“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)
This is another favorite Advent text of mine. But what does Paul mean by this statement?
What attributes belong to deity? God is omnipotent. Warren Wiersbe has written, “What a paradox that a babe in a manger should be called mighty! Yet even as a baby Jesus Christ revealed power. His birth affected the heavens as that star appeared. The star affected the Magi, and they left their homes and made that long journey to Jerusalem. Their announcement shook King Herod and his court. Jesus’ birth brought angels from heaven and simple shepherds from their flocks on the hillside. Midnight became midday as the glory of the Lord appeared to men.”
God is also omnipresent. How could the fullness of the omnipotent and omnipresent God live in bodily form? This is the mystery of the Incarnation. In C. S. Lewis’ children’s story The Last Battle, several of the characters enter a stable and suddenly find a new world inside. King Tirian comments on this: “It seems, then, that the Stable seen from within and the Stable seen from without are two different places.” “Yes,” said the Lord Digory. “Its inside is bigger than its outside.” Then Queen Lucy says, “Yes, in our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”
We could go down the list of all the attributes of deity and talk about the paradox of these attributes being fully present in a human body, but still we would never plumb the depths of this mystery. Martin Luther once said, “The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.” How can we fully comprehend the fullness of deity in bodily form, the creator of the universe thriving in a placenta, protected by a water bag, bouncing on a donkey ride to Bethlehem where his parents had to meet the local IRS? There is nothing else in our human experience that corresponds to this mystery.
St. Augustine summed it up this way…
Maker of the sun,
He is made under the sun.
In the Father he remains,
From his mother he goes forth.
Creator of heaven and earth,
He was born on earth under heaven.
He is wisely speechless.
Filling the world,
He lies in a manger.
Ruler of the stars,
He nurses at his mother’s bosom.
He is both great in the nature of God,
And small in the form of a servant.
To listen to the rest of this message click here: Colossians 2:9-10.