John 1:1-4, 14
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Two Ecumenical Councils of the early church settled what God had revealed concerning Jesus Christ:
- The Council of Nicea, in 325 AD, declared Jesus co-equal, con-substantial, and co-eternal with the Father! (Con-substantial means “…of the same substance ….the identical nature of the three persons of the TRINITY.” – The Dictionary of Religious Terms).
- The Council of Chalcedon, in 451 AD, declared Christ’s two natures unmixed, unchanged, undivided, and inseperable! He was “…truly God and truly Man…like us in all things, sin apart…” (the Chalcedonian Definition of the Chalcedonian Creed).
✞ Jesus was fully divine, fully God! ✞ He was also fully human! Orthodox Christianity has confessed this as true over the centuries!
So when He was conceived in Mary’s womb, when He was born and laid in a manger, when He was an infant, Jesus was also infinite God! The Infinite Infant! What a marvelous mystery! What a great miracle!
Here is the Scripture that captures both the deity and the humanity of Jesus – John 1:1 through 4, and verse 14:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and with- out Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not com- prehend it....And the Word became flesh and dwelt a- mong us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
- We know the Word is Jesus because in verse 14 it says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us….” That He became flesh speaks of His humanity!
- And we know that He is divine because, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
- But when Jesus came to earth to be born in Bethlehem, the term kenosis is theologically applied.
✞ The word kenosis is derived from the Greek word κενόω, (pronounced ken-o’-o) and meaning “...to make empty...” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary). ✞ κενόω is from verse 7 of Philippians 2:5 through 7. ➔ Paul writes: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a ser- vant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. ➔ Where it says in verse 7, He “...made Him- self of no reputation...,” Young’s Literal Translation (and several others) translate it, He “...emptied Himself....” This was what the main discussion of the Council of Chalcedon. For some theologians of that day thought it meant that Jesus had no divine attributes as a human being upon earth! ✞ But I side with many theologians who say a better translation of κενόω is that He ‘veiled’ or ‘hid’ His being God on earth! ✞ That Jesus had no divine attributes on earth is also refuted in Colossians 2:9, “For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”
So what does it mean for us today that Jesus is both human and divine? Let’s first consider His humanity:
- He was a fully human baby! Mary (or Josepth!) had to change His swaddling cloths (or whatever they used for diapers as he grew from infant through toddler).
- At twelve years old…
✡ ...Jesus had an understanding of His heavenly Father, and His mission on earth! Mary and Joseph who, after three days of searching... ➔ “...they found Him in the temple...[with] the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and questions.” (Luke 2:46 and 47). ➔ ...and He said to His parents, “Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). ✡ ...and in the years following, we are told in Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom, and in favor with God and man.” So apparently His wisdom and understanding increased as He grew up!
- We know nothing more from Scripture about Jesus until it says in Luke 3:23, “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age….” However, as His ministry progressed, we learn…
✡ He got tired, like any other human being! ➔ Mark 4:37 and 38 – During a tempestuous storm on the Sea of Galilee, when “...a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already fil- ling.” Jesus was so tired from His minis- try, “...He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow...”! And the disciples “...awoke Him and said...‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’” ➔ John 4:6 – As He traveled to Galilee through Samaria, we are told, “Jesus therefore, being wearied from His jour- ney, sat thus by...Jacob’s...well.” ✡ He displayed human emotions, such as when He cried... ➔ ...at Lazarus’ grave! (John 11:35). ➔ ...as He began His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, “...He saw the city, and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known...the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41 and 42). ✡ He became hungry! ➔ Luke 4:2 – “...being tempted by the devil ...for forty days...He ate nothing, and afterward...He was hungry.” ➔ Matthew 21:18 – “Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry.”
Hebrews 4:14 and 15 sums it up quite well!
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession [of faith]. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Everything we might experience in life, Jesus Christ, in one way or another, has already been there and done that!
But Hebrews 4:16 then goes on: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
This is where the deity of Jesus Christ comes in: He not only has experienced, in one way or another, everything that we could ever face as a human being, He, being God, has the power and authority to help us in time of need!
Remember, He is fully God and fully Man! And when you behold Him in the manger, remember…
…He is the Infinite Infant!