Saturday, December 31, 2022
Reader: “The Word became flesh . . . ”
Response: “ . . . and dwelt among us.”
Scripture: Philippians 2:6-8
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Have you ever come across a story or recounting of an event that was so utterly fantastic that you said this cannot possibly be true? This recounting is truly beyond reason. No one could have imagined this actually happening! The birth of Jesus Christ was just such an event, the only one of its kind since the existence of time. He “appeared in human form.” You have undoubtedly heard or read this verse so many times. There is not another faith, no religious system, no group of prophets or enlightened individuals who claims a God in human flesh. Jesus’ claim is 100% God and 100% human being. He is not half and half. He does not morph back and forth between the two natures. He was not a prophet with magical powers nor simply a great moral teacher. He is the only God who has gained the victory over sin, death, and the powers of darkness.
No other religious belief system, including modern Judaism, acknowledges the problem of original sin. God the Father certainly did. Jesus did. Not only did he become human, he lived among us in our sinful world. The word John uses in his gospel is “tabernacle,” just like the Tabernacle in the Old Testament dwelt in the midst of God’s people. Not only did he live with his people, he gave himself for them and for his creation. God’s becoming Incarnate was the confirmation that we could not have communed with God through any human effort. That perspective was God’s, not ours. Sadly, many religious systems continue to seek some form of connecting to a god through personal striving.
In contrast, the birth of Jesus was the human flesh and blood action of God who greatly loves his people and his creation and chooses to bring them back to himself, to provide a way home, so that they again might enjoy him forever. No one but God could ever have thought up this fantastic story. History truly is his remarkable, astounding, and glorious story.
Music: “Joy to the World” Voctave Don’t miss this!!
Lord Jesus, though you are God, you did not think of equality with God as something you chose to use to your advantage. Instead, you gave up your divine privileges and took the humble position of a slave and were born as a human being. When you appeared as a baby, (I can’t imagine the adjustment that was), you humbled yourself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross for people that rejected and hated you. I greatly rejoice that God elevated you to the place of highest honor in all creation and gave you the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus, your name, every knee is going to bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that you are Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen and amen! ―adapted from Philippians 2:6-11 Daniel Sharp