Is John 11 a good picture of the hypostatic union?

Hi,

I have been studying this passage for a little while and it seems to me that this account of Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead is a great passage to show how the union of God and Man in Christ practically works. Just looking for some thoughts, contradictions, or better examples. The passage in total is John 11:1-47.

God bless!

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Hi Alex :smiley:

Thanks for your interesting question. I was wondering if you might be able to start off by giving some of the practical examples from John 11 that you have found from your own study of the passage?

Thanks Alex as this is not a question I have thought very deeply on.

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Hi, @braveprotector4110. Are you talking about the purely human response Jesus had to Lazarus’ death in conjunction with his raising him from the dead?

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Yes @psalm151ls

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@Brian_Upsher

Hi Brian,

So probably the clearest example in this passage of Christ’s deity is when He actually raises Lazarus from the dead. Resurrection power was something that would have been ascribed to only God in that culture, as far as I know. However, Jesus also wept when He came to the tomb of Lazarus, which is a very human response to the loss of a loved one (in verse 5 that Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus). There are other instances in this passage where it appears that Jesus is operating both as God and a human.

My opinion is that this passage would make a good case study to understand the union of God and man in Christ, but I wanted to see what other people had to say about it :smiley:

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Dear Mr. Alex,

What a beautiful question!

I think we can go through the scriptures and find the gospel in it’s entireity is a unifying example of the union of Christ our Lord and humanity.

The instance with Lazarus is certainly one very brilliant example. " Jesus wept .’ What does that mean to you? Did he feel our frailty? Our mortality? The pain when we lose someone? What was He feeling? Why did he bring Lazarus back? Was it a forshadowing? I would love to hear your insights?

Blessings,
~Sanah~

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Another example is on the cross Jesus cries out “Father why have you forsaken me”
A momentary human reaction to the unbearable pain. I heard this in a debate between Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Zizek.
Slavoj suggested the pain was so great that there was a momentary lose of faith. A human frailty.
R​:pray:t2::pray:t2:

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Hi Alex :slightly_smiling_face:

My initial thought from your response is that Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead, or performing other miracles, is not a direct link to His deity. The prophet Elisha raised the dead in the OT (the son of the woman of Shunam), and Peter also raised Tibitha from the dead in Acts 9. So I don’t think the Miracles alone were a sign of His deity but more so the authority Jesus claimed He had in which He performed His miracles. In John 11, it reads:

John 11: 25-26: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus is claiming an authority that He possess and fulfills, that other true prophets of God never claimed of themselves. But Jesus was fully man, he needed to eat, he got tired, he slept, he was tempted, he wept, he felt pain in multiple ways. I remember a sermon that Charles Price gave a few years back where he was describing Jesus’ incarnation state. This is not a direct quote so please forgive me if it is wrong, but is was something like, “Jesus was fully God, yet, he lived as if he was nothing more than a man.” To me, the passages that point to Jesus’ deity are more the ones which point to the authority He claimed to have.

For example, His ability to forgive sins:
Luke 5: 20-21: And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Or that He is Lord of the Sabbath:
Mark 2:27-28: And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Those are just a couple of examples, but the gospels are full of them which relay the authority Jesus claimed and spoke of, of Himself.

Those are just some of my thoughts Alex, but I look forward to reading your further thoughts, and other peoples, on the questions that you have posed :slightly_smiling_face:.

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Hi Brian,

Thank you for that thorough response. I can definitely see your point about raising someone from the dead vs claiming to be the resurrection in essence. There are a few points in the narrative that I see as displaying various attributes of His diety:

John 11:4 " When Jesus heard that , he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby" Jesus’ response in this verse implies that He knew the purpose of Lazarus’s sickness, that it was planned for the purpose of glorifying God through the glory Jesus would get for raising Lazarus from the dead. It seems to display the attribute of omniscience in Jesus, to know the mind of God at least.

John 11:15 “And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.” Jesus tells His disciples two days after receiving word that Lazarus is sick that in fact, Lazarus had died. Christ knew He had died before word had ever come to Him that Lazarus was dead, another sign of omniscience, although some could argue that perhaps it was an educated guess. But again, Jesus quotes a purpose in this verse for the death of Lazarus, a very arrogant statement if it were anyone else but God too. The purpose for this whole ordeal is so that people would believe on Jesus.

