The Humility of the Incarnation

What did the Son undergo? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the incarnation lately, mainly for future Ph.D. research. Even though I’m working on the Master’s, there’s no reason I can’t think about the Ph.D. now. Anyway, what has been striking to me about this lately is the humility of it all.

Picture God for all eternity and then comes the time somehow where the Son, the second person of the Trinity, has to take on humanity. Perhaps we could accept that, but notice how it even begins. It starts with the virgin birth, which I do affirm, and we could look and think “Couldn’t you have bypassed the baby stage?”

No. Our Lord came as a baby and grew up naturally with no rapid aging or anything like that. He had to be fed and put to sleep and everything else. Did He cry when He was hungry or sleepy? Did He have to be burped? Did He ever stumble when He was learning to walk?

As He grows up into adulthood, I think of all the attributes that He took on when we think about becoming a human. We all have some aspects of being a human that we like, but there are aspects that we don’t like. Christ took on all of them.

For one, we have a God who had to poop. Muslims will often present this as an argument against the deity of Christ since that would be unclean and God could not do that, but we have a God who was willing to stoop low enough to take on all of our characteristics. Jesus had to go to the bathroom like anyone else.

Jesus could work up a sweat when He was traveling or even growing up doing manual labor under Joseph. Did you ever think about it in that terminology? Jesus with body odor. Is there any indication Jesus would not have to bathe at times?

Could Jesus belch and sneeze and everything else? He got tired and had to sleep. He got hungry and had to eat. Did He ever have bad breath after eating a meal? Did He ever have morning breath in the morning?

Jesus was also fully a man and thus fully had sexual organs that a man has. I do not think Jesus was ever married, but was there any physical reason He couldn’t have? Did Jesus ever experience any desire? It sounds practically risque to say, but Jesus was fully a man and there is nothing sinful about the desires of a man in themselves as Adam in his pre-fall state definitely desired Eve.

Yet in all of this, consider the ultimate humility. Jesus came as someone who could die. Not only did He die, He died the most shameful death. He died naked and exposed in agony on a cross. Of course, He rose again after that, but He still went through it.

I really find this amazing about Christianity. We have a God who was willing to stoop. As I have thought about this at night, I have been amazed. Jesus took on humanity including those aspects of myself that I don’t really care for a lot. We might consider some things above Jesus, but He didn’t in many ways. He didn’t even consider giving up His life to be something that He should not have to do. This God was willing to stoop.

Take some time today and think about that. If you’re a Muslim reader, consider that this is what Christianity offers. If you’re an atheist, ask if you would really make up a God like this. If you’re a Jew, consider if you think YHWH would do this. If you’re a Christian though, I hope you’ll worship.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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