Feel free to listen to the audio version of the blog post.
Two thousand years ago God dressed Himself in street clothes and entered our world to connect with us [all humans impacted by sin and death]. On the cross Jesus defeated Satan and set us free from the power of sin and death.
Would you please read John 1:1-18?
As heaven’s representative, He became like us.
We somehow have the idea that God doesn’t understand our struggles. He is, after all, on His comfortable throne in heaven—insulated from all the heartache and pain on earth. We can tell ourselves that He has never experienced the pain of rejection, the death of a loved one or the temptation of the enemy.
Remember, “…we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV). Jesus Christ identifies with our struggles and limitations. He did not coast through a cushy life [for 33 years] here on earth. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
The Bible calls Jesus Christ “Immanuel”—a Hebrew word which means “God with us.” He is not the God who remains aloof; He is the God who loves to be among us.
Have you stopped to think that God wants to be among us? He wants to be with you—in your home, on the job, in school, in your private thoughts. Each day, not only on Christmas Day, acknowledge Him—when you relax and when you are busy. Think about Him before you drift off to sleep tonight—and when you awake tomorrow morning. God Himself became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
Would people describe you as shy and aloof? Would your acquaintances conclude that you’re hard to get to know?
This needs to change if you truly want to represent Jesus Christ—the One who comes near. He wants to heal whatever keeps you from allowing people to get to know you. In proportion to how much you let Him in, Christ will live in and through you.
As heaven’s representative, He remained unlike us.
“We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NIV). Jesus came full of grace and truth. He is unlike us. We tend to concentrate on one attribute excluding the other. Some see God as the supreme being who demonstrates His favour and loving kindness. Others see God as holy and righteous—offended by sin and compromise. We humans have a hard time believing that God has both of these qualities. Study the life of Jesus and you will see that He demonstrates God’s wonderful balance of both grace and truth.
Hebrews 4:15 reminds us that Jesus was tempted in every way—yet without sin. The next time you try to justify yourself for losing your temper or for harbouring a bad attitude, remember that He, who was tempted in every way, just as we are—did not sin.
Ah, you say, but He was the Son of God! This is true; but the same Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago is available to you today. God has given you the resources to be like Jesus not only in heaven, but here on earth—while you have skin on!
Many people think of the Hebrew Scriptures [the Old Testament] God as the God of wrath. Yes, but God always directs His wrath at sin. We do not fully understand the degree to which God detests sin, but we know God is a God of comfort—as well as full of grace and love. Wherever we find a Bible story of wrath, we also see the God who is love.
The words of our gracious Lord Jesus in John 14:6 could be labelled “narrow-minded” by many Canadians today. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (NIV).
Do you downplay sin because of God’s grace, or do you see God as being quick to punish those who fall short of His perfection?
Jesus came to show us that God can apply grace and truth where it is needed.
In your relationships with others do you emphasize grace by avoiding conflict at all costs and by letting people take advantage of your kindness? Or do you tend to shoot from the hip, making comments that might be true but leave people bleeding?
Let the life of Jesus flow as you show grace and truth in your relationships with others.
As heaven’s representative, He became like us—yet He remained unlike us. God is revealed to us through Jesus Christ.