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John 1:14-18

 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'") And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. (ESV)

 

 

 

 

The Divine Plan

Thursday after the Baptism of our Lord

15 January 2015

It is easy for us humans to think of ways in which we could improve the divine plan of salvation. We are offended by the enfleshment of God's Son of the Virgin Mary. We would prefer to bypass the incarnation of the Son, and move on to the far more glorious revelation that God is among His people in Christ. We would prefer to avert our eyes from the weakness and humility of God in the incarnation. We desire to rush past the hovel in which God's Son is born to Mary, held in her arms, suckling at her breast. Like Moses, we are willing to demand that God show His full glory to us; we don't want to see God's back from the cleft in the rock. We do not want to be placed in the flesh of the Rock that was riven for us. We do not want to be placed into His side where we will be splashed clean by the blood and water issuing from His flesh of His wounded side. We prefer not to think of our God as the great grandson of Jesse. We prefer to see what can only be seen in the life to come (1Co 13:12).

 

God has seen fit to be manifested among us in a single human life with a shocking specificity. He narrows His divine revelation to one man. This causes great offense among humans like us, who would prefer that God not limit Himself by coming among us in this one person, who is Himself the only way to heaven (Jn 14:6), and is the full and complete divine revelation (Heb 1:1-2). This specificity rules out all other mediators and ways to God. It rules out all other spirituality and all other paths to heaven. It's no wonder humans so easily hate this proclamation and seek to obliterate it by demanding it be silenced.

 

We remain captive to the actual revelation which God has given to us: Christ the incarnate Son. There can be no better or higher salvation than the one actually offered to us sinners through His only begotten Son. We can't philosophize or theorize our way to a better economy of salvation. To do so would be to break the first and second commandments. To plan a better way of salvation is to claim to be God and to claim that You have a different word. Faith accepts the humility of God in Christ, incarnate of Mary, son of David, son of Jesse. Faith confesses His flesh to be the locus of God in the world. Faith claims that to have Him in the flesh is to have God.

 

John Chrysostom

 

"Paul now says, 'concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh' (Rm 1:3). What is Paul thinking when after lifting up our souls so, and elevating them, and causing great and unutterable things to pass before them, and speaking of the gospel, and not just that but the gospel of God, and bringing in the chorus of the prophets, and showing all of them heralding forth many years before those things which were to come, why does he bring us down to David? Is he now talking to me of some mere man by referring to Jesse's son as his father? How could these things be worthy of what he had just spoken of? But they are fully worthy. For his discourse is not of any mere man. Such was his reason for adding, 'according to the flesh;' hinting that there is also a generation of the flesh after the Spirit. Why did he begin from the flesh and not from the higher? It is because that was what Matthew, Mark, and Luke began from. For he who would lead men by the hand to heaven, needs to lead them upward from below.

 

"This was the order of the actual divine plan. First of all the disciples saw Him as a man upon earth, and then they understood Him to be God. In the same direction then, as Christ Himself had framed His teaching, His disciple also shape the way, which leads there. Therefore, is the generation according to the flesh in his language placed first in order, not because it was first, but because he was for leading the hearer from this up to that."

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 1

 

Prayer

Almighty God, heavenly Father, watch over and guard Your children. Keep them in the true faith, that they confess Your Son as their only Savior from sin. Amen.

 

For those who are charged with the task of stopping terrorism, that they would be granted strength and wisdom

 

For Maryann Murray who is celebrating her birthday today, that she would give thanks to God for all her abundant blessings

 

For Ted Nelson, that he would be strengthened in his body

 

For those who are struggling with guilt, that they would know the abundant grace of God in Christ and be freed from the burden of their guilt 
Art: RENI, Guido Baptism of Christ (c. 1623)

 

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