Around 30 AD in Galilee, a Middle Eastern province under the dominion of the Roman Empire, there was a religious teacher named Jesus of Nazareth. What was most readily obvious about him was that he was a man. He walked, spoke, ate, drank, slept, woke, grew cold and hot, felt the sun and the rain, dealt with angry people and attended normal cultural activities.
He was a man.
Those who knew him well could testify to his humanity without any effort at all—they had watched him be and do all the activities of a human being. What was not immediately apparent was that he was not only a man. Even those who saw him work supernatural miracles did not find it obvious that he was not only a man—in fact were offended and enraged that he dared lay claim to be something else, something greater, as well. This inability to see him as more than a man is what makes the first few verses of the gospel of John so startling, so earth-shattering and mind-bending.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. John 1:1-2
John had walked and talked and spoken with Jesus for three years. He knew with absolute certainty that he was a man—but he had seen something else, something more. So John wrote concerning this man, that before he was a man, he was something else, something more. He called him by a title: “The Word.” The Word, John said, had become flesh—truly man, the most obvious part about him. But this Word had existed before time. More than that, this Word, this Being, was not just eternal: He was Divine.
He was God.
The Word, John said, was with God, and the Word was God.
This week, as a church, we are celebrating with joy the deity of Christ as part of our Advent meditations. This man, who lived in the first century, who slept, and ate, and drank, and spoke, and lived as we do, was also the Eternal One, God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. In miraculous love and humility, he took to himself a human nature, without ceasing to be divine, so that the person who was walking and talking and eating in the Middle East in the first century, was none other than the person of God the Son, eternal, unlimited and almighty. And the person who still exists as the exalted Savior in Heaven, full of glory and power, the equal of God the Father and the Spirit in his divine majesty, is the man Christ Jesus. The Divinity of Jesus Christ will always be beyond our comprehension, but not our meditation. As the historic Christian author said, “Thou art beyond the grasp of my understanding, but not beyond that of my love.” (Valley of Vision, Ed. By Author Bennet)