Embodying the Word

I have recently become struck by the concept of embodying the word of God.

We understand that Jesus is the word that became flesh but even that is a more complex concept that at first glance. The writer of Ephesians tells us that before the foundations of the world, God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in his sight and to be filled with love. That means that before all creation was, Christ was, and in fact we were.

The concept of Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary is complex enough. When you take a deep dive in the Christology you begin wrestling with the concept the writers of the Creed called fully God and fully man. The Council of Chalcedon helped pave the way for this concept and put an end to various heresies regarding the divinity of Jesus, yet the idea of the fully God yet fully man Savior of the world is a difficult one to pin down.

It’s like a blob of fluid on a table that is clearly there but anytime you try to touch it specifically it squishes away from you. From afar, Christology is very simple. The fact is that Mary was somehow inseminated by Holy Spirit and the child that she bore was Jesus the son of God.

If you are a Christian for any amount of time this is what we believe.

But if you break down that sentence it becomes extremely complicated to understand. How exactly was Mary impregnated? Was her egg used or was she a divine surrogate? How do we reconcile the concept that God is unchanging while at the same time understanding at one point Salvation was dependent upon the breast of Mary? John wrote that Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Try to explain to me how Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary before she was ever pregnant.

These are all mysteries and Christianity is filled with mysteries. It is not the goal of theology to settle all mysteries. The goal of theology is to put mysteries in their proper context. All these things about Jesus are true and yet I do not understand most of them.

I have learned to become okay with that.

What I’m wrestling with more and more is not the word becoming flesh in Jesus but the word becoming flesh and us.

What most people call the embodiment is a result of discipleship. If I live a more holy life I will become more Christlike. I don’t know if that’s true. I’m certainly in favor of living a more holy life and I pray that I live a more holy life today than I did yesterday. Likewise I hope I live a more holy life tomorrow that I did today. Yet and still, I think embodiment is more about yieldedness.

The prophets of the Old Testament embodied the word of the Lord in a way we do not see on a grand scale today.

When we think of embodiment we think of living sin free, free from the entanglements of the enemy, and living in the perfect will of God. Unfortunately we have the will of God enmeshed with the American dream. The result of this is that we think yielding is to God produces prosperity in our lives.

The prophets knew better. They embodied the blessings and power of God as well as the judgments of God. They were the word of the Lord to Judah and Israel and sometimes that word was not pleasant. I meditate on this a little bit in this week’s podcast. I pray it’s a blessing to you.

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