With Thanksgiving come and gone, I have had some time to take stock of what I’m thankful for. Many things come to mind. There are the basics of life that God has been so faithful to provide for. There are the people in my family whom I love dearly and who have been such a place of safety and support for me all my life. There are my excellent comrades here at the House of Prayer, whose company I have particularly enjoyed over turkey dinner… and turkey dinner again… and leftovers. There is the fact that God has set me as a “watchman on the wall,” getting to spend my life before Him in prayer and service.
Yet because of the studying I’ve been doing lately in Christology, one thing is standing out to me above all. Perhaps it sounds a bit cliche. Perhaps it sounds a bit religious. But I can’t help myself; it’s completely blowing me away this year. I’m thankful that God became a Man.
Meditating on the book of John has been absolutely undoing me. Who is Jesus that He would become so utterly humble, so near to us? What kind of pure humility and love does it take for the uncreated God to assume human flesh forever? What kind of beautiful Sovereign would voluntarily constrain Himself to the body of a baby, coming into the world through the messy and common avenue of birth?
And to top it off, it’s all for love. It’s all for taking a sinful, fallen race who was at enmity with Him, and redeeming them. Love went to the utter depths to save a people who, by all logical reckoning, were not worth the trouble. In love, He chose to make Himself of no reputation and dwell among us as a Servant of all. He was not motivated by legal requirement or by moral obligation. He did not do it grudgingly or hesitatingly. He was driven by the very deepest love.
We had rejected God, and were completely blind to His beauty. Ever since the original fellowship of Eden was broken, we were unable to approach God and know Him intimately. He was too lofty, too holy, too powerful for us to draw near. Yet in the Person of Christ, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God broke in upon our planet in such a dramatic way that the preacher could declare, “Behold!” See Him! “The Lamb of God.” The chasm between heaven and earth had been leaped by a God who would stop at nothing to have His people with Him where He was.
Every religion of earth has been a struggle for man to get to God. Each system, in its own way, is a new attempt at Babel. If we can only build high enough. If we can only deny ourselves enough. If we can only indulge our desires enough. If we can only sacrifice enough. If we can only say enough of the right chants and perform enough of the right rituals. If we can only conjure up enough wisdom. Then, maybe then, we will be able to raise our edifice of brick and mortar — a tower of dust, just as we are ourselves — and finally reach to the heavens.
Every attempt has been just as futile as it was in Genesis 11. Sinful people cannot redeem sinful people. The blind cannot lead the blind. Earthbound creatures cannot achieve heaven. We cannot, on our own, even come close to reaching God.
So God came down to us. The infinite, eternal Holy One, the One who is totally “other than”, became in all things like us. The Nazarene carpenter who taught openly in the temple is the God whose face we could not see and live. He is the Word, the exact and perfect communication of God to humanity. He took the unapproachable and opened it to us. He took the unsearchable and declared it. He was sent by the Lord eternal, immortal, and invisible, making Him visible and tangible to us.
It is because of God becoming Man that we are delivered from the bonds of wickedness and death. It is because of God becoming Man that we can know intimate communion and true fellowship with the Godhead. It is because of God becoming Man that this earth will one day be renewed to the joy and glory of Eden.
This is what I am thankful for.