“Is Jesus still a man, and does it really make any difference if He is or isn’t?” I’ve had this conversation with a several friends this past week, and I want to say YES he IS, and that makes ALL the difference in the world! If the whole incarnation was about nothing more than Jesus going to the cross to purchase forgiveness, then I suppose it really doesn’t matter. The humanity of Jesus might easily be something he could shed like a suit of work clothes once the job was completed. But if the incarnation goes beyond forgiveness to adoption, then the fact that there is still a man, (a divine God-man), sitting at the right hand of the Father means that you and I have a tangible human connection – a “brother” – within the eternal circle of the Trinity.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6) Jesus, being a Spirit from eternity past, had to be born of the flesh in order to become in every sense the God-man. In the same way, you and I, having been born of the flesh a few decades ago, must also be born of the Spirit in order to share that same amazing relationship He enjoys with his Father. (John 17:11 & 22) Jesus is not only our Savior; he is our divine/human connection between the Triune God and mankind. And that is crucially important if we are to delight in our place as God’s adopted sons and daughters. (See Ephesians 1:5 and Galatians 4:5)
How do we know Jesus is still a man? The resurrected Jesus invited Thomas to feel the wounds in his hands. (John 20:27). He was hungry, asked for food, and ate it. (Luke 24:42). He ascended into heaven as a man, (a glorified man, yet still a man), and the angel promised that He would return “in the same way you saw him go up into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)
Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and Gnostics of every sort reject this idea. But more tragic still, the church has overlooked it to the point that many even wonder if it’s important at all. And so we stop at forgiveness when we could be enjoying fellowship around the table of the Father, Son, and Spirit. This Christmas I’m rejoicing not only because the Savior broke the curse of sin, but because his incarnation gives me a place at his table today. I am no longer alone.
“God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” (Galatians 5:5)