Wednesday, December 20, 2017

When Jesus Became Like Us

First I would like to say Merry Christmas to all! Christmas is the annual celebration Christians all over the world recognize as the time when God stepped into the world of humanity to be like us. Yes, the celebration of the First Advent of Christ, Christmas, or the Nativity of Jesus is here. For believers everywhere, it is a time to recognize that God saw a forlorn world in need and knew the only way He could relate to them on their terms, and prophetically on His, was, for a season, to become like them.

The question arises, was and is the world really in need? Yes, according to God it was and it is. But in Christ that need has been met. In what way are we in need? And in what way did the Lord God meet that need? This simple article will seek to answer those two questions with the hope that it will be understood by all who read.

First, in order to be in need there has to be something that is needful either for this life or the one to come. Second, having established a need, the Lord has indeed made a way open to meet it. We can easily say, there have been times when we all have needed something in life. Rich or poor it does not matter. Needs come in many ways. The poor may wonder where their next meal is coming from, how they will pay their mortgage or their rent, or how they will clothe their children for the coming days. The rich find themselves in need when their money cannot buy them peace, happiness, or answers to the trials that life throws at them. The debilitating sickness of a loved one and even death, money does not have an answer for. As much as Jesus does have an answer for these types of needs, they are not the needs He primarily came to meet. The poor can find ways through benefactors that come in many gracious ways to have their immediate needs met only to find another sunrise where they have to repeat the process. The rich can temporarily buy their way out of their needs replacing it with something that can take their mind off of the situation, at least for another day. In reality we are not too unlike the drunkard when it comes to escaping the trials of life:

    “They have struck me, but I was not hurt;
    They have beaten me, but I did not feel it.
    When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” — Prov.23:35

The need that God came to meet—the need all people of every ethnicity and social status are missing—is the need for reconciliation with God. You may say, "I do not need God or to hear and read of your blabbering about foolish  things I cannot see or touch." Bingo! Inadvertently it is statements like these that strike at why God became like us in the way He did so long ago. He is not some God who cannot be touched—He was touched by many who sought His healing. He is not some God who could not be seen—He was seen by dozens of thousands as He reached out to the masses so long ago. His death and resurrection attest that He can still be seen and touched today. The Bible tells us that Christ Jesus, is currently at work in the lives of men, women, and children everywhere and "He ever lives to make intercession for the saints," (Heb. 7:25). That man ringing that bell outside of Wal-Mart with the red kettle, God works through him. He is in that woman who sits with tears of compassion holding the hands of a young girl who in the heat of passion made a mistake and is now pregnant. He is in the ladle of the servers who gather voluntarily to feed the hungry their meals of compassion in food lines across the world. He is in the chaplain or pastor who kneels next to the bed of the ill in hospitals of every city. In the hands of those helping the homeless on street corners across the land He can also be found.

You see, what would life be like if God went on strike?
Where would those He works through, His helping hands be? 

The shelters, food banks, discount clothing stores, churches, charitable organizations, and hospitals would be crippled and we quickly come face to face with a world without God. That is not what God wants, but it does not give us the right to take these things for granted either. Strip them all away and there we will stand naked and barren, ourselves in need. This world is in need and Christ came to meet it. So, from the pen of one blabbering fool to the mind of the one who dismisses they have need—another blabbering fool—I write today, Jesus is the answer to our needs.

Here is how He met that need. God sought us and He did it beginning with the proclamations of the biblical prophets that He was coming to us. "For unto us a child is born, a Son is given," (Isa. 9:6). He followed it up through an announcement to a young virgin that she had "found favor with God." and would bear a Son who would be called Jesus. Her obedience to the divine mission led her on a trip with her husband Joseph to a small town in Judea, Bethlehem, where they would be registered as citizens of Judah. Over this city God placed a star in the sky that would lead Magi from the East to come worship the Christ-child who would one day become the King of the world. The angels announced it to the shepherds in the fields and the shepherds announced it to all they came in contact from Bethlehem to Jerusalem where they brought their flocks to the temple. In a manger, in the darkness of the night, an infant cry would soon be heard. His first breath would be His first herald evolving into the announcement, "I have come to seek and to save that which was lost," (Luke 19:10).

You see dear reader, God can be touched, he can be seen in history, and He has spoke to us through the lips of Jesus. That Babe grew up into adulthood facing every trial and human need that we face. He then accepted His mission—the mission that began on Christmas Day over two thousand years ago winding up on a cruel and bloody, life strangling cross outside of a city where the destitute and outcasts are tried for crimes (thieves on each side). And so, it would be with the wicked, the rich and poor that He would die, (cf. Isa. 53:9), for the rich man Joseph of Arimathea, would have Jesus buried in his tomb (John 19:38-42).

This Jesus, who taught the words of life, healed the sick, raised the dead, and gave sight to the blind is still at work in the world today. He became like us to tell us we are desperate and in need. That another day should not pass us by without surrendering ourselves to Him, reconciling the breach that sin has personally created in each of us bringing separation from God. The separation need not be a reality no longer. By His stripes (pre-crucifixion blood-letting lashes) we are healed. He took our punishment for sin on Himself. Jesus did not deserve to die. He committed no crime. He is the only one who can say without lying, "I have not sinned," (John 8:7; Rom. 3:23; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15, 7:26). Because we are sinners and He is sinless, by faith we can come to Him and ask forgiveness. He is the only one who has the right to forgive.

Christmas Day is a time for us to not only come together as family and celebrate by giving gifts of love to one another, but by remembering the true gift of love that God gave to all of us, Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This season is in commemoration of Him. Today He still bids us to come to Him.

Matthew 11:28–30 (NKJV) 
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The healing of the breach began in a manger and was appropriated on a cross. It was validated through the resurrection and made sure through His reconciling work. Won't you trust Jesus today?