Love Must Be Embodied

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The whole concept of God taking human shape had never made much sense to me. That was because I realized one wonderful day, it was so simple. For people with bodies, important things like love have to be embodied. That’s all. God had to be embodied, or else people with bodies would never in a trillion years understand about love.

–Jane Vonnegut Yarmolinsky,
Angels Without Wings

Artwork:
Matthias Stomer,
Adoration of the Infant Jesus

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Not Content to Be God

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For your sake God was not content
to be God but willed to become man;
for you He emptied Himself that
you may be exalted.

–Karl Barth

Published in: on 12/22/2016 at 21:53  Leave a Comment  
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Deity Downsized

jesus-in-the-mangerA lowly Babe lies in the lowly cradle of a lowly town, the offspring of a lowly mother. Look again. That child is the eternal “I AM.” He whose Deity never had birth, is born “the woman’s Seed.” He, whom no infinitudes can hold, is contained within infant’s age, and infant’s form. He, who never began to be, as God, here begins to be, as man. And can it be, that the great “I AM THAT I AM” shrinks into our flesh, and is little upon our earth, as one newborn of yesterday? It is so. The Lord promised it. Prophets foretold it. Types prefigured it. An angel announces it. Heaven rings with rapture at it. Faith sees it. The redeemed rejoice in it.

–Henry Law

Sublime Paradox

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The Self-Existent comes into being,
the Uncreated is created,
that which cannot be contained
is contained.

–Gregory of Nazianzus

Within our grasp

Birth of Christ 6

Invisible in His own nature
[God] became visible in ours.
Beyond our grasp,
He chose to come within our grasp.

–Leo the Great

Not a code or an idea

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If the Word had become printer’s ink, it would have become a code. If the Word had become an idea, it would have been a philosophy. But the Word became flesh and therefore became a gospel—good news.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Way to Power and Poise

When God was made like man

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‘Twas much, that man
was made like God before,
But, that God should be made
like man, much more.

–Dr. John Donne,
Holy Sonnets (no. XV)

Image: http://www.gerrit-van-honthorst.org/

The Great Divide

The most important verse in Scripture is “And the word became
flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory of the only Son from the Father . . .”

christ_rembrandt_1This verse—“The Word became flesh”—is the Great Divide. In all other religions it is Word became word—a philosophy, a moralism, a system, a technique, but for all time and all men everywhere, “the Word became flesh”—the Idea became Fact.

Then I got hold of this difference (between all world religions and Christianity) in all other religions it is the Word become word, but only in Jesus Christ, did the Word become flesh. Then (and only then) Everything fell into its place. I had the Key, and this Key fitted everything in East and West . . . Religions are man’s search for God. The gospel is God’s search for man. Therefore, there are many religions, but only one gospel.

–E. Stanley Jones

Painting: “Head of Christ”
Rembrandt van Rijn

Not following a code

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It is not said in the Book,
“The Word became printer’s ink,”
but it is said,
“The Word became flesh.”
Had the Word become printer’s ink,
we should have followed a code.
Instead our code is a Character.
We follow a living mind
instead of a fixed letter.

–E. Stanley Jones
(1884 – 1973)

A Christlike God

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God is Christlike,
and in him is no
un-Christlikeness
at all.

–Andrew M. Ramsey

A character in his own plot

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“And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us . . . “
John 1:14

The man on the cross was a man of flesh, but he was also the WORD made flesh, as John writes it in the great prologue to his Gospel, the Word that ‘became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.’ The Creator himself comes to dwell within his own creation, the Eternal within the temporal, the Invulnerable within the wound.

It is as if Shakespeare could somehow have entered the world of Hamlet, say, the dramatist descending from the infinite dimensions of reality into the dimensionlessness of his own drama, becoming a character in his own plot although he well knows the tragic denouement and submitting himself to all its limitations so that he can burst them asunder when the time comes and lead a tremendous exeunt by which his whole dramatis personae will become true persons at last.

–Frederick Buechner
The Faces of Jesus

Incomparable goodness

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“The Word became flesh” . . . His words and his deeds blended like the words and music of a song. He was so truthful that He was truth, so loving that He was love, so good that He was goodness, so morally beautiful that He was beauty, so living that He was life, so godlike that he was God.

–E. Stanley Jones

When God got immersed in our mess

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“And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us…”
(John 1:14)

The Incarnation means a card-carrying member of the Holy Trinity is now part of the human race. He bridged the uncrossable divide between Creator and creation, between Divinity and humanity. He became our blood relative, our next of kin.

A member of the Godhead has a body
of flesh and blood—He is one of us.

Literally.

Not for a few years, but forever.

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God and man are now inseparably connected. The Lord of the universe has become a part of our story.

And a part of our predicament. He has thrown in his lot with us.

He has joined our ranks
to such a degree that our dilemma
has become His dilemma.
Our misfortune has become His.

He got embroiled in our brokenness—more than any self-respecting God ever should have.

Immersed in our mess.

He was not about to abandon his fellow humans to their plight. He got involved. He shouldered our cause. We are no longer alone in our distress.

We have a Redeemer.

–Jurgen O. Schulz

Jesus shows us God

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As Christians—as followers of the Lord Jesus—when we talk about God, we are talking about one who has entered into the very fabric of our world, who has come as close to us as we are to ourselves, a God who has become incarnate. When we talk about God, ultimately, we are always talking about Jesus. For the God of the gospel is the God who has come among us in Jesus of Nazareth. We believe in God because of Jesus.

Jesus is the one who showed us the face of God—
Jesus shows us the truth of God,
Jesus shows us the love of God.

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Jesus is God’s smile beaming at us out of the depths of eternity. Jesus is God’s love wrapping around us, seizing us and not letting us go. Jesus is God’s grace, reaching into the darkest and most shameful dimensions of our experience. Jesus is God’s healing, binding up the wounded.

Jesus is God’s goodness, in a world
full of chaos and disaster and catastrophe.

Jesus is God’s great strength for the weak. Jesus is water for the thirsty, and when you drink that water you will never thirst again. Jesus is bread for all those who are starved and hungry, famished for something good and something true. Jesus shows us God. He is not God’s explanation, he is not God’s argument, he is not God’s debate. He is God’s simple, great, loving act, showing us, Here I am, here you are.

In Jesus, God shows us God.
That I believe, is the whole secret
of the Christian faith.

–Ben Myers
(emphasis added)

The starting point

Christ 45B

“In the beginning was the Word . . .
and the Word became flesh…”
(John 1:1,14)

The Gospel begins with Jesus, the Incarnate. If you don’t begin with Jesus, you don’t begin—you don’t begin with anything except roads with dead ends. We know little or nothing about God, and what we know is wrong, unless we begin with Jesus.

If you do not see God
in the face of Jesus,
you see something other
than God—and different.

–E. Stanley Jones
(emphasis added)

Seeing God’s face

If you are to see God face to face
You must see Him
In the face of Jesus Christ.
For Jesus is God approachable,
God available,
God simplified,
God lovable.
The Word has become Flesh.

–E. Stanley Jones

The humanity of God

No one could imagine or think that the God of the universe would take a body and become human to redeem humans. A love like that just doesn’t exist—not in the categories of philosophy. Here, only seeing is believing. We would never have believed it unless we had seen it. The Word had to become flesh to become credible. Unless the eye had seen and the ear heard, it would never have entered into our hearts what God has prepared for us.

–E. Stanley Jones

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