Christ. What do adolescents need to know about Christ? Start at the beginning, I guess. Jesus is diving, fully God. He is known throughout the world as a man who walked the earth and taught about following God. He’s the reason we celebrate Christmas and give presents to our loved ones. He was the dividing event in our calendaring system and is quoted by many influential scholars and philosophers. And he is God. He’s the God who said “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).
Jesus is also human, fully man. The process of God becoming man is known as the incarnation. The incarnation is where God wrapped himself in flesh and took on a human nature in the form of Jesus. God took on the body, soul, and spirit of a human–just like us. Leading up to the events of Jesus’ brutal crucifixion and death, Jesus was humiliated. He felt shame and degradation as people mocked him, beat him, and even spit on him. Just like us, Jesus knows what it means to feel humiliated.
On Thursday, while creating this lesson for middle and high school students for Sunday, I found out that my dad had just resigned from his position as Senior Pastor of the church he has been at for ten years. He gave his resignation and the following Sunday, two days away, would be his last day at his church. This obviously didn’t come without emotion from both me and my family. It was tough to know that my dad would be giving his last sermon at the church I went to throughout high school and the church that both he and my mom had called home for the last 10 years, while I was 90 miles away wishing I was there with them. I needed to be there to support my family. I needed to be there to help my parents through this difficult weekend.
By the power of God and the support of amazing volunteers, I was able to get all of my responsibilities covered for Sunday, so I quickly wrapped up a bunch of loose ends and headed to my parents’ house. As I was driving, I thought through the lesson plan I had given one of my volunteers to lead on Sunday morning: Fully God, Fully Man. While I was reflecting on the content, I was reminded the importance of knowing these truths:
Fully God, fully human… so what? This is the God of the universe, the God that created us with his breath, is the God who tells us that his followers shall never perish and no one will snatch us out of his hand. This is the God who experienced humanity. This is the God who knows first-hand what it means to be humiliated, stabbed in the back, beaten and betrayed, not listened to, spit at, and mocked. The God who comforts is the God who knows exactly how we feel. And he still tells us to come to him and he will give us rest (Matthew 11:28-30). That is the God I want to worship, the one I need to cling to through times of uncertainty and crisis. This weekend, all kinds of people felt a sense of hurt, loss, confusion, and possibly betrayal and shame. He’s been there, experienced that, and has been and always will be victorious over it all. This is our God.