Joel Hemphill Believes and Teaches:
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" (Jesus speaking) (Matthew 27:46).
"But thou Bethlehem Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God " (Micah 5:2,4).
Please understand two things about the verse just above. God says through the prophet Micah to the little town of Bethlehem, " out of thee shall he come forth unto me ." Notice how many times the phrase "brought forth" is used regarding the birth of Jesus. Matthew 1:25 says, "And he (Joseph) knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son." The angel of God had said to Joseph in a dream, "And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus." So when Jesus came in Bethlehem he was not just born, he was brought forth unto God his Father. He had been spoken before time by God as His first creative thought (the logos), but now as the prophet had said, "Shall he come forth unto me ." He had not been with God in heaven as a separate person but is "brought forth" to God in time, generated in the womb of a virgin, by the Holy Ghost. " But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son , made of a woman, made under the law" (Gal. 4:4) . Jesus' "sending forth" and his "bringing forth" are the same. "And again when he bringeth in the first - begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him" (Heb. 1:6). To make sure we understand what the Bible means when it says God sent Jesus into the world, look at John 17.
"They have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me" (v. 8).
"As thou hast sent me into the world , even so have I also sent them into the world " (v. 18).
Jesus sent his disciples into the world, just like God sent Jesus into the world, chosen, anointed and empowered.
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John" (the Baptist) (John 1:6).
The day Jesus was born was one of the greatest days in the history of the world, a day for which the God of eternity had patiently waited, the birth of His Son, "His only begotten." No wonder He commanded angels to worship and hung out a star to say, "It's a boy!" "But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared (brought forth) to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26). Regarding the word "begotten," please understand that it is the act of "fathering" and it means "to sire." If you have ever wondered why all of the "begot's" and "begat's" are in the Bible, God put them there so we could understand for all of time and eternity that when He "brought forth" Jesus, and called him his "only begotten son," He meant that he was the only child " sired " by Him in the womb of a mother, the virgin Mary. This gives added meaning to the crucifixion, for though God had many created Sons , He sent His only "sired" son to the cross to die for our sins.
The second thing we should see from Micah 5:4 is the phrase, "In the majesty of the name of the Lord his God ." Does Jesus have a God ?
The Bible's answer to this question should do much to clear up the confusion among believers as to the relationship between the Eternal God and His son Jesus. Hear again Jesus' cry from the cross as recorded in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34:
"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God , why hast thou forsaken me?"
The resurrected Jesus said to Mary near the garden tomb in John 20:17:
"Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father , and your Father ; and to my God , and your God ."
Paul says in Ephesians 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" and again in verse 17:
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ , the Father of glory , may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him ."
The writer of Hebrews says of the Son in Hebrews 1:9:
"Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God , hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." This is a quote from a Messianic psalm of David (Ps. 45:7).
Peter begins his first epistle by saying:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:3). Peter and Paul believed alike! Notice, Jesus was ascended and in heaven with the Father when Paul, Peter, and the author of Hebrews wrote, but to them Jesus still had a God!
The ascended Jesus says in Revelation 3:12:
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God , and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God , and the name of the city of my God , which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God ." (One cannot be the Supreme God and have a God at the same time).
So the Bible's answer to the question, Does Jesus have a God , is one resounding "yes" . To acknowledge the most High, Creator as your "God" is to say that He is your "higher power," whom you worship, fear, obey, love and to whom you submit.
Did Jesus worship God ? Yes, see John 4:21-23 where Jesus says to the woman at the well:
"Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father . Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship : for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him ." Please notice that Jesus did not say the Father seeketh worshipers to worship the Son but " true worshipers " to " worship the Father " (God).
So, Jesus says " we worship the Father " (his God and our God). The final thing that Jesus did with his disciples at the "last supper," before going to the garden of Gethsemane, is recorded in Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26:
"And when they had sung an hymn , they went out into the mount of Olives."
A hymn is a song of worship and praise to God. John the Revelator saw the overcoming saints standing on "a sea of glass mingled with fire," holding harps and singing to God the song of Moses and the Lamb (Jesus) , and what did the Lamb's song of worship to his Father say?
"Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints . Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee ; for thy judgements are made manifest" (Rev. 15:3-4).
In Romans 15:9 Paul quotes from Psalm 18:49, a great messianic psalm, and portrays Jesus as saying to God his Father, "For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name ."
The writer of Hebrews in Chapter 2, verse 12 quotes from Psalms 22, and has Jesus saying to God, " In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee ." Jesus joins us in singing praises unto God.
Did Jesus fear his God ? Yes. Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned one of the Old Testament's greatest prophecies pertaining to the coming Messiah of Israel (Jesus) , in Isaiah 11:1-5:
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse , and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (God) ; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord : And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."
Look at Hebrews 5:7 and see how Jesus prayed:
"Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared ."
