The Old Testament in the Bible records the history of what God was at work doing before Jesus came to earth in human form.
God establishes Himself as the world’s creator; He’s the designer of relationships–creating men and women in His Triune image, for relationship with Him and with each other; the God Who Is and Who Is Holy; the God sees our sin and makes provision for it, so we don’t have to pay for it ourselves and be separated by our unholiness; the God who fights for His people and wins their battles.
If we just had the Old Testament, God was still worth believing in and following. No other king or god was like Him. The other kings and gods were greedy and power-hungry. Many of the cultural idol practices required parents to sacrifice their children on an altar to a manmade image. They required people to cut themselves and inflict harm on their bodies to get the idol’s attention. And many of the human kings and rulers supported these practices, alongside their own selfish whims and deceitful desires.
This Living God was different. He listened to His people. He was slow to anger when they sinned and patient with them. He brought them out of human slavery in Egypt and gave them a place where they could worship Him only as their God and King. He was for His people and for their good.
This was the God who said I AM–and come with Me.
Meanwhile, as the people keep sinning and screwing things up, God is whispering to His people: A Redeemer is coming. A Savior is coming. MORE is coming–watch and wait and stay with Me.
So when Jesus comes to earth–BOOM. HOORAY, HE’S HERE! IT’S OVER NOW–WOOHOO!
But Jesus didn’t come on the clouds in splendor and kingly glory as the people expected–He emerged from the weary womb of a young virgin girl, He entered covered in blood and the chunky white stuff babies are born with, and His kingly bed was a feeding trough for the sheep and goats and cows. Because Jesus, the Son of God and the Savior of the World, arrived in a barn.
Furthermore, Jesus doesn’t exhibit weird super powers like Grogu/Baby Yoda from the Mandalorian. He’s simply…a baby. He experiences the humility and frustration of being a tiny human dependent on exhausted parents. He experiences the humility and frustration of childhood, where our hearts are crushed by the “no’s” and the “not-yet’s” of the adult world. He experiences the humility and frustration of being a teenager in a changing body, when your voice gets weird and your skin gets weirder, and hair develops in places you thought ought not have hair, and your body finds itself with many appetites needing wisdom–so you don’t destroy the people around you in search of being full.
The Son of God grew up as the son of sinful parents who needed a Savior. The perfect Creator whose words made our flesh, became the Word-made-flesh. The Holy One became wholly human and dwelt in the midst of our muck and mire. The One-with-God became one of us.
God Most High descended from comfort and glory to physically touch the sick, the hurting, and the weary. We weren’t too broken for Jesus’ presence, because we weren’t too disgusting for God’s grace.
And Jesus’ message to us now is the same message He’s whispered to us since the Ancient Near East:
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
He has drawn near to you–because I came to you, because I and My Father are one.
You can come to God because of Me, because God sent me to come to You. I’m your forgiveness, erasing your sin. I’m your peace, covering your shame. I’m your innocence, your Good Enough, that sin stole.
I will be here in your suffering–I’ve suffered, too.
I will be here in your sorrow–I’ve wept your tears, too.
I will be here in your pain–I have been in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual agony, too.
I’m the God who walks with you through all this, and will walk with you all your life. When this life is over, you can spend eternity with Me, the way I created you to be.
But you have to walk away from your sin and walk with me. Your sin will always lie to you, deceive you with empty promises, and destroy your soul one dark, secret corner at a time. I’ve come so you can have life, and life to the fullest.
I’ve loved you at your worst and will transform you to your best–and you can trust Me, because I’ve fulfilled every promise I’ve ever made. (Y’all have even compiled a book full of My promises spoken throughout history–awesome.)
I came to live like you, so you could live like Me–and with Me.
I’m as close as I can get to you, but you gotta let go of everything else you’re holding on to and come with Me. Everything else in this life will fail you, but these nail-scarred hands will never let go.
Come with Me. It gets so much better than this.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” – Hebrews 11:1-2
“And without faith it is impossible to please [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” – Hebrews 12:1-3