Summary: This message addresses the humanity of Christ - and the ways we tend to shortchange the reality that He was fully God and fully human.
- We’re going to talk tonight about the limitations of Jesus during His earthly life.
A Foundational Truth:
Jesus was not half God and half human; Jesus was fully God and fully man.
Other Interpretations Through The Years:
a. Ebionism - Denial of the divine nature of Christ.
- The Ebionites were a Jewish sect that existed during apostolic times.
b. Gnosticism - Denial of the reality of His human body.
- The Gnostics claimed a superior capacity for knowledge and were heavily influenced by pagan
philosophy. They denied the humanity of Christ, even to the point of denying the reality of His body.
a. Jehovah’s Witnesses - Jesus Christ is not God, but rather a created being.
- In their writing Let God Be True, they write, “The truth of the matter is that the word is Christ Jesus, who did have a beginning” (p. 88).
b. Mormons - Jesus is not the unique Son of God.
- One of their writings notes, “The Divinity of Jesus and the Divinity of all other noble and stately souls, in so far as they, too, have been influenced by a spark of Deity - can be recognized as manifestations of the Divine.”
c. Christian Science - Jesus is not God.
- John 1:1-4, 14 - “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. . .. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. . ..”
- 1 Timothy 3:16 - “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.”
- 1 John 4:2-3 - “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.”
- Hebrews 2:14 - “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same. . ..”
A Key Implication:
In becoming fully human, Jesus voluntarily limited Himself.
Some Examples Of The Limitations Jesus Took Upon Himself:
1. He grew in knowledge.
- Luke 2:52 - “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
2. It was not obvious to Jesus’ own brothers that He was God.
- The presence of an unlimited God is undeniable.
3. He experienced hunger, thirst, and fatigue.
- An unlimited God has no physical limitations, yet Jesus did because He limited Himself in becoming human.
4. He could be killed.
- John 19:30.
- An unlimited God cannot be killed, yet Jesus was dead.
5. There were things He could not do.
- In Mark 6:1-6, Jesus goes back home to Nazareth and is rejected by His hometown folks. Verse 5 says, “Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.” Note that the Bible does not say “did not,” but rather “could not.” Apparently the faith of people had some effect on His power. This again is part of the limitations Jesus apparently took on Himself in becoming human.
6. There were things He did not know.
- Yet His knowledge was not without its limits.
- In Mark 5:21:43, Jesus heals a woman with an issue of blood. When she touches Him to receive healing, Jesus turns and looks and the crowd jostling Him and asks, “Who touched my clothes?” (v. 30). Now, it could be He was just saying that to draw the woman out, but taken in a straightforward manner, it seems to indicate a limitation in knowledge.
- In Mark 9:21, Jesus asks the father of the boy He is about to heal, “How long has this been happening to him?” Again, it could be to prompt the father, but taken in a straightforward manner, it seems to indicate a limitation in knowledge.
- There is one occasion in Scripture where straightforwardly admits limitation in knowledge. In
Mark 13:32, speaking of the end times, Jesus say, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” This is a straightforward admission that there were things Jesus didn’t know.