The true amazement of Christmas is that Jesus Christ BECAME ~ the infinite God entered history, a beginning… What an amazing God who BECAME... I’m sure there are a 1000 implications of what this means for us that Jesus BECAME… here are three
1. Jesus Lived the Way We Should Live. I.e. Jesus BECAME REAL
There is a wonderful phrase describing Jesus in Acts 10:38 that has always been important to me: “He went about doing good.” If you are looking for a life’s mission, adopt that phrase and work towards living it out… Jesus did it. He went about doing good, he cared for people wherever he went. Jesus BECAME and showed us by example what it means to be human…
You can add to the list of how he showed us how to live, to really live, how to treat people, compassion and love. He prayed on a regular basis, we know he studied scripture as he so often made references to the Hebrew Scriptures and their fulfillment. He depended on the Holy Spirit. He cried. He grieved. He lived, he enjoyed, he partied, he forgave, he sacrificed for others.
The Velveteen Rabbit has a beautiful description of what a full life looks like. The word used in the Velveteen Rabbit is REAL. Jesus is the most REAL person to have ever lived. (Read pg. 16-17)
Jesus became real, by living a perfect life, a perfect example of what it means. We will not find perfection in this life, but by having Jesus as an example who BECAME, we can grow in our realness, becoming more and more like Him. How to respond to enemies, how to love those when it’s hard, how to sacrifice our lives for those who are struggling, to love beyond our capabilities, to depend on God, to be one with the spirit. Jesus was the most real person to have ever lived.
2. Jesus BECAME an overcomer
READ John 16:33. Jesus was not born into a perfect world ~ he was born into a stinky stable with his parents away from the comforts and resources of their home. His bed was a feeding trough. Every person that has ever lived (except Adam) is born in a context. One of the modern attitudes of modern politics that drives me nuts is when presidents or governors complain about the problems left by their predecessor. We are all set in a certain time that is unlike no other, and the challenge for all of us always is to OVERCOME.
Jesus is our model in how to overcome. His teaching about perseverance, the way he persevered, the way he dealt with conflict, when they came to arrest him and he willingly went with them. Many have taken great comfort in the words of Hebrews 4:15. READ. Jesus overcame temptation. There is something about a savior/a counselor who has been through the same fires that we have traveled, experienced the same pain… Jesus was tempted in every way we have been tempted, the personal demons we each face, the desire to give up, to lash out, yet to know that Jesus overcame gives us great hope.
Jesus overcame while He was fully man. He overcame the temptations of sin and the struggle to remain pure and holy to prove to us that it's possible. While we are not Jesus, we are just as human as He once was and yet He overcame the pattern of sin. When we are faced with depression, faced with tragedy, with heartache… we know one who BECAME what we are now and faced the same temptations. For many children and young people in our present world, they have no good models of overcoming in their family/community, yet to know and believe in Christ, the one who overcame, gives us hope and assurance that we too can make progress and live a holy life, a life of peace, that is pleasing to God.
3. Jesus BECAME even though it meant suffering ~
He suffered for us: Isaiah 53:5 ~ But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
Jesus shows us that suffering is part of the human condition: 1 Peter 4:1: Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking…”
It helps to know suffering is temporary: Romans 8:18: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Suffering of Christ puts our suffering in perspective: 2 Cor. 4:16… So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…
As servants of Christ, when we suffer it is for him: Philippians 1:29: For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,
We are not alone in our suffering. With suffering God provides comfort: 2 Corinthians 1:4: [God] comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God….
Jesus BECAME, which meant suffering. Suffering isn’t something to overcome, but in the deeper sense is part of our human condition. The Bible actually says suffering, persecution and hardships will be part of what it means to be people of faith. We harness the suffering to bring glory to the Lord by looking beyond to the greater things, by God identifying with us, we are to identify with others, to bring comfort, to love others, to walk beside. This is the suffering of Christ, he who was in the beginning, BECAME us, including suffering.
I’d like to read for you a story as told by Henri Nouwen in The Wounded Healer… a hauntingly beautiful story that has something to do with us suffering with others.
“One day a young fugitive, trying to hide himself from the enemy, entered a small village. The people were kind to him and offered him a place to stay. But when the soldiers who sought the fugitive asked where he was hiding, everyone became very fearful. The soldiers threatened to burn the village and kill every man in it unless the young man was handed over to them before dawn. The people went to the minister and asked him what to do. The minister, torn between handing over the boy to the enemy or having his people killed, withdrew to his room and read his Bible, hoping to find an answer before dawn. After many hours, in the early morning his eyes fell on these words: “It is better that one man dies than that the whole people be lost.” Then the minister closed the Bible, called the soldiers and told them where the boy was hidden. And after the soldiers led the fugitive away to be killed, there was a feast in the village because the minister had saved the lives of the people. But the minister did not celebrate. Overcome with a deep sadness, he remained in his room. That night an angel came to him, and asked, “What have you done?” He said: “I handed over the fugitive to the enemy.” Then the angel said: “But don’t you know that you have handed over the Messiah?” “How could I know?” the minister replied anxiously. Then the angel said: “If, instead of reading your Bible, you had visited this young man just once and looked into his eyes, you would have known.”
Jesus BECAME. The infinite became finite, a Child was born to a virgin, God BECAME human, with all the limitations, Jesus showed us what it means to be real, to really live. To be hungry, to be lonely, to be joyful. He showed us how overcome sin and temptation. And Jesus suffered, showing us that suffering is not something to overcome, but is part of our existence.
As Jesus suffered for us, we are called to be people of compassion, to walk alongside others. This is to enter into the work of God, to serve God by serving others. We are called to look into the eyes of those who are condemned, struggling, hurting, those who are running away and to see them, THEM, as they are, and offer the Help of a community, the Hope of God, the vision of a future.
And when we suffer alongside others, as Christ suffered for us, we may discover a most amazing miracle: the person we seek to comfort and encourage may be the one that enriches our lives. When Nouwen says of the fugitive that if you would have looked into his eyes just once you would have seen he is the messiah, I think he is saying that young man would have taught you something, enriched your life, made you into a more whole person. That’s the suffering of Christ, who BECAME us, and showed us how much he desired us in His life. Jesus BECAME that he might be an example for us, show us how to overcome sin and temptations, but he also BECAME so that we could more fully love Him and add to Him.
I started with the question. Can God create a rock too big for him to move. Or the similar question, can the unlimited God know what it is to be limited. Let me add a third question: Can an all loving God, God who is complete in Himself, can that God find enrichment in being loved? YES. That’s the Christmas story. The Word BECAME... Jesus was born as a helpless baby, he needed his parents, he needed to be loved, he needed a community so that he could learn and grow. He was a baby that received the love of others. His love for us is beyond measure, yet He BECAME and we helped him discover the fullness of being a person. Salvation is a relationship with Jesus Christ that goes both ways. Jesus made that possible when he BECAME us.