John 11:25 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” Here, Jesus is talking to Martha and correcting her understanding of what He had previously said. He told her that Lazarus would rise again. She answered saying that in the last day, he would resurrect. Jesus then states what He states in this verse. Then He asked her if she believed. Her response: “She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world” (11:27). She claimed that He was deity before He ever performed the miracle, a show of sincere faith.

John 11:41-42 " Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it , that they may believe that thou hast sent me." His prayer here equates Him to God as He calls God “father” and claims that God had sent Him. Now, God has sent several people throughout the Bible to do His work, so perhaps this isn’t as tale-tell a sign of deity as other passages point to. But, it does still contain the language that Jesus used concerning Himself and God the Father throughout the gospels.

A few points that contribute to His humanity:

John 11: 3, 5 “Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick… Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” Love, while is certainly an attribute of God, I believe, is really meant to be taken as love from a human. Mary and Martha had been hospitable to Jesus and His disciples on several occasions, looking after their needs. This is also the same Mary who anointed Christ’s feet with oil and wiped them with her hair (v. 4). This snapshot of the narrative could imply that Jesus had close friends here on earth.

John 11:33 “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,” Jesus, after witnessing those who were weeping, also felt agitated and a bit of indignation. In my personal opinion, Jesus was weeping for the death of Lazarus. Yes, even though He was (and is) God, He still was capable of feeling emotion. Of course, in the next few verses, we see Christ “weeping” (v. 35).

I just think that it is fascinating that eternal God in human form would experience emotional symptoms of one who has lost a friend when in reality, He had full intention of bringing that friend back to life in this passage for His glory. Perhaps I am stretching these aspects a little too far in this narrative though. Please let me know what you think :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi Alex

Thanks for your additional thoughts elaborating on the scriptures in John 11. I definitely see what you mean by the human emotion we see in Jesus, where he is weeping with those who are mourning the loss of Lazarus. We kind of expect Jesus to just be really calm and not upset because he knows he is going to raise Lazarus, and so why the tears? But instead, we see a very human emotion of Jesus feeling the pain and loss of his friends. To me, this also shows that in my loss and sorrow, my God who is also my comforter, mourns with me and understands the pain that I am going through. What I think we see through Jesus in this passage, is the physical expression of the heart of God for all people who are suffering through deep sadness and mourning. God mourns with us in our sadness. Rather than showing solely his humanness, it actually shows the true nature of God’s love.

John 5: 19-20: So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.

I think Jesus lived a life on earth entirely reliant on the will of the Father. He did it to show that this life is possible for us who would give ourselves completely over to Him. It is possible in the passages that you quoted, that Jesus was using His omniscience, though, it is also possible He was just doing and saying what He knew was the will of the Father. As you put it, Jesus may have just known the mind of God. Prophets of the Old Testament also talked with God, knew God’s will, and prophesied over people and nations. So I again think that foreknowledge of an event is not a direct claim to deity, but at the least that the source of that knowledge is originating from God.

Where I do agree with you, as I said in my earlier post, is that the authority that Jesus claimed of Himself, and allowed others to proclaim of Him, is maybe a stronger sign of His knowledge of His deity. It is ultimately for that reason why Jesus was crucified. But the greatest evidence that what He said about Himself was true, was His resurrection from the dead.

I am certainly know Biblical scholar Alex, but hopefully my thoughts will help in some way with your meditating over those passages in John 11. Your question has certainly got me having to think :smiley:.

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Brian,

Thank you for your input. It was absolutely helpful. Your knowledge of the Scriptures is definitely commendable. I hope you have a wonderful Resurrection Day tomorrow!

God Bless!

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@braveprotector4110 great question alex. Yes, God is beautiful and is all the great things in life. Remember we are made in the image of God. He is wayyyy way more. It’s like your image in the mirror. We love, He is love. We cry, his heart bleeds because he sees alll of our suffering from beginning to end of times. I’m looking for ways to describe it, but I hope you get my point. He is GOD, the top of top and so his attributes. Happy resurrection weekend. God bless you.

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