Right then, the nature of Christ and all that.
Had a fascinating discussion the other day over lunch with 2 fourth years at college. One of them, Craig, was preparing an essay on Jesus as a child centred around one question:
Was Jesus, as a baby, like this:
Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
Did the baby Jesus, at the age that my little girl is – 12 weeks) uphold the universe by the word of his power?
It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? Was the infant Jesus still the sustainer of the Universe? If so, how was He doing it? Conciously or unconciously?
Let me wibble a little further.
Luke 2:41 to the end, Jesus in the Temple. Luke is presenting Jesus as a replaying of Samuel and Eli’s sons in 1Sam 2. Where the comparison previously was between the Sons and Samuel, now it’s between the teachers and Jesus. Luke is at pains to point out that…
Luke 2:42 And when he was twelve years old, …
Jesus wasn’t even of age. So here is the minor Jesus who is presented as much wiser than the mature teachers in the temple.
The only troubling verse is
Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
but it could equally be rendered,
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and age and grace, in the presence of God and men.” which doesn’t require us to insist that he was growing in self awareness.
The other passage is the great kenotic statement in Phil 2:7
Philippians 2:7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
how does Christ empty himself? Does He empty His knowledge? Does He empty His awareness?
No!!! The answer is right there in the text – he empties himself of the right to be on the throne. He becomes a servant.
Anyway, I’m going somewhere with all this.
If we say that the 2 month old Jesus is sustaining the Kosmos by his powerful word then how can we have a limited Christ? How can the infantile Christ be infantile in mind but sustain all things by a powerful word?
There are a number of solutions;
i He does it subconciously. This simply doesn’t rest easily but it might be right
ii There is an eternal Word and an incarnate Word. But this is severely dodgy. You end up with a seperation in Christ or have to argue an adoptionist position.
So I’m left to conclude that the 12 week old Christ was somewhat different to my little girl, Charis (ouldjr).
As His parents held Him in their arms He was actively sustaining everything by His powerful word. Conciously allowing Himself to be humbled and limited in a human body while fully aware of what was going on around Him.
But, think of it this way.
Which is the bigger gulf?
The gulf between deity and humanity?
or the gulf between an adult man and a baby?
I think it’s the former.