Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Romans 9:5

Christmas is a good time to remind ourselves that Jesus had a human ancestry and was fully human yet he is also fully God.

However, I often come across people who see Jesus as possessing righteousness and wisdom but otherwise an ordinary man, perhaps divinely appointed by God but certainly not divine. They would argue that Jesus never says, “I am God.”

Jesus lived in a Jewish culture and therefore addressed his comments to a Jewish audience. The reason Jesus often hid his identity was that the Jews held many incorrect preconceived ideas of the Messiah. To fully understand what Jesus was saying we need to look at how his audience understood him. For example, we read: “‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself …” (John 8:58-59).

The penalty for blasphemy was stoning. Later, we find a similar claim and response from the audience: “‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:30-33).

Jesus’ humanity and divinity is an important issue because John tells us (1 John 4:2, 2 John 1:7) that anyone who denies that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. Our salvation depends on believing that Jesus is fully God and became fully human.