I listened to a message by Dr. R. C. Sproul the other day that focused on the incarnation of Jesus. He asked the thought-provoking question, “Did the baby in the manger know that the world was round?”
How would you answer that?
The Christian Church has always maintained the position that Jesus was fully human and fully God. Whereas God is three persons with one essence, Jesus, in His incarnation, was/is one Person with two essences (human and divine).
Various religions and sects deny the divinity of Jesus, and in fact, I firmly believe that one of the silver linings running through all false religious teaching is the rejection of Jesus as being God. Oftentimes you’ll hear the argument that the emperor Constantine or various Church councils “decided” to make Jesus God.
Around 700 B.C., the prophet Isaiah wrote:
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, my emphasis).
I’m going to go out on a limb and say a statement made 700 years before Jesus’ birth that references his divinity pretty much decimates the whole “Constantine made Jesus God” argument. But there’s actually some hard archaeological evidence that also helps put an end to the claim that Jesus was only referenced as God very late in Church history.
Megiddo is best known for being linked up with the book of Revelation and the site of the last epic war that precedes Christ’s second coming (cf. Rev. 16:13-16). But Megiddo also has what many archaeologists believe is the earliest church building found to date. The remains contain a Christian prayer hall that is dated to the early third century.
The floor of the hall contains a mosaic that has an image of a medallion and a Christian ichthus (the fish symbol whose name is an anagram of the Greek words Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter – Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior”). But another inscription found on the floor is the following:
The translation is: “Akeptous (a woman), the God-loving, offered this table for (the) God Jesus Christ, as a remembrance”.
It would seem that those early Christians were pretty clear on who they believed Jesus to be – God Himself.
Did the baby in the manger know that the world was round? In His humanness, no, Jesus was a baby. But as God, yes, since He is the one through whom the creation was carried out (cf. John 1:3).
The incarnation defies the best theological minds to fully understand or explain it, but Scripture says it, and being the inerrant Word of God, we believe and accept it.