To What Degree?


There is an unresolvable mystery surrounding the Christmas story.  It has to do with the illogical proposition that Jesus was fully human, and yet also fully God.  It has to do with the fulfillment of prophecy spoken by the Prophet Isaiah, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (7:14) Matthew’s Gospel tells “Immanuel” means “God with us.” (1:23)

For me there are many mysteries about the virgin birth, the signs of God, the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the star, Herod’s role, and the trip to Egypt then back to Nazareth.  All of this as a part of God’s plan of salvation, just takes my breath away.  But when I consider the duality of the life of the Man/God Jesus Christ, I’m almost speechless.  Notice I said, “almost.”  I am, after all, a pastor/teacher/writer, and you can ask anyone… I am seldom caught speechless.

The question I ponder all year long, but most intensely at Christmas is, “To what degree was Jesus a man? To what degree was Jesus divine?”  It’s easy to take a Sunday School approach, like a child just learning “facts” by repetition, and answer, “Jesus was 100% human, 100% divine.”  These are indeed the facts as presented in Scripture.  Therein lies the mystery.

At age 12 Jesus has traveled with His parents to Jerusalem for Passover, but on the way back home they discover He is not in the caravan.  Going back to the Temple, they find Him sitting with the teachers (Sanhedrin), “both listening and asking them questions.”  When questioned by His parents “why have You treated us this way?”, Jesus responds, “Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”  So, even at this young age, Jesus was self-aware of at least some of His own nature of Sovereignty.

From what point during His childhood, did Jesus start becoming self-aware of the duality of His nature?  Scripture teaches that He was “tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin,” and this temptation was directed at the MAN – Jesus.  At the same time, the Bible says that Jesus claimed, “I and the Father are one.” so the MAN-Jesus claims to be God-Jesus.  Anyone who spends much time considering the implications of these two phrases, will find themselves in a mystery so rich and deep it cannot be fathomed.

A few years ago, I was introduced to a Christmas song, that has become my absolute favorite.  I listen to it often every year around this time.  It speaks to me.

To what degree was Jesus a Man?  100%

To what degree is Jesus God? 100%

It is a…


The child was born on Christmas day
Born to save the world
But long before the world began
He knew His Death was sure
The pain and strife secured

Mystery… how He came to be a Man
But greater still…How His Death was in His Plan
God predestined that His Son would die
And He still created man
Oh what Love is this
That His Death was in His Hands

The Christmas trees they glow so bright
With presents all round
But Christmas brought a tree of life
With Blood that sacrificed
The greatest gift in life

I am just a man
And can’t begin to comprehend
When You look into this traitor’s eyes
What do You see that justifies the Lamb

God predestined that His Son would die
And He still created man
Oh what Love is this
That His Death was in His Plan




click on the Title – “Mystery” above, then watch and listen on YouTube.




via Baby

What an interesting word prompt from the Daily Post!  A person with a certain bent could go so many different ways with this word.  Mother’s could write about newborns, Pro-Life and Pro-choice people could write about viability, or when life begins. Anyone (like me) who is tired of the continual alt-left rhetoric about Trump not being their president, might write about how the democratic party is acting like big babies.  People in love could write about “baby” as their favorite pet name for their lover.  Or, someone like me who is the proud grandfather of an almost one-year-old grandson, might write about a grand-baby.  Here’s an interesting fact about babies.  Did you know that a baby’s eyeballs do not grow?  The eyeballs are fully formed and the baby’s head grows to allow more of the whites than the irises to show over time.


Of course, I’m going off in another direction.  My particular bent always seems to have a biblical point, and why should this one be different, right?  When I saw this word today I almost immediately went to Bethlehem in my mind.  We’re almost two full months past the Christmas season, and for most people, with Valentine’s Day behind us, all eyes are on Saint Patrick’s Day.  Too many people spend a few weeks in December thinking about angels, shepherds, kings and Baby Jesus, then it’s football playoffs, new year’s celebrations, and super bowl parties.  We like to celebrate, and often.  And hey, birthdays are celebrated every day of the year by someone.

Babies are mysterious to me. I want to know what they are thinking when those huge eyes look me, full in the face, with curiosity.  It’s hard for me to side with the pro-choice folks, and not just because of the highly charged political battles, and not just because of the spiritual issues, but because I’ve looked into the eyes of my own children at birth, and now my grandson’s eyes as he is still not yet a year old.  In these moments, I have often thought about the mystery that is salvation, brought to us in a baby, born in Bethlehem.

This baby was destined to grow up, travel to Jerusalem around bar mitzvah time and confound the spiritual leaders of the nation of Israel, then become a carpenter like his earth-daddy.  Not one peep was heard after this until Jesus shows up in Cana at a wedding, and began His earthly ministry.  After three years of wondering around as an itinerant preacher/teacher, he is arrested for blasphemy, tortured then crucified by the Roman army, and put to rest in a borrowed tomb.  That is quite a narrative.  Many today still think it is a mythical story perpetrated on mankind by a bunch of loser disciples.

My question is, “How do you look into a baby’s eyes, and not believe in a Creator?”  God’s infinite wisdom and mercy and grace allow us, if we will, to come to Him in faith, and declare that He is this very Creator.  However, it’s important to understand, in our human minds we can never fathom how God the Creator, could give His only baby boy, to offer us this grace.  I don’t understand it, I cannot comprehend it, the mystery is too great.  Yet it’s true.  It is only when I stepped over the line of faith in the FACT of it, that I too began to feel reborn, a new baby, in Christ Jesus.