Summary: A look at how personal the rescue mission of the incarnation is. A reminder that Jesus becoming flesh means He relates to us completely
You know the Christmas story. He was with God in the beginning. He was God. Through Him, all things were made. Jesus was there. The angels, also there, watched and shouted for joy as the Almighty, 3-in-1, spoke the physical realm into existence out of nothing, all for His glory and pleasure; a perfect creation. Even the angels themselves are a part of God’s handiwork, and they are continually around His throne, amidst the flashes of lightning, the roar of thunder. They are there, giving a voice to what is true about God: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty Who was and is and is to come!” It seems that one of their major purposes is to shout about the inescapable majesty of God – His glory and honor and power and wisdom and wonder. They are there as God pronounces His creation is good; and there is peace on earth. And they are there as one of their own, the enemy, convinces the man and woman to disobey, and the creation is flawed; and peace on earth is gone. Surely God could have just put an end to it. Surely He could just banish Satan from even visiting the created world, but God allows it instead. The angels don’t understand it. Do you? Still, they continually announce the perfections of the only wise God whose wisdom is constantly being displayed in the heavenly realm. There is coming a day, He says, when the serpent’s head will be crushed and God’s creation will all be made right again. There will once again be peace on earth. But right now, there isn’t. He restarts creation after a worldwide flood. He begins a unique nation of people to be His own. With power and judgment, he marches them out of Egypt and into Canaan. The Lord is going to come and make things right. His prophets predict His arrival to earth. All Heaven itself holds its breath as the Son finally rises and prepares to leave. How would He strike wonder in peoples’ hearts? How soundly and powerfully will he dash the enemy to his doom?
Wait! What has happened? He’s gone from Heaven, but His glory isn’t. It’s left behind, like an empty shell. Instead of going to earth to rule with an iron scepter, God Almighty, The Ancient of Days, has poured Himself into a human body – the tiniest, most helpless of them. He doesn’t wear the splendor of Heaven. He’s clothed in human flesh. Weak. Dependent. His delicate life is bound to earth and by earth, voluntarily exiled away. The angels will announce His birth when it comes. They will minister to Him directly on occasions. But what the angels will not do is understand why the Creator’s plan involves emptying Himself in the form of Jesus, and laying aside His glory to live among man. Peter says, “angels long to look into these things.” They know God will be exalted. They know the enemy will be cast down. But this? What is this, and, why?
Here’s why: you have a personal problem.
Have you ever used that phrase? It’s what we say so we don’t disclose something that’s delicate or embarrassing. Or, it’s a way of saying you don’t want to talk about it: “I have a personal problem.”
That’s why there’s a Christmas story. It’s why Jesus came to earth, and it’s why Jesus came to earth the way He did. We celebrate Christmas each year because our need is personal.
1. Your Need is Personal
When I say you have a personal problem, here’s what I’m talking about.
It’s something you earned on your own.
You didn’t inherit it.
It’s not like my gall bladder. You see, I have an expiration date on my gall bladder. I’m pretty sure I do, because both of my parents had to have theirs removed. Now, I don’t know what that date is, but it’s there, and it’s there because of my parents. I can’t do much about it. I inherited it.
But, every time I get angry, that’s mine. Every time I give in to lust, that’s my choice. No one chose that for me. Every time I choose not to care about someone, that was me. My bad. Not my dad’s, not my mom’s, not my crazy uncle’s. Every moment that I waste time or allow my time to be wasted, that’s my fault. Oh, sure, there may be things about me that tend to push me that way, but the bottom line is, I have created a personal problem in my life called sin, and so have you.
The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.