Advent 06 – The Mystery of the Word Made Flesh Part 3
“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a virgin, born under the Law.” Galatians 4:4
A six-year old boy described Jesus as “God with skin.” His definition captures a huge theological truth in very simple terms. The eternal, immortal, invisible God became an occupant of our “skin;” our humanity. All that is true of humanity apart from sin was true of Jesus. He had a country of origin, a mother and (step) father who raised Him, a house He grew up in; He had friends, and siblings, and when He fell and skinned His knee of slammed His thumb with a hammer, He bled. He had blood, and hormones, and bad days. Just like you and me.
Jesus came through the birth canal of a teenaged, Galilean mother, who was already engaged to be married to a local craftsman-a carpenter named Joseph. Their life together was preoccupied with the enormously significant task of raising… God?
He grew up, as some of us did, on “the wrong side of the tracks.” He had no social standing, or any kind of advantageous childhood. And like us all, He was “born of a woman.” While no man’s DNA was involved in His Divine birth, Mary’s was. Some older theologians, attempting to soften this reality, believed Jesus passed through Mary’s body “like water through a pipe,” with neither the water nor the pipe being changed by its passage.
But that’s not what we understand this birth to be. Did Jesus have some of Mary’s physical features? We can’t know for sure, but it wouldn’t be a real birth nor a real pregnancy she endured if it were not at least possible.
We struggle more, I think, with the full humanity of Jesus than we do with His Divinity. We want to make Him “something other” than we are, and yet the further we push that line the less possible it would be for Him to be the sacrifice for our sin. He had to be fully human, yet at the same time fully Holy. Completely God. He was both. Not part of each. Fully both.
“In Jesus, the fullness of the godhead dwelt in bodily form,” we read in Colossians 1:27. A miracle beyond compare. A mystery beyond comprehension.
“Let all mortal flesh keep silence….” the old hymn says. Now we know why.