“When a Russian cosmonaut returned from space and reported that he had not found God, C. S. Lewis responded that this was like Hamlet going into the attic of his castle and looking for Shakespeare.” (Timothy Keller, “The Reason for God“)
But the truth is much more fantastic. Shakespeare has come to live in the middle of Hamlet’s dark and haunted world.
This is the third post of this Christmas series, “God with us.” We’ve already established this about Jesus: before there was anything else He existed with the Father, He is the creator and sustainer of all things in both heaven and on earth, and He is the source of life and the light shining in our darkness.
If you haven’t read God with us: what Child is this, I recommend you do so before continuing because it provides the necessary background for what I will share here.
So, my question is, why was it necessary that Jesus–the eternal Son of God, the “Light of Light, very God of very God” of our creed–be born as a human being on Christmas day?
“So the word of God became a human being and lived among us.
We saw his splendor (the splendor as of a father’s only son),
full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 PHILLIPS)
This may surprise you, and you may even disagree with me, but I can assure you the main reason Jesus came was not to be the perfect sacrifice so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die, nor was it to give us a perfect human example of how to live a moral life.
Jesus did indeed die for our sins perfectly, but that was only a means to a much greater end.
He certainly was the perfect human example, but that’s not the main point either.
Simply put, Jesus became a Man in order to INCLUDE us in the SAME eternal Fellowship He has had with the Father through the Spirit from eternity. Again, Dr. C. Baxter Kruger can help us here…
“The stunning truth is that this Triune God, in amazing and lavish love, determined to open the circle and share the Trinitarian life with others. This is the one, eternal and abiding reason for the creation of the world and of human life. There is no other God, no other will of God, no second plan, no hidden agenda for human beings.” (“Summary of the Trinitarian Vision” – C.Baxter Kruger)
Okay, you may be asking, but why was it necessary for Him to become a man in order to accomplish this? For one simple reason–because that’s the only way we would ever know God experientially, which is the only way that matters.
I will show you why this is so with something Jesus said. I’ve put in bold type what I want you to notice:
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father,
and no one knows the Son except the Father.
Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son,
and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matt.11:27 NKJV)
Do you realize what Jesus saying here?
Jesus is saying no one actually knows God! Not Adam, not Moses, not Abraham, not David….no one except Jesus!
And, furthermore, no one knows Jesus except the Father. And the determiner of what you’ll ever know about God is Jesus.
Up until this point in human history, only God knew God. This Divine Fellowship between the Father, Son and Spirit–this Divine Dance–was closed to the human race.
Yes, we knew about God. And He would talk to us from time to time–through angels, prophets, signs and wonders–but in the final analysis, we were still groping in the dark of our orphan ignorance.
Using C.S. Lewis’s analogy again, we were no better off than Hamlet actually knowing Shakespeare.
But the crazy, mind-boggling truth is, Jesus not only traversed this infinite gulf and became us, He took our darkness upon Himself–our alienation, our vitriolic hatred, our woundedness, our enmity with God, and everything else that kept us hiding in our blindness–and joined us to this Father we never knew but always hoped for in our deepest heart.
Beloved, this truth was NOT about “sinners in the hands of an angry God,” it was about a loving God in the hands of angry sinners!
But not only that, when He died, WE died, when He was raised, WE were raised with Him! For He has triumphed over the enemy’s plan to separate us and has brought us to Himself in this Divine Togetherness! (See Rom.6:1-6; Gal.2:20; Eph.2:6; Col.3:1-3).
So, now, WE are in the SAME fellowship with the Father in the Spirit that Jesus has had since before time (1 John 1:3-5).
This is why living Christ’s life is the only Christian life. For there’s no other version available to us–those are but religious facades, inventions of darkened minds that will never give you life abundantly or fullness of joy, which is your inheritance.
Jesus said we would see this glory (John 14:20; 17:21-26). It’s so marvelous it made the stones of death irrelevant to Stephen when he saw it (Acts 7:55-56). It ruined Paul for anything else. His life’s obsession was to try to describe to us this indescribable glory within us.
We are included in this Divine Fellowship because there is a MAN sitting at the right hand of God, and we have been placed inside this Man.
And because He is forever with the Father in the Spirit, we are forever with the Father in the Spirit. Because this is eternal life (John 17:3), we have eternal life.
And if this is not true, you are still in your darkness–you’re still an orphan having no way of traversing the chasm between creation and the Creator, between a Father and His children. You are still only living on a page like Hamlet, guessing about what the life of Shakespeare might be like (if he could even imagine that Shakespeare exists).
Beloved, God’s very life is meant to be your life…now…whether you’ve experience it or not, or could believe something so wonderful or not.
Why would God do such a marvelous thing for us? Because He is love. And Love’s deepest desire is to share what He enjoys with the object of His deepest affection, and for us to experience what He experiences in His life–the great dance of unchained communion and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight.
Any other reason for the incarnation pales by comparison, for this is the good news beyond your wildest dreams.
There is so much more I could say about this. I suppose I will have to use the rest of my life to do so. 🙂 For more about why Jesus had to become a Man, and why He must be God for us to be in Him, you can read my post here.
Next time, I will discuss in more depth what this all means for us.
Great post Mel…really enjoying your teaching on God with us.
As I was reading this I was reminded of what Jesus said, “…if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”
Your teaching brings this verse (and many others) into a new light. Thanks for sharing…its a pleasure to read your posts. ~ Dave
Thanks, Dave. Much appreciated. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been utterly shocked by my own ignorance of the significance of Jesus’ incarnation. I have so underestimated what God has done in becoming one of us. It became like a nursery rhyme to me because I’ve heard the “baby Jesus” story so much around Christmas. But now, I’m practically brought to tears every time I see a nativity scene! I’ll never see it the same again. What profound love! That God would come to us in the middle of our mess so that we could be with Him. Now, THAT’S a Christmas that makes one merry in the deepest part of our soul! Blessings.
A profound love, indeed, Mel. Knowing the depth of it I think will take a lifetime, until we see him face to face. But feeling it deep in my core, waking to it every morning – that is what I live for.
Amen, Susan, amen! That’s it! And who wouldn’t want what you’ve just said? Who wouldn’t want what I’ve so inadequately described here? The problem is, it sounds too good to be true to our religiously trained ears. We’ve created so many myths and obstacles about God that even Christians keep Him at a distance. We’ve brought our orphan-based thinking into our relationship with God. It’s all very sad to me. But, the good news is, I have never met someone who, when I explained this truth, didn’t want to experience Him. And they usually do! (When their heart is open to it).
And, praise God, all of this Christian mythology is slowing but steadily coming down! God is breaking through our stubborn need to save ourselves and perform for God on many different fronts. We’re finally learning how to enter into His rest. Our eyes are being opened to lies we’ve believed and we’re starting to see just how wonder-filled this life in Him is!
Many blessings to you too, sister.
“There is so much more I could say about this. I suppose I will have to use the rest of my life to do so.” Ha, ha and amen! Sometimes my brain (and my heart) just goes TILT! I’m so very grateful we have not just all of this life, but also all of eternity to explore the depths of His love and to discover the wonder of all He has actually done for us. Great, thought provoking stuff!
Thanks. And I’m with you on the TILT thing. I’m beginning to see why Paul was so beside himself in explaining who and where we are in Christ! Blessings.
Amen! Our humanity is eternally mixed with Divinity. We now partake of the Divine Nature! The oneness of us and Him is astounding.