Posted On February 21, 2013

The Exaltation of Jesus: More than Just a Philosopher or Prophet

by | Feb 21, 2013 | Apologetics

The Son of God as the focal subject in Hebrews 1:1-4 is that Son who was preexistent, became incarnate, and was then exalted to the right hand of God. We might say that the contemporary Jesus has come a long way since Hebrews was written- a long way down to earth. This exaltation, according to some modern Jesus scholars, only occurred in the minds and theologizing of the early church. Thus, the exalted Jesus of the New Testament is being recast variously today as a cynic philosopher, a charismatic man of the spirit, an eschatological prophet, a prophet of social change, and a sage.

The modern studies of Jesus have been popularized by most of the Jesus Seminar a group of seventy-four scholars who meet regularly to vote on the authenticity of the Gospels’ accounts concerning Jesus. Among their “findings”: Only eighteen percent of sayings ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels are authentic, and Jesus did not really rise from the dead. The latter, not surprising (given the Seminar’s commitment to philosophical naturalism), directly contradicts a basic tenant inherent in the exaltation proclamation of Hebrews 1:3. Although the Seminar has been harshly criticized for poor methodology, outdated presuppositions and neglect of work done among New Testament scholars outside their group, their media machine has given them a broad hearing in popular culture.

Earlier in this century G. Campbell Morgan suggested that when the church ceases to lift Christ to the height where all people can see him, it becomes useless and a fraud. The modern views of Jesus that attempt to make Christianity fit for modern perspectives actually undermines the heart of Christianity—that Jesus was vindicated as the Messiah, God’s Son, by his resurrection from the dead and that he was exalted to the right hand as Lord of the universe, and the church’s ministry.

It is only the exalted Jesus who can make purification of sins, according to Hebrews (1:3; 8:-12; 9:1-10:18), and provide us a way to draw near to God (4:14-16; 10:19-25). It is only the exalted Jesus who can offer help to us in our time of need (4:15-16), deliver us from death (2:14-15), and lead us to glory (2:10; 12:22-24). In short, it is only the exalted Jesus who is fit for our worship and attention who can help us persevere in the Christian life. The problem with the insipid Jesus of the Jesus Seminar consists not in his humanity, but in that he is no more than human. As such he is unable to offer anything to modern people beyond the inspiration of his words and ideas—and precious few of these survive the Seminar’s “analysis.”

In his book Evangelicalism and the Future of Christianity, Alistar McGrath, formerly a theological liberal and now one of Evangelicalism’s strongest spokesmen, writes concerning his disillusionment with liberalism:

“Yet the more I thought about the liberal project, and the more I wrestled with its agent and approaches, the more I felt it was academically vulnerable and spiritually inadequate. Its pastoral weakness became especially evident to me during a three-year period as pastor in Nottingham (1980-1983), in which I came to realize that liberalism had little to offer in the midst of the harsh pastoral realities of unemployment, illness and death.”[i]

By contrast, the Son of Hebrews 1:1-4 has much to offer humanity in general and the church in particular. As the preexistent One, who has paid for our sins and been exalted to the right hand of God, Jesus is our true, present source of hope and help.


[i] Alistar McGrath, Evangelicalism and the Future of Christianity (Downers Grove, Ill.:InterVarsity, 1995), 13.

Related Posts

Four Traps to Avoid When You Suffer

Four Traps to Avoid When You Suffer

4 Traps to Avoid When You Suffer from Crossway on Vimeo. The 2 Kinds of Doubt As I thought about my own experience, I wanted to organize my thoughts and experience for others in these two categories of traps that every sufferer faces and the comfort that is offered to...

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God – Brian Zahnd (2017)

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God – Brian Zahnd (2017)

COMMENDING JONATHAN EDWARDS I will never forget a very special evening with a small group of Christ-followers at the McLean home.  My good friend, Don suggested that we read Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards in one sitting – on our knees.  And...

Weekly Dose of Apologetics – 16-22 Jul 2017

Weekly Dose of Apologetics – 16-22 Jul 2017

Apologetics Deb Welch – Difficult Passages Series: Judges 19 and The Gospel "We are all prone to wander and forget our True King and Redeemer. Our savior Jesus, who has written our names on his hands, has rescued us from the kingdom darkness described in Judges 19 and...

Weekly Dose of Apologetics – 9-15 Jul 2017

Weekly Dose of Apologetics – 9-15 Jul 2017

Apologetics Denny Burk – Standing Against a Destructive Misogyny Threatening our Children "The sexual revolution promised us more sex and more pleasure. It has actually delivered to us a generation of men who think of women as objects to be used and abused for their...

Weekly Dose of Apologetics – 25 Jun – 1 Jul 2017

Weekly Dose of Apologetics – 25 Jun – 1 Jul 2017

Apologetics Bruce Ashford – A Dozen (or So) Things We Will Never Regret Doing with Our Kids "Schedules change at the last minute. Children get sick. Parents get tired. Et cetera.) So we put our trust in him, rather than in ourselves, as we try to make the most of...

Do Not Stretch the Truth

Do Not Stretch the Truth

“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.” (Lev. 19:11) Nestled within commands to not steal or bear false witness is a three-word prohibition. It is stated in a matter of fact manner and simply – do not lie. There is no...

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Great blog post!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tweet2
Reddit
Share
Email
Buffer