Luke 22:63-71 (CEV)
63 The men who were guarding Jesus made fun of him and beat him. 64 They put a blindfold on him and said, “Tell us who struck you!” 65 They kept on insulting Jesus in many other ways.
66 At daybreak the nation’s leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses got together and brought Jesus before their council. 67 They said, “Tell us! Are you the Messiah?”
Jesus replied, “If I said so, you wouldn’t believe me. 68 And if I asked you a question, you wouldn’t answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right side of God All-Powerful.”
70 Then they asked, “Are you the Son of God?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am!”
71 They replied, “Why do we need more witnesses? He said it himself!”
We’re about to launch our eldest child out into adult life. Six months from today, if all goes according to plan, they will be living in residence – in another city – as they start University.
As they head off into this new part of their life, I’m increasingly excited about the person we are sending out. They have taken on so many of our values, learned so many of the skills that we have, and have developed other skills and unique talents and perspectives all their own.
And I know that what they know now is just a small little taste of what they will come back knowing at the end of their first year away – and an even smaller taste of what they will eventually learn. And it’s for that reason that I am super excited as we plan times of reunion for our first year. We’re making plans to meet them and take them out for meals – plans for them to come back on holidays – plans for us to do coffee dates over Skype – because I want to hear back from them about everything they learn!
But one of the things that happens when we go somewhere new and then go home is that we can never be the same people that we were before we went away. We have learned new things. We have tried new food. We have built new relationships that have offered us new perspectives on life and the way things work. Which means that the relationships we come back to will have to ebb and change and shift – sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big ways – to accommodate this growth and development. My eldest will never be my ‘little one’ again. They will continue to be my child, but they will need room to become so much more than that as well.
So here’s Jesus being asked about whether he’s the Messiah or not – whether he’s the promised one that Israel has been waiting for since the prophets first told of his coming. They’re asking if he’s the one who would ‘save the people from their sins’. And Jesus’ reply is to say that he is more than just a prophetic fulfillment – he is actually God’s Son. That he has come from God and is about to return to God.
To the Jewish leaders, this is utter and complete blasphemy. But it’s important for us to recognize that Jesus is saying that there is, in fact, about to be a divine reunion.
For thirty-three years, Jesus – who has an eternity past of experience of full relationship with God as part of God – has taken on the limitations of humanity to co-exist with us, to be weak like us, to be frustrated like us.
And now, Jesus gets to return. Now the full relationship between God the Father and God the Son gets to be renewed in its completeness. But the experience of being here on earth is not something Jesus is about to forget when he goes back to be with God.
The wildly crazy thing is that now Jesus brings back to the Trinity a piece of humanity – an understanding of who we are and why we do the crazy and frustrating and difficult things that we do. Just like I’m going to get to learn all about new subjects and new experiences as my children begin to spread their wings, the knowledge of the Trinity gets to expand to include an understanding about how awesome it is as a human to stand on the top of a high mountain and be buffeted by the wind; or to sit down as a human to a loaf of fresh baked bread and a glass of cool wine when you’ve been walking all day in the heat; or to experience as a human child a mother’s touch when you’ve skinned your knee.
That means that just like we can look at the incarnation of Jesus here on earth as a way for us to understand who God is, God gets to look at the return of Jesus to heaven as a way for God to understand who we are!
It means that we have a representative in the Trinity who fully understands us.
A representative who understands what it’s like to have a body – to have a soul – to have a heart – to have a mind – who can empathize with us and speak up for us before God at both our darkest and our most beautiful moments.
A representative who understands our limitations and our weaknesses and then loves us with all of the love of the Trinity.
That the Divine would allow divinity to mix with humanity was utterly blasphemous to the council of priests and teacher’s of the law who had put Jesus on trial. It’s still a hard idea for many in religious circles to accept today. But this is the God that Jesus reveals to us – by his presence and through his actions and by his words – and so there’s no escaping that in Jesus, not only does God join humanity, but humanity joins in with God, drawing us close enough to be loved and transformed into the people God originally intended us to be.
- Have you ever given any thought to the idea of this Divine Reunion?
- Spend some time meditating on what it might have been like for God to be reunited with Jesus.
- How does the idea that Jesus fully experienced what it means to be unified with God before coming to earth affect our understanding of God?
- How does the idea that Jesus fully experienced what it means to be human before returning to heaven affect God’s understanding of us?
- Take some time to think about the idea of Jesus as both ‘fully God and fully man’ – how does the Holy Spirit want to use this to bring freedom to your life today?