Jesus: still fully human

C. S. Lewis wrote concerning the ascension of Jesus:
We...tend to slur over the risen manhood of Jesus, to conceive Him, after death, simply returning into Deity, so that the Resurrection would be no more than the reversal or undoing of the Incarnation" (Miracles, p. 151, quoted on p. 5 in Jesus Ascended by Gerrit Scott Dawson, T&T Clark, 2004).
Following on Lewis' thought, Gerrit Scott Dawson warns of...
...enormous theological problems raised by disembodying Christ's ascension. For instance, if Jesus slipped out of his human body, who is sitting at God's right hand? Is it Jesus, whose voice the disciples heard, whose touch they felt...or is it the eternal Son of God, who once knew what it was like to be a man but is no longer bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh? If the latter, what effect would a bodiless Christ have on the future work affirmed in the [Nicene] Creed, his coming again and his judgement of the living and dead? To put it bluntly, if Jesus did not go up as a man, he cannot come again as a man. The Judge would not be our Brother, not the one tempted in all ways as we are, not the man with the nail-scarred hands and the 'rich wounds yet visible above'. He might be God in that case, but he would not be human. And we would be lost (p. 5).
As Dawson goes on to note...
...Our salvation depends on [Jesus'] continuing union with us. If the Son of God came to us where we are, but then left us, if he went away and did not take us with him, we would still be lost. In fact, we could then begin a whole new series of books entitled Left Behind, though with a decidedly gloomier slant! For any view of the ascension as Jesus slipping off his humanity is a sentence of condemnation. We cannot be united to him in the Holy Spirit if he is no longer flesh or our flesh and bone of our bone...If he dropped the hypostatic union with humanity, then he dropped us, and we are left forsaken on this side of the great divide, unable to fulfill our purpose, find forgiveness and restored communion, or enact our mission (p. 6).
But the good news is that Jesus has indeed arisen clothed in our humanity! Dawson notes:
The incarnation continues, and so we are included in the life of God. That is the essential meaning of the ascension. We are not left alone. Jesus has gone before us in a way we may follow through the Holy Spirit whom he has sent, because the way is in his flesh, in his humanity. Jesus is himself that new and living way (p. 7).
May your celebration of Jesus' ascension bring you great joy and assurance!


Glen Weber said…
Thanks Ted,
It is amazing how little expressions can really make the "coin drop" in our thinking!

I have read quite a bit and just yesterday listened to Dan Rogers preach (at our NW District Conference)about how "I am in the Father and you are in me." We know Jesus is our mediator, High Priest, etc, but your quote from Dawson really made the coin drop.

Dawson wrote, "If he dropped the hypostatic union with humanity, then he dropped us, and we are left forsaken on this side of the great divide,..." I knew and understood that Jesus is in a hypostatic union with the Father (Heb. 1:1-3), but this quote reveals that He is also in a hpyostatic state with US - humanity! (That suddenly brought a new picture into my mind and understanding.) No wonder He is in the Father and we are in Him and we can be one with God!!

What amazing truth! What a calamity that so many people boil down a relationship with Jesus to obedience or going to church or just "getting saved".
Anonymous said…
Hi there!

I like where we are going with this ascension logic. I just pray that we can carry this logic forward and connect the dots in both our personal lives and our ministries as we come to see the wonders of Jesus Christ. In this case, the ascension opens for us, if we believe in the name of Jesus, His presence in our flesh. As Paul says about his own life and ministry:

Col 1:21-2:3--Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness--the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (NIV)

In a world of religiosity, wherein this wisdom and knowledge are often not seen because of the emphasis on doing religious stuff, let us walk boldly forward into the very presence of God.

The best to you all!

J. Richard Parker
Ted Johnston said…
Thanks Glen,

Yes, it is truly amazing (and inspiring and liberating) to know that Jesus' union with our humanity (through his incarnation) is both permanent and intrinsic to his nature - it's not a mere concept or some sort of spiritual analogy. It's what Jesus is - both divine and human. Forever!

We do, in Jesus, have a place with (and in) God's own life. We are included!
Unknown said…
I have a question.
Question: When God said “Let us make Man in Our Image, in our likeness” Is God speaking in terms of the future state of Man? (Romans 4:17; Isa 6:10; Romans 8:29). Therefore Man will undergo the process to learn to trust and love God through suffering and death until Man is conform to the image of God? (Hebrews 2:10, 1 Peter 2:21)