Before Jesus performed the work, He merely lived in His normal humanity. No one could tell that He was God, no one found out that He was the incarnate God; people just knew Him as a completely ordinary man. His utterly ordinary, normal humanity was proof that God was incarnated in the flesh, and that the Age of Grace was the age of the work of the incarnate God, not the age of the Spirit’s work. It was proof that the Spirit of God was realized completely in the flesh, that in the age ofHis flesh would perform all the work of the Spirit. The with normal humanity is a flesh in which the Spirit is realized, possessing normal humanity, normal sense, and human thought. “Being realized” means God becoming man, the Spirit becoming flesh; to put it plainly, it is when God Himself inhabits a flesh with normal humanity, and through it expresses His divine work—this is what it means to be realized, or incarnated. During His first incarnation, it was necessary for God to heal the sick and cast out demons because His work was to redeem. In order to redeem the entire human race, He needed to be compassionate and forgiving. The work that He did before He was crucified was healing the sick and casting out demons, which presaged His salvation of man from sin and filth. Because it was the Age of Grace, it was necessary for Him to heal the sick, thereby showing signs and wonders, which were representative of grace in that age; for the Age of Grace centered around the bestowal of grace, symbolized by peace, joy, and material blessings, all tokens of people’s faith in Jesus. That is to say, healing the sick, casting out demons, and bestowing grace were instinctive abilities of Jesus’ flesh in the Age of Grace, they were the work of the Spirit realized in the flesh. But while He was performing such work, He was living in the flesh, He did not transcend the flesh. No matter what acts of healing He performed, He still possessed normal humanity, still lived a normal human life. The reason I say that during the age of God’s incarnation the flesh performed all the work of the Spirit, is that no matter what work He did, He did it in the flesh. But because of His work, people did not regard His flesh as having a completely corporeal essence, for this flesh could work wonders, and at certain special moments could do things that transcended the flesh. Of course, all these happenings occurred after He began His ministry, such as His being tested for forty days or being transfigured on the mountain. So with Jesus, the meaning of God’s incarnation was not completed, but only partially fulfilled. The life that He lived in the flesh before beginning His work was utterly normal in all respects. After He began the work He retained only the outer shell of His flesh. Because His work was an expression of divinity, it exceeded the normal functions of the flesh. After all, God’s incarnate flesh was different from flesh-and-blood humans. Of course, in His daily life, He required food, clothing, sleep, and shelter like anyone else, needed all the normal necessities, reasoned and thought like a normal human being. People still held Him to be a normal man, except that the work He did was superhuman. Actually, no matter what He did, He lived in an ordinary and normal humanity, and insofar as He performed the work His reasoning was particularly normal, His thoughts especially lucid, more so than those of any other normal man. It was necessary for the incarnate God to think and reason in this way, for the divine work needed to be expressed by a flesh whose reasoning was very much normal and whose thoughts were very lucid—only in this way could His flesh express the divine work. All throughout the thirty-three and a half years that Jesus lived on earth, He retained His normal humanity, but because of His work during His three-and-a-half-year ministry, people thought that He was very transcendent, that He was much more supernatural than before. In actuality, Jesus’ normal humanity remained unchanged before and after He began His ministry; His humanity was the same throughout, but because of the difference before and after He began His ministry, two different views emerged concerning His flesh. No matter what people thought, God incarnate retained His original, normal humanity the entire time, for since God was incarnated, He lived in the flesh, the flesh that had normal humanity. Regardless of whether He was performing His ministry or not, the normal humanity of His flesh could not be erased, for humanity is the basic essence of flesh. Before Jesus performed His ministry, His flesh remained completely normal, engaging in all ordinary human activities; He did not appear in the least bit supernatural, did not show any miraculous signs. At that time He was simply a very common man who worshiped God, though His pursuit was more honest, more sincere than anyone’s. This was how His utterly normal humanity manifested itself. Because He did no work at all before assuming His ministry, no one was aware of His identity, no one could tell that His flesh was different from all the others, for He did not work even a single miracle, did not perform one bit of God’s own work. However, after He began to perform His ministry, He retained the outer shell of normal humanity and still lived with normal human reason, but because He had begun to do the work of God Himself, assume the ministry of Christ and do work that mortal beings, flesh-and-blood humans, were incapable of, people assumed that He did not have normal humanity and was not a completely normal flesh but an incomplete flesh. Because of the work He performed, people said that He was a God in the flesh who did not have normal humanity. This is an erroneous understanding, for people did not grasp the significance of God’s incarnation. This misunderstanding arose from the fact that the work expressed by God in the flesh was the divine work, expressed in a flesh that had normal humanity. God was clothed in flesh, He dwelt within flesh, and His work in His humanity obscured the normality of His humanity. For this reason people believed that God did not have humanity.
Excerpted from The Word Appears in the Flesh