Christianity Today recently ran an article titled, “Jesus Was the God-Man, Not the God-Superman.” The authors apparently felt the need to correct what they perceived was an incorrect perspective of Christ by suggesting an exceptionally vapid theological explanation for Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.
Regarding the incarnation they wrote, “What Jesus brought with him into our world was his godness, which included a deep trust and faith in his Father; part of what he received from us in his humanness was our ability to doubt—and doubt he did.”
That statement is a biblically ignorant thing to say. The birth of Jesus was when God Himself in the person of His Son entered human history, not his godness, not some likeness of God, but God Himself. In the incarnation Jesus was God with us. Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit meaning Jesus had nothing He received from us.
The incarnation is further explained in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he writes, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men,” Philippians 2:5-7.
Jesus feared something He did not know till the day of His death, that every man, woman, boy and girl, learn experientially from the day of their birth.
Jesus emptied Himself of His divine attributes to become like us, and as the second Adam succeeded in overcoming the temptation to sin without any divine aid or supernatural power; Jesus faced the temptation to sin in the same way the first Adam did without any supernatural aid. Jesus succeeded where Adam failed. Paul’s words are enough to disabuse any believer of the idea that Jesus was some kind of Superman.
Jesus knew what awaited Him in Jerusalem during that last Passover. He repeatedly told “His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day,” Matthew 16:21. Jesus knew what awaited Him.
Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane to His Father to let “this cup pass from Me,” was not born of doubt about what would transpire on the morrow, it was born out of fear. It was not a fear of crucifixion or death; Jesus’ humanity feared what His divinity knew would come to pass.
Jesus feared something He did not know till the day of His death, that every man, woman, boy and girl, learn experientially from the day of their birth; throughout eternity Jesus had never known what it was like to be separated from intimate fellowship with His Father.
The next day on the cross, as Jesus bore our sins the time came when the Father, abandoned His Son, and Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Jesus never doubted what would happen; His humanity feared it, but His divinity compelled Him to endure it for us.