Paul wrote something very powerful that I think we as the church tend to miss or gloss over.
5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)
I think it easy to read this verse and move on without catching the significance of what Paul wrote. Paul is informing us that sitting at the Father’s right hand there is a man. What does that mean? It is easy to read about the healings and miracles Jesus performed and embrace the theology that Jesus was fully God and fully man so He did what He did because He walked on the earth as God in the flesh.
While it is true that Jesus walked the earth in Israel as God in the flesh and was both fully God and fully man did He do what He did as God? Look at something else Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:5-13 (NKJV)
This passage is important, though what is often quoted is verse 5 and verses 12-13. To better understand the whole passage we need some context that the Gospels provide.
21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” Luke 3:21-22 (NKJV)
1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Luke 4:1 (NKJV) 14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. Luke 4:14 (NKJV)
We find in the verses above that three things happened.
- Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit rested upon Him,
- This resulted in Jesus being filled with the Spirit, and
- Jesus later walking in the power of the Spirit.
The obvious question is why? If the Father, Spirit, and Son are three in one, then they all have the same gifts and abilities. So why did Jesus need to receive, be filled with and empowered by the Spirit? The answer takes us back to Philippians 2. Paul wrote in verse 7 that Jesus, “made Himself of no reputation.” What does that mean? The phrase in other translations says He ‘emptied Himself.’ What did Jesus empty Himself of? Being fully God and fully man He could not empty Himself of His divinity, however, He could cease to access the power available in His divinity and limit Himself to His humanity. How Jesus did this no one knows. That He did this is the broader testimony of scripture. We know from the above verses in Luke that He needed the Holy Spirit to be able to engage in ministry and walk out His calling. The view of the early apostles was the same. Luke wrote in his gospel about Jesus being filled and then empowered by the Spirit. He reiterated this in Acts by quoting Peter expressing the same viewpoint.
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 (NKJV)
Strange as it may sound Jesus need God working in Him to do the works He did! See the verses below. Jesus was unable to move on His own and perform healings and miracles if that was not what His Father was doing.
5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. Mark 6:5 (NKJV) 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19 (NKJV)
This is why Paul exhorted us to have the mind of Christ and encouraged us that God is working in us.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, …13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:5, 13 (NKJV)
Paul wanted us to know that Jesus, the Man Christ Jesus, did what He did because His Father was working in and through Him and the Father by the Spirit wants to work in and through us.
How is our perspective? Do we have the same mind as Jesus so the Spirit can work through us?