This has been rattling around in my head for awhile now, begging to be let out. Forgive me if the title seems crude, rude, scandalous, blasphemous, or unnecessarily vulgar. I have a point. In fact, Jesus Himself was scandalous in His time. Questioning the status quo did wonders for His health… Oh, wait, it really didn’t. Yes, it was all part of God’s plan.
But I think we forget just how scandalous the incarnation was to the first century Jewish mind. It was blasphemy to put oneself on equal footing with God. Yet this is just what Jesus did time and time again. And got Him a trip to Golgotha. Moreover, 2000 years removed from the events in the manner, e.g., the other side of history, I think those of us who wear the title “Christian,” are down with the divinity of Jesus, but not so in touch with His humanity.
I think we’ve largely forgotten just what the incarnation cost Him. By choice, He shed His divinity to become a helpless baby, undergo the indignity of birth (in all of its pain, blood, and meconium), and willingly limit Himself to the form a helpless baby. Which not only included diaper changes (holy sh*t, anyone?), but diaper rash, too. Think on that: the Son of Man, the Second Person of the Trinity, had diaper rash. And that by choice.
And then He grew, suffering privation in the flight to, and sojourn in, Egypt. Not to mention the all the bumps and bruises of childhood–the skinned knees, stabbed toes, and thumbs mashed by hammers as He learned Joseph’s trade.
The creed says “very God of very God and very man of very man.” As I said above, we now, here, get that first part (“very God”), but give short shrift to the second. Consider: Jesus went through puberty, and all that that entails: body hair, deepening voice, body odors, nocturnal emissions (it’s a part of growing up, folks). If He was indeed “very man of very man,” Jesus had wet dreams. It’s just the way the male body works, and there are specific provisions in the law for that. I’m sorry if that offends you, but it’s just all part and parcel of the maturation process of the male half of the species.
Having said that, it would be good to recall that Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” With all of the limitations imposed by His humanity, He still did not yield to temptation. He did this to in order to identify with us, His creation, and to show us that it is indeed possible, whilst yielded to the Father’s will, to live a holy life. If He lusted for anything, rather than sex, it was for God’s will. The late, great C.S. Lewis said (paraphrasing), “Our passions are not too strong, but too weak. We muck about with drink and sex when all the splendor of heaven are available to us. It’s like a child who’s contented to make mud pies when offered a holiday by the sea.”
Jesus, despite His very humanity, despite the hardships and indignities of this world, despite halitosis, hemorrhoids, and likely other bodily fluids (one wonders of He perhaps snored, or drooled onto his pallet), found it possible to live in such a way as to express the the kingdom of God in this veil of tears.
He has called us to the same. After what He has given, how can we do any less? God help us.