As we approach the Christmas celebration, I'm not sure any of us can fathom the mystery of God coming to earth as a human being. Meditating on the reality of "Immanuel, God with us," as Jesus is called, might just make smoke come out of your ears if you think about it too long.
At the core of this mystery though, is pure love, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life…" with Him!
I'm afraid that many of us miss what Jesus chose to do by coming to earth. We may have embraced a phrase to describe Jesus as "fully God and fully man" in an effort to get our minds around who He is how He walked the earth, but if we think that Jesus didn't have dirty diapers and always walked a foot off the ground, we've missed part of the miracle.
Wanting the people of Philippi to think like Jesus, the Apostle Paul said, "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV) Another way of saying that is Jesus never chose to play the God card while he walked the earth.
Huh? What about walking on water and all the miracles he performed?
There's something you and I have to grasp before we can really appreciate Christ's coming and receive what He came to give us. While Jesus walked the earth, he lived the life that you and I were created to live. He had a relationship with His Father that was marked by perfect trust and complete dependence just as Adam enjoyed before his sin in the Garden of Eden. Jesus never looked to anyone else to tell him he was "Ok" and never turned to anything else besides the love of His Father to meet His needs.
And have you ever noticed when Jesus began to do miracles? It was after His baptism when the Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. As a man walking the Earth, Jesus was a pure vessel of the same Holy Spirit that He later sent to live in us who would believe and receive. The SAME Spirit!
If you missed my post last week about Christmas being a great invasion, it's important to know that Jesus came like a little seed that carried within it the Kingdom of God. Thirty three years later, when Jesus was telling his friends why He had to die, he described it like this: "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:24 NIV)
Jesus came to earth to reconcile you and me to His Father and our Father and, by giving us His righteousness, enabled us to enjoy the same perfect relationship He had with Him. Then He gave us His Spirit to multiply his presence on earth as His body. The Kingdom of God that was packed in that little Bundle of Love that arrived on the first Christmas morning is now within us, ready to be released into every situation we face and to bless every person we meet.
"Jesus, thank you for coming. And thank you for not only showing us how life is to be lived, but for going a step further and living your Life through us. Now bring our Father glory through our lives. You are the abundant life we long for and there's nothing like seeing you express your love through us."