“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9, KJV).
The bottle I drink from is a package composed of the plastic bottle itself and a paper wrapper around it, which itself is paper and ink. The bottle is not 100% plastic nor 100% paper. Now I’m looking at a book that is mostly paper that is coated with words in ink. It is not 100% paper nor 100% ink. Now I am looking at a computer case that is plastic. But its insides are a wide conglomeration of materials. So it is not 100% plastic.
But Jesus Christ is 100% Man and 100% God, and one person of the trinity. He is the Son of God who came to earth in the flesh, yet retained His full deity. He had always been God from eternity past, but He was not always a man. As a man, Jesus experienced the breadth of human life, except He never sinned. He was not partly God and partly man, but the divine Son of God who took on flesh.
Why is this aspect of the incarnation important? It’s hard for me to relate to somebody who has come from a different background than me. If Jesus was only half human, then it would be hard to relate to Him. But since He was fully human, we can’t take that approach.
He was 100% human. He was tempted by the devil, rejected, hungered, tired, endured squabbles among His friends, experienced prejudice, was mocked, judged falsely, beaten up, and physically impaled with sharp instruments. Because He was fully human, He understands our sufferings. He experienced the range of human emotions. We are not to take Him as an alien from another planet. When He spoke of the human institutions around Him, He spoke to our cultures as well. We can apply His sayings of 2000 years ago to our time and place. Human beings haven’t changed in all that time.
He was 100% divine. He cannot lie; all His words are objective, right from the wisdom of God, from the Father dwelling inside Him (John 14:10). He was not fallible like we are, but was perfect in all His interactions among the people. He perfectly represented what God was like on earth — because He was God on earth. If we wondered how God would respond to certain things, then we need only to read the Gospels to get a good groundwork for understanding Him. (We can and should include the Old Testament writings as well.)
What benefits do we take from this union of God and man?
1. We can’t say anymore that we don’t know what God is like. Jesus has fully revealed Him. If Jesus were only human, then this wouldn’t be true. Jesus was God’s perfect and final expression of Himself.
2. Through Jesus on the cross we see what sin is: not rejection of man, but rejection of God. If Jesus were only human, then this wouldn’t be true.
3. Through Christ’s death on the cross we see the love of God for sinners. Again, if Jesus were only human, then this wouldn’t be true; we would only see a man dying young.
4. Because the perfect and sinless Son of God became flesh, He made the perfect sacrifice that atoned for all sin. None of the animal sacrifices were sufficient.
5. Because the Son of God became flesh, we have an outward example of what the Son’s relationship with the Father looks like, and what to aspire to ourselves.
6. Because Jesus was fully God, and God cannot lie, we can trust every saying He uttered.
7. Because Jesus was fully God, and God is all-powerful, Jesus could raise Himself from the dead. His claim to raise us as well is substantiated. In fact, He will be the judge of who is raised at the resurrection of the just, so it imparts urgency to holy living.
8. Because He was a righteous God, having no sin, He could impart His righteousness to those who believe in Him.
Jesus is not a stranger to your problems. Turn to Jesus in prayer first when in need, instead of last.