Summary: Jesus laid aside his glory and power and put on human flesh to save us from sin and make us holy, to destroy the dvil and free us from the fear of death, and to bcome our merciful and faithful high priest.
Why Did the Eternal God Put on Human Flesh?
By Dr. R Bruce Montgomery
Solomon, at dedication of the temple which he had built for God, asked the question: But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!
When Jesus was born - Solomon’s question was answered. Yes, God will really dwell on earth with men. In fact, in a sense far greater that Solomon could anticipate, for he not only came to dwell on earth with men, (which could have done and still retained his unique “otherness,” as an alien, but on earth as a man!)
Leaves us with question - why would God do such a thing? Why would the supreme Creator and sustainer of the universe, sovereign ruler, full of glory and radiance, and power, lay all that aside, spend nine months in Mary’s womb, and be born in a stable in a little obscure town in the Judean hills?
J. B. Phillips tells the story of an angel describing the splendors of the universe to a newcomer. Past whirling galaxies and blazing suns, they crossed the infinite distances of space to a galaxy of 500 billion stars.
The senior angel pointed to a small sphere turning slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis ball to the little angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of what he had seen. `Watch that one particularly,’ said the senior angel, pointing with his finger. `It looks very small to me,’ said the little angel. `What’s special about that one?’
"He listened in stunned disbelief as the senior angel told him that this planet, small and insignificant and not overly clean, was the renowned Visited Planet.
"`Do you mean that our glorious Prince stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?’
"`I do, and I don’t think He would like you to call them creeping, crawling creatures. For strange as it may seem to us, He loves them. He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him.’ The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension."
Why did the eternal God put on human flesh?
Was it so 2,000 years later Americans could have a holiday from work, frantically overspending their budgets buying one another gifts and rushing from place to place so the relatives wouldn’t feel slighted?
Was it so we could decorate the church with nativity and Christmas symbols, and sing seasonal carols, and have programs for the children to be in and the adults to watch?
No! The purpose of Jesus, eternal God, Creator and Sustainer, heir of heaven and the glory and radiance of the Father, becoming human is spelled out in these verses before us.
In just a moment we will discover from this text three of the primary reasons he came (and there are many other reasons, implications, and effects of his coming as well, which we won’t describe now):
First, vs. 5-8. Remember two weeks ago – Jesus’ superiority to the angels.
To whom has God subjected all things? Not angels.
Who rules in the world to come? Not angels.
Quotes from Psalm 8 (which we read responsively at start of the service).
But not yet. Vs. 7 – made “a little lower than the angels.” Could translate it as, “for a while less . . . than the angels.” Though a “little lower” (i.e. inferior. Cf. limitations of spirit versus human body), God never promised the angels/heavenly beings that they would reign in world to come.
Flow of thought: Last week first four verses – need to be careful lest we drift away from the Word of God and neglect our great salvation. Verses 5-8 is still talking about why our salvation is of such great value. Another aspect of why it is so great is that because of this salvation we are destined to be (vs. 7) “crowned with glory and honor” and have all that is in creation put in subjection under our feet.”
Writing to persecuted church - in hiding. Writer reminds them that God has an ultimate intention for them that no angel can ever attain - to rule the world to come! No Roman emperor could experience a fraction of the rule that was to be theirs!
Problem (vs. 8) at this point everything “at present” is not subject to him (Him referring to “man,” “humanity.”) Serious problem: man not exercising dominion over animals, fish, birds. In fact, has a hard time controlling himself!
So the tension builds. How is this problem to be solved? Man is to rule creation under God. But we look around, and don’t see man ruling!