As a human being, Jesus certainly had very little. Yet, because he was allegedly God, he could expect, on reassuming his heavenly role, to exercise his power as God. So what did he, in the final accounting, give up in dying a human death?
Answer: Christian theology is saying that Jesus gave up a temporary earthly life as a god-man to return to his role in heaven, where, as part of the Trinity, he reigns as God. In Isaiah 53:12, God speaks of the suffering servant of the Lord, who, as a result of his selflessness, is willing to give up all that he possesses in the service of God. Clearly, it is unreasonable to say that Jesus sacrificed himself for the redemption of mankind when, by his actions, he knowingly gained more than he lost. Paul writes: “. . .
Jesus Christ, who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11). There is a gross misuse of the concept of “sacrifice” where one who is alleged to be divine knows that by giving up a flesh-and-blood existence, something essentially unimportant to him, he will receive in return a position of eternal exaltation and power.
This cannot be called sacrifice. On leaving his transitory human lifespan behind him, Jesus, it is alleged, returned to heaven to once more become part of the eternal Godhead.
Why should Jesus be rewarded for his alleged sacrifice, for doing what he himself, as God, wanted done? There is no point for God, of whom Jesus is allegedly a part, to say: “I will divide him a portion with the great” as an actual reward to Himself. Such reward can be properly given to one who is all human and not one who is at the same time divine. The suffering servant is promised “a portion with the great” and that “he shall divide the spoil with the mighty,” but if Jesus is God, who can be great enough to share the spoil with him? Is it conceivable that one who is God could possibly have only “a portion” comparable to that of mere earthly rulers, or that “he shall divide the spoil” with anyone? Even if this could be rationalized, it would then run counter to what is stated in Psalm 2, which Christians claim refers to Jesus.
In that psalm, God offers, to the person in Question, the entire earth for a possession (verse 8), and all rulers are told to give homage to that person (verse 10-12). Christian commentators will often try to explain away these irreconcilable contradictions with arguments that have no basis even in their own New Testament. It is for the reader to be vigilant and to be wary of such vain attempts that are based on distortions.