As God, Jesus planned and prophesied His entrance into the world, John 1:1-2, Colossians 1:15-18. He was conceived in an earthly woman by means of the Holy Spirit and the overshadowing by the power of God, the “Trinity” at work in perfect cooperation, Luke 1:35, Hebrews 10:5. He had no earthly father. Not only had no woman ever given birth without a human father, no woman had ever given birth to someone who had existed before she did, Luke 3:23, Matthew 22:41-45. The unusual event surrounding His conception was followed a few months later when His birth was pointed to by a star in the heavens, angels declared it, shepherds from the field came to worship him and wisemen from the east traveled far to find Him; most unusual for merely a human birth, Luke 2:8-10, Matthew 2:1-12. He lived a perfect life, one without a mistake or a sin whether it was legally, socially, morally, theologically, openly, privately, overtly or mentally, Hebrews 4:15, I Peter 2:22. He claimed, with evidence, that He was God come in the flesh to be honored and revered just like the Father, John 5:18, 23. He claimed equality with God, possessing the same rights and authority to function, John 5:17-18. He and the Father were one in a way that no human ever was or will be, John 10:30. Though insisting that God is the only one to be worshipped and served, Matthew 4:10, He accepted worship, showing that He was, therefore, God,Matthew 14:33, 15:25, 28:9, John 9:35-38. It would have been wrong to worship just a man, Acts 10:25-26. Though only God can forgive sins, Mark 2:7. He forgave sins by His own authority and pronouncement, Mark 2:10. He remembered His existence in Heaven and could speak of it, John 3:31-32. He knew where He came from, what was in heaven, why He came to earth, how He would die, when He would die, who would betray Him, just when all He had come to do was finished and where He was going, John 6:38, 14:2, 12:32, 18:4. As was His life, His death was predetermined and prophesied, Acts 2:23. When He died, His spirit separated from His body and went into the paradise part of Hades for a short time, Luke 23:43, 24:46. His body suffered no decay or corruption during that time, Acts 2:27, 31. At His resur-rection, His spirit was reunited with the uncorrupted body, John 20:26-29. His body was changed to a spiritual body at His ascension into heaven, Philippians 3:20-21, I John 3:2; no one has ever ascended into heaven except for Jesus, who had descended out of heaven, John 3:13, Ephesians 4:9-10. Now, is that what it means, as some have said, that He was just an ordinary man like you and me?
When Hebrews 10:5 says that “a body thou hast prepared for me,” it identifies something unique. The same word for “prepared” is found in Hebrews 11:3 to say that the worlds were framed by the word of God. These were special preparations. The preparation of the body for Jesus was out of the ordinary. Note the antecedent of “me.” The body was prepared and the spirit that would inhabit it would be God the Word.
It's like John 1:14, “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” The verb “became” in that verse must be taken in the light of Hebrews 10:5, “a body was prepared for me.” It wasn't that the spirit was somehow transformed into flesh, like the Catholic claim of transubstantiation. The verb “dwelt” means He “tabernacled” among us. The body was the tabernacle to house the spirit.
God the Word combined with the fleshly body to give us Jesus of Nazareth but He was still God when He was Jesus of Nazareth. Mary said to the angel, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word,” Luke 1:38. Later, Elisabeth being filled with the Holy Spirit declared, “And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?” verse 43. Mary was both the handmaid and mother of the Lord, but she was not the handmaid of one person and the mother of another. She was handmaid of the Lord God, but brought Him into the world in the physical form of Jesus Christ. The same fact is declared in Matthew 22:41-46. Though Jesus was the son of David, David called Him Lord. Jesus was the descendant of David through Mary, but He was still much greater than David, which David declared in prophecy, Psalm 110:1. The Word was Lord before He came into the world and He was Lord all the while He was Jesus of Nazareth.
John 1:1-3 says that through God the Word were all things made, and without him not anything was made that is made. But, I Corinthians 8:6 declares that we have but one Lord, “Jesus Christ, through whom are all things.” God the Word made all things and Jesus Christ made all things. They are both equal to the same thing.
