The Permanence of Christmas, Part 1: Biblical Foundations
Advent is a chance not only to celebrate Jesus’ taking of human flesh but also his keeping of it. It wasn’t a mere 33-year stint—impressive as that would have been. Jesus is forever the God-man. He is glorious not merely in assuming our human nature but in remaining our brother and continuing as the visible “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).
To put it in the apostle John’s language, the Word became flesh (John 1:14). His humanity isn’t a costume. The eternal divine Son didn’t simply make a cameo in the created world. He forever joined our humanity to his divinity and for all eternity will be fully God and fully man.
“As You Saw Him Go”
We get a glimpse of this at Jesus’ ascension in Acts 1:9–11.
As [the disciples] were looking on, [Jesus] was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
He went up with a human body. He sits now in God’s presence in his humanity. And he will return “in the same way as you saw him go into heaven”—in his humanity.
Keeping the Form of a Servant
Philippians 2:5–8 speaks clearly about Jesus taking our likeness. But just as surely as he took it, so he also keeps it. In Philippians 3:20–21, Paul writes,
Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Jesus didn’t shed his human skin. He still has a body—a “glorious body,” a perfected human body, a body like we haven’t yet experienced but one day will experience when he transforms us.
The Man Christ Jesus
Paul also makes reference to Jesus’ continuing humanity in 1 Timothy 2:5.
There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Here Paul is writing after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, and he is not afraid to refer to Jesus in the present as “the man Christ Jesus.”
Jesus’ work as the perfect mediator between God and man is not only dependent on his death in history at the cross but also in his continuing humanity. In his humanness, we are united to him by faith, and only in him are we united to God.