This is one of those topics I had struggled with really comprehending for years. I blogged a bit about this before in a partial review of Gordon Fee’s book Pauline Christology. I just wanted to chat a bit more about this topic.
In Philippians 2:5-7
TNIV: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
HCSB: 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form
Here is my summary of what I think these verses mean:
Jesus had existed in the form of God, and did not take advantage of his divinity to assist in his humanity.
This summary and the specific translations cited above helps me to relate to Christ’s humanity in way that I never really could. I think that Jesus could have used his divinity to help him when he fasted and was tempted, but he did not. He could have used his divinity to help him when he was suffering before and during his crucifixion but he did not.
This understanding allows me to better understand verses like Heb. 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” TNIV I always struggled with this because elsewhere it says that God cannot be tempted James 1:13 I would wonder well how can Jesus really be tempted if he is God? Well now this makes sense, at least it does to me. Also it gives me some sort of renewed hope that I can or will someday be fully transformed.
What are your thoughts regarding this? I really would like to hear from some you on how you understand his humanity.