“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory.”
These words from the prologue to John’s account of the Gospel are some of the most stunning and poetic words ever penned. Words like these above give us a sense about what was going on that first Christmas night and yet remind us that there is great mystery in the manger as well. In my first post, we examined the fully human, fully Divine nature of God’s Word. In this post, we’ll hone in on the fully human, fully Divine nature of Jesus, God’s Word made flesh.
Jesus, the Word made flesh, is fully human
It is vital that we understand the full humanity of Jesus as well as His Divinity. I think as Christians we tend to view Jesus as more God than human. But if Jesus were not fully human, He couldn’t truly save humans. It wouldn’t be fair if God just pretended to be a human and lived a sinless life without any temptations or struggles.
When I was a young boy, my science teacher told us to create a science project to be presented before the class at the end of the school year. I didn’t put forth the effort to complete the project and the night before it was due, I asked my dad for help. He began working on a project for me and I eventually went to bed (tired from all my worrying). When I woke the next morning, there was my perfect science project sitting in the garage, fully completed by my dad. I pretended I had done the work, but it was my dad who did it all. We must never think that Jesus cheated his way through life by depending on His Divinity.
Hebrews 4:15 states it this way, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” No short-cuts here. Just the hard stuff of real life, and Jesus passed the test Adam failed in the garden and Israel failed in the wilderness. Jesus also experienced the full range of human emotions: betrayal, rejection, loneliness, abandonment. And there is a reason the prophet Isaiah calls Jesus a “man of sorrows” who was “acquainted with grief.” There is no emotion we will ever face that Jesus didn’t face in a more concentrated form in His earthly life. Plus, Jesus didn’t face all these temptations and emotions in some vacuum-sealed suit that protected him from the elements.
Pastor Jeff Purswell points out that He who made the sun even got sun-burned. Jesus knew exhaustion (Mk. 4:38), hunger (Mt. 4:2), thirst (Jn. 4:6), and pain (Mk. 14:65). And Jesus felt the full-brunt of pain without any anesthesia. I think it says something of the extent of God’s love for sinners in the Gospel that He chose to be born into a world without the modern conveniences of travel (He walked everywhere), medicine (He never took an Advil), communication (He never used a microphone), electricity (He never used A/C), technology (He never used power tools or checked Facebook), and comfort (He never strapped on a set of Chacos or kicked back in a La-Z-Boy).
Jesus, the Word made flesh, is fully Divine
Yet there is wonder in the manger precisely because Jesus wasn’t just another man like all the other billions who have entered into this world the same way. Jesus is “very God of very God.” He was born of the virgin Mary, but He was also conceived of the Holy Spirit. He had His birth pronounced by multitudes of angels. How’s that for a birth announcement? Paul writes to the church at Colossae, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:15-17).
No other human can say they’ve eternally existed with God and everything was created by them and for them. I can pay money to have a star named after me, but it would still have been created for Jesus’ glory. Jesus repeatedly spoke of His coming from His Father in heaven to do the work for which He was sent (Jn. 6:38-51). Also, throughout the life of Christ, He displays supernatural knowledge (Mt. 9:4, Jn. 21:17), miraculous powers (healed the sick, raised the dead, walked on water, fed thousands with a small lunch, cast out demons, and stilled storms), authoritative teaching (Mk. 1:22), and clear statements that reveal His belief that He was truly the Messiah (Jn. 4:25-26; 14:6). Not to mention the fact that this Jesus turned up alive after being dead nearly three days.
This Christmas, stop and wonder a little while at the manger scene, and know: Jesus embraced your full humanity while maintaining His full Divinity, and because of that….
- You can rest in His finished work on the cross to be enough to save your soul
- You can rejoice that God has come to dwell with and in us
- You can persevere in faith knowing that God is working out His sovereign plan
- You can proclaim this message of God’s amazing grace to the world