Jesus: How human was he?
On our Chaplaincy Facebook site we've been talking about the recent discovery of a Coptic manuscript that contains the sentence, "Jesus said, 'My wife....'".
All the Da Vinci Code / Mary Magdalene conspiracy theory chatter has been reignited!
As it happens, the Manuscript is looking increasingly likely to be a forgery (see Mark Goodacre's blog for scholarly opinion). That aside - how human do we want Jesus to be?
Christians speak of Jesus as God incarnate, God in human form. What does this mean?
One thing it doesn't mean is that Jesus is simply an all-powerful God wearing a human-suit.
It is not the case that if you scratched him you'd find God "underneath".
No - he is fully human. After all, the Letter to the Hebrews even speaks of Jesus having to "learn" things.
To speak of God Incarnate, means to speak of Jesus as God translated into human form.
Take an English sentence, translate it into French. There is no English left, only French, and yet the meaning remains. A mystery...
For me, Jesus is what God looks like when translated into a human life. Gone is the transcendence, all you can see is immanence - a glorious human life containing fear, confusion, puzzlement, joy, excitement and hope.
And those are the emotions I currently see around me in the new and returning faces of students and staff.
So this is good news, for Jesus is therefore "God-on-our-side", sharing our stuff and doing something amazing in it.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:15-16).
(Chaplaincy "Thought for the week")