All this took place to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us.”) (Matt 1:22-23)
. . . he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Phil 2:7)
For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Heb 2:16-18)
God with us: here, visible, speaking the language, touchable. It seems incredible that God would be walking around the earth, looking and sounding and moving just like any other person, indistinguishable in a crowd.
That would be astonishing enough — just the fact that He looked like us. What astounds me is that He was like us; that He chose to become just as vulnerable physically, mentally and emotionally as any other human being. Not all the lashes Jesus took were on His back at the hands of Roman soldiers.
What Jesus didn’t surrender when He took on human flesh was His relationship with His Father. He knew how vital it was to stay in constant connection with the One whose love is all-encompassing, whose wisdom and purposes are unassailable, whose power is unmatchable. Jesus was able to turn human weakness into divine strength because of His total dependance on God in every aspect of his daily life. He waited for God’s timing; depended on God’s Word. That absolute dependence enabled Him to avoid jumping prematurely into ministry or succumbing to Satan’s temptations to His fallible humanity.
As I think about this human aspect of Jesus’ incarnation, it strikes me forcefully that what was available to Jesus while He walked this earth is also available to me. Though I am subject to every human weakness, the same love, wisdom, power and strength of God is as accessible to me as it was to Jesus. The crucial difference is that I haven’t yet learned to make full use of it, full time.
Jesus became human so He could pay the price of my sin. But that’s not the whole story. Before He died and rose again, He lived a human life that was inextricably linked with His Father. He came to this earth I inhabit and lived a real life with real people in a troubled world. He experienced pain and loss, exhaustion and exasperation. He became like me to show that it is possible, in dependence on God, to become more like Him. He came and walked with people to teach human beings from a human standpoint. While He was here, He affirmed and completed a written record of what is vital for you and me to know to use what we’ve been given to live life here to our full potential, and then eternally with Him. He shared my weakness to show me what strength is possible when I really hand over my life to Him — full throttle, full time. He went to the cross to demonstrate the depth of His love for me, and His desire for me to live with Him in eternity.
Thank You, Father, that You sent Your Son to be as vulnerable as I am, to show me what is possible for me to become when I draw my whole life from You. Help me, precious Jesus, to see the possibilities instead of the problems in putting off my old self and becoming more and more fully who You created me to be. I can’t do it, but through You, all things are possible.