The Apostle John said: “That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life (and the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare unto you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us),” I John 1:1-2. The phrase “from the beginning” is amplified by the phrase “which was with the Father.” He was with the father from the beginning and before He came into the world. The one who was with God in the beginning, the Word of life, was seen, heard and handled by His Apostles. The one who was with the Father was manifest to men. He was not just life, but eternal life, John said. Who and whatever He was in the beginning with God was the same who and whatever when they saw, heard and touched Him with their hands. The same one they saw, heard and handled was also eternal life.
Jesus said in John 6:62, “What then if ye should behold the Son of man ascending where he was before?” He had descended from Heaven and was going to return there, and Jesus of Nazareth knew it.
John the Baptist said, “This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me,” John 1:15. Needless to say, John the Baptist was born into this world before Jesus of Nazareth was but still Jesus was before John. John began his work before Jesus did, which was also prophesied. John's work was to prepare the way for Jehovah, Matthew 3:3. But, John prepared the way for Jesus, therefore Jesus of Nazareth is Jehovah.
So, it is no wonder that Hebrews 13:8 declares Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, yea and forever.” Notice that it doesn't say “God the same yesterday today and forever.” It is emphasizing Jesus Christ as the same, identifying Him as God! It is like God says in Malachi 3:6, “I change not!” Though He dwelt in a human body, He had not changed who He was.
In John 8:40, Jesus says, “But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth.” Then in verse 58 He says, “Before Abraham was born, I am.” The “man” of verse 40 was the “I Am” of verse 58.
We must conclude that the name of Christ includes everything the name of God does. When we speak of Christ, we are speaking of God under the name of Christ. When we speak of God, we are speaking of Christ under the name of God. Christ is declared to be “the image of God,” II Corinthians 4:4, “the image of the invisible God,” Colossians 1:15, and “the very image of his substance,” Hebrews 1:3. That's why in John 14:9 Jesus says, “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” None of this could be said of Him if he had been just a human in body, soul and spirit.
I don't know how God accomplished such a task as being fully God in a baby's form. But, I don't know how God made man from the dust of the ground, brought the flood on the world, parted the Red Sea, fed Israel with the quails and manna, raised the dead, or any number of other miraculous things either, but He did them. I have to accept, by faith, that He did them! Equally mysterious to us is the initial creation of an ordinary man's soul; how does God do that? I don't know, do you? I can only know what the Bible says about it.
I certainly do not believe in the preexistence of souls, such as is taught by Mormonism. They think that all of the souls in mankind have been begotten by the Father in his spiritual world and then compressed into the embryo of each mother. The Bible teaches that each human spirit, that which is in the image of God, is created at the time of conception when human life begins. A body without a spirit is dead, James 2:26. Ecclesiastes 11:5 says, “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” Zechariah 12:1 says, “The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.” The word “form” means to frame or fashion. Psalm 139:13-16 details the development in the womb that is a living being. Verse 13 says, “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.” “Reins” refers to the innermost mind, Gesenius, p. 400. So, it is clear to us what is meant in Ecclesiastes 12:7 that the body returns to the dust from which it was made, and the spirit to God who gave it.
Each human spirit is created by God at conception to make a living being. It was different in the case of Jesus. His is the only instance of a preexistent spirit being placed in a body specially prepared to receive Him. This was not the normal human process.
Since man's spirit is created in the image of God, there are some shared characteristics that man has with God. These must be created by God when each human spirit is created. No such process was necessary with Jesus. He already possessed all of those characteristics, and much more, when he entered the womb of Mary.
What, then, does it mean in Hebrews 2:17 that “it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren?” It's simply that Jesus went through a human gestation period and birth process even though the “child” that was born was “the mighty God,” Isaiah 9:6. The body that was prepared to receive the divine spirit was normal human flesh and blood; He got that from Mary. Being flesh and blood, He could be battered and torn and suffer as a result. Verse 18 says that He “suffered being tempted.” The word “tempted” here refers to trials he went through. Jesus suffered in trials (see also Hebrews 5:8). It was a body that would become tired, need nourishment and sleep, repair itself from damage, find the need to evacuate body wastes and had all other human bodily functions.
In His life on earth, He functioned as much as possible as a human would. He was born to a woman of flesh and blood and He grew to manhood as a human grows, not as some “Superboy to Superman.” Nor did Jesus start quoting scripture from day one of birth. God's plan was that those who would blind themselves to the truth would consider Jesus was just another man like themselves, John 5:18, 10:33. Others would see beyond that to understand His true nature.
