Summary: Much like a circus tent move from town to town, so does Jesus "tabernacle" with us. What happens when we lean a bit further into three key events in Jesus’ life when He did move about on this earth? What might that tell us about God? His love? You and
The Greatest Show On Earth: Three Rings
(The metaphor of a circus was used in this series to describe three "rings" of Jesus life and how they each impact us)
Ring One: The Incarnation (a.k.a. “What if God was one of us?”)
John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
READ THIS NEXT PART WITH ME: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (v.14)
The Message paraphrases it this way:
The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one. Everything was created through him; nothing--not one thing!- came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out... The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
There are many things that blow me away when it comes to the Incarnation – God becoming fully human while remaining fully God through the person of Jesus Christ.
And the first is HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?
Madeline L’Engle writes: “Was there a moment, known only to God, when all the stars held their breath, when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second, and the Word, who had called it all into being, went with all His love into the womb of a young girl, and the universe started to breathe again and the ancient harmonies resumed their song and the angels clapped their hands for joy?” - Bright Evening Star
Next thought… here are my kids. (pic)
Who do you think Joshua looks like more – Katie or I? What about Daniel - who does he resemble most?
If we are all a genetic mix of our mom and dad... did Jesus have "Mary’s nose" or "God-the-Father’s-nose?"
I ask this not to be clever, but because Jesus was seldom recognized by the very people he came to save.
The brightest theologians of Jesus’ day were debating about when the Messiah would come, not realizing the crying toddler they passed on the street (who may have been crying because He scraped His knee) would one day offer to supernaturally heal them with His blood.
We read in Luke 2: 1-4
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
The trip for Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 80 miles (not a very short distance in those days). If you’re a pregnant woman and making that kind of journey, it’s no wonder why she gave birth.
In fact, we often imagine Mary as being close to delivery when they made this journey, but why would a man take his wife out into the desert for such a long time if she was about to go into labor?
According to Roman law, Mary didn’t have to go with Joseph for the census. Perhaps this is just a glimpse into the kind of man Joseph was… maybe he just didn’t want to leave his wife alone in the emotional stress of a controversial pregnancy among gossipers.
Continuing in Luke 2:5-7
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
A couple of observations…
- Mary wraps Jesus in cloths. The fact that Mary wrapped the child herself points to a lonely birth. This young woman was completely separated from all her family and support. Imagine Joseph’s feelings… knowing this is something great and yet wondering, “I don’t get this.” Perhaps he’d used his carpentry skills to make a great cradle back in Nazareth… now Jesus is stuck into a manger.