GOD CON CARNE

 

Joseph had waited nine painful months. The child’s real Father had been waiting since before creation. The fullness of time had come. That is what makes it hard. We expect God to do things differently.

 

You’ve heard of chili con carne, chili with flesh, with meat. Here is God con carne. He had been with his Father in creation, then he became a part of it. He came as a baby, not super-God. The Mighty One showed up–incognito.

 

He took on flesh. The untouchable could now be touched. Look at the vulnerability of our eighteen-inch God.

 

FLESH AND BLOOD GOD

To say that Jesus became flesh says that he entered this frail human race. He was “found in human form” (Phil. 2:8). To enter a virgin’s womb was a step down for divinity. Every religion attempts to make man spiritual; Christianity makes God physical. The destiny of the human race was implanted in the uterine wall of a virgin girl.

 

“He emptied himself…” He went from everything to nothing. Paul says that “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor” (2 Cor. 8:9). He had his earthly beginning in back of an overcrowded motel.

 

THE DIFFICULTY

–that man with flesh on was and is God: “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19). God the Father packed undiminished deity into that six-foot frame.

 

Here’s our problem–the God/Man. Putting both in the same person stretches us. Sects do weird things with the concept. At the center of Christianity is this five-word proclamation: “And the Word became flesh.”

 

The person on the throne next to the Father is Jesus–and he is a man. When we get to heaven, we will see scars to prove it. Bethlehem says a mighty “Amen” to the promise of Immanuel, and a resounding “no” to every teaching that makes Jesus either less than God or more than man.

 

SO WHAT?

What’s the big deal? Only the eternal salvation of humanity. We sinned. We carry the death penalty. God had no penalty to pay, so he could die as our substitute, but only as a part of our race. Because he was God, he could defeat the devil who was stronger than us. Because he was man, he could step into the race and begin a new destiny as the second Adam.

A Sunday school teacher asked her class to draw a picture from the Gospels. When she asked one boy what he was drawing, he said, “God.” So she explained, “But no one has seen Him. We don’t know what God looks like.” To which the boy replied without looking up, “They will when I get done.”

 

Jesus came to us and identified with us. Do you suffer? So did Jesus. You feel cramped. So did he, especially on the cross. Do you ever feel lonely? Jesus did too, and forsaken. He lived among us, suffered and died. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. He said to Philip, “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (John l4:9). When he got done, we knew what God looked like—the man Jesus!

 

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