“I am God and not a man.”
— Hosea 11:9
There is a clear and great distinction between God, who is the Creator, and the creation, which is God’s handiwork. God is forever; creation is for a while. God is perfect; creation, at its best, is very good. Creation contains life; God is life.
That great distinction gets blurred by the incarnation, when the Creator God takes on created flesh. For nine months, God takes shape in Mary’s womb. Then, over time, God the baby becomes God the man.
Think about what this means. God stands on human legs and sees with human eyes. God thinks with a human brain, speaks with a human voice, and loves with a human heart. And at the end, God suffers blows and barbs in his human flesh, and he bears humiliation and shame in his human soul.
A whip tears up Jesus’ back. Thorns pierce his brow. Slaps burn his face. Along with the thorny crown, a robe of royal purple completes the mocking picture of Jesus as a pathetic nobody, worthy only of pity.
“Look at this guy!” Pilate says with scorn in his voice (John 19:4-5). Yes, look at him. Jesus is just a blur, about to be smudged out. He looks nothing like God and nothing like a king. And that’s the wonder of it. Because Jesus, the broken man, is God and King.
Jesus, help us to see clearly who you are so that we can love you more fully and follow you more closely. Amen.