Part 3: He Came. Why?
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:11-13 (NIV)
In retrospect, I should have probably started this He Came series with this post – Why did Jesus come?
James B. Torrence, in his book Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace writes that Jesus’ life on earth, his death and his resurrection was vicarious – it was in our place. It was God’s response to human need.
And what need is that? It takes going back to the beginning of the record of God’s revelation of God to God’s creation, the Holy Scriptures – or Bible.
The first words of the Bible are found in the book of Genesis chapter 1 – “In the beginning, GOD…” Here we understand that God existed before all that we know – and God was the instigator in creating all that we see in the natural world, including humans. That truth is expanded upon in various places throughout the scriptures.
By the third chapter of Genesis we find that the humans, who God created for the purpose of love and relationship, chose to live apart from God’s love and design, and that brought forth all kinds of hardship, wounding, and suffering into their lives and into the lives of the subsequent human race.
In response, however, also found in Genesis 3, God promises a deliverer – one who will set things right once and for all. Because the truth is, humans more often than not choose their own way, not God’s. You can read through the rest of the Bible and study history to confirm that. Time and time again, human relationships have deteriorated to selfishness, cruelty and ruling each other for one’s own gain.
Many of God’s spokesmen have tried and continue to direct people back to God. Here is what the prophet Isaiah had to say about humanity found in the book of Isaiah chapter 53, in the New Living Translation;
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
the sins of us all.
This passage is couched in the chapter that predicts the coming of the deliverer announced by God in Genesis 3:15. The prophecy included the details that this deliverer would suffer and take on the punishment for the sins of the straying sheep – humans – you and me, vicariously, in our place. What greater love is there than someone lay down his life for another (I John 3:16)?
This is God’s response to the human condition. Emmanuel, God with us. With love and humility, God set aside God’s glory (Philippians 2) to become one of us; to come to us through Jesus Christ, who was “very God of very God” (Nicene Creed).
What a gift of grace, that God continues to offer God’s presence through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is your response to God’s response?