Thursday, December 26, 2013

God came down from heaven

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

The greatest miracle of Christmas is this: that God came down from heaven to rescue us. 

We needed God to come down to us.  We cannot fly up to seek Him.  We are caught in a tar patch of black corruption.  Sin constantly pulls us down like greedy quicksand.  Whether we struggle against it or passively give in, either way we are trapped and doomed to suffocate when death finally pulls us under.  We cannot rise to God; in fact most of the time our energy is focused on sinful matters to the exclusion of everything else.  It rarely occurs to us to cast our gaze heavenward in search of rescue from our struggles.  We needed God to come down where we are, grab us by the hand, and lift us from the problems that are caused by sin.

In Jesus, God left the riches of heaven to join us in poverty.  We are impoverished because of sin.  The dark urges that consume our thoughts and drive our behavior are destructive—they ruin our most precious relationships, they make us slaves to shallow pleasures that don’t last and constantly demand more than we have to give.  Through Christ, God breaks the cycle of failure and disappointment.  In Jesus we are offered forgiveness for our wrongs and a path through life that ends in paradise.  In the Son of God we find treasures that make even the poorest man wealthy beyond measure.

In Christ, God made His place among us.   He came in humility to a world that prizes arrogant use of power.  Instead of arriving in a luxurious palace, Jesus was born in a humble cattle shed.  Instead of being greeted by wealthy socialites, Christ was welcomed into our world by peasant shepherds.  Our Lord cares for all people of every station; He came in such a way that no one need feel embarrassed to come as they are and kneel at His manger with devotion in their hearts. 

In the Messiah, God joined us in our humanity.  As sinners we deserve punishment from God, punishment that makes us shiver with dread.  But Jesus came to satisfy the demands of justice on our behalf.  He was born a child that He might die a man, suffering the consequences incurred by our guilt.  Christ gave His life in exchange for ours, a trade that was grossly unfair and absolutely necessary to spare us from hell.  Then Christ walked from His grave alive, the Resurrected One who alone can guarantee our welcome into God’s home.  In Jesus, God enters our lives and works changes that are simply incredible.

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