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In an Inferior Body

by Tim O'Hearn

It’s tough being superior in a body that is considered inferior. I know. My name is Gretl. I have an older brother named Hansel.

Mine is the superior intellect, but I am always looked down upon because I am a woman; worse, I am a girl. But I tell you, if it weren’t for me, Hansel would not be alive right now. He is the one who made all the mistakes. After all, in the middle of a famine when even the animals are starving, who leaves a trail of bread crumbs? In a forest known to be full of hungry animals? And then when we found that house, who was it that stuffed his face with gingerbread, without asking permission? Was it the properly cautious little sister? No, it was Mr. I’m-Hungry-So-Don’t-Try-To-Stop-Me. Who fattened himself, just as the witch wanted? Who would have walked into the oven on his own if there was food in it? Certainly not the “inferior” sister, who outsmarted even the witch. (It was easy to outsmart the brother, not so easy to outsmart another woman.)

Well, just as it is tough to be superior in a girl’s body, it is even tougher to be a superior spiritual being in an inferior physical body. Yet that is what God chose to be. Imagine! As a spiritual being, God was not restrained by space or time. He was (is) everywhere, everywhen. He knows the future because it is his present/past. His ability to multitask is endless. And yet, he chooses to be constrained by time and space.

What might it have been like for the baby Jesus? Used to being, he is now limited. He cannot move. He cannot communicate freely. I don’t believe any of this “no crying he makes” nonsense. He must have cried. Maybe not out of sorrow; maybe just to communicate.

And then there was that walking on water bit. Pretty impressive stuff. And yet, how must it have felt to have to do even that? Don’t you think he wished he could have just been at Genneseret without having to walk there, even if he was able to take the shortcut?

How many times in his thirty-something years might he have thought, “let’s get this thing over with.” Why could he not just go from newborn to resurrected? Yes, he had to learn to suffer like man. (Heb 2:9-10) But just a few years could have taught him that. And, yes, he had to prepare his disciples to spread the gospel. That took three to four years. It might have been nice, though, to skip straight from that baby in swaddling clothes to itinerant rabbi without going through that time in between. (Although maybe it was good that he spent time as a teenager, so teenagers can relate to him.)

Maybe there was a purpose for every day he spent on this earth. Still, a man that could pray “let this cup pass from me” may also have wished some of those days could have been skipped.

We live in that “inferior” body, that he shared for a lifetime. Because he shared this body, and yet was raised from death in this body, we can know that we are only shortly constrained.

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Cor 15:51-53)

Paul rejoiced that God became man. More than that, he said we should all be of a like mind.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Php 2:5-11)