Christians believe that Jesus was both divine and human, expressing the one without diminishing the other. The reality of Jesus humanness is affirmed in four key markers of healthy human development, as follows:
Wisdom is a word having many applications: it means good judgment; prudence; the ability to foresee consequences and the self-discipline to respond appropriately; even prompting when to speak and when to remain silent; etc.
Stature in this case has to do with physical development. Normal children have a passion to grow up. I remember when I was a young lad I would back up to the kitchen door jam and ask mother to make a pencil mark to show my growth from time to time.
I had a driving goal to grow up to the full stature of manhood. God had put the passion there. It was so also with Jesus in his humanness — Luke notes that he grew physically toward manhood.
In favor with God : Here, Jesus’ earthly parents led the way. Their concern was that their son develop well spiritually. This was evident when, at twelve years of age, they traveled with him a five-day walk from Nazareth to the temple in Jerusalem for Passover.
In favor with man: As an expression of his human nature Jesus developed socially. The Gospels show this to be so in abundance by the essence of his teachings, his wise response to opposition, his attractiveness to humble people, and in his obedience to his parents (Luke 2:51).
Some might fault Luke’s account for telling us so little about his childhood, saying a good biography deserves full details about the subject’s earliest years.
But Luke’s account is not a biography; it is a Gospel, requiring a different form. The Gospel puts together the story of how and why Jesus came, and the achievements of his time on earth, majoring on the purpose of it all. Thus Luke gives little about his childhood, but devotes five of twenty-four chapters to cover the events of a little more than one week — telling of his crucifixion and resurrection
With all that in mind, Luke’s simple four-point description of Jesus’ human development explodes with meaning. Jesus was not a phantom, an angel in disguise, or a failed prophet. He was fully God and fully man — God in human form.
As an ancient creed says: he was as much man as though he had never been God and as much God as though he had never been man. The New Testament glories in this conviction.
Jesus mentored his disciples across three years and, by means of his miracles and his teachings, revealed himself to them as authentically human. As they grew to understand the deeper truth of incarnation they saw him as the Son of God the Father who humbled himself and came in human form.
But they had seen more. When called to answer Jesus’ question ‘Who do you say I am?’ St. Peter answered, You are the Messiah of God (Luke 9:20) Still later, Thomas blurted out in conviction, My Lord and My God! (John:20:28).
That’s how we should worship Our Lord this Advent. He is God Incarnate! The Gospel is clear and convincing. But this Incarnate God is also fully human and thus our brother. He comes near us in our times of need as our high priest (Hebrews 2:17).