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Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (1 John 4:2)
Jesus Christ came as an actual flesh-and-blood person (The Message)
The false teaching which John was writing to contradict – the idea that Jesus was not truly human
1 John 4 2 This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
2 John 7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
The wrong idea that Jesus only appeared to be human
Docetism, 2nd century heresy
Dualism – matter and mortal flesh are
Because Greek gods are impassible,
incapable of feeling or suffering
Why does it matter?
If Jesus was not human then Jesus didn’t suffer as we suffer – not an effective high priest
If Jesus was not human Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross, therefore no sacrifice for sin, no forgiveness
“What has not been assumed has not been redeemed.” (Athanasius of Alexandria C.4th)
“What Christ has not assumed He has not healed.” (Gregory of Nazianzus C.4th)
Proofs of Jesus’s true humanity
John’s testimony 1 John 1:1-4
1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.
Jesus’s experiences, thirst, hunger, tiredness, wept, angry, compassion,
John 1 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The three witnesses water, blood, spirit
The water and the blood
1 John 5 6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood.
Water = Baptism
where Jesus identified with human beings
Blood = Death
the blood of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross
AND/OR blood and water at the crucifixion,
Another interpretation, because John’s Gospel does not include an account of Jesus’s baptism, but it does include this eyewitness testimony by John.
John 19 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.
Blood flowing from Jesus’s heart and water from Jesus’s stomach after his death prove he was truly human.
Water, blood and Spirit
1 John 5:6 And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. 9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.
Three aspects of the Holy Spirit’s witness to Jesus – John could mean any or all of these.
The witness of the Spirit at Jesus’s baptism
Matthew 3 16 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’
The work of the Holy Spirit throughout the ministry of Jesus (the objective witness)
Matthew 12 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
The inner witness of the Holy Spirit within believers (the subjective witness)
1 John 5:10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
We experience life through believing in Jesus. This proves that Jesus was truly flesh and blood like us.
The three witnesses – water, blood and Spirit.
1 John 4:2 …. every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
The “Superman heresy” – underneath the disguise of mild mannered reporter Clark Kent hides the Man of Steel, the indestructible Superman. Some people wrongly think that although Jesus appeared to be human, underneath because he was God he was actually indestructible, could not suffer and could not die as human beings do.
The truth is that our faith rests on the reality of a historical Jesus, who was both man and God, completely human and completely divine, who died and rose again to save us.
Only Jesus’s sacrifice could be an atonement for sin.
Only Jesus could be a great high priest in the order of Melchizedek
Jesus Christ came as an actual flesh-and-blood person (1 John 4:2 The Message)