THE CENTER OF CHRIST'S CONSCIOUSNESS
To know and understand Jesus Christ as He is, we must commit ourselves to the study of His life both as Deity and as man. We hold that in Jesus Christ are two natures, they being in one Person. The one is the divine nature of the second person of the Godhead, who is from everlasting to everlasting. The other is the human nature of one, Jesus, born almost 2,000 years ago.
Since we believe that Christ has two natures, does this mean that He has two consciousnesses, one human, the other divine, with two intellects, two sets of emotions? Where is the seat of His personality? What is the relationship of the divine to the human in Jesus?
His human life and consciousness is a distinct self, not a living robe wrapped around a divine personality.
The crucial question centers in this: What was the center of Christ's consciousness while on earth? Did He have a divine or a human consciousness, or did He have both? Was the personal center of Christ's consciousness on the side of His deity or humanity? Did He live His life on earth as God or as man?
These questions are at the heart of all controversies on the nature and life of Christ on earth. At stake is the truth about the atonement, the possibility of Christ's being tempted, His relation to sin and sinners. We have two earthly parents with only one nature and one human consciousness. But Christ was born of the divine Spirit and of Mary. Did He live as we live? How could He be tempted in all points like as we are unless He possessed only the one human center of personality and consciousness?
Can there exist in one person both a conscious divine mind and a conscious human mind? Was Christ omniscient even as a child, so that He could know anything He set His mind to know? Could He see beyond the cross to His resurrection when He came to the hour of His crucifixion?
Was Jesus omnipotent, so in performing His miracles He could use His divinity anytime He wanted to? When He said to Nathanael, "Before that when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee" (John 1:48), had He used His divine consciousness to know this? If Jesus' divine attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence were conscious and active during His life on earth what did He surrender to live by faith in His Father and be able to say, "The Son can do nothing of himself" (John 5:19)?
An active deity would mean, among other things, a divine consciousness, an immediate knowledge of everything, and a power equal to all situations. Furthermore, Christ's divine consciousness would be complete at His incarnation. A fully developed consciousness would have been present from the very beginning of His life on earth.
By way of contrast, a human consciousness is not something set once for all. It is not fully developed at birth. Beginning from the time of birth, human consciousness is shaped and determined by the continued functions and development of mind and body. The mental functions of will, intellect, and feeling are always in the process of growth until the brain begins to deteriorate.
The Gospels teach us that Jesus' life in every way followed the natural process of development. He entered the world not as He had done at Mount Sinai, with mighty manifestations of His power and glory, but as a human babe. There followed a growth of mind and body, of character and personality. This natural human development reached the point where He became fully aware of who He was and what His purpose was for coming into the world. During this growth He made no divine claims for Himself. From infancy He "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52). "The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit" (chap. 1:80). Jesus developed His personality and consciousness through the same process as did His cousin, John the Baptist, and in the same way as do all other human beings.
Throughout His life on earth we find Jesus operating under human limitations. His body was human in its needs and capabilities. His mental and emotional activities were those of a man. His mind worked as does a man's mind.
He lived as a man. He thought as a man. He endured as a man. He ate as we eat. He drank as we drink. He slept as we do, wept in His sorrow, walked the streets, and engaged in social and religious converse with His friends. He visited them in their homes, dined, supped, chatted with them as we do with our friends. When at last He came to the cross He suffered as we would, only a thousand times more. Dying, He died as a man would die by the failure of the vital functions, as you and I would die if we were nailed to crosses.
Christ's divinity while He was on earth availed Him nothing whatsoever so far as personal advantage over us was concerned. Not one victory over temptation was gained by an exercise of His omnipotence. Not one point or aspect of knowledge or ignorance was changed by an exercise of His omniscience. A divine attribute of omniscience did not help Him in His lack of knowledge. Nor did that attribute make available knowledge that He had from all eternity.
Infancy and mental developments are human conditions. Not so with a divine nature. Christ's deity cannot be reduced to human conditions. The infinite mind cannot become the finite mind. Omniscience cannot become ignorance without ceasing to be divine. Omnipotence cannot become weakness without destroying deity.
