Monday, March 28, 2011

Emptied Teaching

John 7:16 So Jesus answered them, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.

16 ἀπεκρίθη οὖν αὐτοῖς [ὁ] Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν· ἡ ἐμὴ διδαχὴ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐμὴ ἀλλὰ τοῦ πέμψαντός με·

Passages like this can put the Trinitarian into knots. I believe that this is a fairly good proof-text for the Jehovah's Witness view of who Christ is. Does this mean that Christ is of a different nature from the Father? If the teaching is not His then whose is it? How can it not be His if He is God?

These are the logical questions that come to my mind. But when I think of things like this I tend to gravitate toward Philippians 2:6-11. That is the great kenosis passage, so named because of the verb that describes how Jesus emptied Himself. By taking on the form of a man He humbled Himself from being simply deity.

When Jesus makes this statement in John 7:16 He refers to the fact that as a man He has no authority. But as God He does. And this ultimately came from the Father who sent Him. In other places we see how folks marveled at His teaching because of His authority. Here he explains it a bit more, but perhaps makes it more puzzling.

The fact is that if the Bible is held to be God's Word we need to live with the tension that Jesus was fully God and fully man as He walked on the earth. Maybe He chose this language because He knew that they could not conceive of how He could be God. What I do know is that it is certainly confusing, but if we accept by faith what Scripture says then we have to live with a little bit of confusion.

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