Posted on December 20, 2019 by Dawn Rutan Categories: Blog Posts
the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He
upholds the universe by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3a ESV).
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and
wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no
place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
In a moment of seeming antithesis the Creator descended into
His creation. He became flesh and was cradled in the arms of His mother. The
Word of power was embodied in the tearful cries of an infant. We can’t even
begin to comprehend it. What did the incarnate Christ remember from His
timeless existence before He came down from heaven? What did He know without
having to be taught as a little child?
When something is so far beyond our comprehension, we are
likely to oversimplify it. I know at times I’ve thought of Jesus as having an
adult consciousness in a child’s body, but Luke 2:52 says He “increased in
wisdom and stature.” He apparently did not just grow physically but mentally as
well. We may imagine that Jesus heard His Father’s voice constantly, like some
kind of invisible earbud. If that were true, why did Jesus need to spend long
hours in prayer? “All night He continued in prayer to God. And when day came,
He called His disciples and chose from them twelve, whom He named apostles”
Scripture is clear that Jesus entered fully into the human
condition except that He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). One author makes this
observation about Jesus’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane just prior to the
crucifixion (Mark 14:32ff):
“The Greek conveyed the idea of being terror-struck, troubled, and fearful. This was no stoic Savior yielding without wrestling. He was overwhelmed—engulfed in grief and agonizing. He was anguished and agonizing. But terror-struck? Was it possible Jesus had felt afraid? …He was always perfect in obedience and trust. But was it possible trust and terror weren’t mutually exclusive? That someone could be full of trust while being terrified? …Was it here that he entered even more fully into the experience of human frailty by feeling afraid?” (Shades of Light, by Sharon Garlough Brown, ch. 32).
There is much we do not know and cannot comprehend about
Jesus being both fully God and fully man. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt
among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In humble flesh He still exhibited the
glory of God through His words and deeds. It’s little wonder that the disciples
didn’t get it either. “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know Me,
Philip? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9b).
by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold Him come,
offspring of the Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with us to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
We don’t fully understand it now, but one day we will. “Now
I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1
Corinthians 13:12b). We’ll not only understand, but “we shall be like Him,
because we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2b).
this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was
in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but
emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of
men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to
the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).