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THE TESTIMONY OF CHRIST TO HIS OWN
JOHN X, 33. Because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. THERE have been various opinions of our Savior, ever since his first appearance in the flesh. Not only Herod, but all Jerusalem, were troubled with anxiety and doubt, when they heard the news of his birth. Mary herself hardly knew what opinion to form of her child, when she heard and pondered the saying of the angels, who had announced him to the world, as Christ the Lord. And when the appointed time was come, that he should emerge from the obscurity of private life, and appear in his public character, those who heard his doctrines and saw his miracles, were very much divided in their opinions of such an extraordinary Personage. Some said, he was John the Baptist; some said, he was Elias; some said, he was Jeremias, or one of the prophets, and some said, he was the Son of the living God. But though this last opinion was believed by his disciples, and propagated by the first preachers of the gospel, after his ascension to heaven; yet new and strange opinions of Christ soon sprang up and spread among his professed followers. Some denied his humanity; some denied his divinity; and some denied both. This diversity of opinions concerning the founder of our holy religion, proved the unhappy occasion of long and sharp disputes in the Christian Church. And though a milder spirit now prevails among Christians; yet they are far from being united in their sentiments about the personal character of their common Savior. Four different opinions, upon this subject, divided them into four different denominations. These are commonly called, for the sake of distinction, Socinians, Arians, Unitarians, and Trinitarians. The Socinians believe, that Christ was but a mere man, though favored with the gift of Inspiration. The Arians make him more than man, and suppose him to be possessed of every divine perfection, except self-existence and independence. The Unitarians view him as a super-angelic Nature intimately united with the one true God. The Trinitarians conceive him to be a proper man mysteriously united with the second Person in the Godhead. But notwithstanding this variety of opinions concerning Christ, yet all his professed followers agree, that he was possessed of perfect purity and moral rectitude. And since they agree in the belief of his undoubted veracity, they ought to agree, that his own declarations concerning himself should settle their long and unhappy dispute. His enemies say, in our text, that he professed to be God as well as man. "Because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God." These words very naturally lead us to consider what Christ did say concerning his humanity and divinity; and the grounds, upon which he asserted both.
I. Let us consider what Christ said concerning his humanity.
He was born of a woman. He gradually increased in stature and knowledge, until he reached the years of manhood. He then appeared and conversed like other men. And when he had occasion to speak of himself, he used a peculiar phrase, which clearly and - forcibly expressed his humanity. He commonly called
himself the Son of man. I will mention a number of instances. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. The Son of man came eating and drinking. Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen from the dead. The Son of man goeth as it is written of bim; but wo unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed. The Son of man is come to seek and save that which is lost, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whom do men say, that I the Son of man, am?” It is needless to transcribe all the passages in which Christ calls himself the Son of man, since he calls himself so, more than sixty times in the New Testament. By this phrase, he always meant to assert his humanity. And the Jews always understood it in this sense. For they charged him with blasphemy, because he professed to be a man, and yet made himself God. If they had mistaken his meaning, he must have certainly known it, and as certainly rectified their mistake. But it does not appear, that he ever intimated to any person, that he had been misunderstood in calling himself the Son of man. By this phrase, therefore, he must have intended to assert his true and proper humanity.
II. Let us consider what he said concerning his divinity
Though he professed to be man, yet he made himself God; and said more about his divine than about his human nature. He said a great many things, by which he meant either directly or indirectly, to assert his divinity. Here it may be observed, in the first place, that he called himself the Son of God. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only bear
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world, through him, might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. Dost thou believe on the. Son of God? He answered and said, who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, it is he that talketh with thee. This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” In all these passages, Christ means to assert his divinity, by calling
, himself the Son of God. And he means to convey the same idea of himself, by calling God his Father. “The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father. Thinkest thou that I cannot pray to Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: But now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.” I might go on quoting passages of this import; for Christ calls God his Father, more than fifty times in the four Evangelists. This mode of speaking was very offensive to the Jews, who understood him as asserting his divinity. Accordingly we read, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” Again,
Christ used another phrase, which carried the idea of his divinity. He used frequently to say, that he was one with the Father. “Neither pray I for these
alone, but for them also which shall believe on me, through their word; That they may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may know that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” By this union with his Father, the Jews understood him to assert his divine nature. Hence we are told, when he said on a certain occasion, “I and my Father are one, then the Jews took up stones to stone him.” Just after this, he said, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 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.” It is added, “Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand.” Again,
Christ used an expression, which fairly implied his eternity, and consequently his divinity; and being taken in this sense, it highly displeased the Jews. "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Before Abraham was, I am. Then they took up stones to cast at him, but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” Again,
Our Lord professed to be a divine Person, by claiming a divine authority to forgive sins. “And behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee. And behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye