Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Humanity of Christ, from “The Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Evans

Notes: (1) “The Great Doctrines of the Bible” by Rev. William Evans, Ph.D., D.D. is a well-respected reference material for Bible students, pastors, missionaries and laymen. You can read the entire book from Google (click the picture of the book cover), or download the complete zipped e-book. (2) Surf to the index of lessons and online quizzes from Evans. (3) The most important ideas and statements from this part of Evans’ book are listed in the “Basic truths” section below.



Matt. 1:18--“Mary ... was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” 2:11--“The young child with Mary his mother.” 12:47 --“Behold, thy mother and thy brethren.” 13:55--“Is not his mother called Mary?” John 1:14--“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” 2:1--" “The mother of Jesus was there.” Acts 13:23--“Of this man’s seed hath God ... raised ... ..Jesus.” Rom.1:3--“Of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Gal. 4:4--“Made of a woman.”

In thus being born of a woman Jesus Christ submitted to the conditions of a human life and a human body; became humanity’s son by a human birth. Of the “seed of the woman,” of the “seed of Abraham,” and of line and lineage of David, Jesus Christ is undeniably human.

We must not lose sight of the fact that there was something supernatural surrounding the birth of the Christ. Matt. 1:18--“On this wise,” and Luke 1:35--“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” ‘On this wise” indicates that this birth was different from those recorded before it. Luke 1:35 is explicit about the matter. To assail the virgin birth is to assail the Virgin’s life. He was of “the seed of the woman,” not of the man. (See Luke 1:34--“How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”) No laws of heredity are sufficient to account for His generation. By a creative act God broke through the chain of human generation and brought into the world a supernatural being.

The narrative of the virgin birth need not stagger us. The abundance of historical evidence in its favor should lead to its acceptance. All the manuscripts in all the ancient versions contain the record of it. All the traditions of the early church recognize it. Mention of it is made in the earliest of all the creeds: the Apostles’ Creed. If the doctrine of the virgin birth is rejected it must be on purely subjective grounds. If one denies the possibility of the supernatural in the experience of human life, it is, of course, easy for him to deny this doctrine. To one who believes that Jesus was human only it would seem comparatively easy to deny the supernatural birth on purely subjective grounds. The preconceptions of thinkers to a great degree determine their views. It would seem that such a wonderful life as that lived by Christ, having as it did such a wonderful finish in the resurrection and ascension, might, indeed should, have a wonderful and extraordinary entrance into the world. The fact that the virgin birth is attested by the Scriptures, by tradition, by creeds, and that it is in perfect harmony with all the other facts of that wonderful life should be sufficient attestation of its truth. [Footnote: “The Virgin Birth,” by James Orr, D.D., deals fully and most ably with this subject.]

It has been thought strange that if, as is claimed, the virgin birth is so essential to the right understanding of the Christian religion, that Mark, John, and Paul should say nothing about it. But does such silence really exist? John says “the Word became flesh”; while Paul speaks of “God manifest in the flesh.” Says L. F. Anderson: “This argument from silence is sufficiently met by the considerations that Mark passes over thirty years of our Lord’s life in silence; that John presupposes the narratives of Matthew and Luke; that Paul does not deal with the story of Jesus’ life. The facts were known at first only to Mary and Joseph; their very nature involved reticence until Jesus was demonstrated to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead; meantime the natural development of Jesus and His refusal to set up an earthly kingdom have made the miraculous events of thirty years ago seem to Mary like a wonderful dream; so only gradually the marvelous tale of the mother of the Lord found its way into the Gospel tradition and the creeds of the church, and into the innermost hearts of the Christians of all countries.”


Luke 2:40, 52, 46--“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. And....they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.”

Just to what extent His sinless nature influenced His growth we may not be able to say. It seems clear, however, from the Scriptures, that we are to attribute Jesus' growth and advancement to the training He received in a godly home; to the instruction given at the synagogue and the temple; from His own personal study of the Scriptures, and from His fellowship and communion with His Father. Both the human and divine element entered into His training and development, which were as real in the experience of Jesus as in that of any other human being. We are told that “Jesus grew, and increased in wisdom and stature.” He “increased,” i.e., He kept advancing; He “grew,” and the reflective form of the verb would seem to indicate that His growth was due to His own efforts. From all this it seems clear that Jesus received His training along the lines of ordinary human progress--instruction, study, thought.

