The question that Jesus is facing in our lesson today is related to when and how Jesus received his authority? When did he get his calling? Who gave him his orders?
For the jewish people, this request for an audit trail, to use the accounting term, was completely natural. They were jews with access to the torah and teachings and traditions because of their ancestors. They traced back to Moses, who received his authority at a burning bush. They traced back to Jacob/Israel and the visions he received when he saw the stairway of heaven and wrestled with the Lord. They traced back to Abraham who was called to leave his homeland and moved to the promised land. Each of their ancestors had “a moment.”
As Christians, we do the same thing in a slightly different way. We ask fellow christians about “their testimony” to recount the moment “when they accepted Jesus” or “were saved.” We focus on events or an event, a point when things changed.
And all of those things are true in our lives. We are born into sin. We are dead in our sins, even as a child. And, then, the Holy Spirit moves in our lives and we are called to accept the gift of salvation and, if we do accept, we are changed.
But these things are not true about Jesus. Jesus was God forever before He chose to become flesh and enter the world as a baby in Bethlehem. Jesus, as a new Adam, was not born of sin. He was placed in a virgin’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. All of this exactly as foretold by the prophets.
This distinction is huge and it is the difference between “seeing to believe” and “believing to see”. The people around Jesus saw a man, he looked like a man, he sounded like a man, he dressed like a man, he ate and drank and breathed like a man. That, to them, meant that at his core, Jesus was a man. For him to be something more would be an “add-on” some additional blessing or authority that would come from heaven to add-to what he was. But, in truth (amen, amen), at his core, Jesus was God. He came down from heaven and took on an earthly human body. The word became flesh.
As the jews at that time pointed out, this is hard teaching. It is hard teaching for us even today. Many in our lesson this week will say, I don’t get it. I don’t see it. I don’t understand it. And that is alright. God is bigger than we can understand. God is deeper and wider than we can fathom. My encouragement to you is to park those things so they don’t become a traffic jam or a detour to the journey of your faith. Write them down. Keep them in your bible or prayer journal and keep in the path of studying the Word. Maybe God will explain them to you. Maybe He won’t in this life. But it is amazing that as our faith deepens and our lives our transformed, we see things in different ways.
That Joseph was not his father and that Mary was a virgin. They assumed it was a human birth, not a divine intervention.
It is the difference between believing that Jesus was a normal man with grandeurs of being God’s son and believing in the fact that Jesus is God who took on earthly form and lived without sin and sacrificed his life to pay the price for our sin. John 1:1 and 1:14, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.