God intended that a certain image be presented to the community in regard to Jesus. Joseph was told to take Mary as his wife, Matthew 1:18-25. This removed any stigma that Jesus was illegitimate. As far as others knew, He was the son of Joseph, Luke 3:23. Matthew 13:54-58 says, “And coming into his own country he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” This is the way God planned it; His life from birth to death was predetermined.
His role of a servant required that a certain image be projected to the community from His birth to manhood. We find in Luke 2 the only information we have of His early years. He was circumcised after eight days, as the Law required. When He was less than six weeks old, He was taken to the temple to be presented to the Lord, and for the purification of Mary, according to the Law. There they encountered the prophet Simeon who pronounced the baby to be the Lord's Christ. The prophetess, Anna, also declared Him to be the redemption of Israel. His first twelve years are passed over with the statement in verse 40, “And the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him.” Except for the mention of wisdom, the same thing was said about John the Baptist, Luke 1:80. Luke 2:40, 52 only tells us that as he grew His wisdom matched, kept pace with, His bodily growth. That way He blended in with the community as a normal child. After His visit to the temple at twelve years of age, Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” However, He knew before He went to Jerusalem at twelve years of age just who He was. He gently rebuked Mary by saying, “knew ye not that I must be in my Father's House?” Luke 2:49.
I have no idea how God accomplished all of this any more than I know how a virgin conceived by the Holy Spirit and the power of God. I do know that the baby Jesus was in truth God with us, Matthew 1:23, the mighty God, Isaiah 9:6, and the one who was from of old, from everlasting, Micah 5:2. God worked out the details of how it was done.
It has been said, and I agree, that Jesus was perfect man as He was perfect God. Even as a child, He never had to be reprimanded or punished for wrongdoing, which is what Luke 2:40, 52 mean when it says the grace of God was upon him and he advanced in favor with God and men. But, just what is meant by His being perfect man?
Well, He wasn't perfect man because of His appearance. In human appearance, Jesus was quite common; there was nothing physically attractive about Him in the manner that humans consider physically attractive. This would include athletic ability or great physical prowess. Isaiah 53:2 says, “he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” People would not be attracted to Him because of His appearance. His power came from the inside.
He wasn't perfect man because of His physical background. Though in the flesh He was a descendant of David, that was neither source nor assurance of perfection. His entering into the family of Joseph meant only poor circumstances; there was no “perfect” physical life for Him. He grew up in a despised section of the country and was “despised and rejected of men.”
He wasn't perfect man because he didn't sweat, get hungry, tired or sleepy or any other common characteristic of the fleshly body. His body was typically flesh and blood.
Consider this question: What characteristics of a human did He have to acquire when He came in the flesh that He didn't have already? Here's another one from a different perspective: What characteristic of man's nature did man not acquire from God? We are created in the image of God. That isn't a physical image, but one of the spirit. Jesus didn't have to acquire any characteristic of man's spirit seeing He already had all of them; His was the original substance and not the image. Our spirits are created as an image of His. Right there is where we find Jesus as the perfect man!
A spirit is a conscious, self-aware entity, having a mind that reasons and plans, imagines, stores and recalls information, has will, feelings and emotions and can exist apart from the fleshly body. Every characteristic of the human spirit was perfectly His and perfectly used by Him. He certainly experienced how a human body functions under many circumstances, but He was under perfect control at all times.
Galatians 5:17 says, “For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would.” That has certainly been true in regard to the human race; all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23. That was never so of Jesus. He never experienced the conflict of lust between the flesh and Spirit; He always did the things that He should, which were righteous. Neither did He ever experience the conflict between flesh and spirit in Romans 7:18-20. It's the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that makes us free from the domination of sin, Romans 8:2. Read Romans 8:1-17 to note the conflict with and the victory over the flesh. It is in Christ Jesus. Galatians 5:16-26 tells us about living by the spirit to have victory over the flesh.
After commanding us to put to death the ungodliness of our members which are upon the earth and telling us what that means, Paul says: “and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all.” Colossians 3:5-11.
We have portrayed for us in Christ what it means to be a perfect human and God wants us to strive to be like Him.
Now, how in the world can anyone say that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was a normal human, just like you and me?