Human or Divine Consciousness?
To assert that Christ had both an active divine and human consciousness poses certain problems in our understanding of His work on earth.
How could a human consciousness, with its limited nature, co-exist and maintain its independence in a single person possessing a full divine consciousness? Would not the presence of an infinite and immutable divine consciousness make impossible the operation of a free finite human consciousness? How could a divine consciousness submit to be controlled or manipulated by the human, especially when the human constitution and faculties had been affected and weakened by four thousand years of sin?
Furthermore, since deity cannot be tempted and cannot sin, would not a divine consciousness make it impossible for the human Jesus to be tempted or to sin? And if there arose any possibility of sinning, would not the divine automatically overwhelm the human. and prevent sin? How could divinity yield to humanity if that divinity were fully active in terms of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence?
If the human consciousness and will of Jesus had decided to come down from the cross and destroy God's purpose and plan of redemption, how could His divine mind have obeyed the human mind and permitted such a thing? How could He have been tempted in all points like as we are unless He possessed only the one, the human, center of personality? All His temptations would have been unreal, a piece of display without any reality in fact.
To believe that Jesus had some kind of double consciousness, divine and human, seems to negate the reality of the Incarnation or even the necessity for it. It would make the human life of Christ quite artificial, since it could hardly be considered free from control by deity.
Furthermore, if we insist that our Lord's mind and consciousness were the same on earth as in His pre-existent state, then we must conclude that He knew everything that would happen or had happened to Him, past, present, and future. We must assume that He possessed within Himself that omnipotent power that made Him quite independent of any need of help from His Father or the Holy Spirit. In that case did He really need to depend entirely upon the Father, as we must do? Since He would then possess the resources within Himself to overcome all temptation and opposition, nothing could come upon Him in surprise. To live by faith would seem quite unnecessary. Why should angels come to His side to strengthen Him in the hour of trial?
In His pre-existent state His divine attributes were untrammeled in the creation of the world, in directing and controlling the universe. Then, for a time during His life on earth, He became subject to, and dependent on, the Father. In order to make this possible, He relinquished the right to use His divine attributes.
When Christ came to earth, did He retain the conscious use of the attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence so that temptation was not part of His life problem and experience? Or did He in some way surrender the use of these attributes to the Father so that He had to live life as a man must live it, entirely by faith, and thus show us the way to do the same? It seems we must answer affirmatively to the latter question. Then every decision and every act of Christ's life came from His human side and not from the divine. In this way Christ could say, "I can of mine own self do nothing."
The only way that Christ could give expression to His divine attributes would be through their release by the Father at the request of the Son, and which the Father had evidently agreed to.
Surrender of Certain Attributes
It becomes apparent that for Christ to live on earth as a man, some kind of mental adjustment must have taken place at the Incarnation. The Incarnation must mean some kind of break in the consciousness of Christ as God. He was in the womb not as a fully self-conscious divine Person, but as an undeveloped, unborn child. If the baby in Mary's arms was all the time actively and consciously omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, then He surely was not human. Furthermore, how could He have possessed the active consciousness of these divine attributes and still not have used them?
The only logical conclusion available to us is that at His incarnation there occurred a shift in consciousness from the divine to the human. From His conception to His resurrection the only consciousness accessible to Him was what other men have.
The result was that God became man in such a way that His divine nature had no activity, no knowledge outside or apart from His humanity. Christ had but one consciousness. Every act and decision was a human act and decision.
How, then, could a limited human consciousness freely exist and function along with the fullness of the Godhead in a single person? The answer is that God in some way limited Himself so that the presence of the divine in Jesus did not vitiate the human aspects of His personality. We do not know the exact nature of the divine self-emptying. All we have is the evidence in the man Christ Jesus and the life He lived here on earth.
When Christ left heaven to take human flesh He voluntarily surrendered the use of His divine attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence to live as a man. Nothing of deity remained outside the incarnate Son. He did not leave anything of Himself or His nature behind in heaven. Yet the incarnate Son was no omnipotent, omniscient man. He exercised no other power than what we are able to have by faith. His resurrection was the resumption of a temporarily surrendered function of those particular attributes.
