…he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…
The birth of Christ told the world something: that He should come to be born of a woman, to make Himself of no reputation and, being found in fashion as a man, to humble Himself even to death on a cross— this is a fact so meaningful, so eloquent as to elude even the power of a David or an Isaiah fully to celebrate. His coming, I repeat, told the world something; it declared something, established something. What was it?
That something was several things, and as Christ broke the loaves into pieces for greater convenience in eating, let me divide the message into parts the easier to understand it.
The advent established:
First, that God is real. The heavens were opened and another world than this came into view. A message came from beyond the familiar world of nature. “Glory to God in the highest,” chanted the celestial host, “and on earth peace, good will.” Earth the shepherds know too well; now they hear from God and heaven above. Our earthly world and the world above blend into one scene and in their joyous excitement the shepherds can but imperfectly distinguish the one from the other.
It is little wonder that they went in haste to see Him who had come from above. To them God was no longer a hope, a desire that He might be. He was real.
Second, human life is essentially spiritual. With the emergence into human flesh of the Eternal Word of the Father, the fact of man’s divine origin is confirmed. God could not incarnate Himself in a being wholly flesh or even essentially flesh. For God and man to unite they must be to some degree like each other. It had to be so.
The incarnation may indeed raise some questions, but it answers many more. The ones it raises are speculative; the ones it settles are deeply moral and vastly important to the souls of men. Man’s creation in the image and likeness of God is one question it settles by affirming it positively. The advent proves it to be a literal fact.
“We are made for two worlds.”
Third, God indeed spoke by the prophets. The priests and scribes who were versed in the Scriptures could inform the troubled Herod that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem of Judaea. And thereafter the Old Testament came alive in Christ. It was as if Moses and David and Isaiah and Jeremiah and all the minor prophets hovered around Him, guiding His footsteps into the way of the prophetic Scriptures.
So difficult was the Old Testament gamut the Messiah must run to validate His claims that the possibility of anyone’s being able to do it seemed utterly remote; yet Jesus did it, as a comparison of the Old Testament with the New will demonstrate. His coming confirmed the veracity of the Old Testament Scriptures, even as those Scriptures confirmed the soundness of His own claims.
Fourth, man is lost but not abandoned. The coming of Christ to the world tells us both of these things.
Had men not been lost, no Savior would have been required. Had they been abandoned, no Savior would have come. But He came, and it is now established that God has a concern for men. Though we have sinned away every shred of merit, still He has not forsaken us. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Fifth, the human race will not be exterminated. That which was God seized upon that which was man. “God of the substance of His Father, begotten before all ages; Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world. Perfect God and perfect Man…who, although He be God and man, yet He is not two but one Christ.” God did not visit the race to rescue it; in Christ He took human nature unto Himself, and now He is one of us.
“Christ spoke with cheerful certainty of the world to come.”
For this reason we may be certain that mankind will not be wiped out by a nuclear explosion or turned into subhuman monsters by the effects of radiation on the human genetic processes. Christ did not take upon Himself the nature of a race soon to be extinct.
Sixth, this world is not the end. Christ spoke with cheerful certainty of the world to come. He reported on things He had seen and heard in heaven and told of the many mansions awaiting us. We are made for two worlds and as surely as we now inhabit the one we shall also inhabit the other.
Seventh, death will some day be abolished and life and immortality hold sway. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil,” and what more terrible work has the devil accomplished than to bring sin to the world and death by sin? But life is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
by A. W. Tozer
“We live between two mighty events…” Advent is as much about looking back as it is looking ahead—back to Christ’s...
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