The God-Man

“When Pilate heard these words, he was more fearful. And he went back into the Praetorium and said to Jesus, ‘Where are you from?’ But Jesus did not give him an answer.”

(John 19:8-9)

 

So, why would Pilate give a start and be “afraid” with the accusation that Jesus had made himself the “Son of God.” Part of this ties into Roman polytheism and superstition. When Romans conquered the world, their practice was to incorporate the gods of the local cults of lands they had conquered into their own pantheon. Of course, Judaism was a bit of an anomaly for them as would be Christianity. Yet, within Roman thought was the idea of a “god-man” who would walk amongst the people. Pythagoras, for example, had been considered part-god and part-man, Apollonius of Tyana was a contemporary of Jesus, and others had been considered to be living demigods of sorts, not fully human nor fully divine. Now this, of course, opens the door to the discussion of one of the first major Christian heresies: Arianism — a view that Jesus was such a “demigod,” part God and part man. This fear, many have considered, was roused at the suggestion that Jesus might be such a man.

The other fear was that he was losing his chess match with the priests and he knew it, but this view doesn’t quite fit with the emphasis on his becoming more fearful or “very afraid” as some translations render it. Either way, Pilate was losing this match with the Jewish authorities and what will follow will reflect the spite he has in losing this contest.

Jesus was not the god-man, though, at least as Pilate (and later, Arius) suspected. Jesus was not part-god and part-man, but he is fully-god and fully-man — one person but two natures. He had to be both to do what he did. He had to become man to identify with us in our weakness and in our trials, to mediate for us, and then to die, facing off against our final adversary. Yet, to do so without sin and to pay for the sins of all the elect, he had to do so in the strength and power of his godhead. If either nature is compromised (not 100%), then he fails to do what the scriptures claim to be true and we are lost forever.

Yet, praise be to God that we are not lost forever! We have reliable witness not only to his life and death but to his resurrection from the dead — the great testimony to us that it is done — no longer does death hold power over our eternal state, but it is Christ and all Christ for those who flee to him. My prayer for you is that you do just that, that you run to the Son of God and not fear his wrath…clinging to him as Lord and Savior with all of your being.

We praise Thee, O God!

For the Son of Thy love,

For Jesus who died,

And is now gone above.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory.

Hallelujah! Amen.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory.

Revive us again.

-William Mackay

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