Of course, the title Jesus used for Himself, as recorded most often in the gospels was “Son of Man.” We get this title more than 90 times in the Gospels, and very seldom thereafter, comparatively speaking. The (quite natural) tendency to think His constant use of the title Son of Man can only mean Jesus somehow denies His divinity.
I still hold to the Son of God-Son of Man, God-Man, in may discussions of the nature of Jesus, the Christ. I do not fully understand the point of Christians, individually or in groups, who spend a great portion of their time in attempts to disprove the divinity of Jesus, the Christ. I wonder what is left after Jesus is disassociated with the divine.
In fairness to the various (legitimate) schools of Christian thought who do not accept the divinity of Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, and so the Biblically prophesied Son of Man, they have an honest and compelling post-modern argument to my question. When (as I have done) I ask persons who are committed to de-deifying Jesus what they is left when they have successfully removed Him from the ouranos, their simple answer (to what is left afterward, remember) is this one word; Reality.
In fact, as my interlocutors remind me, to have Jesus as a good fellow, teacher ahead of His time, radical Jewish rabbi, removes many of the problems of his deity. Anyone who does so is very much in line with historical controversies in the Christian Movement, ancient, modern and post-modern, over what you do with God occupying human form to live in the midst of humankind. Consider the various popular cults, branches off the Christian tree, which, invariably, disagree with mainstream (orthodox) Christianity over one side or the other of Christ’s dual nature. That is, the cultists deny either the humanity of Jesus (read gnosticism) or the divinity of Jesus. Or, the cult may resolve the dual nature issue not by lowering Jesus but by elevating a portion of humankind to His pre-existent, eternal identity.
And, here, I reveal my bias. I am, as the gamblers say, all-in with Jesus. I am going with Him, regardless. If He should be clinically proven to the satisfaction of any sentient being to be completely mistaken at all points, I will not desert Jesus or His cause at any point. Jesus may be horrified at this notification, but I intend to stay with Him through this life and into the next, His willing vassal-servant.
This does not mean I intend to suspend investigation or cease thoughts. As a good Wesleyan, I believe I am (ought to be, must be, should be) being perfected in grace, through faith, by the interaction of divine love, attendant to my experience quite apart from my prior ability to draw on it.
Consequently, I want to hear and read those who will make a case for Jesus, not the simple evidentiary arguments only, but including them, along with those who do in their arguments what the Bible does with God. That is, the Bible text assumes God and moves forward from then to now. The Bible makes the most gigantic claims for God, as to content, character and conduct, without offering anything more than its own simple presentation for “proof.” Naturally, this leads to some problems of interpretation any time a thinking persons asks the “Who, What, Where, Why, How” questions. Simply put, any question put to religionists that does not assume the existence and benevolence of God requires an answer, for civil discussion, but automatically places itself outside the religious answer. God is, God care, God loves, God acts.
From the same text, we can also say, “God is jealous. God destroys. God chooses one and not another. God chooses one over another. God demands worship. God rules unconditionally, but places numerous conditions on His worshippers. When everything else fails, God sends His own Son into the world to pay a high redemptive price, showing God to be wrathful and retributive.”
In all occurrences, loving and wrathful, the religionist is required to present God as completely consistent and rigidly reliable. God cannot be said to be consistent or reliable, if one is to “do business” with God. God must be completely consistent and rigidly reliable, or any other way you wish to say, “Perfect.”
This is compelling to me today in large part because of where I find myself. I am substitute teaching math in a large public high school, which I shall not name. I am just now in a class of freshmen and sophomores who are working on their math assignment, while I write, and their socialization today, during their group work, includes loud discussions about, you guessed it, the nature and identity of Jesus. I am not known here, no one knows I am a minister, or even a Christian, so far as I know. I do not make that an issue when I help in a public school.
I agree with you that the nature of observation must invariably alter the discussion but I do not think my presence here today sparked this discussion or changed it much. The young students seem to have been recently confronted with a social-religious event wherein they were presented with certain information about Jesus as to the historical-religious claims about Him, and urged to accept this information, in order to unalterably transform their lives. The presentation was made outside the school. The conversation has carried over into this class for this class period, at least.
“Jesus was a man,” one said.
“Jesus was a kind of god,” another offered.
“Jesus was a D—-,” still another said, to the general amusement of his fellows.
And, so the story goes. All of the students, apparently, or at least the ones in the discussion, both the intimate and the peripheral, heard the same information from the same muscular speaker. They have come to different conclusions, at least for now. I applaud the person who motivated the conversation, and assume his better intentions. The outcome of the discussion is still on-going.
But, more than 2,000 years after His coming and going, Jesus, the Christ, still excites one’s imagination. He is the most remarkable of humans, at least, and, if you choose as I choose, the very substance of the divine.