Let’s just be honest: the Christian faith is weird. We believe some strange stuff, guys. Among all the oddities, Christians believe:
- There is a perfectly good and holy God who is One but also Three;
- This God created everything;
- He reveals himself to us through a book; and
- He controls everything but also gives us the ability to act out of our own will, and has been working out a plan throughout all history to rescue the world from the mess our choices have made.
But there’s one belief that is especially unique—one that has been at the center of just about every controversy about Jesus over the last 2000 years: who—or rather, what—he is.
The Bible doesn’t teach that Jesus is just a human being, and it doesn’t teach that He is only a divine being. The Scriptures teach that He is both fully human and fully divine—one person with two natures.
And if that wasn’t strange enough, there’s also the story of how he was born.
The impossible thing that actually happened
There was a young woman named Mary, who was visited by an angel. This angel told her that an ancient prophecy was about to be fulfilled; she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit, and that her child would be the Rescuer of God’s people (Isa. 7; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38). Although confused and undoubtedly frightened—after all, to be pregnant and unmarried in her culture could mean being ostracized from her entire community—she trusted that God’s will would be done.
Nine months later, gave birth to a child with no human father, Jesus, who would grow in wisdom and favor with God and His people (Luke 2:52). A child who was not merely a child, but was God the Son, who humbled himself by taking on human flesh (Rom. 8:3; Phil 2:6-7). The glorious One left his glorious state to become like us so that he might rescue us, eventually experiencing the greatest humiliation of all, death on a cross, becoming “sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Whose humiliation would be turned to exaltation by his resurrection from the dead in defeat of sin and death, and return to his glorious state at the right hand of his Father.
Embrace the strangeness of Jesus’ nature
This is what I’m talking about when I say the Christian faith is weird. How two natures can exist in one person doesn’t seem possible to natural thinking. For a baby to be conceived without two people being involved in some capacity seems ridiculous. Certainly, it didn’t make sense to me before I believed it!
It’s easier to think that Jesus’ deity was a bit of mythologizing. To believe the whole story was borrowed from pagan religions. To declare the story of the virgin birth was an elaborate cover-up, that Mary was assaulted or unfaithful. To deny that Jesus was both God and man.
But easier doesn’t mean honest. And that’s what the world needs from us: honesty. Our faith is strange to those who do not believe. It is hard to understand. It is frustrating in so many ways. But the strangest thing we believe is good news for all who would believe. The Jesus we believe in is God. The Jesus we believe in is a man. And the Jesus we believe in is the only one who can rescue any of us.