Nor should the fact that Christ possessed divine attributes, such as omniscience and omnipotence, militate against a perfectly human development. Could He not have possessed them and yet not have used them? Self-emptying is not self-extinction. Is it incredible to think that, although possessing these divine attributes, He should have held them in subjection in order that the Holy Spirit might have His part to play in that truly human, and yet divine, life?


John 4:9--“How is it that thou, being a Jew.” Luke 24:13--The two disciples on the way to Emmaus took Him to be an ordinary man. John 20:15--“She, supposing him to be the gardener.” 21:4, 5--“Jesus stood on the shore; but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.”

The woman of Samaria evidently recognized Jesus as a Jaw by His features or speech. To her He was just an ordinary Jew, at least to begin with. There is no Biblical warrant for surrounding the head of Christ with a halo, as the artists do. His pure life no doubt gave Him a distinguished look, just as good character similarly distinguishes men today. Of course we know nothing definite as to the appearance of Jesus, for no picture or photograph of Him do we possess. The apostles draw attention only to the tone of His voice (Mark 7:34; 15:34). After the resurrection and ascension Jesus seems still to have retained the form of a man (Acts 7:56; 1 Tim. 2:5).


John 1:14--“And the Word was made flesh.” Heb. 2:14--“For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” Matt. 26:12--“She hath poured this ointment on my body.” v. 38--“My soul is exceeding sorrowful.” Luke 23:46--“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” 24:39--“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

By his incarnation Christ came into possession of a real human nature; He came not only unto His own, but came unto them in the likeness of their own flesh. Of course we must distinguish between a human nature and a carnal nature. A carnal nature is really not an integral part of man as God made him in the beginning. Christ's human nature was truly human, yet sinless: “Yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).


Matt. 4:2--“He was afterward an hungred.” John 19:28--“Jesus....saith, I thirst.” 4:6-- “Jesus....being wearied with his journey.” Matt. 8:24--“But he was asleep.” John 19:30-- “He bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” He mourns over Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37); weeps over His dead friend Lazarus, (John 11:35); craves for human sympathy in the garden (Matt. 26:36,40); tempted in all points like as we are (Heb. 4:15). There is not a note in the great organ of our humanity which, when touched, does not find a sympathetic vibration in the mighty range and scope of our Lord’s being, saving, of course, the jarring discord of sin. But sin is not a necessary and integral part of unfallen human nature. We speak of natural depravity, but, in reality, depravity is unnatural. God made Adam upright and perfect; sin is an accident; it is not necessary to a true human being.


Luke 19:10--“Son of Man.” Matt. 1:21--“Thou shalt call his name Jesus.” Acts 2:22-- “Jesus of Nazareth.” 1 Tim. 2:5--“The man Christ Jesus.”

No less than eighty times in the Gospels does Jesus call himself the Son of Man. Even when acquiescing in the title Son of God as addressed to Himself He sometimes immediately after substitutes the title Son of Man (John 1:49-51; Matt 26:63,64).

While we recognize the fact that there is something official in the title Son of Man, something connected with His relation to the Kingdom of God, it is nevertheless true that in using this title He assuredly identifies Himself with the sons of men. While He is rightly called THE Son of Man, because, by His sinless nature and life He is unique among the sons of men, He is nevertheless A Son of Man in that He is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.

