Summary: God’s coming to earth in person: 1. Reveals the heart of God. 2. Reveals the need of people. 3. Reveals the mystery of God’s plan.
There is an amazing piece of art done by a Korean artist named Elder Rhee which is unique. It took him two years to complete the scroll. The artist meticulously drew the picture by hand with a very fine tipped pen. It is not a painting, but a picture created by writing thousands of words with shaded letters. It is actually the entire New Testament written out by hand. (See the picture at: www.mulberryumc.org/Sermons/Dec02_01.htm or you can order prints at: www.wordpicture.org/products.htm)There are about 185,000 words on the scroll with an average of a thousand words per line. The letters are drawn, some thick and some thin so that they bring out a picture of Christ. There are twenty-seven angels surrounding Christ and looking to him, representing the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. The original work was six feet long by four feet wide. The figure of Christ is not imposed onto the words, the words reveal the picture of Christ as they are inked light and dark to bring out the portrait of Christ. The words have become flesh, a person.
If you would magnify a portion of the work, such as Christ’s hand, you could actually read the words. The message of the artist is that the New Testament reveals one thing — the person of Jesus Christ. Out of the Word arises The Word — Jesus Christ — the Word which became flesh. As E. Stanley Jones writes: “Out of the Gospels arises the Gospel. Jesus is the Gospel — the Gospel lies in His Person. He did not come to bring the Good News — He was the Good News.” Someone has written: “A great wind blew through the Bible and lo, it stood up a Man.”
The most important words in the entire Bible are these: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). This is the great truth that sets Christianity apart from all of the other world religions. Our God has not remained remote and unapproachable, he has come to us in person. He did not just write us a letter. He did not just send us a representative. He did not just speak his laws from a mountain. He came to us as one of us. The Infinite became an infant. The Eternal One became a wee one. The Bible describes the miracle of what Christ has done when it says: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8). A new translation of the Bible called The Message puts it this way: “He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.”
It is impossible to overemphasize how important God’s arrival on earth was. The world, and life itself, is forever different. There is so much that could be said and so many points that could be made, but first of all let me say, God’s coming in human form is important because: It reveals the heart of God. God’s appearance in human form on the earth speaks volumes about God’s love for us. You are familiar with the words, which are perhaps so familiar that we take them for granted: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17). Here is the best news in all the world — God deeply cares for us. He has made a plan to save us from our sin and ourselves. He wants to change our lives and give us a life worth living that will ultimately result in eternal life. This is the kind of God we serve. He loves us more than we will ever know, and he has not come to take the fun out of life, but to make life enjoyable in ways that we never imagined. How much easier it would have been for God to leave us to our own devices. or rain fire down from heaven and destroy us for our sin. But God is not hostile toward us, neither did he remain distant — he never was and never intended to become so. He broke into the world and disturbed our equilibrium. We had become comfortable with a God who kept his distance. We liked the fact that he did not interfere with the world and left us alone. When he came in person, it made us uncomfortable. He was invading our space and getting too close. He was interfering with how we thought the world should be run and how we wanted to live our lives. He was a novelty at first, but then we decided we would be better off if we could get rid of him.