Sunday, December 25, 2016

God—inhearted, enmeated, immarrowed


Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Hebrews 2:1-18

“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same…” Hebrews 2:14

Today we celebrate the incarnation—God taking on human flesh, a human body and mind in Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible we find footprints leading to and from this event.

Isaiah prophesied it:
“… Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son…” - Isaiah 7:14.  
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…” Isaiah 9:6 
“The LORD has called Me from the womb,
From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name” - Isaiah 49:1.

He would be born of David's kingly line:
"There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots" - Isaiah 11:1
Mary was the Hebrew girl God chose to be Jesus’ mother:
" And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus" Luke 1:31.
"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" Luke 2:7.

The New Testament writers understand and communicate this incarnation in a variety of ways.

Paul draws our attention to the humbling plunge of this event:
“…but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men” - Philippians 2:7.

In another place He calls it a mystery:
“…great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh…” 2 Timothy 3:17.

John adds a layer of significance by calling Him the "Word":
“… the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” - John 1:14.

Paul affirms that He is from David’s line:
“Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh” - Romans 1:3.

Paul and the writer of Hebrews also tell us the purpose of His coming—to deal once and for all with all of mankind’s sin, exposed by our inability to keep the law:
“For what the law could not do … God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh" - Romans 8:3.
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil” - Hebrews 2:14.

And this belief in the incarnation is a pillar of the Christian faith:
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” - 2 John 1:7.

It’s really mind-bending—God, creator of all there is, humbling Himself to become a person… I have found in a book of Advent readings a wonderful poetic expression of it. Here is a snippet:


Inheart yourself, immensity. Immarrow,
Embone, enrib yourself….
… Enmeat
Yourself so we can rise onto our feet
And meet. For eyes, just take two suns and shrink them.
Make all your thoughts as small as you can think them...

- by Amit Majmudar (read entire)

PRAYER: Thank You, Jesus for inhearting, immarrowing, emboning, enmeating Yourself for us—for me. May I never lose my awe of and gratitude for this. Amen.

MORE: The Feast of Christmas

Today the church celebrates the Feast of Christmas.
The Christmas day liturgy has a choice of beginning prayers. I leave you with this (third) collect:

Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born [this day] of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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