When considering the incarnation, two important truths should be realized: (1) Christ became at the same time and in the absolute sense very God and very man, and (2) in becoming flesh He in no sense laid aside His deity. His full deity and complete humanity are essential to His work on the cross. If He were not man, He could not die; if He were not God, His death would not have had infinite value.
The Bible presents many contrasts, but none more striking than that Christ in His person should be at the same time very God and very man. Illustrations of these contrasts from Scripture are many: He was weary,1 yet He called the weary to Himself for rest.2 He was hungry,3 yet He was "the bread of life."4 He was thirsty,5 yet He was the water of life.6 He was in agony,7 yet He healed all manner of disease and soothed every pain.8 He "grew, and waxed strong in spirit,"9 yet He was from all eternity.10 He was tempted,11 yet He, as God, could not be made to sin.12 He became self-limited in knowledge,13 yet He was the wisdom of God.14 He said (with reference to His humiliation, being made for a little time lower than the angels) "My Father is greater than I,"15 yet also "he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" and "I and My Father are one."16 He prayed,17 yet He answered prayer.18 He wept at the tomb,19 yet He called the dead to arise.20 He asked, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"21 yet He "needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man."22 He said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"23 yet it was the very God to whom He cried who was at that moment "in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself."24 He died, yet He is eternal life. He is God's ideal man, and man's ideal God.
From this it may be seen that the Lord Jesus Christ sometimes functioned within the sphere of that which was perfectly human, and sometimes within the sphere of that which was perfectly divine. His divine being was never limited in any degree by the fact of His humanity, nor did He minister to His human need from His divine resources.
1 John 4:6 2 Matthew 11:28 3 Matthew 4:2 4 John 6:35 5 John 19:28 6 John 7:37 7 Luke 22:44 8 Matthew 12:15 9 Luke 2:40 10 John 8:58 11 Matthew 4:1 12 James 1:13 13 Luke 2:52 14 1 Corinthians 1:24 15 Hebrews 2:6-7; John 14:28 16 John 14:9; John 10:30 17 Luke 6:12 18 Acts 10:31 19 John 11:35 20 John 11:43 21 Matthew 16:13 22 John 2:25 23 Mark 15:34 24 2 Corinthians 5:19
Condensed from Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer. Used by permission of Zondervan.