Jesus never wasted a word. In a world-famous conversation with Pilate, and in what amounts to a flashback to Bethlehem, he hints at two profound aspects of his origin and person. I’m not sure the governor actually grasped what Bethlehem’s Child was saying. But since we have a more complete revelation of the Savior in the Scripture, we can make some theological assumptions.
“For this I have been born” speaks of his humanity. In once sense, Jesus came into the world as everyone else does. He was born in the ordinary way.
Mary became pregnant, albeit by the Holy Spirit, and her baby grew through the normal gestation period of nine months. Then in the fullness of time (okay, a phrase that indicates his arrival wasn’t so ordinary) Jesus slid through the birth canal and entered the same world in which we live. I’m sure he cried as all babies do moments after delivery. The cows mooed. The sheep went baaaah. A tear welled up in Joseph’s eye. Mary pondered. And yes, the angels sang. John 1:14 says it this way, “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” Beyond amazing.
The mysterious Incarnation is the perfect blending of humanity and deity. Before we get to the deity part, let’s consider his humanity.
Jesus was every bit a human being that we are, yet without sin. He laughed. He cried. He ate. He grew thirsty. He fell asleep in a boat. He was tempted. He welled up in righteous passion when he saw the moneychangers turning his Father’s house of prayer into a shopping mall. He wept at his friend’s graveside, grieved over a friend’s betrayal, and due to an unimaginable amount of stress he sweat drops of blood. He was despised and rejected. And yes, real pain electrified his body when the nails pierced his hands and feet. The only pain management he received while hanging on the cross was an offer of vinegar on a stick.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Christmas introduces us to a Savior who was born into this real and physical world full of pain.
“And for this I have come into the world” speaks of his deity. The phrase implies that Jesus existed long before his birth in Bethlehem. It speaks of his eternal nature. As the Creator, he slipped into the world he created, unnoticed by some and celebrated by others.
So what? Why does all this theology matter? Because Jesus lays claim to the truth, not in an abstract sort of way, but in the way of personally bearing witness to the truth at Bethlehem and later before Pilate, in the same way he said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6).
Jesus wasn’t some nutcase who stood up one day and said, “I am the Messiah. Follow me!” He is the eternal, preexistent God and the incarnate Christ. Every bit of authority granted to him by the Father rests in the true nature of his God-man person.