Summary: Why did God choose to come as a man? What exactly was He trying to achieve?
Christmas 2004 - O Come Let us Adore Him
Have you ever used the expression in a moment of exasperation, “what in the world were you thinking when you did that?”
• I recently had one of those moments when I found out Susan had booked us out of Brisbane airport at 6:20am
• She had messed up by not realizing the airlines operate on army time
• When I found out what she had done I had one of those moments, what in the world were you thinking?
• And I think it’s a fair question to ask God when He decided to come to earth as a man!
• What in the world was God thinking when He decided to show up as a man?
And this is the question I have for you today, “What in the world was God trying to achieve by showing up as a baby in a barn behind the village Inn in an obscure little village in a third rate nation under Roman occupation?”
• Why would God show up this way? Why would the all powerful, all wise Creator of the universe show up this way?
• Put yourself in God’s shoes for a moment. If you were going to make yourself known to your subjects how would you go about doing it? Especially in view of the fact they had rejected you as their God
• Would there be a little malice associated with the whole event? A little bit of I’ll show them whose boss around here
• And while I’m at it, I’m going to put the fear of the Lord in them so they will finally obey my commandments
• Thing is, God had already tried that, and guess what It didn’t work
• He had started off with his dealing with mankind in a parent/child relationship in the Garden of Eden
• And like most parent/child relationships the kids thought they knew better than the parents and went off and did their own thing with the ensuing consequences
• Without any restraint on their actions things got so bad God toyed with the idea of annihilating mankind
• So the parental model with the laissez faire approach didn’t work
• Next God tried the carrot and stick approach with the Children of Israel.
• He gave them a religious system with lots of laws and regulations to guide their every move
• But despite pillars of fire, quaking mountains, and all sorts of diabolical threats the results were pretty much the same – rejection and more sin
• And Israel instead of being an example to the nations ended up in captivity
• So religion didn’t work
• A third alternative would have been to move up the second coming where God would show up as the all conquering King of Kings and Lord of Lords but the upshot of all that would be the obliteration of the human race
• Fortunately God did not want that
So what was God to do?
• If they wouldn’t love Him as a parent, if they wouldn’t love Him as their “religious” God, and they certainly wouldn’t love Him as an all conquering King
• How was He going to entice a rebellious and sinful mankind to engage with Him?
• What could He do to make them sit up and notice His unfailing love for them?
• And just as importantly how could He encourage them to respond to His love with their own voluntary love?
• And so we come to that most impressive of all miracles, God becoming incarnate, or as the song goes, “one of us”
So what in the world was God thinking when He sent His Son?
• What He was thinking is that I will give them such a demonstration of my love for them that they will not be able to ignore it
• They may reject it, but they won’t be able to ignore it – it will always be out there by the nature of its happening
• And this act of God is unique in the history of religions
• Don’t let anyone tell you Christianity is just another religion
• all other religions teach their followers they have to do something to please or to win the favor of their gods – in other words there is a transaction involved – “you do something for me and I’ll do something for you”
• Christianity is the only faith where the God does something to please its worshipers
• And not just something, He does everything
• And the irony is as much as we want to make it a transaction, (because we are not used to getting something for nothing, and it goes against our prideful human nature) there is nothing we can contribute to the event, before or after our conversion