When Christ was born, His human nature was not transformed by a special creation into some superhuman being for the Spirit of God to enter. Nor were there two streams running parallel, but unmingled. In the same person there was not both knowledge and ignorance of the same thing.
The Son of God laid aside the functions of Deity and lived as a man. When consciousness dawned upon Jesus at first, it was not that of God, but of a child. His divine attributes were quiescent. For Christ to empty Himself of the function of those attributes had a direct bearing on the center of His consciousness as a man. During His life on earth only one ego could be conscious at once.
To speak of Christ's surrendering the use of the attributes of Deity needs to be understood. It does not mean giving them up, for this would destroy His deity. He surrendered their control to His Father without losing His deity. He limited and emptied Himself to live as a man. He became subject to all the conditions and limitations of humanity.
In this emptying Christ was still God. But He was truly limited in knowledge, truly subject to temptation, and required the help of the Holy Spirit, as we do. The indwelling Spirit enabled Him to live as we are to live. Jesus exercised no power not available to Christians.
The Gospels undeniably witness to the center of Christ's consciousness and mental processes as human rather than divine. He was in all things like ourselves except for sin. In His earthly life the Gospels do not attribute to Him omnipotence, omnipresence, or omniscience.
1. Jesus Was Not Omniscient
Since Christ assumed the nature of man, He acquired knowledge as we do, through experience. His knowledge was not the immediate knowledge of God. During His thirty years spent at Nazareth there was nothing recorded of Him that was seen to be remarkable about Him in terms of knowing things beyond His years and experience. During these years He was simply the son of a carpenter. He brought no modern inventions to light in His field that we have any knowledge of. The Gospels contain no evidence that He possessed scientific, technical, medical, or artistic knowledge that was ahead of His time. Nevertheless, in His sinlessness He possessed a perfection of mind and ability above that of sinful man. Undoubtedly, had He exercised His mind in any field of human endeavor, He could have surpassed all the discoveries that have come to us through the world's geniuses.
Jesus knew only what was needful for His work and mission. As a human being He had to depend upon human ways of acquiring knowledge. His learning from others was not a mere pretense. Mary and Joseph really influenced His mind. The human community in which He lived had its effect on Him, notably in His way of thinking and speaking, as the Gospels show.
There is no proof that Jesus had the fullness of divine knowledge during His life on earth. It would be ridiculous to maintain that every time He asked a question, He was only pretending ignorance. Jesus' requests for information were quite natural, genuine, and necessary. His straightforward questions were obviously to get answers that He could not get in any other way.
On one occasion a father brought his sick son to be healed. "And he [Jesus] asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, of a child" (Mark 9:21). At the death of Lazarus, Jesus did not know where the body was laid. So He asked Mary and Martha, "Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see" (John 11:34).
When asked by His disciples the time of the end of the world, Jesus indicated that His divine attribute of foreknowledge did not operate on earth. "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matt. 24:36).
The incident of the fig tree suggests a lack of previous knowledge on the part of Jesus. "After they had left Bethany, he felt hungry, and, noticing in the distance a fig-tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. But when he came there he found nothing but leaves; for it was not the season for figs" (Mark 11:12, 13, N.E.B.).
He could be taken by surprise; He marveled at the faith of the centurion (Matt. 8:10). He does not become aware that He is the Messiah until He is 12 years of age. His own divinity did not instruct Him.
Christ tells nothing of the details of His pre-existent state when He created the world. His knowledge is from the Old Testament Scriptures.
His quotations from the Old Testament were from memory and knowledge learned in His earlier years. Consequently, Jesus was completely dependent upon revelation from His Father or from the Holy Spirit and through the ministry of angels. Time and again He made this point quite clear. "For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel" (John 5:20).
He was taught by the Father: "I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things" (chap. 8:28).
Deity, by its very nature, can read the future. Jesus was content to leave "the times and seasons" in the hands of His Father and be guided by Him according to each day's needs. He assured His disciples, "As I hear, I .judge" (John 5:30). "For I have not spoken of myself" (chap. 12:49).
