New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 28

new church life: march/april 2017 This naturally leads to another question: given His Divine soul and Infinite love from conception, was there ever really any doubt that the Lord would overcome the temptations of the world? I don’t think there was – although in His natural mind it certainly did seem to Him at times as if there was. Rather I think the Lord’s greatest temptation – still within His natural consciousness – was to think that all His work might have been for nothing if the people He came to redeem and save were to reject Him. But this is another article for another day. The idea that the Lord “descended as the Divine Truth which is the Word” is what we need to understand – because it’s not intuitive. Yes, John’s gospel tells us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” but I think we need to see this as a gradual process, not an event of birth. After all, we know that the limitations He took on made it impossible for Him fully to comprehend the depths of Divine Wisdom in the beginning. In other words, He was “an infant like any other infant, a boy like any other boy, and so on; but with this sole difference, that He passed through those progressive states sooner, more fully and more perfectly than others.” (True Christian Religion 89) Yet during that process, as He learned the truths of the Word which was and is Divine, one by one, “line upon line, precept upon precept,” He understood immediately how they applied to Himself, and His mind was formed by them and His speech and actions expressed them. That is how He came to embody the Divine Truth – without separating it from the Divine Good. And that is why it is said in John that “we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) There is no way the shepherds or the wise men saw that glory in the physical features of a baby – except as the hope and promise of fulfillment of messianic prophecy “as it was told to them.” Remember Isaiah 53 where we read: “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of Jehovah been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; He has no form nor comeliness; and when we see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Rather it was “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah” (Ibid. 11:2) that made His glory visible as He taught and was glorified. The whole process, of course, was not finished until His resurrection when at last the disciples did see Him in glory such that “their hearts burned within them while He talked with them on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to them.” (Luke 24:32) Again, a tangent, but it may be useful to note that the bread of the holy supper is unleavened because it corresponds to the Lord’s Divine love, which was never “leavened” by any corruption (represented by yeast), but the wine is 94