Luke 2:21-52; Ezekiel 38-39; Isaiah 61
One of the most difficult concepts to believe about the Christian faith is that God became man and came down to earth. Oh sure, many of the other religions had their gods show up on earth. Always as adults, though; always with power. They came and often seduced those from earth. As Christians, we believe not only that God came to earth, but that He came, not in power, but in in true vulnerability. He came as a baby. He came as a baby who wasn’t protected by the might of a King, but as a poor child whose parents couldn’t afford the normal amenities. “…and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:24) The sacrifice noted there was the alternative sacrifice. The regular sacrifice was supposed to be a lamb. In Leviticus, where the sacrifice is commanded, the offering of the turtledoves and the pigeons was allowed for those too poor to afford a lamb. Vulnerable. Poor. The King of Kings born into weakness and poverty. And so it was that God entered the world. Emmanuel. God with us. The scandal of the Incarnation is not that God entered the world – other gods had done so. The scandal of the Incarnation is that God came as a helpless, vulnerable child into a poor family. He is God with us. When the Bible talks about Jesus being tempted in all ways such as we are, it speaks of all the temptations that come with poverty. As the King of Kings who didn’t need to leave Heaven, it speaks of all the temptations that one born to wealth might have. Yet, Jesus became our perfect sacrifice. He whose parents could only afford a pair of birds was the perfect sacrifice for our sins as the Lamb of God.
Lord, so easily I depend on my privilege and You didn’t when You came to earth. How easily I think that I have it made when You who had it all, gave it all up for me. Lord, You were the perfect sacrifice for my sins. It’s only through You that I can come to God.