November 29, Tuesday

jabez2Note: The AMI QT Devotionals for November 29-30 are provided by Jabez Yeo.  Jabez, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is currently working in NYC and serving at TRPC-E.  He hopes to become a missionary.

Devotional Thought for Today

Colossians 3:12-4

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

29There is nothing more taxing than having to make a choice between the “lesser of two evils”—this is as perplexing today as it was back in the days of the early church when the choice was between Nestorius and Cyril (italics—P. Ryun).

For the early church, much debate continued regarding the nature and person of Jesus Christ. During the mid-fifth century A.D., the bishop Nestorius argued that prosopon (person) and physis (nature) go hand in hand for both humanity and divinity. Thus, Nestorius believed that if Jesus had a human nature and a divine nature, “His incarnation had to be a mutual dwelling of two people – the eternal Son of God and the mortal Jesus.”[1]  To that mutual dwelling, Nestorius assigned the name Christ and considered it to be a combination of two separate persons.

Unfortunately, Nestorius was sincerely wrong, and the bishop Cyril was quite eager to point that out.  Under the rubric of what was called “hypostatic union,” Cyril taught that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who took on Himself a human nature and existence, while remaining fully divine. According to Cyril, “If Jesus was truly the Word incarnate, then it must be theologically correct to attribute to him all the glory of deity, as well as to the Son of God who became human all the weakness and mortality of humanity.”[2] Cyril’s favorite formula for expressing the incarnation was that “God the Logos did not come into a man, but he truly became man, while remaining God.”

Unfortunately, Cyril was also known for behaving like a “proud pharaoh.” He was involved in many disputes throughout his life, and some historians believe that Cyril was responsible for stoking tensions that led a “Christian” mob to murder the Hellenistic philosopher Hypatia.[3] When Cyril was exiled by Emperor Theodosius II, he even engaged in bribery with the emperor’s confidantes and sent mobs to besiege Theodosius’ palace to shout abuse. Needless to say, Cyril did not have a reputation for being patient or loving.

As we are all sinners, conflict is not only possible but inevitable. Nevertheless, how we deal with conflict indicates whether we are indeed putting on our godly nature or resorting to our sinful nature.  Perhaps, it is fair to say that God used Cyril despite of his shortcomings, not because of his greatness.  Let’s ask for God’s strength to put on Christ’s nature today.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I know that there is nothing good in me. I know that without You, my selfishness and pride seep into every conflict that I face. Help me to put on Your nature and to have compassion, patience, humility and kindness. Help me to love others as You have loved me. In Your Name I pray, Amen.

[1] Roger Olson. The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform.

[2] Ibid.

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_of_Alexandria

Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 18

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Lunch Break Study

Read Colossians 2:9a: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”

Colossians 1:19: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.”

John 4:6: “Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey.”

Mark 11:12:The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Given these limited verses, justify Jesus’ complete divinity as well as His complete humanity.
  2. Which of the following two statements is correct? Jesus is 50 percent human and divine, respectively, in one person, or, Jesus is 100 percent human and divine in one person?
  3. In light of this, can we have confidence in what Hebrews 4:15 declare: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Notes

  1. The Colossian passages clearly state that the fullness of Deity dwells in Jesus Christ. Fullness is not a half-measure but complete and exact as its counterpart.  As for Christ’s humanity, he became tired after a long day’s walk and became hungry when not eating, just like us.
  2. Jesus is 100 percent human and divine, respectively, in one person.
  3. We can absolutely have confidence in what is promised in Hebrews 4:15 because Jesus experientially knows what we are going through (without sinning). In truth, Jesus didn’t need to go through all this to empathize with us; but He did so that it will help us to have more confidence in Christ.

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Evening Reflection

This evening, as you are about to turn in for the night, would you say a short prayer of gratitude to the Lord for having come in the flesh to do for us something no one except He could have done, that is, taking care of our sin problem, once and for all, and continuing to intercede on our behalf?

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 Jn. 2:1).

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