By Dr. Brad Strait, Lead Pastor of CCPC
My dearest Brothers and Sisters, please reflect on this truth today.
The greatest act of love was the son of God becoming a man.
St. Augustine wrote about it:
Man’s maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast; that the Bread might hunger, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired on its journey; that the Truth might be accused of false witness, the Teacher be beaten with whips, the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might grow weak; that the Healer might be wounded; that Life might die.
The greatest act of love is Jesus becoming a man. Old and New Trestament attest:
“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Think about it. When Pilot unveils the beaten and bloody human, Jesus, he cries to the crowd in Latin, ‘Behold the man!’ (John 19:5). Here is a deep theological truth, although neither Pilot nor the crowd gets it. The Creator has become the man, a person fully like us. He can be seen and understood, God revealed to us. And yet he can be beaten, abused and killed, too. He chooses this vulnerability, this place of weakness, for the love of us.
Elizabeth Elliott writes about it:
Jesus loved the will of His Father. He embraced the limitations, the necessities, the conditions, the very chains of His humanity as He walked and worked here on earth, fulfilling moment by moment His divine commission and the stern demands of His incarnation. Never was there a word or even a look of complaint.
C. H. Spurgeon wrote about it:
If there be one place where our Lord Jesus most fully becomes the joy and comfort of His people, it is where He plunged deepest into the depths of woe. Come, gracious souls, and behold the Man in the garden of Gethsemane; behold His heart so brimming with love that He cannot hold it in—so full of sorrow that it must find expression. Behold the bloody sweat as it distills from every pore of His body and falls upon the ground. Behold the Man as they drive the nails into His hands and feet. Look up, repenting sinners, and see the sorrowful image of your suffering Lord. Consider Him as the ruby drops stand on the thorn-crown and adorn with priceless gems the diadem of the King of Misery. Behold the Man when all His bones are out of joint, and He is poured out like water and brought into the dust of death; God has forsaken Him, and hell surrounds Him…For love. If in the ransom price of His blood there is no hope, there is no joy in the harps of heaven, and the right hand of God shall know no pleasures forevermore.
Jesus loves us to become like us, and to die as a man for us. He is covered—willingly—with the muck and mire of mud and manure, so that he can bathe us in heavenly grace, that we might be more clean than we can imagine. Only he can pull us out. Hebrews reminds us:
God didn’t put angels in charge of this business of salvation that we’re dealing with here. It says in Scripture, “What is man and woman that you bother with them; why take a second look their way? You made them not quite as high as angels, bright with Eden’s dawn light; Then you put humanity in charge of your entire handcrafted world.”
When God put them in charge of everything, nothing was excluded. But we don’t see it yet, don’t see everything under human jurisdiction. What we do see is Jesus, made “not quite as high as angels,” and then, through the experience of death, crowned so much higher than any angel, with a glory “bright with Eden’s dawn light.” In that death, by God’s grace, he fully experienced death in every person’s place.
It makes good sense that the God who got everything started and keeps everything going now completes the work by making the Salvation Pioneer perfect through suffering as he leads all these people to glory. Since the One who saves and those who are saved have a common origin, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to treat them as family…” (Hebrews 2:6-12, Message)
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