Maybe no rock band has sung a easy query as memorablyand as fittinglyas The Who: “Who are you? Who, who, who, who? Who are you?”And maybe no query will get to the mysteries of Christology extra rapidly.Who was born of the virgin Mary? Who preached on the mount? Who prayed within the backyard? Who died on the cross?
Answering every of those questions takes us into profound territory concerning the individual and natures of Jesus Christ. However there’s one other query that has generated a lot confusion: Who did the miracles we see Jesus performing within the Gospels?
There’s been confusion round this query as a result of it’s usually been requested not with whohowever with how(i.e., how did Jesus work miracles?). Andthe means a query is requested shapes the sort of reply obtained.
Trendy Misstep: Transferring from Whoto How
Many theologians of the trendy period, emphasizing Christ’s humanity, havepuzzled over the 2 natures of Christ, assuming theyre in a sort of competitors. As a result of two natures cant occupy the identical area inside one individual, Christs identification with our humanity required him to at all times or largely forsake the fitting to his divine attributes. How, then, does he carry out miracles?
Scripture portrays quite a lot of folks performing miracles. And all of those males save one are simply thatmere males. When, say, Elijah or Paul performs miracles, it doesn’t level to their individual. In any case, when these at Lystra have been tempted to worship Barnabas and Paul after Paul’s miracle, the apostle implored the gang to do not forget that they have been males (Acts 14:15). The Holy Spirit enabled these miracles; they have been testaments to his energy, not Pauls or anybody elses.
The miracle of the incarnation is that this one individual turned the whole lot we’re with out ceasing to be the whole lot he’s.
To many fashionable theologians, Jesuss miracles are actually no completely different. He too did his miracles by the ability of the Holy Spirit. In consequence, they dont level to his individualbesides insofar as Jesus depends on the Spiritbut to the human nature he shares with us. Like us, he should depend on divine sources outdoors himself. Thus the query of how people carry out miracles will get transposed to Christs miracles, all of the whereas avoiding who he’s as Gods Son.
However by giving a lot room for the Spirit and the humanity of Christ, a significant Christological class is squeezed out: individuals, not natures, do issues. Sure, Jesus Christ has two full natures, one divine and one human. Sure, he at all times acts in keeping with each of those natures. Nonetheless, it’s the individual of Jesus who confronts us within the Gospels, and Christology since Chalcedon (AD 451) has harassed that he’s one united personthe second individual of the Trinity. The miracle of the incarnation is that this one individual turned the whole lot we’re with out ceasing to be the whole lot he’s. So once we see Jesus carry out a miracle within the Gospels, our first query must be who is that this?
Check Case: Strolling on Water
On the floor, Jesus strolling on water in Matthew 14 appears to affirm that he labored miracles as a person empowered by the Spirit. In Matthews narrative, Jesus has simply completed feeding the 5,000. His disciples get into a ship on the Sea of Galilee. Relatively than get in with them, nevertheless, Jesus withdraws to a mountain to hope. By the point it was between Three and 6 a.m., the disciples boat is way offshore and being tossed by waves. Their worry is intensified once they see what they take for a ghost approaching them on the ocean.
Its no ghost, after all; its Jesus Christ. The disciples cry of worry is met with Jesus phrases: Take coronary heart; it’s I. Don’t be afraid (Matt. 14:27). Peter then asks Jesus to show himself by commanding him to stroll on the water, too. The following episode initially appears to arrange a parallel between Peter and Jesus: when Peter walks by religion, he walks supernaturally on the water; when he walks by worry, he begins to sink. Jesus apparently confirms this when he reaches out his hand to Peter: O you of little religion, why did you doubt? (Matt.14:31).
The disciples didnt marvel at Jesuss full dependence on one other, nor did they ascribe reward to the Spirits energy. Relatively, their eyes are drawn to the incarnate Son of God because the one worthy of reward.
One would possibly presume that right here we’ve a mere man, Peter, capable of do what Jesus can do as long as he walks by religion. Thus, the working distinction between Jesus and Peter isnt that Jesus is the absolutely divine Son, however that in his humanity he absolutely relied on the Spirit. This episode, subsequently, doesnt reveal the lordship of Jesus Christ; relatively, it factors to the inbreaking of the dominion and the mannequin Jesus gives for counting on divine sources apart from his personal. With this studying, the who of Jesus is misplaced within the drive to check and distinction the how of Peter and Jesus.
However Who Actually Walked on Water?
Three clues on this passage, nevertheless, level to a special understanding of this miracle.
First, when Jesus reveals to his fearful disciples that it’s I (Matt. 14:27; Greekego eimi), this isnt a name to acknowledge his human options that mark him out as Jesus from Nazareth. Relatively, hes appropriating Yahwehs identify revealed in Exodus 3:14 (I AM: ego eimi). He’s commanding his disciples to take coronary heart and never be afraid as a result of he, the one strolling on the water, is Yahweh.
The second clue flows from the primary: Jesus is taking up an Previous Testomony theophany motif. Who tramples the waves of the ocean however Yahweh alone (Job 9:8)? By way of this and his private identification with the divine identify, Jesus is making clear the who of this miracle: the incarnate second individual of the Trinity who, although veiling his heavenly glory in human flesh, didnt abandon or mute the attributes of his divine nature (as if he ever may!). No, the Creator who first customary the ocean now masters it via his personal energy.
The third clue is discovered within the disciples response to this revelation. Initially we see Peter addressing this Yahweh-incarnate-who-walks-on-water as Lord. However then, after Jesus will get into the boat and the wind ceases, they worship him: Actually you’re the Son of God (Matt. 14:33). Its clear that for the disciples this miracle bears the unmistakable marks of a divine individual (cf. Ps. 107:2332). The disciples didnt marvel at Jesuss full dependence on one other, nor did they ascribe reward to the Spirits energy. Relatively, their eyes are drawn to the incarnate Son of God as worthy of reward. For them, the who defined the how and ushered them into worship.
Unity of the Son of God
As a result of the incarnate Son of God is one individual with two natures, we must always anticipate to see Gospel episodes reflective of every nature. Even on this profound revelation of Jesuss divine energy on the ocean, he makes use of human toes to stroll on water, a human arm to save lots of Peter from sinking, and a human voice to reassure his disciples of his divine id. Jesus is at all times one individual performing in keeping with each of his natures.
Many fashionable theologians search to know the thriller of the incarnation by dividing Christ, by isolating certainly one of his natures and asking how a selected motion is feasible. Not solely do Christological issues end result; it results in grave Trinitarian ones as effectively. For to recommend Jesuss miracles arent touched by his divine nature is to divide the works of the Trinity, to parcel out discrete acts among the many Father, Son, and Spirit. Classical Trinitarian theology, nevertheless, joins Gods important unity (Deut. 6:4) with the co-inherence of the individuals (John 14:11) and holds that each work of the Trinity is undivided. When God acts, every individual acts. It’s not unsuitable to say that the Spirit is performing in Jesuss miracles; he’s. It is unsuitable to say that the second individual of the Trinity isnt.
It’s not unsuitable to say that the Spirit is performing in Jesuss miracles; he’s. It is unsuitable to say that the second individual of the Trinity isnt.
Historic creeds like Chalcedon have taught us to admit one and the identical Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the identical good in Godhead and likewise good in manhood. A lot of our Christological dilemmas can be cleared up by, with Chalcedon, first answering whois Jesus. Hes the one and the identical Son, whose miraculous deeds trigger us, like these first disciples, to adore the thriller of God incarnate.