"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Monday, December 26, 2011

God with us

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”  God with us.

“God with us”—is there any three words that hold greater grace and power?  Jesus saw fit to identify with us as man; facing human temptations, trials and pain, so that he could be one with those he came to save.  But if Jesus was simply a man he would have no power to save.  And so Jesus became a holy enigma—both wholly man, and wholly God for our sake.  “God with us.”  In those three words is wrapped the beauty, mystery and splendor of the incarnation—a love that extends infinitely beyond our comprehension.
Anyone who has ever sat on the bench, stood on the starting block, or peeked from behind the curtain before a show, knows that feeling of excitement and anticipation when you are about to fulfill a purpose.  I wonder if that was what Jesus felt like before entering the realm of humanity through the womb of a virgin girl.  Leaving the glory and splendor of Heaven; the eternal Son willingly left his Father and thrown to be born as a humble baby boy.  He replaced heavenly robes with strips of swaddling clothes, a majestic thrown with a feeding trough, and the company of angels for that of cattle.  How peculiar that the creator of the universe would choose to make his debut appearance displayed helplessly in a bed of hay.  Immanuel—“God with us.”  It’s as if God were saying, "I’m serious about this!"  Look how far I’m willing to go just to be with you—to be one of you.  And he would reach lower still.
It is hard to clearly grasp the concept of Jesus being both God and man…to really wrap our minds around “God with us.”  It’s far easier to lean to one side or the other.  But Jesus was a man—he bled, cried, hurt, and hungered.  He was God—he cast out demons, healed the sick, walked on water, and spoke with ultimate authority.  The book of John illustrates Jesus dual nature well.   When Judas brings a battalion of Roman soldiers along with the religious leaders to betray and arrest Jesus, he asks them, “Who are you looking for?” 

“Jesus of Nazareth,” They reply.

“I am he.

In this three word sentence, Jesus reveals his divinity.  “I Am”—the name of God first spoken to Moses in Genesis, and now as Jesus utters it—those who came in force to arrest him…stumble backwards and fall to the ground!  Such amazing authority!  Then, Peter hacks off a soldier’s ear, and Jesus simply picks it up, dusts it off, and hits the divine “edit undo” button.  Jesus scolds Peter, reminding him he could ask the Father for twelve legions of angels to protect him if he so desired.   And yet, he chose to hang on the cross instead.  Authority so great that the mouth that once spoke creation into existence now knocked men to their feet.   Humility so great, that he humbled himself to the point of handing over his life.  Humanity so real that when his heart stopped beating, he died.  Divinity so real, that three days later he conquered the grave and rose again!  What beautiful humility. 

Immanuel.  God with us.  There is no question of God with us, but rather us with God.  Jesus stooped as low as he could possibly go—the depths of Hell—in order to be with us—to save us.  If we desire to be with God we must humble ourselves as well, because that’s where Jesus is at. 

1 comment:

Alyssa Dawn said...

Tyler, I just read this again. Such powerful words. Thanks.