A little boy paid a visit to Santa in the department store and presented him with a list of requests: a bicycle, a train, a bat and ball, a rocket set, and an airplane. Santa was impressed. He said, “Thanks for the list. I’ll check between now and Christmas to see whether or not you’ve been a good boy.” The little boy reached over to take the list back and said, “Never mind, I’ll settle for the bicycle.”
Early in scripture we find that God is already planning on sending His Son. GEN 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” We already know that God knows that the covenants and the laws will fail. In order to redeem and grant forgiveness of sins, a perfect sacrifice will be necessary. As hard as they try human beings have always failed. Left to a covenant or a set of laws, there is no hope. That sacrifice will be God’s Son, Jesus.
It was a crisp, sunny afternoon in late November, and we were searching for a tree at the Christmas tree farm. We always relish the task, as members of the family comb the farm for the perfect tree. (Not too tall, not too thin, just the right shape, and, of course, a straight trunk!) As we were looking, we came upon dear friends of ours from church. I remarked, “This place is filled with beautiful trees! It is going to be hard to pick one!” My friend replied, “Not for me. I never look for perfect trees! I’m looking for a tree that needs me! Then I’ll make it beautiful!” It struck me at that moment that when it comes to picking disciples, God is just the same. Thoughts of Peter and John, and yes, even the sorry likes of me, made me realize that God doesn’t seek perfection in deciding who can carry out his work. He’s looking instead for folks who need him! And when we realize this, then God can make something beautiful of our lives!
As Man alone, Jesus could not have saved us; as God alone he would not. Incarnate, he could and did. (John 1:1-3) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
The Holy Spirit that impregnated Mary was God. I have no doubt that Jesus grew up knowing that He was God and man. Not only because of that part of Him that was divine, but also the stories that Joseph and Mary told Jesus. But at the same time Jesus was a normal human being. There are no records or stories of any miracles prior to the wedding in Canna. Yet, we know that Jesus had a great insight into scripture. (Luke 2:42-48) When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.
Everyone who had been around Jesus, understood who this child was. Even old Simeon the priest in the Temple who blessed this child knew what Jesus’ destiny was all about. “Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” Ever wonder why the news hadn’t spread more than it had? The shepherds outside of Bethlehem knew about Jesus. They even knew Joseph and Mary. The Wise Men from the East knew about Jesus and told others. Herod knew about Jesus and even killed hundreds of small children in Bethlehem.
A preacher who could not resist the urge of the golf course called in sick early one Sunday morning. As he approached the first hole, the angels alerted God to what was happening. As God watched, the preacher made a hole in one! “We thought you would punish him for this,” the angels said. “I did,” God replied. “Who’s he gonna’ tell?”
Have you ever heard the Garth Brooks song, “I’ve Got Friends In Low Places?” While listening to the words of this song, it suddenly dawned on me that those words could have been Jesus’ words. That’s what the incarnation is all about. Jesus has friends in low places. That’s what got him in trouble, remember? He hung out with outcasts, alcoholics, the lame, blind, deaf, mute, lepers, sinners of every shape and color. These were the low of low. Jesus DOES have friends in low places.