An omniscient Son of God would not need revelation from the Father and the Holy Spirit. If He had the full knowledge of all things within Himself, He would know what He ought to do by His own inner light and power. But He was taught by His Father through the Holy Spirit and the angels.
However, Jesus often had a knowledge that went far beyond that which the normal man possessed. Undoubtedly this came from the Father and the Holy Spirit. He knew what was in man (Matt. 9:4; John 2:24, 25). He was fully aware of His coming death and the meaning of it, and that He must rise again (Matt. 16:2 1; 17:22, 23; 20:18, 19; John 12:24). He knew that Judas would betray Him (Luke 22:2 1); and He knew when the time for His crucifixion had come (John 12:23, 27; 13:1). He knew where to find fish when expert fishermen did not. All these things were given to Him in the same way that such knowledge and truth were given to the prophets. "For God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him" (John 3:34).
Christ lived His life on earth by faith and not by an infallible knowledge. He lived in and from His human nature and consciousness, dependent on the Holy Spirit, as a true Christian would depend on Him. Daily the Holy Spirit communicated the will of God to Him.
Because Christ experienced the fullness of the Spirit, He was discerning of the minds and characters of men by the Spirit. He not only searched the heart of the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob but knew her immediate status and past history. At a distance He knew that Lazarus was dead. Like the prophets of the Old Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, He predicted future events: Peter's downfall, His own death and resurrection, the persecution of the disciples and the Christian church, the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem, the coming of the Holy Spirit. He spake as never man spake.
2. Jesus Was Not Omnipresent
Jesus was subject to the same physical limitations and necessities as we are. He was confined in time and space. If He was in Jerusalem and wanted to go to Galilee, He had to walk like His disciples. If He was in one place, He could not be in another at the same time. If He was in Capernaum, He could not be in Jerusalem.
3. Jesus Was Not Omnipotent
Did Christ use His divinity at any time while on earth, even when "divinity flashed through humanity"? If He did, would this not give Him an advantage over us, since we are not divine? He performed His miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit and angels. Whatever flashed forth from Him as divine was due to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Christ was not turning off or on His divine nature.
The Jewish leaders charged Christ with performing miracles by the power of the devil. "Christ told them plainly that in attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan, they were cutting themselves off from the fountain of blessing. "Ibid., pp. 321, 322. The power Christ exercised to cast out demons was not derived from His own divinity, but from the Holy Spirit. The source of power was not in Himself. When He healed the demoniac whom the disciples had failed to restore, "They were all amazed at the mighty power of God" (Luke 9:43).
Christ was fully resigned to the Father's will. He trusted the Father to lead and care for Him until the hour should come for Him to lay down His life as a ransom for the world. "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matt. 26:39). There was no conflict between the will of God the Father and God the Son. Christ foreknew and foretold His own sufferings and agony. He appealed to the omnipotence of the Father, asking to be spared from the sacrifice which He came into the world to make, and to die for sinful men.
Obviously, Christ did not have two wills through which to exercise His divine power. We cannot understand His words "my will" and "thy will" as constituting within Himself a struggle ending in the submission of one of His wills, to the other. Humanity shrank from the approaching humiliation and agony, but the human desire to avoid it was instantly yielded to the Father.
Christ's identity as one person with one will was entire. He had the same human consciousness when He was on the cross as when He was lying in a manger. The agony that He felt at the separation from His Father was that of a human mind in a human body. If He operated from a divine will the conflict in Gethsemane would be unnecessary.
We read that there appeared to Him in Gethsemane an angel from heaven strengthening Him (Luke 22:43). That was God's answer to His Son. Under the circumstances, it was the best that could be given to His only begotten Son, who absolutely depended on Him.
How did the angel strengthen Jesus? By replenishing His bodily, mental, and spiritual powers. Jesus' physical nature and heart were ready to break in Gethsemane.
Should it be asked, Why did Jesus not strengthen Himself by the use of His own divine nature? The answer is, He had surrendered that function to His Father. When Christ took our nature He took our condition, too. He did not escape for one moment by depending on His divinity.
