Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2.5-8
Jesus, when He claimed divine status, had no reservations. Paul clearly understood the reality that Jesus claimed to be God. And he testifies, with such a claim, Jesus took nothing away from God. Ironically, Paul is the only one who has met the glorified, ascended Jesus (on the road to Damascus), besides John’s vision. Yet, there exists scholars who suggest that Jesus never claimed to be God. Men who have never had the privilege of a Damascus road experience.
John also believed that Jesus was God, and man. He makes this point in his gospel, but he also includes it in his epistle. John writes, that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. John laid his head on Jesus’ breast. He broke bread with Jesus. He was a witness to the crucifiction (John was the only disciple present at the cross.), and His resurrection. What a challenge it must have been for the disciples, to be in the presence of the Lord, but what a privilege. We have learned all of this, so that our joy may be full. We can rejoice, our sins have been payed for, Jesus has set us free. His perfection was necessary, and so was His humanity.
Jesus laid aside some of His glory, and made Himself subject to the Father and others. He was not concerned with His own glory, he was interested in glorifying humanity (strange thought, right?) It is true, John writes, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (John 3.1-2) He has restored His creation, we are just waiting on the fulfillment of an already established reality. He is fully God, and he resembles man, he took on flesh. It was only through this creative, redemptive plan that enabled our Savior to be crucified. And, in continuity, God’s plan enabled the resurrection. It is impossible to resurrect someone who is not dead. Jesus was obedient unto death. What kind of death?