I originally posted this in 2007 and then again in 2008…after five years, here it is again! Hope it speaks to you this season. Merry Christmas!
About eight pounds of God in the flesh.
What an amazing thought! It seems almost sacrilegious. For many it is so wrong they consider it blasphemy. But for others of us, it is the whole point of our faith.
Eight pounds of Divine Love came to be a man to dwell among us. To experience human life. To become like us in all things, so that, at the right point in time, He would completely satisfy His Father’s Law.
Eight pounds of God lying in a cow’s trough in a dirty stable. He left the splendour of His home on high and allowed Himself to become helpless, in need of constant care. He emptied Himself of all His Power to experience our weakness. The essence of God coupled with the weakness of man. It baffles the mind. It’s too big to comprehend.
But, He did it.
Christmas is the beginning of His story on earth. Many people stop at that story and never contemplate the other experiences He had while walking among us. Growing up I would always give myself an “out” for not living up to Jesus’ example. I mean, He was God…of course He could get it right. But, you see, that misses the point. He was also fully man and had to experience life as a human.
Since we are flesh and blood He partook of the same. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” ~Hebrews 5:8,9
So what, exactly, did He experience besides the stable and the crucifixion?
Before the coldness of that night, the Holy Spirit “overshadowed” Mary and she conceived. Jesus experienced life in the womb and the pains of labor. None of us can remember that experience, but what do you bet, He can? He lived in a poor family. Turtledoves were offered for the sacrifice when Joseph and Mary presented Him at the temple. A lamb was the usual sacrifice unless it could not be afforded. He was circumcised as the Abrahamic covenant ordains.
Joseph was a working man, a carpenter. Jesus grew up in a working class family with brothers and sisters. He knew what it was to have to endure siblings and, being the oldest, He probably had to babysit. As was the custom, He would have worked alongside His father as a carpenter. On occassion He must have hit his thumb.
He followed the customs of His time and God’s Law given through Moses. He went to Jerusalem for Passover. Once, at the age of twelve, He stayed behind at the temple. We usually hear that He was there amidst the teachers, both listening and asking questions. The teachers were amazed at His answers. But notice that He worried his parents. “Son, why have you treated us this way? Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.” He knew what it was to be in subjection to parental authority – even though He knew more than them. How many of us have rebelled, thinking we knew more than our parents? Jesus actually did know more and yet He continued in subjection to them. He continued to grow in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and man.
At the beginning of His ministry, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. He underwent intense and very personalized temptations. Satan attacked Him at His most vulnerable points. He was hungry, having fasted forty days. He must have been in pain. I’ve only ever fasted for 24 hours and let me tell you, it was hard!
He chose not to relieve His hunger by turning the stones into bread. He chose not to succumb to the temptation of “showing off” His supernatural powers by having the angels rescue Him. He gave up His chance to escape death and still have all the kingdoms of the world. Satan knew where to “get at” Him – just as he knows our weakest points. Jesus fully experienced temptations as a man.
The prophecy in Isaiah 53 tells us that He was not good-looking. He was not stately or majestic, nothing exceptional that we should notice Him. This one passage speaks volumes to me. I grew up being teased for my freckles and red hair. I felt very plain. The passage goes on to say that He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows (pains) and acquainted with grief (sickness). I live with an illness that causes whole-body pain. When I read this passage it drives home the point that He knows what I’m going through. He totally gets me!
People hid their faces from Him. He was rejected. His own did not receive Him. He was slandered. The scribes said He was demon possessed. His family thought He was crazy. His brothers didn’t believe Him and the world hated Him. Have you ever felt any of this? Has this ever been your experience?
He suffered deep grief to the point of death. I have been anxious but, I have never “sweat great drops of blood.”
He prayed and experienced silence from Heaven. I’ve been there.
He was beaten, spit upon, cursed, humiliated and then condemned for something He did not do. His friends all ran away from Him. They left Him to go through His darkest hours alone. Have you ever felt abandoned, or worse yet, actually been abandoned? He understands.
God became flesh and dwelt among us.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (utilized or asserted, held onto selfishly) but emptied Himself (put aside His supernatural abilities), taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~Philippians 2:5-11
Therefore, since we have so great a high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~Hebrews 4:14-16
Yes, it’s Christmas…the beginning of His time on earth to experience life in the flesh.
Praise to the Father, the Son was obedient! Obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
For this reason, He is highly exalted!
Prince of Peace.