The Chasm
Nicholas of Myra, Pastor
6 December 2016
The humiliation of Christ through His incarnation and earthly life is offensive to human reason unaided by faith. It seems beneath God to become a little human child, born of a humble mother, and laid in a cradle. Only faith can see such things. Only faith can break our stiff necks to stoop to the place where God reveals Himself by this birth. He didn't need to become man for His own sake, for what need has He of experiencing the very life which He created? He, who is the author of this life, does not need to become it for any reason native to Himself. No, only for our sakes does He condescend to assume our humanity. He does this to recast humanity according to its proper image, an image made perfect in Himself. Thus the image warped by the fall, has become an image re-created through union with God in Christ. He who is God also makes us proper humans by remaking our flesh in His incarnation.
 
It is no wonder human reason is so shocked and put off by this condescension of God! The gap is so enormous from our brokenness to His holiness. Yet He bridges a chasm we cannot gauge; making the two one, reconciling us to Himself. This gap should lead us to understand rightly our distance from God apart from God's intervention and also to marvel at the depth of God's gracious love, that reaches down into the filth of our humanity to raise us who were born in darkness and in the shadow of death. We are raised because He humbled Himself.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
 
"The virgin, the birth, the body, then the cross, the death, the burial; these things are our salvation. For the sake of mankind the Son of God was born of the Virgin and of the Holy Spirit. In this process He ministered to Himself; by His own power-the power of God-which overshadowed her He sowed the beginning of His body, and entered on the first stage of His life in the flesh. He did it that by His incarnation He might take to Himself from the Virgin the fleshly nature, and that through this joining there might come into being a holy body of all humanity. He did this that through that body which He was pleased to assume all mankind might be hid in Him, and He in return, through His unseen existence, be reproduced in all. Thus the invisible Image of God scorned not the shame which marks the beginnings of human life. He passed through every stage; through conception, birth, wailing, cradle, and each successive humiliation.
 
"What worthy return can we make for so great a condescension? The one Only-begotten God, ineffably born of God, entered the Virgin's womb and grew and took the frame of poor humanity. He who upholds the universe, within whom and through whom are all things, was brought forth by common childbirth. He, at whose voice archangels and angels tremble, and heaven and earth and all the elements of this world are melted, was heard in childish wailing. The Invisible and Incomprehensible, whom sight and feeling and touch cannot gauge, was wrapped in a cradle.
 
"If anyone considers all this unworthy of God and the less such condescension befits the majesty of God, the greater must he confess his debt for the benefit conferred. He by whom man was made had nothing to gain by becoming Man; it was our gain that God was incarnate and dwelt among us, making all flesh His home by taking upon Him the flesh of one. We were raised because He was lowered; shame to Him was glory to us. He, being God, made flesh His residence, and we in return are lifted anew from the flesh to God."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 2.24-25
2 Corinthians
5:14-21

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(ESV)
Prayer
Lord Christ, You took my flesh to raise me to a heavenly home prepared by You through Your cross and death. Grant me to live the life You give by Your death, that I might look forward to heavenly living at my death. Amen.
 
For Pastor Charles Wokoma, that his Lord Jesus Christ would be with him guarding all his ways
 
For all those suffering from depression and disappointment , that the peace of Christ, the incarnate Lord, might be theirs
 
For Ellen Brda, who has cancer and will be going through therapy, that her gracious Lord would strengthen her and grant her healing
 
For the gift of the Holy Spirit, that all Christians might grow in confidence of the mercy of God
Art: VASARI, Giorgio Annunciation (1564-67)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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