For me, one of the most staggering truths in the universe is the fact that at a point in history “God appeared in a body” (1 Timothy 3:16). The baby born in the stable in Bethlehem was God. Mary held God! Think about it! Amazing! No wonder Paul exclaimed, “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: God appeared in a body!” (1 Timothy 3:16).
In a body, Jesus did his Father’s will. Although “tempted in every way, just as we are . . . (he was) without sin” (Hebrews 5:15).
In a body, he showed us God. He said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father” (John 14:9). All the attributes of God not visible in creation were made visible in Christ.
In a body, he suffered. “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:7-9).
In a body, he died. Our salvation depends on his having died in our place for our sins on the cross. “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:21-22).
In a body, he intercedes for us now at God’s right hand in heaven. As a struggling disciple, I continually find great encouragement in this truth: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).
As we head into this Christmas season, take time to think more deeply about the incarnation. Let the mystery of the incarnation lead you to greater wonder, deeper worship, fuller commitment, and stronger confidence as we head into 2018 with all its uncertainties politically, economically, and personally. Whatever happens, remember “Immanuel … God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Irene joins me in wishing you a truly blessed Christmas and in thanking you for your love, support, and prayers through another year.