“Here am I, the servant of the Lord;
let it be with me according to your word.”
He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn
from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.
The old carol, “Some Children See Him”, always gets me thinking. It celebrates how children from different races see Jesus. “Some children see Him, lily white,” the song begins. “Some see Him, bronze and brown,” or “almond eyes with skin of yellow hue,” or “dark as they.” The song joyfully concludes: “Come worship now the infant King/It is love that’s born tonight.” I enjoy singing the song and thinking about how little children from around the world imagine Jesus.
How do you see Jesus? Do you wonder what He looked like? Joan Taylor is a professor at King’s College, London, who has thought a lot about this. After extensive historical and archeological research she has written a book about it. Taylor concludes that baby Jesus would look like today’s Iraqi Jew, with dark brown to black hair. He would have deep brown eyes and olive skin. (See Joan Taylor, What Did Jesus Look Like?)
However people see Jesus, today’s appearance looks beneath the surface to say, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” This is what the shepherd and wise men saw when they beheld Jesus: that in the divine Child “all the attributes and activities of God – his spirit, word, wisdom and glory – are disclosed in him.” (F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians)
The fullness of divine essence is self-revealed in the eternal, sovereign God choosing to become fully human, to forgive sinners, cast out demons, feel compassion, weep, be nailed to a cross, and rise from the grave. All the fullness of revelation is focused in on Jesus. The eternal God’s choice to become human and to take up our cause reveals how special we are to Him.
Later in his letter to the Colossians, Paul has more to say about the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in Jesus: “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him” (Colossians 2:9-10a). Right there in human bodily form, people see the whole fullness of deity. As we put our faith in Jesus we “come to fullness in him.”
There are two facets of the great mystery we celebrate this Christmas: the fullness of deity in the Man Christ Jesus, and, therefore, believers’ fullness in Him. We get to proclaim the Gospel good news of “the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27b). Revel in this: God is in Christ, and Christ is in you!
Because God is infinite there will always be more to Jesus than we can know or experience. But isn’t that the joy and wonder of knowing Him?
“Jesus is like a vast ocean. He is too immense to fully explore, and too rich to fathom. You are like a bottle. The wonder of the gospel is that the bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle.” (Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola, Jesus Manifesto)
However children around the world see Jesus, we do see in Him the revelation of the fullness of God, and the revelation of our fullness in Him! True God from True God!
- What are some ways you see the fullness of God dwelling in Jesus? In His birth, His life and ministry, His death and resurrection?
- What does it mean for a believer in Jesus to “to come to fullness in him”?