December 18, 2010

Jesus: the man

I had put together an Advent sermon series that was going to talk about 5 different aspects of the person of Jesus...and then our son Theo decided to begin his arrival on the 1st weekend of Advent which forced me to rework by series a little as I missed the first 2 weeks of Advent. Over the next week or so you will see a condensed version highlighting 3 aspects of Jesus: his humanity, his divinity and him as a baby. Right now we'll focus on the humanity of Jesus.

You might recall a story from back in the day about a group of people called the Israelites who spent about 40yrs camping in the wilderness? It was during this time that God really wanted them to know that they were His people, He was their God and that His presence would be with them. So He told this guy named Moses to get the people to build a place where He could dwell among them and so they built Him a tabernacle. Fast forward hundreds of years later...

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14)
In "church" language we call this the Incarnation, the union of humanity with divinity in the person of Jesus. About this Carlo Carretto (who is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors) writes

The Incarnation brings the world his presence. It is a presence so complete that it overshadows every presence before it.
God is made human in Christ. God makes himself present to us with such a special presence, such an obvious presence, as to overthrow all the complicated calculations made about him in the past.
“The invisible, intangible God has made himself visible and tangible in Christ."

~From The God Who Comes by Carlo Carretto
As we continue on this Advent journey toward the manger I think it is important we keep in mind the significance of the humanity of Jesus. The idea that God came in real flesh and blood in the form of Jesus changed everything and we cannot afford to miss weight of this event in human history.

I find it meaningful that Jesus as a human...

...faced temptation. (40 days of fasting in the wilderness being tempted by the devil himself and still not giving in, as a human being)

...suffered. (The events surrounding His crucifixion are enough to turn anyone's stomach, all of which He endured and experienced as a human being. Can you even begin to imagine that pain?)

...experienced death. (He died as a human in order to conquer death as a human so that all of humanity might live. Hebrews 2:5-18)

...has empathy. (This is the Christmas story of hope, joy, peace, love because we know we serve a God who can empathize with us, who has been there and done that. Hebrews 4:14-16)

...understands. (I am reminded of how upset Jesus was at the death of His friend Lazarus. He understands what it is like to feel pain and hurt, to suffer loss as a human being. John 11:17-36)

...connects humanity with the Divine. (If Jesus was not truly human than this whole thing is pointless but as a human He gives humanity a chance. Romans 8:3)