In the 16th Century Michael Servetus wrote, "I shall endeavor to restore to their memory who that true son was. Starting with the fact that the personal pronoun when taken in context shows that he was a human being who was wounded with blows and whipped, I will candidly accept the following three propositions as being true, in and of themselves: first, he is Jesus Christ; second, he is the son of God; third, he is God."(Restoration of Christianity : An English Translation of Chistianismi restitutio. pg 5) It seems that Servetus felt a need to remind those of his times of the authentic humanity of Jesus Christ. This should not be done however to the exclusion or obliteration of the Supreme Deity of Jesus Christ.
Genesis 3:15 records “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (ESV) Notice that the enmity is between the serpent and the woman. Next there will equally be enmity between the serpent’s offspring and the woman. Third, the offspring of the woman “shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This distinction may be subtle but the “he” actually bruises the serpents head rather than the “offspring” of the serpent. The Hebrew pronoun “he” is in the masculine in reference to the woman’s offspring. In other words the heel of a male descendant of Eve will have a heel bruised by the serpent and yet the serpent will have his had bruised by this descendant. This can only be Jesus (See 1 John 3:8). Notice as well the Hebrew writer which tells us that Jesus also partook of “flesh and blood” that through His death the one who has power over death will be destroyed.
ESV | Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, (Heb. 2:14)There are are many direct statements from Scripture that indicate the authentic humanity of Jesus. Matthew begins his Gospel with:
NET | This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.Matthew clearly sets forth to record or give an account of the “genealogy” of Jesus. The Greek word for “genealogy” used here is “geneseos” from “genesis” meaning birth. The Gospel writer here could be using an opening to his Gospel similar to Gen. 5:1 where Moses records the descendants of Adam. Matthew quite literally plans to tell us of the origin and history of Jesus, the one who proceeded from David and Abraham. Matthew continues 15 verses later:
ESV | and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.Matthew records “Mary, of whom Jesus was born...”. The preposition “of” here is in the genitive of the Greek word “ek” which means from or out of. The very next word “whom” is actually a genitive singular, feminine, relative pronoun. In other words Mary is the one “of whom” Jesus was born out of. The combination of these two words indicate a genetic relationship between Mary and Jesus. The term ‘born” (Grk. egennethe (from gennao)) is a verb used which means be born of or give birth, to beget. This verb is also passive meaning it is Mary who actually and biologically bore Jesus, the Son of God.
Mary was no surrogate mother for a superman nor did a second divine person enter a human womb. Luke 2:21 clearly says that Jesus was “conceived in the womb.” (ESV) In fact, Luke records “Mary the mother of Jesus...” (Acts 1:14, ESV) See also John 2:1; 3, 5, 12; 19:25, 20). Galatians 4:4 is also very specific:
ESV | But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
Here Paul says that the Son is “born of woman”. The same preposition ek (from, out of) is also used. The Son is born out of a woman or gynaikos (gyne). The Son is also “born under the law...” This does not mean Jesus was made out of the law in the same way He was born of woman. The prepositions “of” (ek gen.) and “under” (hypo acc.) distinguish this so that Jesus’ relationship to Mary is that He was made from or out of her. This is a biological relationship whereas his relationship to the law is that of the law of Moses which was in effect when Jesus came.
In Did the First Christians Worship Jesus J.D.G. Dunn cites several inferences that should be noted about "Jesus' upbringing". He suggests we can infer that Jesus was "brought up by pious parents." He also notes the awareness of Jesus' parents to this piety in the naming of their children James/Jacob, Joses/Joseph, Judas/Judah, Simon/Simeon (Mark 6:3). Dunn also suggests that Jesus would have recited the Shema regularly; had a "practice of daily prayer"; was a "regular participant" in the "local synagogue"; the references to the "tassels" of Jesus garment (e.g. Matt. 9:20 and Luke 8.44) give the impression He was also a "pious Jew"; at the least took an annual "pilgrimage to Jerusalem" and would be familiar with the Temple and its "functionaries, priests...tithing...purity." (Dunn, pg. 94-96)
Hebrews 5:7 records the fact that Jesus prayed “in the days of his flesh” (NRSV) or “when he was in the flesh” (NAB). These prayers indicate to us the genuineness of His human nature. These prayers were not charades rather they were real prayers offered to God by an authentic human life.
Clearly, an examination of the life of Jesus though exhibits that of more than any mere man. Dallas Roark notes that “When we turn to the other New Testament data concerning the life of Jesus, we see that some actions are clearly those of a superhuman power, while others can be only attributed to a truly human power.” (The Christian Life) As noted earlier there are two equally true and valid propositions about Jesus. He is God or Yahweh (See Isa. 6 and John 12:41) and He is an authentic human life (1 Tim. 2:5). A man approved or attested of God (Acts 2:22, ESV). The Apostle Paul writing to Timothy records that God was manifest in the flesh. The NKJV follows in the tradition of the KJV and renders the verse:
NKJV | 1 Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.Other translations render “God was manifested in the flesh” variously. All however point back to the antecedent which in chapter three of 1 Timothy is God. Notice the following renderings:
NAB | 1 Ti 3:16 Undeniably great is the mystery of devotion, Who was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.The NAB and LEB have “Who” while the NRSV, ESV, NASB and NET have “He”. The variant here is due to differences of manuscript readings. Phillip Comfort notes:
NRSV | 1 Ti 3:16 Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
LEB | 1 Ti 3:16 And most certainly, great is the mystery of godliness: Who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among the Gentiles, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
ESV | 1 Ti 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
NASB95 | 1 Ti 3:16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
NET | 1 Ti 3:16 And we all agree, our religion contains amazing revelation: He was revealed in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
“Few textual problems generated so much stir and controversy in the nineteenth century as this one did. Many scholars entered the debate--and not without good reason, in asmuch as this verse is related to the doctrine of the incarnation. When the reading in the TR and the KJV was challenged some thought the doctrine of God becoming man was being undermined. Not so.” (New Testament Text and Translation Commentary)It’s interesting to note that all the previous translations posted above do capitalize whichever pronouns they have chosen. This is because the prior antecedent to the pronoun “Who” or “He” is God Himself in the prior verse (See 1 Tim. 3:15, “household of God”; “living God” (ESV). The variant does not call into question the reality of the Incarnation. To say that “He” was manifest in the flesh is to mean that “He” was manifested in an authentic human existence. Jesus is God, manifest in flesh.
Oneness Pentecostals firmly believe and teach that we must never compromise the deity or humanity of Christ. The Scriptures include statements that are suggestive of his human and divine nature (Romans 1:3; Jude 25). He is fully God and fully man. Neither of these propositions can be ignored and must be held in equal value and reverence. In fact, if we miss out on either the humanity or deity of Christ we have another Christ. Paul warned in his times that some would come who preach or proclaim a different Jesus and essentially a different Gospel (2 Cor. 11:4-5).