The Gospels begin with the miraculous birth of Jesus, the Son of God. He did not become the Son of God by natural conception, but the Son was given to the world through the womb of Mary. Have you ever wondered why God did it this way? Why not achieve the Father’s purpose from the safe distance of heaven? What we call the Incarnation (the Word becoming flesh) was necessary for a number of reasons.
Jesus came to show us what the Father is like. His famous saying, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” makes this clear. He came to set the record straight for the countless millions of confused humanity. He wanted us to be absolutely clear. God is not what we might think him to be, he is who he is and he has revealed himself finally and definitively in Christ. If we want to know what God is like, we simply have to look at Jesus. God is the living, giving and forgiving God – just as Jesus has shown him to be.
Alongside this, Jesus also came to reveal something about us. Jesus became human (while holding onto his divinity) to show us what God intends us to become. Jesus showed us that it is possible to be holy and human at the same time. When you see Jesus, you see God’s plan for you fulfilled. Becoming like Jesus is the ultimate definition of what it means to be a Christian. The One who was incarnated on this earth also lives in us. We can now live life as God intended and allow him to shine his presence through us to heal a world in pain.
One of the hardest problems to grapple with as believers is the problem of evil. How can a good God who is all powerful allow sin and suffering to come into the world? It is an important question and one that often stumbles many thinking people. We can talk about free will and God’s overall control of everything. We know that “all things work together for good”. But, in the final analysis, the Bible never fully answers the question of suffering. Why do millions die every year from natural disasters, war and famine? Why do bad things happen to good people?
God does not satisfy our intellectual curiosity, at least not to the extent that some philosophers and atheists demand that he should. Why not? Honestly, I don’t know. But I do know that God has done something infinitely more wonderful. His response to the problem of evil is to come himself. Not just to observe it, but to experience it. The rejection, sufferings and death of Jesus on the cross should put an end to all our fruitless debating and theorizing. God in Christ has fully indentified with our life on earth. He has experienced what we experience because he has lived what we live – in every way apart from sin.
In his coming to this earth, Jesus lived life as it should be lived and fully obeyed God in every way possible. That is what qualified him to be the substitute sacrifice for our sins – to become our Saviour. This is the ultimate reason why Jesus came. The Bible says that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.” If he had not come himself, we would be still dead in our sins, struggling in our confusion and lost in our suffering. But he did come! And that is what we are celebrating this Christmas.
Happy Christmas to you all!