Compare this with Mark 1:12-13 and you will understand the fear that Jesus had for his heavenly Father:
"And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness . And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts."
Jesus' fear of God, "the Lord" (Isa. 11:2-3) was not a cowering fear, but a respectful, reverential fear, which King David compared to the fear of an obedient child toward a kind father (Ps. 103:13) . This is the fear that we should have for God as well, a fear that produces obedience. It is altogether fitting that Jesus should walk "in the fear of the Lord" as it was prophesied of him, for "the fear of the Lord is wisdom" (Job 28:28) and "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov. 1:7). When in the presence of Almighty God, Moses, a prototype of Jesus (Deut. 18:18, Acts 3:22) said, "I exceeding fear and quake" (Heb. 12:21) .
Now back to Hebrews where its author, likely Paul, makes this awesome statement regarding Jesus:
"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect , he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:8-9).
God does not need to learn anything, much less obedience, but Jesus "learned obedience."
Hebrews 2:18 says:
"For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted , he is able to succour ("help and relieve when in difficulty or distress") them that are tempted."
Hebrews obviously is not speaking in regard to Jesus' suffering on the cross, by which he "learned obedience," for it was this "learned" obedience which took him to the cross . For Paul says in Phil. 2:8-9:
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross . Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name."
Therefore, the suffering of which Heb. 5:8 speaks must have been the life experiences which the Father led him through that brought him to this final point of obedient sacrifice and victory. I know this is not the message that many teach, but this is the message of the Bible!
Did Jesus love his God and Father ? Yes. In John 14:15, Jesus tells his followers to prove their love for him by keeping his commandments. He says this regarding the love he has for his Father:
"But that the world may know that I love the Father ; and as the Father gave me commandment even so I do " (v. 31).
Lastly, Did Jesus submit to the will of "his God" ? Yes. Here are a few powerful Scriptures to prove it. In Isaiah 52:13, 53:11 and Zechariah 3:8 the Lord God calls the coming Messiah (Jesus) "my servant" and Matthew 12:18 says:
"Behold my servant , whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him , and he shall shew judgement to the Gentiles."
Likewise, Abraham, Moses, Paul, James and John are called "servants" of God. Jesus cannot be the Most High God and also be the servant of the Most High God! John 5:19, 30 says:
"Then answered Jesus and said unto them Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: I can of mine own self do nothing : as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not mine own will , but the will of the Father which hath sent me."
In Hebrews 10:7 Christ is quoted from an O.T. prophecy of him as saying:
"Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will , O God ."
Jesus, as a person did have a will of his own, but he always submitted it to the will of his Father. The greatest struggle Jesus experienced with his will while on earth, as divergent from God's, is found in Matt. Chapter 26, Mark Chapter 14, and Luke Chapter 22. Matthew says in verses 39, 42-44:
"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father , if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will , but as thou wilt . He went away again the second time , and prayed, saying, O my father , if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done . And he came and found them, asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time , saying the same words ."
Mark 14:36 sheds light as well:
"And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me ; nevertheless not what I will , but what thou wilt ." (Their wills were definitely not the same at this point in time).
Jesus had known for much of his life, and for all of his ministry, that it was his Father's will for him to die on the cross for the sins of mankind. As the time approached, the struggle within Jesus began to intensify to the point that, a few days before his death when Peter spoke words of discouragement and rebuked Jesus for saying he was going to die, Jesus saw it as Satan, who was using Peter. (Note that if Satan cannot get to you, he will try to use someone close to you.) Jesus said to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense to me: for thou savourest (understandest) not the things that be of God, but those that be of men" (Matt. 16:23).
About 24 hours before his arrest Jesus' inner pain is evident in a prayer to his Father (John 12:27):
"Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour : but for this cause came I unto this hour."
But even more in the final moments, he drew back from the pain, the shame, and the separation from his Father. This produced a struggle within Jesus that is expressed three times in prayer, when he prayed: "take away this cup from me," and "nevertheless not as I will , but as thou wilt ." The struggle of two wills......and submission, a struggle so intense that it caused the tiny blood vessels that carried his precious, sinless blood to burst, mixing with the sweat from his sweat glands.
"And being in agony he prayed more earnestly ; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44).
These verses are very painful to read, but thus we see how Jesus Christ our Lord, "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8), in God's reality, but actually slain about 32 A.D. in our reality, purchased our eternal salvation . Not as God but as the perfect man , the spotless "Lamb of God." The prophet Isaiah had written some 700 years before this time (Isa. 53:11) , "He (God the Father) shall see of the travail of his (Jesus') soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant (Jesus) justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities."
Thank God, our sin debt is paid!
Let's look again at Jesus' words in John 20:17:
"I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God ."
Does Jesus have a God? Yes! Now, may I ask, Is Jesus your God, or is Jesus' God your God? God is waiting for your answer!