On July 1st The Reversal started reading the New Testament one chapter per day (anyone can join us!). Naturally we started with Matthew 1 and the birth of Christ. Inarguably the most amazing news to ever hit earth was this — God’s incarnation! God became a man. He breathed the same air that we do. He took on the flesh of a human being. He became one of us. The whole idea of the incarnation is outside of our understanding, it is a mystery that we cannot begin to comprehend.
Reading this last week for perhaps the 200th time I was struck by how I have wrongly made Jesus into an image that I CAN understand. I have erred on both sides of this. The most common way I do this is to make Him less human and more divine. I like to make my Jesus like a superhero — never doubting, never smelly, never frustrated, never tired, never hungry, always above and never earthly. In my mind He is often like God wearing a human skin, a costume.
Rich Mullins once said, “When we try to squeeze Him into our systems of thought, He vanishes.” He will not allow us to diminish Him to a point of our feeble understanding. Jesus is bigger than our ideas about Him; He is bigger than our comprehension. Whatever you think about Jesus; HE IS MORE.
“Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He is incomprehensible to our Western minds – as He was to Eastern ones. He came from beyond where no human mind has visited. When we try to squeeze Him into our systems of thought, He vanishes – He slips through our grasp and then reappears and (in so many words) says, “No man takes My life from Me. No man forces his will on Me. I am not yours to handle and cheapen. You are Mine to love and make holy.” In Him the fullness of the Godhead dwells. In Him all things are held together. In Him we see what love is – that it originates in God and is energized by Him. And so, we thank God for all we see. For beauty and for the miracle of sight, for music and wonder of hearing, for warmth and the sense of touch. But we thank Him more for Christ, without whom we would be deaf, insensitive and blind.” –Rich Mullins; taken from the book, An Arrow Pointing to Heaven
It is important we seek out the REAL Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible. Although it may be weird or uncomfortable to imagine Jesus fully human, the Scriptures say it is necessary. If He had not come and been fully human, the all perfect and pure sacrifice, then He would be no value to us at all.
How can we make sure we are worshipping the REAL Jesus and not one that we ourselves created?
The Scriptures are where we start. What could be more important than studying, REALLY knowing, God’s Word? How easy it is to forget that simple discipline. How easy it is to be distracted by far lesser things. We find Jesus’ humanness and Godliness on display throughout the New Testament, written by those who saw Him, touched Him and followed Him.
The apostle John is probably the most explicit about Jesus’ humanity. He would know wouldn’t he? He was one of Jesus’ 3 closest friends. He walked with Jesus more than anyone. In 1 John 1:1- 2 he says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—”. John is basically saying, ‘Hey! We’ve seen Him, touched Him, walked with Him. He’s just like you and me! He’s not just an idea, a feeling or an epiphany.’ John testifies to the fact of Christ’s preexistence and then goes on to tell us that he was a physical witness to Jesus’ life on earth. He was making it clear that Jesus was not the result of a vision, some grand idea to start a movement or merely a religious conviction. He was fully human. He was fully God.
“The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.” C.S. Lewis
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.