We say that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. I have been trying to imagine what this is like…
I have always enjoyed watching the waxing and waning of the moon, and during Lent I have wondered what it was like for Jesus to watch the moon change from a new moon to the Passover moon, being fully aware of the cosmic countdown. I can imagine that he looked up at the moon, both when he said that his time had not yet come and when he finally announced that he was about to be betrayed and killed. The sun darkened for three hours during his crucifixion, but did Jesus see any signs of the rebirth of the cosmos when he looked up to heaven after his resurrection?
While sorting out my artwork this week, I came across a few pieces I had forgotten about – what a pleasant surprise to discover what my hands had made some years ago! I ask myself when and how Jesus first realized that he was the creator of the moon and the stars above and of the earth beneath his feet – and of the human beings who sometimes were his friends, at other times his enemies and often indifferent or unaware of his existence.
From the apostle John we learn that Jesus was actively involved in the creation of everything that exists in the universe – I like the way “The Voice” translation puts it: “His speech shaped the entire cosmos… all things that exist were birthed in Him.” (John 1, verse 3) Notice that Jesus did not have to get his hands dirty – Jesus just had to speak the word and it was done!
When I create anything, it is obvious. I used to joke that I did not expect my hands to ever look clean throughout the time I spent in art college… I imagine that when Jesus worked as a carpenter, he too got his hands dirty at times.
Even if I wanted to, I do not have the option to become part of my creations and try to fix anything I am concerned about from the inside. I also need raw materials to create anything in the first place, whereas Jesus can speak matter into existence.
My experience, power and comprehension are so limited – and I am not sure that I would make the same choices as Jesus if I had his abilities and capabilities. To protect myself from hurt and disappointment, I often step back or walk away.
Yet Jesus did not stay detached from his creation. He immersed himself fully in it, experiencing both the joys and pains of human existence. He allowed himself to be touched and tortured, both physically and emotionally.
Jesus, fully human, yet also fully divine. In my attempts to grasp some of the mystery, I have been left with more questions than answers…
About the author: Susanne Irving is the co-ordinator for the Creative Communicators in Petersfield. She has co-written a book with her husband John about their experiences when climbing Kilimanjaro. It is aimed at both trekkers and those who are going through a dark time in their lives. How to conquer a mountain: Kilimanjaro lessons is available as a paperback and an e-book on Amazon, with all proceeds going to charity. The German translation Wie man einen Berg bezwingt: Was der Kilimanjaro uns gelehrt hat was published in June 2017.