SPOTLIGHT - In the flesh
About the Spotlight Writer
I am a Baylor senior from Colorado studying Costume Design. My passion is helping those who are hurting through vulnerable healing conversation. (I’m like an unofficial therapist for friends.) Art, music, philosophy and ethics point toward God through new metaphors, and I have a few musings and my testimony on my own blog https://talbotjenkins.wixsite.com/insightunspoken.
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In the flesh
By Talbot Jenkins
Have you ever held a newborn baby? It is so small and fragile. You cradle its entire body in one arm, and its head in the other. It’s simultaneously very ugly and very adorable. Wrinkly and red, you know that baby will grow up and live a full life. That small bundle is bursting with potential and life.
Now imagine that baby in your arms, and someone tells you “that child is God.”
“But he’s a baby. Like he poops and cries and doesn’t know anything yet. And he’s GOD?”
I know, for myself, as a Christian, I rarely stop to think about Jesus as a person going through all the stages of life, like the Terrible Twos and puberty. I forget his humanity. And his divinity.
Why did God do it that way? Why did God decide to live a fully human life in order to bring salvation to the world? He could have done it any other way. He could have been a voice in the sky that caused fire to rain down, or an ethereal mirage that spoke the good news. But no, He lived.
It was important enough for Him to experience our physical suffering and joy to give up immortality and omniscience and enter the world as completely human. A vulnerable fragile baby.
Imagine again holding baby Jesus in your arms. What does that feel like? He is asleep, soft, warm, an infant. And at the same time, the Savior of the world. A tiny but mighty package. A child who began with and from nothing and then grew in maturity and wisdom, went through puberty, the weirdness of becoming an adult, under the authority of the synagogue and the Roman Empire.
I think about how in other religions, the main figures or gods are humans or gods, but never both simultaneously. The Buddha escaped suffering. He transcended it. He retreated, emptied his mind, became one with the energy of the universe. He wasn’t divine. The Greek gods and Hindu gods would come down in human form, but that was a disguise. They were not human in the slightest.
But Jesus. Jesus is the Divine. He came down to live a fully human life with all the stages of aging and suffering and face death. To face death so we don’t have to. So we can be free of the fear of death.
Christ CHOSE to suffer and die.
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” Hebrews 2:14-15
I am incredibly humbled. I praise God because of His sacrificial love. I want to serve Him because what other response should I have?
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
This adds a new layer of meaning to “your body is a temple.” I used to think about my body being a shell for my soul, a container for something more valuable that one day will be disposed. But if Christ heals blindness, leprosy, bleeding, paralysis, deafness, and disease; He values more than just our souls. Our bodies are not disposable shells, but beautifully created works of art that teach us something about what it is to be human, and what it is follow Christ.
So when I celebrate Christmas this year, it means more to me. I know that Christ understands every human and divine aspect of suffering and joy, and I celebrate and give thanks for His suffering and death because I am free of the fear of death and live in the joy of Christ.