Christology

Light in the Darkness: A Series for Advent Part Four – Dayspring

Read Part 3.

Light is essential for life, and light is a central subject in the Bible. It literally bookends the storyline, from its creation (Gen. 1:3-4) to the point where it becomes obsolete—aside from the light that emanates from the Son of God Himself (Isa. 60:19-20; Rev. 21:23).

In between, He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5; see 12:46). As such, He is “the light of men” (John 1:4), and “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9).

The word light is found 180 times in the Old Testament and 98 times in the New Testament—with 20 of those uses appearing in the gospel of John. Truly, we could sum his gospel up in this one verse, which has been our theme in this series: “The light shines in the darkness” (John 1:5).

As God’s people waited for centuries in darkness (Isa. 8:22; 9:2; Matt. 4:16), they often experienced fear and hopelessness (Ps. 88:1, 6, 18; 143:3). Oh, there was certainly light available, as we have seen. At times, it was even brilliant and blazing (Ex. 33:18-23; 34:29-35). The nation of Israel found light for guidance in the law that God had revealed (Ps. 119:105) and in the presence of God Himself (Ps. 27:1). Still, in the grand scheme of history, the darkness was palpable. All of the centuries before the Messiah came were a time of waiting and watching “for the morning” (Ps. 130:5-6).

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Napoleon Syndrome? The Claims Jesus Made

Reposted from a The Cripplegate.

Napoleon Bonaparte delusion is a real thing. When the diminutive Emperor of France was in the heyday of his popularity, people would dress like him and act like him, and some were even institutionalized for their delusion. But what would happen if the real Napoleon ended up in an institution with deluded people who were also claiming to be Napoleon. This is the plot of a novel by Simon Leys, called The Death of Napoleon. 

In the story, Napoleon escapes his exile on the island of Elba by switching places with a look-alike named Eugene. Napoleon leaves the island aboard a ship, disguised as the deckhand “Eugene,” while Eugene, in costume as “Napoleon,” stays behind.

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What Don Lemon’s Declaration about Jesus’ Sinfulness Actually Reveals

"If you go on Twitter (enter at your own risk) you will see many rebukes of Don Lemon. Many Christians responded in shock at Don Lemon’s claims about Jesus’ imperfections. But I wonder if many stopped to think about what his declaration actually reveals about Christianity at large in America." - Cripplegate

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Was Jesus Tempted? Could Jesus Have Sinned? (Part 3)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

What’s the Relevance to Us?

The questions I’ve raised above are not ivory tower speculations. I believe these questions are important to answer if we are to understand fully the implications Christ’s temptation as well as his victory over temptation for you and me. Consider the following three points of practical application:

(1) Unless the Jesus Christ had faced real temptations and successfully endured those temptations as a real man not yet glorified, He could not be our Savior from sin.

That’s pretty relevant, wouldn’t you say? Is that not the logic of Hebrews 5:8-9?

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Heb 5:8-9).

In order to become “the source of eternal salvation,” Jesus had to be “made perfect.” And in order to be “made perfect,” Jesus had to “learn obedience through what he suffered.” In other words, He had to become like Adam. But where the First Adam failed, the Second Adam had to succeed. That is precisely what He did: “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom 5:19).

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Was Jesus Tempted? Could Jesus Have Sinned? (Part 2)

The Temptation in the Wilderness - Briton Rivière

Read Part 1.

Could Jesus Have Sinned?

In other words, should we refer to Christ during his state of humiliation as impeccable or peccable? The terms “impeccable” and “peccable” do not, in this context, refer to the commission of sin but simply to the ability or susceptibility to sin. Thus, the question is not whether Jesus was born with a sinful nature. Nor is the question whether or not Jesus ever committed any actual sin. The Scriptures in no uncertain terms affirm the purity and sinlessness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1 John 3:5). The question is, rather, was the human nature of Christ able or susceptible to sin during Jesus’ earthly ministry?

I believe the correct answer is both “no” and (a qualified) “yes.” Let me explain.

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Was Jesus Tempted? Could Jesus Have Sinned?

The Temptation in the Wilderness - Briton Rivière

The greatest battle ever waged on earth’s soil took place two thousand years ago in the desert of Palestine. There met the champions of evil and righteousness. Satan, the most intelligent and powerful creature ever made and who’d become the archenemy of God, stood toe-to-toe with the Promised Descendant of Eve, Jesus of Nazareth, the long-awaited Messiah and the Son of God. It was a conflict of cosmic proportions. And the final outcome of his battle determined the destiny of men.

Temptation or Test?

Each of the three synoptic Gospels refer to an event at the beginning of Christ’s ministry that’s commonly known as “the temptation of Christ.” Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days where he was tempted by Satan (Matt 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).

Some question whether we should refer to this ordeal as the temptation of Christ. After all, Jesus is fully God. According to James 1:13, God cannot be tempted. Moreover, the Greek verb πειράζω, commonly translated “to tempt,” can signify to examine or reveal the nature or character of something or someone by submitting it to a test. Hence, it is often translated “to test” or “to examine” (e.g.s., Gen 22:1 [LXX]; Exod 20:20 [LXX]; John 6:6; 2 Cor 13:5; Heb 11:17; Rev 2:2).1 Accordingly, scholars like Birger Gerhardsson prefer to view this ordeal as “The Testing of God’s Son.”2

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