Basic truths

[1] In thus being born of a woman Jesus Christ submitted to the conditions of a human life and a human body; became humanity’s son by a human birth. Of the “seed of the woman,” of the “seed of Abraham,” and of line and lineage of David, Jesus Christ is undeniably human.” Matt. 1:18, 2:11, 13:55; John 1:14, 2:1; Rom. 1:3; Gal. 4:4

[2] “He grew in wisdom and stature as other human beings do. He was subject to the ordinary laws of human development in body and soul.” Luke 2:40, 52, 46

[3] “He had the appearance of a man.” John 4:9, 20:15, 21:4-5; Luke 24:13; Mark 7:34; 15:34; Acts 7:56; 1 Tim. 2:5

[4] “He was possessed of a human physical nature: body, soul and spirit.” John 1:14; Heb. 2:14; Matt. 26:12, 38; Luke 23:46, 24:39

[5] “By his incarnation Christ came into possession of a real human nature; He came not only unto His own, but came unto them in the likeness of their own flesh. Of course we must distinguish between a human nature and a carnal nature. A carnal nature is really not an integral part of man as God made him in the beginning. Christ’s human nature was truly human, yet sinless: ‘Yet without sin’ (Heb. 4:15).”

[6] “He was subject to the sinless infirmities of human nature.” Matt. 4:2, 8:24, 23:37, 26:36, 40; John 4:6, 11:35, 19:28, 30; Heb. 4:15

[7] “Human names are given to him by himself and others.” Luke 19:10; Matt. 1:21; Acts 2:22; 1 Tim. 2:5

Further study (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Study guides and online quizzes in Christology (interim curriculum)

Click hereThe articles on Christology from Jesus: A Biblical Defense of His Deity by Josh McDowell and Bart Larson are part of the interim curriculum. We have prepared these study guides which you can use in two ways: (1) Read the study guide first so you can have an overview of the article; and (2) After reading the article, try answering the study guide questions to test your comprehension. Online, interactive quizzes with automatic scoring are also available.

Index of study guides

  1. Appendix
  2. Jesus Christ Is God
  3. Jesus Christ Possesses the Names and Titles of God
  4. Jesus Christ Possesses the Attributes of God
  5. Jesus Christ Possesses the Authority of God
  6. God Became Man in Jesus Christ
  7. We Have the Witness of the Early Church
  8. What Are Some Common Objections to the Deity of Christ?
  9. Is Jesus Christ Your Lord?
  10. How the Authors Discovered New Life in Jesus Christ

[2] Materials by John F. Walvoord

[3] The Person of Christ, by Charles T. Buntin , M.S., M.A.R. (also available in Spanish)

[4] Christology: Jesus Christ, by Greg Herrick Th.M., Ph.D.

Sermons on John 1:14 (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] The Critical Chapter, by Douglas James Wilson

[2] Baby, Creator, Savior, Lord, and King! By Phillip W. Mansfield

[3] Logos, by Timothy Grant

[4] John #05 Became Flesh, by James (Jim) L. Goforth, Jr, New Life Baptist Church

[5] #3 Showing God's Light, by Matthew Starin, Baptist World Mission

[6] Beginning at the Beginning 2 - Salvation on the Heels of Rebellion, by Richard DeRuiter

[7] Before the Beginning, by Charles Leman Eldred

[8] Christmas According to John, by Michael Stark, New Beginnings Baptist Church

[9] The Centrality, Supremacy, and Superiority of Jesus Christ, by Daniel Radke

[10] The Word of God - Jesus is God, by Tom Daugherty, Trinity Theological Seminary

[11] Positive Identification, by Charles Leman Eldred

[12] Once In an Eternity, by Pastor Jeremy Stephens, Southview Baptist Church

[13] The Deity/Humanity of Jesus, by Robin Fernandez

Sermons on Philippians 2:6 (Be like the Bereans! Acts 17:11)

[1] Incomparable Supremacy, by Pastor Jeremy Stephens, Southview Baptist Church

[2] A Stranger at the Door, by Joe Vinson, Southeast Baptist Church

[3] The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ, by Sam Jones

[4] Humiliation Before Exaltation, by Marvin L Jackson

[5] 122407 Christmas Eve Reason for Season 3 Cradle Cross Crown, by Donald L Hardaway

[6] Why God Became Man, by Randy D. Starkey, East Bend Baptist Church

[7] Sermon illustrations on the Kenosis

[8] Master Violinist Goes Unrecognized, by Bruce W. Logue

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not (John 1:9-11).

Note: This ministry does not necessarily endorse or share all the views and opinions expressed in the materials, resources or links mentioned in these posts. Please always refer to the Articles of Faith and Biblical distinctives of Baptists when you study these materials.

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