Saturday, December 31, 2016

Born in a Manger - God?

God, born in a manger?

I don’t suppose anyone can ever fathom what it means for God to be born in a manger. How does one explain the Almighty stooping to become a tiny infant? Our minds cannot begin to understand what was involved in God becoming a man. We will never comprehend why He who was infinitely rich would become poor, assume a human nature, and enter into a world He knew would reject Him and kill Him.

Nor can anyone explain how God could become a baby. Yet He did. Without forsaking His divine nature or diminishing His deity in any sense, He was born into our world as a tiny infant. How can both things be true?

Humanity and Deity

For nearly two thousand years, debate has been raging about who Jesus really is. Some say He is one of many gods, a created being, a high angel, a good teacher, a prophet, and so on. The common thread of all such theories is that they make Jesus less than God.

But let the Bible speak for itself. John’s gospel begins with a clear statement that Jesus is God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made,” John 1. 1-3. Who is “the Word” spoken of in these verses? John 1. 14 removes any doubt: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth”.

The biblical evidence is overwhelming that this child in the manger was the incarnation of God. For one thing, He was omniscient (knew all things). John 2. 24-25 says that, “But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” Nathanael was shocked to discover that Jesus knew all about him before they ever met. It was enough to persuade him that Jesus was the Messiah, John 1. 48-50. John 4 describes Jesus’ meeting with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. He knew everything about her, John 4. 17-19, 29, which was to shock her to the core of her being.

Jesus also did the works of God, saying, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves,” John 14. 11. Jesus’ works are convincing proof that He is God. He began His miraculous ministry with a simple act—He created wine at a wedding in Cana, John 2. 1-11. Only God can create. Moreover, He healed people who were hopelessly ill. He gave a blind man eyes. He opened ears that had never heard. He restored withered limbs. He created enough fish and bread to feed thousands. He raised the dead simply by a command.

This child was God

Why would God become a man and be born in such a lowly manner and let men treat Him the way they did?

It was the Father’s good pleasure . . . through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:19-20). He did it to make peace between God and humanity. All of us have sinned, and we sin repeatedly: “There is none righteous, not even one,” Rom. 3.10. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Rom. 3. 23. God hates sin and must respond with His wrath. He is a righteous judge who “is angry with the wicked every day,”  Ps. 7.11. Humanity reacts with more hatred, rebellion, or indifference toward God: “There is no fear of God before their eyes,” Rom. 3. 18. The only possible response of a holy God to our sin is more than we can bear, for “the wages of sin is death,” Rom. 6. 23.

Only Jesus, because He alone is both God and man, could ever resolve the conflict. He takes the hand of a repentant, yielding sinner and the outstretched hand of a holy yet loving God, and He joins the two. He can forgive our sins, reconcile us to God, and thus make “peace through the blood of His cross,” Col. 1. 20. And God is not reluctant for that to occur; rather it is the very reason He sent Christ into the world.

God is justifiably angry with our sin. Yet He loves us enough that He gave His own Son to live on earth, die on a cross, suffering the full weight of God’s wrath, which should have been our lot. He paid the penalty for sin and can bring peace between us and God. It could not have been done any other way.

Will you hear the voice of God in His word, the Bible and trust His Son, Jesus, for salvation. My prayer is that you will.

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