We have record of two occasions when the life of Jesus appeared threatened. On each occasion He was saved, not by His own divine power, but by the Father through the ministration of angels.
At the village of Nazareth former neighbors of Jesus became so incensed at His words in the synagogue that they led Him out of the building to the top of the hill on which the town was built, to throw Him over the side. "But he passing through the midst of them went his way" (Luke 4:30).
On the occasion of His stilling the storm on Galilee the disciples were despairing for their lives. In answer to their cry for help Jesus commanded the wind and waves, Be still. The disciples "being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him" (Luke 8:25).
The power Jesus exercised to still the storm was not His own, but the power of the Father.
All this indicates that in the council of peace between the Father and Son, the Son had voluntarily agreed to surrender His divine omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. He was to demonstrate as a Man in the flesh, within a human consciousness, that man can trust the Father under all circumstances; that God is the true authority under which the entire universe is safe.
Had the Son decided He wanted His deity to operate independently of and contrary to the Fathera decision which, of course, He would never makethe Father doubtless would have honored Christ's right to freedom of choice. Christ could have taken back His own divine power in order to destroy His enemies or to negate the plan of redemption. He could have chosen not to die on the cross. What we have in Christ is a choice throughout His life on earth to live entirely by the Father (John 6:57), rather than by or under His own power.
Satan sought to bring such pressures to bear upon Christ as to lead Him to take Himself out of His Father's hands and work a miracle to relieve Himself of well-nigh intolerable situations. Christ was aware that He could terminate the plan of redemption and leave guilty man to his ruin. But He glorified the Father by showing that the Father could be fully trusted. The Father glorified the Son by answering His requests, showing that the Son also could be fully trusted. In His human consciousness Christ lived His life on earth by faith, as every other man should live.
Who Resurrected Jesus?
Who raised Jesus from the dead? Did not Christ say of Himself, "I lay down my life, that I might take it again. . . . I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10: 17, 18)? Does this mean that Christ of His own power raised Himself from the dead? And if so, must He not have operated from the center of His own divine consciousness and used His power of omnipotence to do this?
The New Testament declares more than twenty times that God the Father resurrected His Son from the dead (Acts 2:24, 30, 32; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30, 33, 34, 37; 17:3 1; Rom. 4:24; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:15; 2 Cor. 4:14; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1: 10). Nowhere does it actually say that the Son raised Himself.
Christ's resurrection is not pictured as a miraculous act by Jesus Himself through the use of His own omnipotent power. He is the subject, the recipient, of a miraculous act: "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour" (Acts 5:30, 3 1); "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) . . . " (Gal. 1:1).
There is no denying the Father this essential part in the resurrection of His Son. "Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father" (Rom. 6:4). The New Testament evidence is overwhelming.
However, does not the Scripture also affirm that Christ had some part in His own resurrection? Two texts seem to indicate that He did.
The second text appears to be still more emphatic:
The New English Bible translation reads,
This scripture places the death and the resurrection together. Christ's resurrection is the sequel to His victorious death; it proved that death could not hold Him; death had no right to keep Him in the grave. His resurrection followed as a consequence from His finished work of redemption on the cross. It was as much a part of the plan of redemption as was His death.
When Christ said, "I have power," referring to both His death and His resurrection, the Greek word used is exousia, which means "authority." It is translated by the New English Bible as "the right." This suggests that He received the authority from His Father. The emphasis is not upon the use of Christ's omnipotence, but upon the "right" of His own free choice. In originally making these decisive choices and committing Himself to them, Christ acted with perfect freedom.
In the above passage Christ affirms that no one took His life without His free consent. It was by His free choice that He came to earth to lay down His life. And He had the freedom and right to take it up again.
In the scripture quoted, Christ affirmed the oneness and harmony of His life, death, and resurrection with the will of the Father. At the same time, God the Father is sovereign. The miracle of Christ's resurrection was wrought by the Father because this was the right that belonged to Jesus. The Father was fully satisfied with the work of Christ in carrying out His purpose for our redemption.
