How Could Jesus Be Anointed by God if He Is God?
Thank you Jason for the insight in your article on Christology. There is one point that I am having trouble with, however. I cannot see that Jesus did miracles just as a man anointed of the Holy Ghost. We see John 10:38-39 links Jesus' works with the state of being God the Father manifest in the flesh. Any Christian who has excellent Christ-like qualities, and does great miracles through the power of the Holy Ghost, could not make a statement like Jesus did in John 10:38-39. So Jesus did miracles as God manifest in the flesh who was anointed of the Holy Ghost, as we see in St. Matthew 3:16-17, Luke 4:1, Isaiah 61:1-2 and Acts 10:38. John 9:1-7 shows Jesus came not to do his own will but God the Father's will (See Luke 22:42, John 4:34). If Jesus did not subject himself to the Father's will he couldn't have done the miracles.
I have read and understand your concerns. I believe that part of your concerns center around a misunderstanding of some of my statements. You understood my statement that Jesus ministered as a man anointed by the Holy Ghost to mean that He was only a man who was anointed by the Holy Ghost. This is not what I meant, as the context of the paper in which this appears clearly indicates. I strongly affirm the ontological deity of Jesus Christ. I agree with you that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, who was anointed by the Holy Ghost. I did not word it in that fashion, however, in order to stress the fact that Jesus could only be anointed because He was a genuine human being, with all of the limitations that such an existence entails.
I also understand your confusion over such a teaching. Part of the difficulty in accepting the fact that Jesus did not do the things He did, or say the things He said, as God, is due to the fact that we have stressed Jesus' deity to such an extent that we have minimized His humanity. I have never heard someone teach on the kenosis passage of Philippians 2:5-11, or Christology in general (in a church setting).. When the subject of Oneness is discussed, the motive is usually simply to prove that Jesus is not a second person in a Trinity. Because of this emphasis (which is good) we have neglected to deal with the many verses that emphasize His humanity.
Part of the problem with saying that Jesus did miracles by His own divine nature, or as God, is due to the fact that Jesus was one integrated person. He was both fully God and fully man. In the incarnation these two natures came together in a union which demands that we speak of Christ as one person. We cannot split up His two natures and say that as God He did this, and as man He did that. Everything that Jesus did, He did so as God manifest in the flesh. He slept as God manifest in the flesh. He healed as God manifest in the flesh. When considering Jesus' ministry, then, we must take into account the genuineness of His humanity.
We must ask ourselves, "How did God's incarnation as a human being affect the exercise of His divine prerogatives?". If God is unlimited in presence and knowledge, and yet humanity is limited in both, how did Jesus function? If He had a human brain He could only know certain things. But since Jesus is God, and God knows everything, we have a seeming contradiction. How can Jesus only know certain things and also know everything simultaneously? How can Jesus be limited in space, and yet be omnipresent at the same time? Our understanding of this comes from the kenosis passage of Philippians 2:5-11 which teaches that when God became a man, He willingly limited the exercised of His divine prerogatives. The fullness of the Godhead was in Christ. Surely Jesus was God manifest in the flesh in His fullness, but the divine prerogatives of God such as omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience were latent within Jesus. For God to truly experience what we experience as humans, God willingly limited the exercise of His divine prerogatives in the incarnation, so that He could experience the same limitations we experience, and overcome temptation, sin, and the like in such an existence. If Jesus did everything as God, then He is not our example. How can we overcome sin? How can we heal like Jesus healed? If everything He did He did as God, then He is not our example because we can never do what God can do because we are not like what God is like.
You won't find too many scholars who claim that Jesus healed, rose the dead, and forgave sin because He was God. Most conservative scholars hold to the view I have espoused in my paper. It is not something new. It is just that there is not much teaching on this issue.
The Scripture is very clear that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Ghost. What do you do with these statements? Peter proclaimed that Jesus was a man approved of God who worked miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him (Acts 2:22). This clearly teaches that the miraculous in Jesus' ministry was not the result of Jesus' intrinsic deity, but it is said that God did them by Jesus. Jesus was the agent by which God did the miracles, not the source of the miracles.
Peter told Cornelius that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him" (Acts 10:38). Here again the miraculous is attributed to the anointing that abode on Jesus, and not His ontological deity.
Peter and John prayed to God saying, "Of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed..." (Acts 4:27). What was Jesus anointed to do if He did everything in His deity? If He healed because He was God, and raised the dead because He was God, and walked on the sea because He was God, then what was He anointed for? Was He anointed to sleep, eat, and walk? Jesus, although fully God, lived functionally as a man, and was anointed by the Holy Ghost to do what He did. There are so many Scriptures which speak of Him being anointed that I do not see any way around the idea.
Now to deal with the Scriptures you have referenced. You said that John 10:38-39 "links Jesus works with the state of being God the Father manifest in the flesh." Here is the passage you are referring to, but I am including versed 36-37 also: "Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. 39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their handů" Notice that Jesus said that He was doing the works of His Father. He did not say that He was doing His own works. He was not going about healing people through His own power. It was the Father doing the works through Him. I do not deny that Jesus pointed this out to demonstrate that He was in the Father, and the Father was in Him, but this is not the same as saying that Jesus did His works because He was divine. Jesus' point was that the works of the Father that were being performed through Him were a testimony to the fact that the Father was in Him, and He in the Father, not that He was performing the works as God manifest in the flesh.
You went on to say, "Any Christian who has excellent Christ-like qualities and does great miracles through the power of the HOLY GHOST, could not make a statement like Jesus did in John 10:38-39." I agree with this statement, but this ignores the issue. The issue is not whether or not Jesus was God, but whether or not Jesus ministered as God, or limited the exercise of His divine prerogatives in order to live within the limitations of every human being, and to demonstrate to us how to live a victorious life in the Spirit. Jesus even confessed to the Jews that He was casting out devils by the Spirit of God, not because He was the Spirit of God, even though He was indeed the Spirit of God made flesh (Matthew 12:28).
Then you said, "John 9:1-7 shows Jesus came not to do his own will but God the Father's will. See Luke 22:42, John 4:34. If Jesus did not subject himself to the Father's will he couldn't have done the miracles." John 5:30 and 6:38 also teach that Jesus came to do the Father's will, among other Scriptures. I completely agree with what you have said here. Jesus did not do His own will. He did the will of His Father. He did what the Father showed Him to do, and spoke what His Father told Him to speak (John 5:19-20; 8:28, 38, 40; 12:49-50; 17:8).
See also: Christology
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