People say that Jesus is God. People also say that Jesus is human. But I’ve discovered over the years that the two somehow combine in people’s minds to form something other than either God or man.
Jesus has become, it seems, not man, not God, but Superman.
He is a man above man. Not just from time-to-time, not just in incidents like walking on water or changing water into wine.
No. Jesus is a man above man at all times and in all circumstances.
I have probably written this before, but I’ll write it again, anyway: Were there a record of Jesus farting, I wager there would be by now at least 23 tomes expostulating on what blessings His Holy Wind had bestowed on those around Him at the time.
In the life of Jesus, a fart is not just a fart. A tear is most certainly not just a tear. And anger is not just anger.
They are expanded. Caped. Infused with a glory that no-one else could ever hope to experience.
Jesus is, in short, no man at all.
If he stubbed his toe, he did not flinch and curse lightly. No, instead, his pain transformed the offending rock into an direct expression of either God or the Devil (depending on the writer).
If he got sick in a back garden after drinking too much wine at a friend’s wedding celebration, then the vomit would have given abundant life to all those lucky plants that it happened to fall on.
Again. In most people’s minds, Jesus was never just a man.
His every breath was glorious and full of magnificence.
Imagine having the gifts of God at your fingertips, but almost never receiving a backrub after a long day of healing. Imagine spending your days teaching others, but never having anyone listen to your own heartaches.
His own men couldn’t even keep awake when he asked them to.
He’s Superman, after all. He doesn’t need us.
That’s it, really, in a nutshell, is it not? I’ve yet to meet anyone who can acknowledge that Jesus had any real human needs.
It’s inconceivable, is it not? He’s God, you say. So what needs could he have?
The needs of a man.
A man with the abilities of God.
It strikes me that being God doesn’t eliminate his humanly needs, doesn’t even reduce them. Instead, it strikes me that being God expands his humanly needs.
The absolute exhaustion that would come from his efforts for others.
The never-ending conflict between the reality of his body and mind on Earth, and his work within, around, and through God.
I touch them and they are healed. But what about me? I get to know that as I follow my feet, I walk to my own humiliating death.
Did he dream of a last minute rescue from his father? I know I would have. I can’t imagine any human not having instances of seeing it all go up in a puff of smoke. Albeit a holy puff of smoke, but gone nonetheless.
If not, then what good was it to be God on Earth?
Well, that’s the whole point, now, isn’t it?
God on Earth was just a man with a few extra touches thrown in.
And the stories of Jesus keep showing us that, over and over and over again.
How he abandoned his own parents in order to indulge in his access to spiritual knowledge. How he angered the people of his own town because they thought he was making too much of himself. How he overturned the tables in rage and disappointment.
I’ve taught you! Why can’t you listen and learn?
How he fried that poor fig tree.
For me, it always comes back to that poor tree.
Jesus tells us that he, himself, is nothing except what his father gives him.
He is nothing.
Nothing but a man.
It is God who performs the miracles through Jesus. It is God who leads his hand, who guides his touch, who fills his mouth with words.
Jesus tells us that he is nothing without his father.
And so, one day, knowing that his death is drawing near, too uncomfortably near, he notices that he is hungry.
Hungry like a man gets hungry.
And he sees a fig tree.
Ah, he thinks to himself. Food. I have the touch. I’ll make it bear fruit out of season.
Except he doesn’t.
The fig tree is just a fig tree out of season.
And Jesus is just a man, who is hungry, who knows his death is near, and wants to do something, anything to alleviate the horror that is growing inside him.
Just give me some fruit.
But God is not there in this miracle. This is not a miracle of God.
It is, instead, the silence of God. The silence of God that Jesus will come to know intimately in the days to come.
Jesus is nothing without the power of God in him. And the fig tree bears the son of God, the son of man no fruit.
And Jesus curses it.
And the tree dies.
Where are all the bound volumes on the curses of Jesus?
What do the curses of Jesus teach us anyway about this man who is God on Earth?
Perhaps that he is human after all.