Jesus:Fully Man Sunday
Yes, the newborn infant lay sleeping in Mary’s lap. But he also pooped. He spit up. He fussed. Why? He was fully human, and infant humans do those things. Kind of funny to think of that, isn’t it? He grew up and worked with his hands to provide for the family. He sweated. His hands got splinters from the wood. He inhaled sawdust and coughed. Faced temptation. Regularly, I would imagine.
Hebrews 2:17-18 intrigues me, “He had to be made like his brothers in every way…Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” In every way like us. He shared our nature—fully. One more passage, Philippians 2:4-7, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing.”
Kick Starting Our Comprehension
So what does this mean? As we get closer to Christmas, try to not feel guilt over being tempted. Any kind of temptation. Jesus suffered with that, and he can sympathize with us. But even more, he gave us a pattern of purpose—to care for people. Jesus went from God to fully human in order to serve people. Especially at Christmas, can we do any less?
A Radical Entry—Saturday
Let’s do our own brief Advent, as we approach the last four days leading up to celebrating the birth of Jesus. Each day, a brief new post will be added to the list for you to meditate and ponder on. We’ll use a favored carol, “What Child is This?” to examine the radical entry of God into the human experience: who is he, and what does that mean for us? Was he a real person?
Jesus—A Real Person
Jesus: a myth, a legend, a human creation, or a real person? Our answer to that will drive our response to him, so let’s explore that. Two gospels intentionally listed Jesus’ human genealogy—Matthew tracing his mother’s ancestors, Luke showing those of Joseph, his stepfather, and both trace back to King David. The four gospels serve as biographies by his contemporaries, with the earliest fragment of Mark dating to about 90 AD, in the time frame of those present. Why all of this? The wanted to affirm his existence. These early followers believed in the reality of Jesus so much that they gave their lives to taking his message to the entire world.
Josephus, a Jewish general from the first century who went over to the conquering Roman side, twice mentioned Jesus as a real person in his writings, writings accepted as accurate by historians. In one he commented on Jesus’ role as a teacher and worker of miracles, in the other he mentioned James as the brother of Jesus.
Why is this important? Abundant evidence exists for the entry of the man Jesus into our history. The evidence makes thinking of him as merely a myth or legend pretty implausible. As Eric Meyers, an archaeologist and emeritus professor in Judaic studies at Duke University says, “I don’t know any mainstream scholar who doubts the historicity of Jesus,” said. “The details have been debated for centuries, but no one who is serious doubts that he’s a historical figure.”
Kick Starting Our Comprehension
Granted, a lot of our Christmas celebrations fit into legend and myth, but the bulk of evidence for Jesus makes it easy to see him as historical. How does that change us? First, we gain confidence in comprehending the historical evidence for Jesus. Our faith transcends opinions and hopes. But that also provides confidence in telling others about him. For the next day or so, meditate on Jesus as a real person in history.
PS you can read more about this reality, not necessarily his identity, in a Nat Geo article at https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/12/jesus-tomb-archaeology/