I recently introduced my oldest son, Connor, to The New City Catechism. He really enjoys it and teaching him the foundations of the faith has been an absolute delight. If you aren’t familiar with the word “catechism,” you can find the definition here.
I’m not just kind of hopeful for my children to know the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ. I’m joyfully determined. Knowing the Lordship of Jesus is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. When my boys grow up, I never want them to look back and wonder why I passively stood on the sidelines of their spiritual development. If you’re a parent of young children and call yourself a Christian, I hope you feel the same way.
Two nights ago, we tackled question 21 from the catechism: What sort of Redeemer is needed to bring us back to God? Here’s the answer he memorized: One who is truly human and also truly God.
He struggled to make sense of this, and at times, so does every genuine Christian who treasures the Bible. He asked, “So does Jesus have a human face and a God face?” What a profound question. I love that question.
I explained to him that Jesus has only one face, and it’s the face of a man who is also God. He’s just like us, and also nothing like us. He fully understands everything about being human and living in a beautiful fallen world littered with pain and sin, and He also fully understands everything about being a perfect, eternal, holy God who is above it all. I did my best to explain this in 5-year-old vernacular.
I wonder if we take enough time to reflect on the singular face of Jesus: A face that is utterly human, and yet behind those eyes – God. One face, one man, one God in three Persons, the holy Son of the Father, born in the likeness of men: Jesus, the God-man.
A merely human Jesus could compassionately feel with you, but he couldn’t say, “I am going to prepare a place for you in my Father’s house, and I will come again to take you home with me that you may be where I am” (John 14:2-3, paraphrase).
A merely divine Jesus could raise a man from the dead, but he couldn’t slow down and cry with a friend (John 11:32-35).
On the cross the singular face of Jesus grimaced in pain. A man like us crucified for our sin. A God unlike us bearing the weight of eternal and righteous anger against our injustice.
Some want a merely human Jesus. They run from His authority. They want someone who can feel but reject a God who commands. Others want a merely divine Jesus. They run from His vulnerability. They want someone who can protect but reject a God who suffers.
Christians – genuine children of God – find hope in the singular face of Jesus. They bow to His Lordship and pursue obedience to Him. They also run to Him in their trouble and pain to pursue relationship. Jesus is their God, and Jesus is their friend. To know Him as only one and not the other is the same as not knowing Him.