Snowflakes began to flutter down at dusk. Standing in the balcony and looking out of the window, I recalled a series of scenes where thetogether with His disciples came back to Nazareth. He looked at the innumerable people with a smile and passersby also greeted Him. It seemed that they were very familiar to Him. However, when the Lord Jesus bore testimony to Himself as the Messiah, people, choked with anger, attacked and reviled Him. Just as it is recorded in the Scripture: “And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill where on their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong” (Luk4:28-29).
Outside the window, it snowed more heavily. Soon, everything became white. But I wasn’t in the mood to appreciate the snow scenery outside the window, but was thinking: When the Lord Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom in other places, there were many believers following Him. But when He returned to His hometown and preached, why did the fellow townsmen forsake Him and even want to push Him off a cliff instead of welcoming Him?
A question of my younger brother interrupted my thinking. He said: “Sister, I saw many net friends discussing a famous actor in plain clothes appearing at a grocery market. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the picture and found that although in life he is very friendly, his appearance falls short of the image which I admired …” He was still expressing his own opinions but these words set me thinking: “The gap between the reality and imagination does lead to our doubt toward the real one. Why did the Jewish people in the past forsake the Lord Jesus? Is it because the real Lord Jesus was different from the one they imagined? I have to seek it.” Therefore, I said to my brother: “I’m sorry but I’ve got an important thing to do. We will talk about this next time, is it okay?” He nodded and then I went to my room.
Sitting in front of the computer, I sent my confusion to the question-answering column of a gospel website. Soon a net friend replied to me.
1. Having No Knowledge of Christ’s Normal Humanity
First, he shared two passages with me: “The life that Jesus lived on earth was a normal life of the flesh. He lived in the normal humanity of His flesh. His authority—to do God’s work and speak God’s word, or to heal the sick and cast out demons, to do such extraordinary things—did not manifest itself, for the most part, until He began His ministry. His life before age twenty-nine, before He performed His ministry, was proof enough that He was just a normal flesh. Because of this, and because He had not yet begun to perform His ministry, people saw nothing divine in Him, saw nothing more than a normal human being, an ordinary man—as when at first some people believed Him to be Joseph’s son. … His normal humanity and His work both existed in order to fulfill the significance of the first incarnation, proving that God had entirely come into the flesh, become an utterly ordinary man. That He had normal humanity before He began His work was proof that He was an ordinary flesh; and that He worked afterward also proved that He was an ordinary flesh, for He performed signs and wonders, healed the sick and cast out demons in the flesh with normal humanity. … Up to the point that He was resurrected after dying upon the cross, He dwelt within a normal flesh. Bestowing grace, healing the sick, and casting out demons were all part of His ministry, were all work He performed in His normal flesh. Before He went to the cross, He never departed from His normal human flesh, regardless of what He was doing. He was God Himself, doing God’s own work, yet because He was the incarnate flesh of God, He ate food and wore clothing, had normal human needs, had normal human reason and a normal human mind. All of this was proof that He was a normal man, which proved that God’s incarnate flesh was a flesh with normal humanity, not a supernatural one. … Before Jesus performed the work, He merely lived in His normal humanity. No one could tell that He was God, no one found out that He was the incarnate God; people just knew Him as a completely ordinary man” (“The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God”).
“Prior to Jesus performing His ministry, or as is said in, prior to the Spirit descending upon Him, Jesus was but an ordinary man and possessed of not the slightest of the supernatural. … God’s incarnate flesh has humanity, otherwise, He would not be God’s incarnate flesh” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)”).
Next, he communicated with me: “The Lord Jesus Christ was the incarnate God Himself, and the flesh with normal humanity in which God’s Spirit has been realized. He was possessed of a normal humanity and a complete divinity. With nothing distinctive in appearance, He spoke and worked practically among people in the image of the Son of man. Before the Lord Jesus started to perform His ministry, He lived in an ordinary family and lived an ordinary life like ordinary people. Because His flesh was so ordinary and His humanity was so normal, nobody recognized that He was God. When His humanity became mature, He began to work, preach, express the truth, and also showed many signs and wonders. Although from His work and words then people saw the Lord Jesus’ authority and power, they still didn’t believe that He was Christ incarnate because He worked in flesh and was outwardly too normal and ordinary. They had no knowledge of the Lord Jesus’ normal humanity so they didn’t believe that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah at all when He returned to the hometown to preach. Just as what they said: ‘Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him’ (Mak 6:3).”
Until then I realized that people of Nazareth forsook the Lord Jesus because they had no knowledge of the Lord Jesus’ normal humanity. They didn’t know that the essence of the incarnate God was the combination of a normal humanity and a complete divinity. Just because of His normal humanity, they judged and condemned the Lord Jesus and finally forsook and opposed God, which was a miserable tragedy.
2. Defining God’s Work With Conceptions and Imagination
Then the friend shared another passage with me: “It is because of the work of God incarnate that God becomes a flesh who has a tangible form, and who can be seen and touched by man. He is not a formless Spirit, but a flesh that can be contacted and seen by man. However, most of the Gods people believe in are fleshless deities that are formless, which are also of a free form. In this way, the incarnate God has become the enemy of most of those who, and those who cannot accept the fact of God’s incarnation have, similarly, become the adversaries of God. Man is possessed of conceptions not because of his way of thinking, or because of his rebelliousness, but because of this private property of man. It is because of this property that most people die, and it is this vague God that cannot be touched, cannot be seen, and does not exist in fact that ruins man’s life. Man’s life is forfeited not by the incarnate God, much less by the God of heaven, but by the God of man’s own imagining” (“Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh”).
And he said to me: “The normal humanity of God incarnate flipped everyone’s thought and revealed people’s conceptions and imagination about God. At that time people lived in the bondage of sin and couldn’t extricate themselves. They were all yearning for the Savior, who would change their present life condition. They clung to the scriptures: ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder…. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever’ (Isa 9:6-7). The prophecy of the prophet gave them hope. All people thought that the arrival of the Messiah could help them get rid of the oppression of Roman government and meanwhile they were full of conceptions and imagination about the Messiah: He must be noble and dignified in appearance, lofty, tall and sturdy, and born in the palace and He would lead them to overturn Roman government and build a new regime just like David. In everyone’s heart, they thought that the flesh of God incarnate should be a supernatural and lofty flesh, should be born with God’s authority, and should have no normal growing process. His speaking should be earthshaking so everyone feared Him and didn’t dare to approach Him. Also, He should be born into a noble family or, at least, an eminent family. But the real family and the environment in which the Lord Jesus grew up were completely different from their imagination and notions. Therefore, in their opinion, what the Lord Jesus said offended the position of ‘God’ in their heart and meanwhile broke all their delusions to the Messiah. And then they felt anger, they disdained and hated the Lord Jesus, and they judged and forsook Him on the basis of their conceptions and imaginations. This is exactly the consequence of believing in a vague God blindly and defining the work of God according to conceptions and imagination.”
Then I got the answer to the question why the Lord Jesus was forsaken by fellow townsmen. On one hand, they had no knowledge of Christ’s normal humanity. On the other hand, the Lord Jesus’ ordinariness and normality broke their conception and imagination. Due to these, they slandered and condemned the Lord Jesus and even spoke insulting words to Him and finally the Lord Jesus didn’t do His work upon them and was distant from them. I couldn’t help starting to reflect: When Christ of the last days, the Savior, appears and works, which is not in line with my own conceptions and imagination, can I give up my own conception to seek the truth? I should learn something from the failure of the people of Nazareth …
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