On the Incarnation (5) : What was Jesus?

(This is a short series of short posts on the incarnation as we lead up to Christmas)

In the last few posts, we’ve reminded ourselves WHO Jesus is… He is the eternal Son, who existed in eternity (without form) with the Father, and who took on human form at the incarnation. We’ve seen WHY the Son became Jesus… for us and for our salvation. But, rightly underlining these (as we’ve keep brushing up against) is the question of WHAT Jesus is. This was the question that the early church (100A.D.-400A.D.) did us a great service by answering.

The answer was most clearly put forward in something called the Creed of Chalcedon (451A.D.) with the sentence…

…Christ; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ

A couple of points on what this is saying…

  • Christ has two natures, he possesses two “kinds”. In the same way God made all the animals according to their kinds, and if you’re a human, you’re part of human-kind, the person of Jesus possesses human-kind AND eternal-God-kind.
  • The two natures of Christ are NOT confused, nor changed, nor divided nor diminished into a new kind of thing. Jesus is fully God and fully man, not some weird new “kind”.
  • There is only One Person behind these two natures. This is where the WHO question comes in… there is only one WHO. Even though there are two-natures, there is only one person… the eternal Son. The two “kinds” didn’t each bring a person into the mix; Jesus doesn’t have two minds at war within him, as though he has multiple-personality-disorder.

What does this all mean?

It means “there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people” (1Tim2).

The Jesus we meet was from eternity past, and while never giving up his eternal God-ness (because otherwise he could not reconcile us to God), he also took on eternal human-ness (because otherwise he would not be able to represent us and bear our condemnation on our behalf).

Fully God, fully man, fully sick.