Read Part 1 and Part 2.
by John C. Whitcomb, Th.D
In the early years of church history, there were men who denied the true humanity of Jesus. They were the Docetics, a significant branch of Gnosticism. They considered it blasphemous to imagine an infinite, holy, transcendent God contaminating Himself by assuming human flesh. This attitude reflected Greek philosophy, which held that matter is evil and that only the mind and spirit are good.
The Holy Spirit confronted this deadly heresy head-on in the New Testament Scriptures, especially in the writings of John. Note, for example, this statement: “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God” (1 John 4:2, KJV). And “many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 1:7).
The creation account in Genesis assures us that every physical, material thing God ever created, including the human body, was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Moral, ethical evil is found in man’s “heart” (the center of rational thought, moral choices, and self-consciousness), not in his body. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries” (Matt. 15:19; cf. Matt. 12:34).
The Apostle Paul echoed this thought with regard to those who follow demonic doctrines, such as “commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused” (1 Tim. 4:3-4).
Doctor Luke, “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14), Paul’s frequent travel companion and medical helper, was especially fascinated by the physical body Jesus manifested after His resurrection from the dead. Luke assured us that it was “Jesus himself [who] stood in the midst of them,” having passed through the locked door into their hiding place (Luke 24:36). It was not “a spirit” that looked like Jesus (Luke 24:37-39).
To demonstrate the genuineness of His physical body, the now-glorified Christ said to them, “Have ye here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them” (Luke 24:41-43). The way He partook of this food immediately reminded them of the many times they had shared meals with Him during the previous three years.
Similarly, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus “knew him” when “as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them” (Luke 24:30, 31). Something about His gestures and mannerisms at mealtimes in His public ministry fully confirmed His identity to them.
There were no fast-food restaurants in ancient Israel. Mealtimes were special times to get acquainted with people. It is significant, therefore, that our Lord “shewed himself alive, after his passion [i.e., death] by many infallible proofs, being seen of them [the apostles] forty days” (Acts 1:3). It is often overlooked that one of these “infallible proofs” of His true identity was the way He “assembled together with them,” (Acts 1:4), literally, “shared salt [i.e., ate] with them.”
The Apostle Peter never forgot these precious mealtimes with the resurrected Savior. In his message to the Roman centurion Cornelius (and his relatives and friends), Peter said, “Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead” (Acts 10:40, 41).
|Dr. John C. Whitcomb has been a professor of Old Testament and theology for more than 50 years and is widely recognized as a leading biblical scholar. He taught at Grace Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, IN) from 1951-1990 and gained much recognition for his work on The Genesis Flood (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company), which he co-authored with Dr. Henry Morris in 1961. That book has been credited as one of the major catalysts for the modern Biblical creationism movement. His ministry homepage is Whitcomb Ministries, and his sermons are available at SermonAudio.com.