In the council of peace it was the Father's plan that Christ should die and rise again for the redemption of sinners. At the same time Jesus Himself chose this, with no constraint but that of love. The Father reawakened Him to life and to divine consciousness at the resurrection. Had not the Father raised Him, Christ would have forever remained quiescent in the tomb.
Ellen White makes two significant statements on this:
This does not mean that Christ's deity was conscious while in the tomb and ultimately brought about His own resurrection of the body. Such a thing would have made Christ's death unreal, and the whole sacrifice of the Son of God a deception by having a human body that died while His deity remained consciously alive.
How, then, do we harmonize the many texts affirming that God the Father resurrected His Son from the dead, and the two texts that give Christ a part in His own resurrection? The Father by His power reawakened the Son to life. That life that was in Christ and belonged to Him was restored to consciousness by the act of the Father. All members of the Godhead were involved in His resurrection. Christ then came forth from the tomb by the life that was in Himself.
Jesus, the Son of Man
The name most frequently used in the New Testament to refer to Christ is the Son of man. This title occurs eighty-six times there. Seventy times Christ used it in referring to Himself. It was His self-chosen name. This title best represents all that originated in and operated through the human center of Christ's consciousness.
Jesus was not only called Man; He was a true man. He was fully identified with humanity. By using the title, Son of man, rather than Son of God, which He rarely used, Jesus sought to convey the most vital thing about Himself and His ministry.
Jesus wanted to be known as the Son of man, the express image of the Father. In Him the Father made sure there could. be no mistake in revealing Himself to sinful man. Thus the historical human Jesus becomes the personal center for us all. "Who do men say that I the Son of man am?" asked Jesus. The right answer contains the eternal purpose of God for man's redemption and the full revelation of God Himself to us.
The title Son of man, touches everything that Christ does and is. It best emphasizes the human center of Christ's consciousness. The great events and facts of His life are done under this name. The Scriptures are seen to focus on Christ as Son of man in every situation: His physical body and form, His human birth, life, and death. His mind and mental activity were human. Emotionally He had the capacity to love as a human being. His obedience to His Father's will was the response of a human will. Spiritually He was dependent upon God His Father and upon the Holy Spirit.
In every situation of His life on earth Jesus lived and worked and ministered as the Son of man. This was how He, as God, wanted to become known; not by some vision of Deity.
At Jesus' trial Caiaphas solemnly charged Him, "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ." Jesus answered, "Thou hast said [that I am]: nevertheless, I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven" (Matt. 26:64). Caiaphas recognized that by the use of that term Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and said, "He hath spoken blasphemy."
In our Lord's great prophecy, given just prior to His crucifixion, He told His disciples, "The Son of man shall come in the glory of his father with his angels" (chap. 16:27).
Referring to the saving power of His sacrifice, Jesus said that He must be lifted up on the cross, and that by that experience He would draw all men unto Himself (John 3:14; 12:32). When He healed the paralytic, giving evidence of His divine authority, He asserted He did it "that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins" (Matt. 9:6). He said, "The Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath" (Matt. 12:8; Mark 2:28); The Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory" (Matt. 19:28, 29; 17:2, 9).
Jesus is humanity at its highest and best, the very flower and glory of the human race. He alone does justice to the idea of humanity as God intended it to be. He is the center in whom humanity finds its fulfillment.
Son of man is, then, the most meaningful of all Jesus' titles because of its significance relative to the nature of God. He, as God, brought God down from heaven. He made the true religion a reality. He proved that faith in and love to the Father is superior to all worldly possessions and pleasures. He proved that no work done in this life for God perishes, that no action that changes the heart and develops the human mind toward God the Father is ever lost.
Jesus Christ the Son of man lived for God in this world and took with Him all of the results of life here that are worth keeping in the hereafter: The mind stored with knowledge and wisdom from God, the life disciplined unto eternal values that fits man forever as sons of immortality.
The honor, fame, and homage that attends worldly ambition and greatness up to the brink of the grave, will not benefit one step beyond. Christ so lived that He is now the Son of man upon the throne of God Himself. He proved that a life lived from a human center can endure for all eternity. He is the Son of man for all eternity.