.1895.
8 The Desire of Ages p536.
9 Ibid p707.
10 5 Bible Commentary p1113
11 3 Selected Messages p128.
12 Luke 1:35.
13 John l:49.
14 Matthew 14:33.
15 Matthew 16:16.
16 Matthew 27:54.
17 Matthew 4:6.
18 Luke 4:41.
19 Matthew 26:63.
20 Matthew 27:40.
21 John 11:26.27.
22 Matthew 12:8.
23 Matthew 13:37.
24 Matthew 13:41.
25 Matthew 16:13.
26 Matthew 16:27.
27 Matthew 17:22.23.
28 Matthew 18:11.
29 Luke 12:40.
30 John 12:34 The fact that Jesus spoke in the third person should help us understand who He referred to when He spoke of “the Comforter” and the “Spirit of truth”. John 14:16.17. Jesus also said, “He will come”, as if speaking of another person. In reality, He was speaking of Himself as coming in the Spirit. Note John 14:18.21.23.
31 Signs of the Times. 04.14.1898.
32 Ephesians 2:15. This text of Scripture refers to another subject, but it also applies as has been shown.
33 Luke 2:52.
34 The Desire of Ages p78.
35 Luke 2:49.
36 The Desire of Ages p81.
37 Ibid p82.
38 Ibid p90.
39 Ibid p111.
40 Ibid p112. Matthew 3:17.
41 Ibid p142.
42 Ibid. Dear Reader, ponder these wonderful words, for Jesus said, “I have opened the heavens for you.”